When you’re interviewing for a job, it’s can be easy to stress only about what you’re giving them – what answers to their interview questions, what to wear, what to say. It’s important to remember that you’re also interviewing them, as in, do you really want to work here? What will it be like after the “newness” of the job wears off? How do you know if a company is a great place to work? After all the time and effort it takes to find a new job, you don’t want to end up hating it and looking for another one. The good news is all it takes to find out if the company is a great place to work is watching for a few details.
How to Tell If A Company is a Great Place to Work
- Get clear expectations of what you need and what they offer
- Company’s purpose and core values
- People are treated respectfully
- The position is open because the last person was promoted, not terminated
- Check on the current employees and online reviews
Here’s how to find out what the company is really like before you accept the job:
First, Define What Makes a Company is a Great Place to Work for You
It’s important that you know what you want in a workplace. Are you looking for only remote work or are you open to working in person? Do you need specific benefits or no? It’s only once you know what you’re looking for that you’ll be able to make a clear decision. Lots of people would prefer to work from home instead of in an office with a ping-pong table. (Check out how many people will even turn down a sizable raise to continue working remotely.) Maybe it’s all about the bottom dollar for you, or you only want to work at a company that supports the same causes you do. The first step is knowing what is important to you.
Get clear expectations of what you need and what they offer
What makes a sign that a company is a great place to work is when they make all their expectations clear and concise! From the job description to how many hours you’d be working, it’s essential that you don’t walk into a vague mess. It can also signal a place that’s difficult to grow in professionally.
If the job is salaried and the job description requires 50 hours of work a week, that’s you working overtime without getting paid for it. Is that something you’re willing to do?
If you’re looking for a work-from-home policy, it’s important to really understand what a company would mean by a “flexible environment”. Do they mean a flexible start time, but still in office? Allows a work-from-home policy? Once a week work-from-home policy? Clarifying this ahead of time can save you from making a potentially disastrous decision.
Company’s purpose and core values
Do you agree with the company’s values and focus? We spend the majority of our lives at work, and invest our time, energy, and focus. Connecting to the purpose of the organization can make all the difference in how you feel at your work.
People are treated respectfully
“Watch out for people who have a situational value system, who can turn the charm on and off depending on the status of the person they are interacting with” – Raytheon, CEO, Bill Swanson
A situational value system exposes if someone is polite and charming based on that person’s title, instead of treating everyone with the same politeness. It’s the same advice that is given on a first date: “If they’re mean to the waitress, they’ll eventually be mean to you.” The idea is that the paid staff are taken for granted. If the employer is rude to anyone else while you’re there, then eventually they will also be rude to you.
This includes being on time for your interview and expecting you. Anyone who reschedules at the last minute or is on their phone during an interview isn’t showing respect. Naturally, this goes both ways.
The position is open because the last person was promoted, not terminated
Constantly hiring for one position is a bad sign no matter where you work unless the person was promoted. Be sure to ask why the position is open and hope to get this answer. This is a better answer than nearly anything else because it shows that people stay at the company and that the culture is open to promoting from within. After all, who doesn’t want a promotion?
Check on the current employees and online reviews
Seeing people taking breaks is a good sign. While this does depend on what time you’re there, it’s important to notice the break policy in general.
If you’re going to an office in person, look at what the other employees are expressing and doing. Are they casually talking to each other and seem to be having a decent time? Energized conversations? Pausing to think? Then chances are that this is a good place to work.
If the job doesn’t require any interaction (like accounting, for instance) and everyone is quietly working at their desks, check for personal items. Do people have pictures of their family or pets up? Do the people coming into the office look happy or miserable? It’s in the hiring manager’s best interest to convince you that the culture is great, but the other people are unlikely to show you anything except how they really feel. Make the most of your interview and watch their faces.
Checking Glassdoor, Indeed, or other online company reviews may seem While it’s been said that only angry ex-employees leave reviews online, they are still worth looking at. You should pay attention if the complaints all have the same concerns or if they show an obvious trend. Check the dates that these reviews were posted, because if a dealbreaker from you is listed from five or six years ago, it might not be an issue anymore.
Overall, you have to go with your gut instinct. Finding a company that’s a great place to work can take patience, but will pay off in the long run. If any part of the interview process seems off or you can’t find anyone who’s worked there for more than two years, it might be best to keep looking. On the other hand, if all you find is green lights, then go ahead and accept that offer!
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