Job interviews work both ways. While companies are out to evaluate whether you’d be a good fit for a position, candidates will also have expectations about what they want out of a company. Any savvy candidate can and should do research on the places that they’re interviewing for. The beauty of the internet is the ability for anybody to discover the pros and cons of working for a company, though any review must be taken with a grain of salt.
Perhaps a better measure is the interview process. A good interview should feel like a conversation, with both parties swapping information that informs their decision later on. If you’re looking to find that next job, ask the following questions when evaluating if a company would be a good place to work.
What is the workplace like?
In this case, I’m referring to the physical space that the company operates out of. Are you able to see the place where you’ll be working? If not, it could be cause for concern. If you are, consider the atmosphere and what you see of the other employees. Does the environment seem open, or draconian? Seeing your future team members goes a long way towards discerning what working at a company might be like.
How communicative has the company been?
The hiring process can be drawn out. It takes companies time to accurately evaluate potential candidates. However, if it becomes too lengthy, or you go for weeks or months without hearing anything from a company before suddenly receiving an offer, it says a lot about the company’s willingness to keep you informed and involved in the process. Poor communication shows a lack of respect or regard for your time and effort.
How long has the process been?
Similarly, even if a company has been in contact, the length of the hiring process can tell you a lot about their corporate culture. If they continually demand new information out of you, such as a particularly large amount of references or paperwork from previous jobs, it may indicate a lack of trust for candidates. While it is understandable that companies would want to thoroughly screen candidates, continually stringing along potential new hires is a good indication that a company does not prioritize employee well-being. Conversely, an overly short hiring process can indicate that the company is desperate for new hires, as a result of a high churn rate or unappealing work.
How are they speaking to you?
The demeanor of the interviewer and the questions that they ask will likely be your first impression of the company, and it should reflect well on them. The interviewer will likely inform you about the company and attempt to sell you on its strong points. But are they a little too enthusiastic to talk to you about the company? If they use a lot of buzzwords without promising much, it could be a red flag that all is not well. This is when your research is valuable, to discern whether there’s truth to what interviewers are saying.
What have you been offered?
While evaluating job offers is largely based on what you’re looking for in terms of finance and lifestyle, consistency is valuable regardless of what the offer is. If a salary is lower than indicated in an interview, or if the duties listed on an offer differ from the rest of their job descriptions, it’s a cause for alarm. A lack of transparency can indicate any number of things wrong with a company, but it’s always cause for suspicion, particularly if they are trying to sell you on a job that does not actually exist or is too good to be true.