I bet you can remember nailing your interview. After you left, you felt great. Birds were singing, violins were playing and you…..smiling. Soon after, you received that phone call: “you’re hired!” I bet you were jumping around with joy, calling all your friends and family running around screaming Yes! Yes! Yes! (well, maybe that part is just me). Anyway, you remember the excitement you felt when you started; you were ready to conquer the world. You get to work on your first day and…..….SURPRISE! You see what you’ll actually be doing. You look around, hoping its April Fool’s Day, but soon realize it’s not. Then it hits you – the job is not all what you thought it would be.
It’s inevitable, there are things your future employer will not tell you voluntarily during an interview and unless you ask, you won’t find out until you start. By then, it could be too late.
Over the years my clients have given me numerous reasons why they’ve felt frustrated in their current roles and I’ve consistently discovered the common denominator is a breakdown in communication between the employer and the employee; the giving and receiving of job expectations and career goals, many of which can be traced back to the interview. I’ve put together my top five “interview secrets” and tips on combatting these issues before you accept an offer.
Employers won’t tell you:
- How they will measure success for this position. First they want to see if you have the personality, skill or knowledge it takes to do the job and then they’ll make a decision. The problem with this is their expectations may be unrealistic, but you will never know unless you ask.
- That you’ll eventually end up doing more than your job description. Look, we know this always happens, but they don’t want you to run for the hills so it’s conveniently left out of the interview.
- Why the last employee left. This is a crucial area of concern. Knowing why the last employee left tells you more about the position you may be stepping into. Maybe the last employee felt overwhelmed. There could have been a conflict with management. Maybe they retired (which could suggest the position is a long-term role). Maybe they were fired for underperforming. The list goes on, but unless you ask they won’t tell you.
- Company weaknesses. No one wants to talk about the bad when they are trying to get good workers to come on board. Would you?
- The long-term goal for your position. They may not have even thought about it. They could be simply trying to fill the position because work is piling up and their employees are getting tired of carrying the load.
To some extent, it’s understandable why an employer wouldn’t share everything with you during the interview. I doubt you would share everything either. Some things you will only find out along the way and maybe that’s better. Maybe, if you had known all these things you wouldn’t have had the opportunities you’ve had to make a difference.
So what can you do on your next interview to make sure you get the information you need to make an informed decision? Ask the hiring manager these questions to find out if the workplace is a good fit for you:
- How will you measure success for this position? This gets them talking. You want to engage the hiring manager in a conversation, not a boring ask and answered interview they probably won’t remember.
- How would you describe communication strategies used between leadership and staff? This will tell you if they are open to hearing from their employees and if the environment is welcoming to new ideas and change.
- What are the long-term goals for this position? Asking this will tell you if they are just looking to get a warm body in the seat or if they want you to build a career with them.
- What would you say is most challenging within this department or company? This probing question lets the interviewer know you are serious about your career and are a problem solver.
- Are there growth opportunities for this position? Asking this infers you desire a long-term tenure and not just a dead end job.
- What do you enjoy most about working here? Get the interviewer to talk about the company and how they view it. Just as you strive to express your value you must require the same from them.
A good employer will appreciate these questions, they may even stumble a bit…that’s a good thing and it wakes them up! Going through the motions and sticking to a script can become a boring routine for an interviewer. Don’t become consumed with giving the “right” answers during an interview. Remember, it’s a two-way street. They need you and you need them. Asking questions encourages authentic conversation. It makes the experience memorable which puts you a step ahead of other candidates. It also gives you what you need to make a conscious decision before you accept.
If you accept, I suggest you walk into your new workplace with an expectancy of greatness and if by chance you find nothing great happening, create it. Choose to be better than the last employee. Embrace challenges, fix problems and create solutions.
“Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
The truth is we never know what we’re walking into until we get there. Good leaders aren’t known for accepting circumstances for what they are, they are known for thinking outside the box, changing what doesn’t work and offering solutions over blame.
Post originally shared on LinkedIn Pulse (Find it here)