Going on job interviews is like dating. During the process, you may notice dealbreakers that prompt you to break off the relationship in the early stages. If you're having trouble deciding when to break up with a job opportunity, here are some things to look out for:
1. Culture clash
My past experience has shown me that organizations are not exactly how they’re presented online or in their marketing materials.
When I was hired for a previous position, I was looking forward to working for an organization that was collaborative based on what I had seen in the company's promotional web content. I soon found the culture seemed better defined by working independently. Therefore, I highly recommend asking the appropriate questions and making keen observations during the interview to figure out if the job will be a good fit for you.
Some questions to ask:
- How would you describe your culture?
- What types of individuals fit best/least in your organization?
- What character traits do you look for in a candidate?
- How often do different teams interact and share ideas with one another?
It’s important to be honest with yourself about your standards on management style, opportunity for growth and work-life balance. Determining how your prospective employer meets these standards sooner rather than later is crucial.
2. Company health
There are times that you’re so excited about the specific position that you forget to ask the hard questions in terms of the company's health and turnover rate.
Do yourself a favor by learning about the company's finances, future goals and growth opportunities. Some key questions to ask:
- What are the current goals that the company is focused on, and how does this team work to support those goals?
- Does this position offer growth potential?
- What is the top priority for the person in this position over the next three months?
This last question is helpful so you have a clear idea of which areas to focus on if you end up getting an offer. Without clear expectations, you won’t know if you will succeed in fulfilling these accomplishments.
3. Lack of tools and support
It’s much better to discover if a company isn’t able to provide the tools and support you need to succeed early in the process.
For example, in the early part of my career, I worked for an organization that expected me to consistently arrange new meetings. It was important to my personal success to have consistent feedback so I could identify clear ways to improve my sales approach. This organization didn’t have proper feedback structures in place, like weekly one-on-ones with my manager or team meetings to discuss everyone’s successes and challenges.
Make sure that you're set up for success before you commit to the job. Some questions to ask:
- What training programs are available to employees?
- How often do you have one-on-ones with your managers?
- Does the organization have reviews? If so, how often?
- What tools and resources are available to help develop employee effectiveness and growth?
I’ve had numerous experiences with companies that state they will get back to you within a given time period, only to be kept on hold. There are some clear signals that that an organization may not be in an any immediate hurry to hire you:
- After the company tells you they would like to connect for an interview, it takes more than a week for the point of contact to follow up with you.
- They reschedule your interview more than two times with little or no explanation or apology.
- They can’t (or won’t) give you a timeframe for making their hiring decision.
Remember — you’re in charge of your own destiny. By doing your due diligence early on, you can put yourself on a more direct path to a satisfying career.
Rochelle Sonnenberg is a relationship development professional who specializes in forging and managing vital relationships with individuals, organizations and businesses to achieve organization goals. She currently is an organizer for two meetups, Courageous Conversations as an event series that assists professionals with their leadership skills and CMGR breakfast, an event series focused for community managers.