What You Can Learn About a Potential Job from the Hiring Process

By Jessica L. Benjamin - Recruitment Advertising - Boston

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We’ve seen many articles about how to succeed at interviewing. While this is key, it’s equally important to consider whether you want to become associated with an organization. Getting a new job is a big step, and your due diligence can really pay off.

First off, how long did it take you to get a phone and in-person interview?

If there was a month of paperwork in between when the company approached you and you’re finally being seen, think about it. Was it annoying or did it make you anxious? It’s likely that getting a major project approved at the company will involve similar timelines, so make sure that you are comfortable moving at the same speed as the company.

When you are filling out the application paperwork, is there anything that makes you uncomfortable?

I have never been asked to take a drug test, but I would not be comfortable taking one. I have even seen an application asking me to agree to take a lie-detector test. This is illegal in Massachusetts and other states as well, in part because they are often inaccurate and highly prejudicial. I’ve also been asked to follow many seemingly illegal or unnecessarily intrusive procedures to continue an interview process, such as saying that I received the company handbook before I received it, that I agree to sign a non-compete agreements, although they are greatly weakened and sometimes untenable in Massachusetts. If you are being asked to do something that doesn’t feel right to you and does not sit well with your morals, you may want to negotiate out of that item or terminate the application process completely.  Remember, this is your first interaction with your potential new company and the way it goes predicts your future there.

When you finally get to talk to a human being, do you like them? Are they easy to work with and do they make you feel comfortable?

From recruiters, to the receptionist, to the people who will be interviewing you, it’s a big plus if you hit it off.  An interview should involve more telling fun stories about your industry than being grilled like a steak.

Make sure to meet the person that you will be reporting to.

For most people, the relationship with their manager is crucial. Also, if someone else hires you and you end up with a different manager, that person may question your abilities because they did not select you. I’ve seen some bad workplace relationships arise out of someone being hired by a third party with out the reporting manager being involved in the process at all.   Sort of, “Hi, here’s your new employee.  They’re exactly what I think you need...”

After the interviews, send thank you notes to everyone that you met while waiting for an offer, (rejection or silence). When a company makes me an offer in the next day or two, it makes me feel like they really want to hire me. If a hiring manager tells me he has some more interviews to do and then I see him repost the job on LinkedIn an hour later, it makes me think he’s not an honest and straightforward person. And, that no offer would be forthcoming.

Each stage, from the original contact to acceptance of an offer can tell you a lot about how a company likes to operate. The speed, the friendliness of the employees, and the level of comfort that you feel with the process is often a strong indicator of how you will feel as an employee.  Remember it’s not just the company that’s judging you, it’s a two way street.  If it doesn’t feel right, listen to your feelings.

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