Are you the who is giving several interviews but is not yet able to decide which organisation you want to join? Are you one among us who prioritizes the culture of the organization before getting into one? Are you one of those who had some terrible previous work experience in any organization and hence, is confused or second-guessing your decision before joining a new one?
If your answer is ‘yes’ for any of the aforementioned questions, then this post is for you.
As a person who does belong to all the above categories, I do understand switching or joining a new organization could be nerve-wracking. It is a big change. It not only decides where you will spend your next couple of years but also decides upon how your trajectory would look like and want kind of individual you get molded into.
An organization with healthy working culture does give you space to build upon your strengths, put out challenges to test your capabilities, give you the chance to fail, learn and conquer, and recognizes your efforts for doing all the things I just mentioned.
As a result, an organization with good leadership and a great working culture molds you into an individual who is confident, self-aware, and trusts in his own capabilities. On the contrary, an organization with a suffocating (its meaning can vary from person to person) environment can often lead to low morale, lack of enthusiasm, depression, and even the end of career.
Well, the motive of this article is not to scare you about making decisions for joining any organization but rather to help you find the best strategies which could land you in the most suitable organizations and to have a meaningful work experience. So, how should we go about it?
Well, as suggested by most of the HR’s, the first and the most obvious step is “do the research.” But what should you research? The research must include the vision and mission of the organization, the self-stated work culture in the organization on its website, the reviews for the organization at different websites and also the overall logistical details about days and hours of working, salaries, etc., and the reviews for the leadership of the organization.
Another option could also include getting in touch with current or former employees to know about working of the organization. However, before you dig deep into how your organization should look like, first reflect upon what you exactly want in your workplace. What are your priorities?
What are some of the concrete things and the values which are “non-negotiable” to you? The key is in knowing precisely what you looking for in the organization. In simple words, the process should be first doing the self-analysis and then moving towards analyzing the desired organization.
But what should you ask yourself? Think and reflect upon your experiences from college days, internships, fellowships, to maybe initial years in a job. Are you someone who requires supervision, concrete structure, or guidelines?
Are you one who loves to be independent and likes to have autonomy at the workplace? Are you one who loves to work in a team-oriented environment and likes to take decision co-dependently/unanimously? Or are you the one who loves to decide along with the risks and challenges that comes with it?
Being aware of your working style informs you about the rights questions that you could ask or look for while trying to find details about any organization.
However, this is still not enough. As already mentioned, getting into a job or switching to a new organization is a really important decision that you make. And you want it to be the right one. Hence, one very important way by which you could know the organization is by directly asking the questions to your hiring manager during the time of the interview.
Unfortunately, it is assumed to be really under-rated and not given much importance but, it is the most important step which could help you decide whether you want to join the organization or not. The key is to always remember, it is not just the organization which is trying to know you, understand you, and ultimately choose you but, you too are choosing the organization.
Every candidate must remember the organizations are not just about the leadership but mostly about the employees who take any organization forward. Hence, it is really important to understand that it is not just you who is trying to impress the organization. If you are a perfect fit for the role, the organization must sell themselves to you.
Another tip for any job seeker is to before entering into any interview session. It is advisable to read about the organization’s leaders. In most of the interviews, the interviewees are not much aware of the interviewer but, if you do know who will be interviewing you, do make sure to research about them.
Once the interview starts, let things go in a flow, do talk about yourself, and answer the questions posed to you. At the end of the interview, mostly the interviewer must ask you whether you have any questions for them. Do take up this opportunity to resolve all your doubts.
If they don’t do mention out that you want to know certain details about the organization and hence would be grateful if the interviewer could answer your queries. Most of the time, many candidates, especially freshers, end up asking, “When will we get the result or what will be the working hours?”
Well, although these questions may sound valid, however, it is better to use the opportunity to know more than just logistical details of the work profile or the organization. Ask your interviewer about what is the culture of the organization? Do ask them about what are the certain core values of the organization?
This will tell you about what are certain things that are kept sacred at that workplace. It could be punctuality, deadlines, office decorum, open and timely communication, voicing of ideas, teamwork, etc. The response from the interviewer will give you a direct idea about what the organization will expect from you and what you can expect within the organization.
Another important question which one must ask in an interview is about what is the kind of leadership that exists in the organization. If you are unaware of different leadership types, do google ‘Different types of leadership/ different leadership styles.’
In the interviewer’s answer, you don’t want them to quote the exact name and type of the leadership directly but the leadership trait. It could sound like “the organization’s leaders value the power of teamwork or group decision making.”
It could also be “our leaders do recognize the efforts of our workforce and do recognize their contribution.” Or else it could sound like, “Our leaders of the company are straightforward and strong-headed who take concrete decisions.” Now, as an interviewee, you must decode the language and understand the leadership style.
This will shed light on what and how your manager would operate with you. If the interviewer is unable to comprehend the answers to such questions, well, this does tell you about the experience of the interviewer and also about how strongly and loosely the organization has defined its vision and values. In such a case, the best option would be to look for more options!
You can also ask about the experience of the interviewer within the company or whether the organization adheres to or have POSH guidelines in place. If you feel you have any questions about the working of the organization, itself do not hesitate to ask them. Let the interviewer know you have come prepared.
In conclusion, with this article, I do want to urge all the job seekers to do pay attention to the culture and leadership of the organization as much as we pay importance to the remuneration and facilities associated with it.
A new organization with excellent work culture can provide you with way more opportunities to lead your life successfully than an old organization with a suffocating workplace culture and unreachable/employee ignorant leadership.
I especially urge all the freshers to be cognizant about the fact that employees are the essential stakeholders of any organization. Hence, need to be treated with utmost respect and dignity in the workplace. If your workplace is not serving it to you, do not hesitate to look for a new opportunity.
Do make sure that not every demand can be met but knowing the non-negotiables is essential. It is always great to have a 70:30 ratio in terms of the needs which must be met to the things on which the candidate and employer can negotiate on. Hence, do make sure you keep your priorities in mind about what you value the most when you enter the job market.