Size Up a Potential Employer

Size Up a Potential Employer

by Therese Droste

You finally found the right job. Or so you thought. Now that you have been on the scene for two weeks, you notice how people treat you. Your boss consistently calls meetings during lunchtime -- sans food. Yesterday, you received a proposal at 4:45 p.m. to type up by 9 a.m. the following day. And although the company is teeming with people burning the midnight oil, there is little joyful interaction among employees.

How could you have known? By reading the signs before you jumped on board. In their zeal to land a new job, many job hunters overlook the elephant sitting in the room during interviews. Yet the evidence is all there -- how you are treated during the interviewing process is a key indicator of how you will be treated on the job.

The Invisible Employee
How many people at the company interviewed you during your appointment? Some companies will have several managers, at different times, interview a job candidate on the same day. Pay close attention to how your time is organized during the hours you spend at the company. Is there one key contact who walks you from office to office for your interviews? Does anyone offer you coffee, soda or water? If the interview takes place during lunch hour, does someone offer to take you to lunch? If you are not taken to lunch, are you provided a sandwich? If it's the latter, and you have to fend for yourself in the company dining room, this is an indicator that the employer does not see you as important enough to have someone spend his precious lunch hour with you to talk about the company. Obviously the employer wants to inconvenience your day and have you wait around until managers are free to interview you.

You're on Your Own
Did you show up and have the manager "forget" he had an appointment with you? While this could be a simple mistake, how that manager and the office staff handled the situation is key. If the manager profusely apologized and canceled plans in order to interview you on the spot, then this person knows the value of a good employee. If you arrived to find that the manager wasn't even in town and no one offered to help you reschedule, then heed the unspoken warning: Keep looking. It's a bad sign if no one in the office knows the manager's schedule, and they can't contact him and won't help you reschedule the interview. Where chaos prevails, unanswered questions amass.

The Disrespected Employee
What did the interviewer do while interviewing you? During an interview that a Monster member recently experienced, a worker actually installed window blinds in the interviewer's office. With his concentration tested -- to say the least -- the interviewee somehow got through the interview. If an interviewer does something that obnoxious during an interview, what'll that person do in the middle of a business meeting while you're trying to talk?

Every Employee Is the Same
Have you ever sat in a waiting room lined with other job applicants waiting to interview for the same position? A Monster member was one of two people being interviewed for a position. Both interviewees had appointments at the same time, just with different interviewers. The two candidates kept bumping into one another. While it's not unusual for an employer to see as many candidates as possible to fill a position, scheduling should be tastefully done so you are not bumping into your competition in the hallway. Expect the same type of uncaring behavior from management if you take the job.

Working in a Sweatshop
What is the attitude of the people working in the office? If people appear cheerful and friendly with their coworkers, chances are they're satisfied workers. If the office workers appear cold, stone-faced and unhappy, take that as an indication this may not be the best spot on earth to work.

The bottom line is this: Trust your gut instincts. You know more about what you need than you think you do. Most people get in trouble when they ignore their good old-fashioned common sense.