Job hunting. Ain’t nothing quite like it. Somewhere between wanting to make the best impression and negotiating a salary, it’s easy for your values to get lost in the mix.
Luckily, we’ve got you. And it all starts with knowing what to look for, who to trust and the right kinds of questions to ask.
Having a vision is nice, but having a proper plan is even nicer
It’s the age-old tale: a founder who speaks with passion, has a brilliant vision, wants to change the world and… has no real plan to speak of. Ask anyone who’s worked for startups, and they’ll relate hard. Put simply: It’s easy to get dazzled, but don’t.
Instead, in your interviews, ask the CEO about their personal track record. Ask about their financial plans and how they’re realistically going to get there. Here are a few examples of questions that work wonders:
- Talk me through your commercial model, and how that looks at scale?
- Where can you see the model having difficulties? (Pro tip: The best business people never gloss over the challenges. On the contrary, they embrace them.)
- What is your biggest problem right now and how I can help you solve it?
Less perks, more opportunities to learn
Beer on tap, free snacks, even a gym… all great perks, but what will they add to your resume? Take it from us: a ‘good’ job means a good opportunity to learn. It’s that simple.
No shade, but companies will often try and sell you on their ‘incredible’ company culture. And while Glassdoor reviews count, what counts even more is what you get to shout about when all is said and done. Yes, you. It’s not selfish, it’s strategic. Measure your success in experiences and growth opportunities, and the money will always follow.
Place more emphasis on people
The best professional experiences are based on people. People you can learn from. Sure, consider the CEO, but consider your potential colleagues, too.
Pro tip: it may seem a bit extra, but it helps to reach out to a few people you could potentially be working with. Alongside the interview process, invite someone who would be at roughly your level or on your team for a coffee to ask them about their role. If they’re a decent person, they won’t find it weird. Promise. Plus, regardless of the outcome, you’ll get to know another interesting person in your industry.
Trust your gut instinct
Gut instincts aren’t lofty: they’re based on every interaction you’ve ever had, every person you’ve met, and your collective experiences. Call it your cold hard data, if you will.
Too often, we don’t pay attention to them, and then pay the price later down the line. After an interview, ask yourself:
- How did I feel with the hiring manager? Was I comfortable? Like, actually comfortable? (As you progress, a manager who has your back and has the clout to advocate for you is essential)
- Can I see myself in the opportunity, day in day out, or is it difficult to visualise?
- Aside from the money, does this role fit into my personal plan for life and work?
Make sure they work in the same way you do
Can we let you in on a secret? Even some of the smartest people don’t realise that interviews work both ways. They have to impress you, too.
Better yet, make sure their values match yours — and that they actually follow through with them with action. Dig deeper into their company culture: if you know that you sometimes need to work from home, ensure their policies match that and, in turn, you.