In business school, and throughout the course of my career, I run into a lot of people looking for jobs, considering offers, making decisions about which job to take. People often worry about the position – “will it be interesting?”, the company’s prospects – “is it hot/prestigious/successful enough?” , their compensation- “I just want to get paid”, their title, etc. While those are worthy considerations, I always ask about the people :
1. Did you meet the team you would be working with AND for?
2. Do you think they are people you can learn from?
3. Are your potential supervisor (person) and future employer (organization) going to be invested in your growth and development?
4. Are these people you feel good about working with day in and day out? Do you trust them?
5. How focused are they on value creation? Are they marking time and collecting a paycheck, or are they all on the same page about the value they want to deliver every day?
I’ve found these 5 questions to be helpful in both large and small company settings, established or startup-businesses. Jobs aren’t about companies, or paychecks – they’re about people that you see everyday, spend more of your waking moments with than your loved ones, so it’s vitally important that you play for the right team. People who’ve got your back, who won’t waste your time with petty politics or passive- aggressiveness, and who you feel comfortable being your fullest self with because that’s how you can be successful at your job. And when you are with a team that allows you to be successful, you will find yourself learning, smiling, getting paid and generally kicking ass!
Questions 5 is a tough one to figure out, especially in the context of professional services, because there seem to be a lot of people who enjoy competing, and winning, and they will work hard to win you over at the expense of their competitors, but I’ve found that liking to win does not necessarily equate to believing in value creation.
So take the time to talk to people at the company. Do some back channel diligence on the principals. Are they good leaders and mentors? Were they good followers? How do they react to conflict?
What are some other questions folks have found helpful when deciding on job opportunities?