Posted October 01, 2015
Questions to Ask at a Job Interview.
I came across this list of questions on Pinterest - the current source of everything worth knowing. The full article was written by Erika Brandt, Marketing and Communications Manager for AgCareers.com.
What struck me about the list was how dramatically different my life might be if I had asked even a few of them when I was interviewed for some of the jobs I've had.
An unhappy work environment matters. It can squash employees' initiative and derail the mission away from long term organizational goals in favor of placating supervisors from moment-to-moment.
Performance measurement is another sticky subject. What if they told you performance would be measured not by the list of tasks in the job description but by your ability to navigate someone's mood swings? Or that you'd be required to fill out a twenty page performance review sheet each year, that your review would always be three months late, and that your supervisor spends less than ten minutes reviewing your prepared documents beforehand?
I'm not naive enough to believe that an interviewer would give away some of the more complicated (and unhappy) nuances of the corporate culture, but looking back I'd rather like to see how interviewers reacted when asked to describe it.
Looking back, I think body language is one of the most telling (and overlooked) clues to corporate culture. I remember visiting an office over the course of several interviews and noticed that no one was talking or smiling. The HR assistant was visibly unhappy and unpleasant to work with over the course of the two month interview process. Of course I took the job. And of course it was just the tip of the misery iceberg.
During an interview at another company I noticed that the office environment was complete chaos. The interviewers were unprepared and seemed to just ask questions that came into mind instead of probing for specific skills and responses. Employees randomly wandered around interrupting one another and our interview, which was happening in the middle of a busy room. One person scheduled to be part of the interview process was unable to leave her desk because no one else would answer the phones.Of course I took the job. And of course the crazy I observed in that brief time in the office was only the tip of the chaos iceberg.
I love this list of questions and I hope you'll ask them at your next interview. I would also like to suggest that you carefully observe the office on the days you visit. Consider that what you see is the office on their "best behavior." And decide whether or not you can live with that behavior pushed all the way to the far edge. It's difficult to do when you need a job, but saying "no" to a miserable work environment can be the difference between a good life and, well...
Last month, the domain registration for my consulting website expired. The details are definitely not that interesting, but the short summary is that the email organizing app I use to prioritize messages classified the renewal request as SPAM. After ten-odd years of being Heidi Rettig dot com, I found myself without a homepage.
I'm not a very active blogger on my consulting site - my clients have always come to me by word of mouth - but I do think it is important to keep a shingle up online, in case anyone has lost my number. I maintain this web-based business and several other blogs and three etsy.com stores - without a doubt this is too many websites.
But I need my consulting website - it is my consulting that pays the bills! So, I jumped through various hoops. An early Internet-adapter, I had purchased the domain a dozen years ago, originally through my email provider who used GoDaddy as the registrar. The only problem was/is, that the email provider no longer exists and GoDaddy doesn't really consider my account a GoDaddy account. Though the domain registration was in limbo, GoDaddy support was very helpful and said that if I followed certain steps I would be able to renew the registration and all would be just fine.
Except that it wasn't. I did what they said, but within a matter of days, some guy had purchased the domain and started posting fitness-related articles on my site. There was lots of back and forth and frustration as I plowed through old emails looking for login information for WordPress, GreenGeeks.com, GoDaddy.com, and my old email provider. My web consultant reassured me that all the files were still available - but understandably wasn't that interested in helping me unravel the administrative details.
And neither am I. I realized I cared about my domain but not enough to buy it back from the new guy. He can have it. I'm just going to let my original domain go and purchase another one. Which I will likely neglect just as much as I neglect this one. But this time? With this new domain? I'm definitely going to write down all the passwords and tape them to the bottom of my desktop.