Ask Matt: How do I really know if a new job is right for me?

  • Article by: MATT KRUMRIE
  • Updated: April 15, 2013 - 8:02 AM

Dear Matt: I’ve interviewed with a new company and it sounded great in the first interview, but in the second interview, some concerns popped up. How do you really know if a job or company is right for you?

Matt says: It certainly can be tempting to take a new job when you’re looking for greener pastures, but it’s wise to think carefully before jumping into a new role, says Bob Berg, Minneapolis Branch Manager of The Creative Group (thecreativegroup.com), a company that places highly skilled interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations talent. “There’s often clear signs that indicate an unhappy work environment or one that isn’t right for you.”

He offered these five red flags to watch for when interviewing or considering a new job.

Low morale: Did the person who interviewed you complain or lack enthusiasm? Do employees seem dismissive of each other’s time, or of your own? These are indicators of sagging morale and should make you think twice about accepting an offer. When employees seem apathetic, frustrated or despondent, it could be because management isn’t supportive or is overly critical.

High turnover: When you’re invited to ask questions during a job interview, be sure to inquire about the history of the position. If the job seems to have a revolving door, tread carefully. This could indicate a difficult manager or an unsustainable position.

A culture clash: Do your research on the company culture. How formal or casual is the organization? Is the work fast-paced or more deliberate? What types of hours do employees work? Also, pay close attention to your rapport with your potential boss. Minor variations in work style are manageable, but fundamental differences could mean turbulence once you’re hired.

No room for growth: Find out about advancement opportunities. For example, which previous positions did your prospective manager hold? If you take the job, where can you reasonably expect to be in five years? If the answers suggest that your career path is limited, you may want to look elsewhere.

Your intuition says no: Perhaps the interview goes well, but you leave with a feeling that something’s not quite right about the position or company. Or maybe the picture the interviewer painted seems too good to be true. Do some extra research before accepting the offer. It’s possible you picked up on subtle tensions that could make work unpleasant down the road.

“If you’re offered a job and choose to decline, be tactful, gracious and candid about your reasons,” says Berg. “The interviewer may be able to address your concerns and clear your doubts. If not, continue looking for a company that will be the right fit.”

QUESTIONS OR SUGGESTIONS FOR MATT? EMAIL JOBSLINK@STARTRIBUNE.COM

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