After a long stretch of job hunting and several interviews, you've finally secured that dream job offer. You are excited about accepting the position and are anxious to sign on that dotted line in your offer letter.
But stop for a minute and take a deep breath and think through all the factors before signing on that dotted line.
Knowing company culture
Most people are deluded into thinking that company culture is something that they will get to know once they start working inside the organisation. This misconception leads them into making a hasty decision and accepting the job without exploring the culture and dynamics within the company. So, how can one gain an understanding of a company's culture prior to accepting a job? One way to do this is by being observant in your interactions with the people from the organisation right from the time initial contact was established with you as a candidate. To elaborate, if HR contacts you in the beginning for interviews, then you can understand that HR plays a lead role in the interview process in the company. Sometimes, the hiring manager of the department may contact you directly for interviews and you can fathom that this company is more technically oriented. Once you attend an onsite interview, depending on the number of people whom you will be meeting with and the interview mechanisms (one on one interviews, panel interviews etc.), you can gauge more about the company and its workings.
Be extra vigilant during the interview process and watch out for subtleties in the behaviour of the people, the kind of questions being asked etc. to know the atmosphere within the company and to also understand what is expected of you.
Even during the interview process, not only is it important to evaluate a mutual fit for the job, but it is also critical to make that cultural connection between the company and you as a candidate for you to fit in.
In most corporate settings, management sets the tone for leadership and people who work at the company determine the culture. As you wait in the lobby area, observe the environment inside the company and see how other employees are moving around. Do you see enthusiastic faces around or do you see folks huddled over their desks with a look of boredom?
Do you see an open door atmosphere for staff to interact with managers or is there a hierarchy or closed door policy? Are people dressed in casual or business attire? Are there cubicles for staff or closed door offices? Many people take the time to do their homework on the job, salary, company, etc. but miss out on evaluating their co-workers and boss. This could lead to a miserable work life.
Understanding the attitude, tone and philosophy of the company and its people will give you valuable insights into how your future workplace will turn out to be.
Keep in mind that true job satisfaction is achieved only if you enjoy working at the company whose culture and work ethics match with your own values and work preferences.
Do your homework
Now that you've evaluated the organisation's cultural compatibility and think that you have a fair idea on how your future employer functions, continue to learn more about the company.
Read and research on the company's mission statement and goals. Does that translate into your aspirations and career path at that company? Talk to people who work outside the organisation and who have interactions and business dealings with the company. Their experiences and stories will offer more insights on the cultural aspects of the company.
While interviewing at the company and during subsequent visits thereafter, prepare to ask pertinent questions to the appropriate personnel. Don't hesitate in asking about the hours that they expect you to put in to get the work done.
Will travel be a part of your job description? Will this job offer you the kind of work life balance that you seek or will it end up being stressful? Responses to these questions will help you understand more of what you are getting into and will also factor into how your pay package is computed.
Lessons to learn
Lastly, remember that knowing everything about the company and its culture in the early part of your job search is difficult. At the same time, ignoring the facts that offer insights into the cultural aspects of the company and signing your offer letter in haste will only result in a disastrous career move that will lead to job hunting again. So, think through all the facets of your offer before you accept it.