If you do a Google search, you’ll find loads of information about how to work yourself through an interview. What you won’t find much about is how to step back after the interview and look at the big picture.
At this point let’s assume you know everything you need to know about preparing yourself, fielding tough questions, and asking good questions. The purpose of this article is to add another dimension to your interviewing toolbox that will help you determine if the job/company is the right fit for you.
If you’ve been to a 3D movie you know how drastically the experience changes when you take off the 3D glasses. The glasses are designed to make the movie come alive for you. The additional dimensions help you see and feel the movie in such depth that you almost believe you are a part of it. In other words, you experience it in a different dimension.
By adding a new dimension to the interviewing process you’ll see it through a different lens. You’ll have the ability to look beyond the typical Q & A exchange. And you’ll have more information to use in your decision making process.
The additional dimension I’m suggesting is Fine-Tune Your Awareness.
You know how sometimes you need to fine-tune your radio station to get a better signal? Well, that’s what I mean by fine-tuning your awareness. You want to tune into all that is going on throughout the interview process because there are often invisible signals that can shed new light on what it’s really like to work inside a company.
Fine-tuning your awareness is as simple as paying very close attention to everything you notice and everything you sense. Make mental notes of every little detail you can possibly pick up. Because each little bit of information helps you see a clearer picture.
Things To Notice About The Environment
The Lobby – The lobby is usually a key showplace in a company. If it’s a specific HR lobby, it may not be as glitzy as the main lobby, but you should still take note of your first impressions.
- What do you pick up from the lobby?
- Is there anything that tells you about the culture of the company?
- Does anything indicate that the company values employees?
The Equipment – Look around and notice all of the equipment you can pick out. Equipment such as computers, printers, copiers, chairs, are examples of tools the company provides to get the job done.
- What do you notice about any equipment you see?
- Is it old and worn out?
- Is it new and high tech?
- Is it somewhere in-between?
The Employees – How employees treat each other and how they relate to their customers are good indicators of the working atmosphere.
- What do you hear people talking about?
- Do they seem to be friendly or tense?
- Has anybody noticed or spoken to you?
The HR Representative – You can pick up on volumes of information by carefully tuning into the HR person. In a sense, HR is like an ambassador for the company. Often HR sets the tone and the tempo for what really goes on. I could go on too long about HR, so I’ll stop here. This is a short list of things to notice about HR.
- Were you approached as an equal or did the HR person come across as being superior to you?
- Were their questions well thought out and though provoking?
- Was your meeting interrupted?
- If HR misunderstood a question you asked, did they ask for clarification or did they assume they knew what you were asking?
- Could they articulate what it would take for you to be successful in the open position?
- Did they seem to have a solid understanding of the position they were filling?
- Did they tell you anything about how the company develops people?
- Did they give you ample time/opportunity to get your questions answered?
- Did they show a genuine interest in your answers and/or any materials you gave them?
- Did they ask you to complete any type of testing before an offer was made?
- Were they open to negotiating or did they walk away without explanation?
Your Overall Impressions – This is the time to tap into your intuition and your gut reactions. Get brutally honest with yourself. Decide how you really feel about all that you experienced.
- What, if anything, prompted red flag (STOP) signals for you?
- What, if anything, prompted yellow flag (CAUTION) signals for you?
- What prompted green flag (GO) signals for you?
Now that take everything you learned from fine-tuning your awareness and add it to the information you learned through the Q & A and you should have a clear indication about if the job is the right fit for you.
This looks like a long and involved process, but it’s not really. You take most of it in intuitively already. Unfortunately, too few people take the time and effort to consciously sort through the whole picture and they end up trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
Now that you have more information, what will you do with it? What would you add to or change about this article?