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Interview Tips: Survey the Work Environment

work environmentDo You Really Want To Work There?

You know what they say, everything that glitters is not gold. This can definitely be true of the work environment you are entering, or at least attempting to enter. The job description of the position seems to be right up your alley. The hours, benefits and salary all appear to be exactly what you are looking for. But you will need to go deeper than what is on paper to determine if this is the perfect fit. Of course, the criticality of “fit” depends upon how empty your wallet is and how much unemployment may have damaged your credit score. But you also need to consider the fact that if the new position is a poor enough fit, you can end up right back in the job market in a few months. Or worse, staying on and adding work-related depression to your list of problems.There is no time better to assess the fit than during the interview process, because you are getting the chance to take peek inside.

First, figure out the aspects of a work environment that are ideal for you, as well as those you want to avoid. From the minute you park your car, look for signs where this potential employer meets (or does not meet) your requirements.

If you are from a Fortune 500 background, you may have become accustomed to a work environment where all communications or formal and structured. So, when you enter the building for your interview, pay attention two conversations you may have a chance to overhear.Does the communication seem to flow within a chain of command? What does the receptionist desk look like? Is it a whirlwind of random papers and folders, or is it neat, clean and highly structured?

Perhaps it is just the opposite. If you are coming from more of a casual and informal work environment and prefer to stay in one, check out the apparent dress code, as well as the interaction of the employees. Is the work environment too structured for your taste? Is the sense of urgency a little too intense for your liking? Will you be required to wear a suit and tie everyday, when you currently don’t even own one suit?

Remember, many of us spend half of our waking life on the job. Regardless of the compensation, at some point that paycheck’s priority will likely be usurped by your need to be fulfilled and happy within your work environment. So when you find yourself going through interviews for employment, keep your eyes and ears open. Try to imagine yourself in that work environment on a daily basis and whether or not you can envision a lengthy tenure there. The last thing you need is to find yourself beating the proverbial pavement four months from now and starting the process all over again.

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