Job hunting tip #6

Further to Insultant Rowan Manahan‘s Definitive Job-hunt, I thought I would offer another tip.

Many companies haven’t the first notion how to interview you, but often the only clue you will get about how they intend to treat you as an employee is how they treat you as an interview candidate. Unless your family is starving or you can’t pay the mortgage, then you should think twice before accepting a job with a company that performs badly during the interview. After all, they wouldn’t hire you if you interviewed badly.

Of course, a poor representation might be down to lack of experience on the interviewer’s part. However, certain attitudes can leak through.

So here are the top three things that would make me feel uneasy if I heard them in an interview:

“How do you feel about working evenings and weekends?”
This means one of two things to me.

  1. The company intends to get me to work for nothing on a regular basis and is probing to see if I’m desperate enough to go for that.
  2. The company is very poor at managing projects and knows that it usually needs its staff to work extra hours just to hit agreed deadlines. (sound familiar any of you in the IT industry?).

So unless the company is a restaurant or is on the verge of curing cancer, I feel very bad about working evenings and weekends, because I work so that I can live a healthy, comfortable life with people I love, doing things I enjoy doing. It is not my goal in life to spend more time at the office, either earning extra revenue for shareholders or making up for someone else’s poor planning (sound familiar to anyone in the banking world?), especially when the company has a policy of not paying for extra hours. In the current economic climate, it may well be that employees will have to make some sacrifices to keep certain companies afloat, but to suggest that in an interview is disturbing to me.

Possible questions to throw back:

  • What happens in your company to make it necessary for staff to work evenings and weekends?
  • Does it happen so often that you feel the need to ask about it in the interview?
  • What are you doing to mitigate the risk of having to work evenings and weekends?
  • How do you compensate staff for working evenings and weekends?

“We reward risk takers.”
The tiny minority of soldiers who rush machine-gun nests survive to receive a medal. The vast majority die horribly in a hail of bullets. Risk-takers by definition fail more often than they succeed (Global economic crisis, anyone?). This is an empty statement that tells me more about the interviewers inexperience than it does about actual company policy.

“Our people are our best asset.”
I always considered this statement to be disingenuous but in the current economic climate, it is laughable because so many companies areĀ  dropping their “best assets” onto the dole queue. Nobody believes this rubbish. Stop saying it, interviewers. STOP IT!

So here’s the thing…

Seeing as you have travelled all the way to their interview, probably taking a day’s leave to do so, make sure the respect is mutual in the interview room.

Kind regards,

Declan Chellar

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