I’ve written a lot about internships here, and I thought today I would talk about something I think is really important. When applying for jobs and internships, it can feel like you have to take whatever is offered to you. Reality is, whenever you are being interviewed for a position, you are also in essence interviewing them as well. If you are hired, you will be spending a significant amount of time working for and in the offices of the company and people who interview you. It’s important to ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision on whether or not to take a position.
Just because you interview for a job does not mean you have to take it. I would not recommend taking an interview for a position you have no intention of accepting, but sometimes the only way to know if you would not want to work for a company is going through the entire process. Do not feel like you are “wasting their time” if you decline an offer after reviewing everything. Truthfully, taking something you are not actually interested in is a disservice not only to you, but to the company as the likelihood you leave or dislike the work is very high. If you do take a position that is less than desirable to you, at least you will go in knowing the choice you have made and make the best of it.
So what does it mean to interview the company too? I would take into consideration the things that matter most to you. Do you want room to grow? Ask what opportunities might be available to you after 6 months or a year. Do you want to be out of work in time for class? Ask when people typically pack up for the day. I always ask “why do you like working for xyz company?” and “how long have you worked here?” It shows the company culture – and it can show a lot about what people think of it! I also ask what a typical day looks like – is it email heavy? Full of meetings? Depends on the season? It helps get a gauge on what to expect. Depending on the job function it can be good to also ask what you might be responsible for.
Additionally, it can help to gather information online too. Google the company, look at Glassdoor reviews, see what they post on LinkedIn. Something I personally find really important is liking the products I work on for the company. Especially in Product Development, what you work on can greatly impact what you do. Also, I enjoy working on things I’d want to wear. More fun that way!
Asking lots of questions along all steps of the process can help you best decide whether a position is a match for you or not. Go in with an open mind, but know your deal breakers and ideals!
What do you ask during job interviews?