Trust Your Gut on Job Offers

Susan Hall

A piece at SiliconValley.com describes Yahoo as a company adrift with the ouster of CEO Carol Bartz, with employees suffering from "reorg fatigue." Former creative director Cynthia Maller, who joined the company in 1999, describes Yahoo in those days:

...it was a place where you could invent things and never worry about making mistakes. Nobody was afraid of losing their jobs and you had these incredibly brilliant engineers and ad-sales guys.

And Kenny Liao, who left he company earlier this year after four years in corporate strategy, describes it this way now:

New ideas require too much buy-in from everyone. Managers have their numbers to hit and if they see something new coming up that might hurt their area, they tend to get territorial and play it safe.

Cisco, too, has been forced to address its complexity, which made it hard to get anything done. Likewise, Larry Page, upon returning to Google as CEO, has pledged to return the company to its startup roots.

 

Yet these companies are still hiring. And whether considering a job at one of them or any job, for that matter, it's important to know what you'd be getting into. With sites such as Glassdoor.com, where employees rate their companies anonymously, it's easier than ever to learn about the internal culture at a company you're considering. Information security blogger Lenny Zeltser also provides some great tips here for getting the inside scoop. He suggests asking the HR department for some background on those actually doing the hiring. With LinkedIn and Twitter, you can learn more about them and find other people who work at the company who might be willing to give you some candid insight.

 

Just as the company's looking for hires that fit within its corporate culture, you're looking for a workplace where you can achieve your goals as well. As I've written before, it's important to keep your radar up in all encounters with this prospective employer.

 

Anita Bruzzese, in her 45 Things blog, offers good advice for when a recruiter calls. She quotes career coach Phyllis Mufson, saying:

It's important to be crystal clear about your values and the kind of structure and culture you'll thrive in before the interview, because otherwise you can't make a solid evaluation. ...

 

When you evaluate a position, listen to your gut as well as your intellect. Ask yourself if you would feel at home in this environment and working with these people. If you felt uncomfortable ask yourself why, and listen to your answer without rationalizing.



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