who am I?
When looking for a vocation or a job, it’s tempting to take a peek at your peer’s paper. But even if inspiring at first, this practice might bring more harm than good. Indeed, what if your neighbor went for a high-demanding, interactive but high paying job while your conception of the ideal environment includes silence, freedom and balance between work/personal life?
This is why you should start from the beginning and focus on yourself.
If you have never taken a personality test as the MBTI or the enneagram, I strongly advise you to do so. Those tests are not – in any way – an accurate description of yourself. You should rather consider them as a collection of elements that form a reading grid to better understand some of your behaviors or social needs.
For instance, if you find yourself being more of an introvert than extravert, this could be an aspect to lookout for in your future job by asking whether or not you’ll be interacting with people non stop. Same goes if you’re an extravert, maybe you’ll be wanting to check if there’s a strong social life at work – if that’s what you need –, if your job is solo/team-based etc.
After all, sometimes « we need to know where we come from to know where we’re heading to ».
« what kind of work environment do you like to work into? »
As facilitation styles might differ from one another, we all need a work-environment tailored to our personality. What suits your neighbor might not suit you (at all) and it’s totally ok. The most important is to be aware of your own needs to find a good fit!
Some questions to ask yourself before an interview / job search:
- do I need to interact with people on the daily to feel at ease?
- do I need to work in a place where my coworkers could also be my friends?
- how important is social recognition for me?
- do I need autonomy to function well? to have a precise roadmap to be reassured?
how to check?
After the introspective session helping you define your needs in term of work, here is a little (non-exhaustive) list of questions to ask your future employers
1. management & collaboration
- how are missions organised? do teams get to collaborate with each other?
- how is feedback dealt with in the team? is it mutual (manager-managee)? one-way only?(manager > managee)
- what place are made for initiatives and new projects? (even better with examples)
- (to the manager to-be) what would your last managee tell about yourself and your way of working? what do you need in a professional relationship?
- how autonomous is everyone in the team?
- in terms of roadmap: does everyone understand their role in the firm? how transparent is the firm on their objectives & next steps?
2. values & social
- what are the values does the firm goes by? how are they embodied on the daily? (examples)
- what place are made for social activities / team-building in the firm? is it mandatory / not to assist to every session ?
- how inclusive is the firm?
should I stay or should I go now?
An important but essential reminder: there are no good/bad answers to the previous question lists.
As long as the answers seem to suit YOU and your personal needs it’s a go. But if anything seems odd (or if you have a bad gut feeling), maybe you should reconsider the offer, dig deeper and/or ask to meet someone else from the firm. Often, speaking to someone you might not even directly work with can give you a glimpse of the firm’s backstage and help you make your mind in the matter.
Last but not least (and because it’s sometimes hard to detect on the spot). Before your job search you can create a small checklist of your work environment must-haves, no-gos – and compromises you can consider – to be ready on D-Day.
So, ready to dive in?