Top 5 Questions to Ask Employers to Determine Organizational Fit – Ericka Spradley

CBS News published an article in March stating “of the country’s 100 million full-time jobs, 51 percent feel no connection to their jobs.” While pondering this stat, I questioned whether the 51 percent did their due diligence prior to accepting an offer.

The best way to avoid taking a job you could potentially hate is to learn as much as you can about the role itself, your new leader, your colleagues and the organizational environment before accepting an offer.

When contacted for an interview, the obvious thought is “I’m one step closer to landing the role.” However, the hiring process includes vetting an employer both before and during the interview. Not only should you “interview the interviewer” by asking questions to discern strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats during the interview; I also recommend a thorough employer back ground check beforehand.

Prior to your interview

Research the company’s past, present and future. Like a personal background check, I recommend investigating public records to evaluate historical trends/events to gauge what could potentially transpire in the future.

These trends include the organization’s reputation in the marketplace, its financial health and who the top executives are. You can also create Google alerts to receive relevant employer information via email to stay informed throughout the hiring process.

Leverage LinkedIn.

Once you’ve identified leadership, review profiles on LinkedIn to see what others must say. Not only are recommendations and endorsements great resources, but so are mutual connections.

While profiles can give you a sense of an individual’s soft skills; performing a reference check is even better! When possible, speak with potential peers to gain understanding of the work environment in addition to engaging those who know perspective leaders personally.

During your interview

Consider the following questions and their respective goals when evaluating organizational fit:

1. Which existing processes are currently hindering efficiency in this department?
Goal: To better understand process, procedure, innovation and technology as well as how well the organization embraces change

2. Please define success in this role and how it is measured.
Goal: To better understand performance expectations and potentially expand to a conversation regarding future professional development opportunities

3. Where do you see this department and organization in 3 years? 5 years?
Goal: To strategically comprehend where the employer is headed short-term and long-term. This question is like an employer stating, “Where do you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?”

4. What would you say is your greatest challenge as a leader?
Goal: To build rapport with the interviewer, to gain perspective on how challenges are resolved and to offer best practices that lead to success if you’ve experienced a similar issue. Also probe if necessary to understand talent challenges as well the leader’s emotional intelligence.

5. Can you share 1-3 recent achievements demonstrating organic growth in this department as well as the organization?
Goal: To end the interview on a positive note and to discover what the organization rewards and recognizes. The response also indicates what the employer values beyond what you’ve read.

The answers to these questions will shed light on the current climate within an organization beyond what you’ve read on the company website or on the job posting.

Ideally, candidates who ask questions turn the interview into a two-way conversation while leaving a positive, memorable impression with interviewers. Remember to always ask questions during an interview, especially ones that determine organizational fit.

As Jason Hanold CEO of boutique headhunters Hanold Associates so eloquently states, “No matter how lucrative the offer, if there’s no appetite there for what you’re best at, it’s the wrong culture.”

Ericka Spradley, CEO of My Next Level helps ambitious professionals elevate their interviewing skills and strategically manage their career to define career success on their terms. For her free download“5 Simple Strategies To Land Your Ideal Job” click here or visit Ericka’s website:

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