Monday, 7 November 2016

Hot or not? You will like your new job if...

It is always a big thing: taking that leap of faith and going to work for a new organisation.

The job might be OK (the work is the work, regardless of where you do it), but how can we be sure that we will like the culture within the workplace, and how easy the organisation makes it for you to innovate, add value, and streamline? How easy is it to converse with others, and to find that edge that makes the work rewarding?

I think there are some signs that the organisation is going to be a great workplace, which we can feel during the hiring process. This is the HOT process. They are:
  1. The interview doesn't appear overly scripted, and you get time - are encouraged - to ask questions. Your questions get answered, and the process keeps moving, because they are interested in you.
  2. They ask you how you like to work, and what else you do outside of work. They ask if there is anything that you want to accomplish in the first year you join their team; professional or personal. They listen to your answers, and this becomes part of the position negotiation.
  3. They tour you around the workplace, and show you how the work is done. They host you like proud home-owners.
  4. The organisation is focused on new ways to do things, with continuous improvement built into their systems. Their policies are more philosophical statements of 'how' to work rather than scripts of 'what' to do. The on-boarding too is a continuous improvement process - a win:win exchange of fair value. The contract that is drawn up is based on true negotiation, as it has been agreed to and customised, point by point.
  5. People whom you meet at this organisation are collegial. There is an exchange: you feel welcome in visiting them, and they show curiosity about you.
Don't go for NOT. Liz Ryan wrote on Forbes recently on things that indicate that we should "RUN!" as far and fast as we can from a prospective new job:
  1. "The interview process is slow and halting, without any explanation or apology. If you didn’t nudge and push your contacts to keep the interviewing process going, they’d completely forget about you". This is the organisation that suddenly sends you a contract for you to sign, forgetting that the negotiation hasn't happened yet.
  2. "The interviewers you meet are not smart or curious people. The interview questions they ask aren’t smart questions, either". In fact, the interviewers often aren't familiar with the job you will be doing, and can't anwser the questions that you have the temerity to ask.
  3. "The physical work environment is uninspiring". It is almost like the organisation is in a backwater, and that resources - always scarce in an organisation (Daft, 2008) - are almost absent in this one.
  4. "You can tell that rules and policies are very important to this organization, because they talk about them all the time". This organisation is all talk and no trousers: they say they want improvement, but really, they are QUITE happy as they are, thank you. You are a new cog designed to fit their existing machine. This is the place where you get a "this is the offer - take it or leave it" employment contract ultimatum.
  5. They don't like each other. "The people you meet are businesslike rather than friendly and casual with one another. You can’t see any evidence of community among your prospective colleagues".
When your alarms start jangling during the hiring process, listen. That's the "boys in the basement" (King, 1998, p. 120) telling you that this is a "NOT" process.

Go for HOT. Avoid the NOT. 



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