Finding the Right Connection

Posted on February 21, 2015.

Love is definitely in the air this month, and it’s got me thinking about one of the most important aspects of the workplace: job satisfaction. People who drag themselves to work every day and then clock watch all day aren’t living…nor are they fulfilling their potential. 

Just as bad are those who like their jobs, but feel totally disconnected from their team.

Both situations are untenable. After all, we spend eight or more hours a day at the office, which adds up to more waking hours spent with co-workers than with your significant other.  So you better enjoy what you do and the people with whom you work. 

Like falling in love, even if it starts online, finding the right job or hiring the right person is best done the old fashioned way…by really getting to know one another.  You wouldn’t marry someone simply because they look good on paper (or just looked good), so why should your hiring process be any different? Of course qualifications and prior experience are important, but, as anyone who’s made a bad hire or career move can tell you, those are not the only things that matter. And, popular as they are, personality tests aren’t really a fail proof measure of compatibility. 

So what’s a hiring manager of entrepreneur to do? Ask questions and listen to your gut. If you’re filling a position, I’ve shared some essential interview questions before.  

Like their counterparts, those looking to make a career move should prepare questions specifically geared toward gaining insight into their prospective manager and team that can’t be found anywhere on the company’s website. Use the following queries in your next interview to help determine if the company culture and management style are a perfect match:

·      A question that will tell you about what it’s like to work there.  “What’s the company culture like?” isn’t going to give you information any different from what can be found on a press release.  Dig a little deeper with something that opens the door for your interviewer to get a little personal with something along the lines of “Can you give me examples of what your company culture is like?“ or “Why do you love working here?”

·      A question whose answer provides insight into growth potential.  This can be posed as simply as “How do you evaluate performance and encourage growth?”, but if you really want the goods,  ask “What  taking it a step further and ask “What qualities do successful managers in this company have in common?”

·      A question about why the position is open. Knowing if there’s been a lot of turn over or if the previous person was promoted will provide a lot of insight into your potential team and role.

·      A question about how you’ll fit in.  Don’t ask that directly, of course, but “What qualities does it take to make a great employee in this role?” as well as “What sorts of challenges will I face in this position?” will provide you with an idea of how you’ll measure up.

·      A question about your potential boss’s management style. “What would your team say are the reasons they love working with you?” The response will be full of clues not only about what kind of manager you’d be reporting to, but also team culture.

·      Ask to talk to potential team members. This is usually part of the process, but if you find yourself in the final round of interviews without having spoken to the folks you’ll be working with, make a point of requesting the opportunity. 

You may not end up “loving” your job or your new hire, but feeling engaged and excited about going to work every day is half the battle and more than many people can say.