6 questions to answer before accepting the job

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“I knew it was coming,” he said. “I tried to leave first, but they beat me to the punch. I was let go today.”

These words were spoken by a friend of ours. And, as painful as his words were to hear, his next statement actually made us feel a bit nauseous. “Not long after I accepted the job, I knew in my gut it was a bad fit. I didn’t agree with my boss’s values. I didn’t agree with his style of leadership. And, no matter how much effort I gave, or how much I tried to just be great at my job, we couldn’t see eye to eye. That’s a painful thing to acknowledge—that you left a job only to end up at a company that’s not meant for you. I wish there was a way I could have seen that before I left my old job. Now, I’m job hunting again.”

Most of us have felt that sinking feeling—that we made a bad decision—at some point in our career. We get wound up and excited to take our career to the next level. We’re filled with optimism for the future. And then we realize our new culture, or our new boss, or our new role isn’t a good fit.

Is there a surefire way to know that a new company, a new team, and a new job is the right fit for you before you accept an offer?

Here are a few questions you should consider before accepting a new job that we’ve learned throughout our own careers, and from experts we know.

  1. Do you share a purpose with the company? “Work means something,” says Brian Mohr, Co-Founder of Y Scouts, a purpose-based executive search firm. “We spend a good portion of our lives investing our time, energy and thought into our work. If you don’t connect with the purpose of an organization, then you’re probably not at the right company. When you’re considering a job, it’s critical that you ask yourself if you care about the impact that organization is making in the world.”
  2. Is the culture right for you? “A lot of companies like to talk about their great culture,” says Kerri Zunkowski, VP of Talent at Infusionsoft. “But talking about an awesome culture doesn’t mean much unless you understand what the word awesome means to them, and to you. One person’s perfect place to work is another person’s nightmare job. So, before you accept a job, make sure you thoroughly understand the culture you’re walking into.
  3. Does it fit with the rest of your life? “We often think that our job is separate from the rest of our life,” said Tom Rath, bestselling author of EatMove. Sleep. “When you’re considering a new job, it’s important to see how it may impact the rest of your life. Will it affect your relationships or health? Will it change your daily schedule? If you’re accustomed to having dinner with your family, picking your kids up from school, or having an easy and stress free commute, and the new job creates a change, those need to be important factors in your decision.”
  4. Why do you truly want to work there? “Obviously there are situations where people accept jobs simply because they need a paycheck,” says Lou Adler, Bestselling Author and Founder of The Adler Group. “However, if finding a new job isn’t a necessity but instead it’s a desire, I highly recommend people slow down and think about why they want to work for a new company. Are they wanting to get away from their current company? Are they looking for a bigger paycheck? Are they going to be able to spend more time doing work they love? All of these are important questions to ask before accepting a new job.”  According to Adler, the best way for leaders to get this information is ask the candidate why they would want the job if it weren’t for the compensation package. If the response is shallow, vague or short, the person is taking the job for the wrong reasons.
  5. Will they appreciate the true you? We’ve been studying appreciation for decades, and with each study we conduct, the evidence that recognition plays a major role in an employee’s engagement, commitment, and performance continues to grow. So, before you accept that new position, we suggest not only asking hiring managers about how employees are recognized, but also ask some of the employees (they’re easy to find on social media) if they feel appreciated at work? And, ask them what they feel appreciated for?
  6. Do you want to follow the leader? “Sometimes when we’re focused on making a good impression we forget to ask ourselves to analyze the impression others are making on us,” says Mark Sanborn, bestselling author of The Potential Principle. “Before you accept a new job, do some research on the leaders of the company. Ask yourself if they are people you would choose to follow if a paycheck wasn’t involved. These are the people who will be giving out your marching orders. If you don’t trust where they’re leading you, it’d be wise to look for work elsewhere.

Knowing for certain that a company will be the perfect fit for you is often difficult. However, part of looking for a new job is being willing to be brutally honest with yourself. That entails knowing what you want and being willing to ask the right questions in the interview. Be tough with yourself. Ask these questions, and hopefully you’ll land your dream gig.

This post was originally published on Forbes.

By david sturt and todd nordstrom
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