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5 Questions To Ask Before You Accept A Job Offer

5 Questions To Ask Before You Accept A Job Offer

Before you commit to anyone or anything I want you to know that there is an ideal or right place for you.

The idea of a culture fit lies on the premise of a ‘perfect match.’

A fit happens when an individual finds the appropriate organization (environment) where his or her talents are adequately nurtured, valued, developed and rewarded. This concept is similar to how certain fruits thrive in some climates. Human talents and abilities also have natural ‘sweet spots’ where it’s fruits can easily blossom. It is your responsibility to find that unique environment that is integral to your success.

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My personal story

I stumbled upon this phenomenon right after college, more than 20 years ago. I was honored and felt great to be ‘courted’ by firms and I can still remember vividly how special the on-campus recruiting teams made some of us feel.

While I was absolutely unaware of the cerebral nuances of culture, I found myself depending more on my hunch as I spoke to different organizations. It was an intuitive process of ranking my options. I would proceed with onsite visits to validate my rankings and assumptions.

However, I made a mistake…

As I negotiated my deal, I gravitated towards Company A that offered a slightly higher pay than Company B, which had more of the intangibles that were suited towards my long term success. As I accepted the offer, I knew something wasn’t right.

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I tried to comfort myself with the mantra that money cures all ills, as I accepted the offer. Honestly, right away I knew I had made a mistake. After a few ‘troubling’ days agonizing over my decision, I reached out to the recruiter for Company B that I had spurned and admitted my lapse in judgment. I admitted that I had made a mistake and would like to reverse my decision. Long story short, I was presented with a second chance and I gladly accepted that job offer.

I learned an important lesson about cultural fit and would like to share some thoughts on the key attributes to consider as well as the questions to ask during your next business engagement, job interview, partnership or contract work arrangement, employment, or project.

5 Questions To Ask Before You Accept A Job Offer

1. Leadership:

Ask who defines, protects, guides and manages the values or mores of the venture, team, organization or company?
Do note the subtle differences between sets, protects (enforces), guides (preserves) and manages (handles)

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2. People:

Ask how does the organization treat her most precious assets – people. How people are treated is vital. Ask the employees questions, go online and do some searches as well. Especially how those that do not have a voice or visible. Are they held in high esteem as well?

3. Symbols:

Ask for the symbols that itemize the values of the organizations and seek to understand their meaning. The symbols reveal what is important to the organization

4. Stories:

What are the stories that are valued highly and representative of the core values of the company. These stories tell the tales of courage, excellence and the virtues held dear by the organization.

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5. Communication: 

Ask about the process of communication within the organization. How does information travel? Who reports on issues first and are employees empowered to communicate? Where do employees get their information? What channels are used by the leadership team to disseminate information?

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is important for the applicant to remember that culture can not be separated from leadership and before an offer is accepted it is imperative that due diligence has been performed. I wish you unending success in your next assignment, engagement, and interactions.

Featured photo credit: zugo.md via zugo.md

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Dr. Flo

Executive Director, Hybrid Leadership Institute

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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