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10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before a Job Interview

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before a Job Interview

Job searching is no easy task. Whether it is navigating your first big step into the world of work or if it’s changing your career, there are a lot of things to consider. Here are 10 questions you should ask yourself before you interview for a job.

1. Will I be happy to wake up and go to work everyday?

People always say, if you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. Well, that statement holds a lot of water. I know many people who have been in their careers for 20-30 years and still love doing what they do. When you’re happy to get up and go to work, it’ll never feel like you’ve worked a day in your life. So take the time to think about the job you’re interviewing for and if it truly has the potential to make you happy.

2. Is this a place where I can begin building a career or is it a temporary solution?

You need to know before your job interview if you plan on this job being a part of a career move or if it is just a temporary fix to pay the bills. It’s important to know the answer to this before you interview so that you know what you expect to get out of the working experience.

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3. Will the job be enough to pay my living expenses?

Even if the job seems absolutely perfect, you should always look into about how much you can expect to make – especially if it is an entry level job. It’s important to get some kind of an idea of the salary range (if they don’t post it with the job posting there are a few websites, like Glassdoor, that you can check out) so that you know what you will be bringing in. You need to make sure that you make enough money to cover your living expenses with a little added breathing room.

If it doesn’t look like you will be able to do that with the job you’re interviewing for but your heart is set on it, then consider picking up a second job somewhere to make sure you can make ends meet. It’s no fun to have to leave a job simply because you are living outside of your means.

4. Is this a company I can build a future with?

If the job interview goes well and you get the job with this company, is it a place where you can grow in your career? This is important to think about because being able to grow in the company gives you goals to strive for while you’re working.

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If you get a job where no growth is available, it might hinder how hard you’re willing to work. But knowing that there’s something to continue to strive for will help you continue to push yourself.

5. Is this a company I believe in?

You also need to know if you believe in what the company does and whether or not you can stand behind it. Check out their website or research reviews from workers online (you can usually find this simply by searching the company name and reviews). Going into a job interview knowing that you are shooting for a company that you believe in will give you extra drive during the interview process. Also, being extra educated because of your research will impress your potential employers.

6. Are the hours what I’m looking for?

This is an important question because the hours you work will determine the lifestyle you live. Are you willing to work a job where you have to get up at 3:30 am to be at work by 5 am? Or are you willing to work nights or weekends? Make sure you think about what lifestyle you are willing to live for this job. If you aren’t happy about the life you’d have to live in order to work the job, chances are you won’t be happy working, and then your work will suffer.

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7. Is the commute worth it?

Depending on where you live and where you are trying to work, the commute may be a major pain. You might be commuting over an hour just to get there and an hour to get back home. You have to know if that’s a sacrifice you’re willing to make. If it’s your dream job or a great foot in the door to getting started in your ideal career, then the commute may not matter to you at all. But it’s still a question worth pondering.

8. Am I ready for the job?

Sometimes, you can be offered a job that you may not be ready for and then you end up way in over your head. So before you go in for a job interview, think about all the responsibilities that will come with the job. Are you feeling overwhelmed already? Then you may not be ready for it.

However, if the responsibilities excite you, then you may be ready to dive right in! But it’s important to think about it so that you know what you’re getting yourself into before you even walk through the doors.

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9. What are the benefits?

Many times when employers post a job, they will post what benefits come along with it. If they don’t, then try to do a little research because it may be posted on their website or on company review sites. As boring as it might sound, it is important to think about 401k opportunities and health insurance. Especially with insurance, since it is becoming expensive and companies are changing what type of insurance they carry- it might be important to you to know what they offer. Single coverage? Family? It’s a daily expense so it’s important to think about what you need a company to offer you for benefits.

10. Will I be proud of myself?

If you get this job, will you be proud of yourself? Proud of where you work? Will you be excited to share your news with family, friends, and on all of your social media sites? If the answer is no, that’s not a good sign. But if the answer is yes, then you can bet you’ll be happy in the position. Being proud of yourself and accomplishing the task of landing this job is important, you want to feel good about yourself and what you do.

Many people spend more time working than they do at home so it’s important to make sure before you even go in for a job interview that you’ve thought through the decision. You want to make sure that you’re as ready as you can be, so that if the job is offered to you, you’re confident in your choice.

It doesn’t take a long time to think about these 10 questions, but they can help prevent you from making a huge mistake as you job search. Or, if nothing else, they can help to prepare you and give you the confidence you need before the interview. Happy job hunting!

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

Physical Signs

Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

Mental Signs

One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

  • The tension in your neck
  • Difficulties with sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • High anxiety
  • Depression

If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

Desire for an Increase of Salary

The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

Overnight Decision

Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

Rejected for a Promotion

I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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Bored at Work

Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • How long have you worked in your career?
  • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
  • Do you receive recognition?
  • Can you consider working in a new department?

If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

  • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
  • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
  • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

How to Make a Career Change Successfully

The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

1. Write a Career Plan

A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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You can learn how to set your career plan here.

2. Weigh Your Options

If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

  • Economic factors
  • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
  • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
  • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
  • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

    A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

    4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

    A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

    • What is required to be successful in the role?
    • What certification or educational development is needed?
    • What are the challenges of the role?
    • Is there potential for career advancement?

    A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

    Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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    5. Research Salary

    Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

    It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

    6. Be Realistic

    If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

    For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

    Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

    7. Volunteer First

    A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

    Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

    Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

    8. Prepare Your Career Tools

    I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

    • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
    • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
    • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
    • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

    Bottom Line

    It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

    Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

    More About Career Change

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
    [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
    [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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