Questions for Determining if an Organization Is a Good Fit for You

Mitchell_questions to ask prospective employers June 15, 2022 By: Barbara Mitchell

While a lot of job seekers put most of their attention on selling themselves during the interview process, it’s just as important to focus on what they want and need from a new organization and role. Here’s how to do your due diligence as you explore new opportunities.

Q: I’m looking for a new job, but I want to be sure that I join an organization where I won’t face some of the same issues that I do in my current job. I am especially looking for a role with greater flexibility and more autonomy. Can you give me some questions to ask during the interview process, and are there clues to watch for when researching organizations?

A: You are smart to think of this issue as you look for your next opportunity. It is so easy to get caught up in the interview process and how to sell yourself to a prospective employer, rather than focusing on what you want and need in your next position.

Before you even start thinking of changing jobs, take some time to get clear on what you are looking for. This is where a pro-con list might come in handy. List what you like about your current job on one side and what you don’t like on the other. This should give you a place to focus on what you want to be different in your next job.

Once you know what you’re looking for, prepare some questions. Spend some time on the organization’s website for clues and network to see if you are connected to someone who currently works there or has worked there in the past. You can use the same questions that you will ask during the interview process when networking on LinkedIn.

However, timing is critical—you don’t want to ask questions too soon in the hiring process. First, you need to convince the interviewer that you have the skills and abilities to meet the job requirements. Then, you can look for answers to questions that will help you decide if the job and the organization is right for you. Remember, it is as important for you to want the job as it is for them to want you.

You mention you are interested in a job with autonomy and flexibility. Here are some questions to consider:

Autonomy

  • I’ve learned that I am must productive when I’m permitted to act and think independently. Would this be possible in this position?
  • How does this organization establish trust with your staff?
  • Tell me about how you or the organization learn from mistakes.
  • How will success be measured in this position?

Flexibility

  • Will I have input into my schedule?
  • How is productivity measured in this organization—by results or by facetime or some other standard?
  • How is success measured and rewarded?
  • Tell me about your thoughts on a flexible workplace. How is it working here? What improvements are needed?

At the end of the day, it’s important to really know what it is you want and don’t want in a new job and be prepared to ask good questions. Chances are, you will make a good decision.

Barbara Mitchell

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR, The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook, and the newest, The Conflict Resolution Phrase Book. Do you have a question you'd like her to answer? Send it to achq@asaecenter.org.