12 Questions To Ask Before Accepting An IT Job - InformationWeek
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8/17/2015
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12 Questions To Ask Before Accepting An IT Job

The corporate culture in which you're working is as important as the work you're being asked to do. Here are 12 questions to help you figure out what kind of workplace you'd be walking into before you accept your next job offer.
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(Image: pixdeluxe/iStockphoto)

(Image: pixdeluxe/iStockphoto)

How can you tell whether the corporate culture at a given company suits you before you commit to a new job? Do you dig daily Mario Kart tournaments and office dog spas, or would you rather show up and do your work as quickly as possible so you can get home and enjoy your personal time?

It's often hard to tell from a job interview whether or not a company's culture is a good fit for you. Once you get hired and discover the fit is bad, it is an expensive mistake for both you and the company.

What do we mean by culture? That's part of the problem, right? Chances are, when a hiring manager talks about company culture, she's talking about the free bagels in the morning or the t-shirts handed out after every project is done. 

Corporate culture also means how often colleagues share a laugh, and whether the environment is built around collaboration or encourages lone-wolf behavior. It can mean you are expected to be seen slaving away at your desk past normal business hours to look like a go-getter. It might mean you don't have to wear a suit.

[What motivates IT job-seekers? Read IT Salaries: Not as Important as They Used to Be.]

Corporate culture goes beyond that though. It also means which skills are valued, the type of people who get hired and fired, and how much respect there is for new ideas in the office. Maybe all you want is a paycheck and a chance to lose some weight. If so, then that company with the great salad bar that isn't interested in your fresh ideas will be the right fit for you. If you're looking for more, then taking that job could be a career disaster.

How do you determine what a company's real culture is before you take a job? Here are eight tips to help you figure it out before you accept your next job offer.

Once you've reviewed these, tell us in the comments section below how you knew you found the right corporate cultural fit for yourself, or what warning signs you ignored that should have sent you running.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
10/15/2015 | 2:11:34 PM
Re: Glassdoor
And it is spreading to other industries. Big Brother has arrived.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
10/15/2015 | 1:38:01 PM
Re: Glassdoor
yes it sad reality...
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
10/15/2015 | 1:21:59 PM
Re: Glassdoor
I can only imagine what it must be like to have a tracking system on your truck! Pretty much every move you make is tracked and there is no room just to take a break. So i can see management really abusing the tool.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
9/23/2015 | 2:17:54 PM
Re: Take a look around the office
@kstaron - Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever been able to see the actual "work space" I'd be occupying.  I've only ever interviewed in conference rooms that were set apart from where the employees live.  I would think it would be distracting and a security concern/liability to have a parade of interviewees coming through your work area all the time.  
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
9/19/2015 | 6:26:24 PM
Re: Glassdoor
yes, also in Canada, I did see something simular run by Canadian truck drivers about tracking Co. 
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
9/19/2015 | 12:25:35 PM
Re: Glassdoor
@batye: There are quite a number of sites like that. All a reaction to corporate abuse. You can't do anything like that on LinkedIn but Glassdoor and some of the other sites mentioned are really good resources for job hunters.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
9/1/2015 | 11:18:59 AM
Re: Glassdoor
@tjgkg, interesting point... it does remind me of bestbuysucks website create by ex-Bestbuy employee...
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
8/19/2015 | 2:26:00 PM
Take a look around the office
These are great questions to feel out a prospective employer. I especially like the 'are people laughing' one. If you take a good look at the people and set up of offices/cubicles it can help determine what the company is like. Are the cubes all the same or are they decorated? That speaks to how much personality you are allowed/feel comfortable sharing with your coworkers. (Seriously, if you don't see a single darth vader or tardis or faux plant, it may be a rigidplace to work.) Are people carrying themselves in a relaxed manner or are they in a hurry and all tensed up? Smiling or bag under their eyes? Watching the people can tell you alot about what the typica lworkload is, how people are encouraged to interact and express themselves.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/19/2015 | 10:37:38 AM
Re: Glassdoor
Dave, yes when there are more reviews you get a better sample. The interesting thing with Glassdoor is that you get feedback from people who left the company much more than people still working there. So you tend to get emotional reviews from either disgruntled employees, or people who do not fit in with the culture. So you have to sort through the language and tenor of the review to get an insight.
petey
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petey,
User Rank: Strategist
8/18/2015 | 9:41:01 PM
Re: 3 basic ones
@David - I've been in the auto industry a long time. What I've seen is a lot of good people outsourced, terminated because the company can cut costs paying offshore people a fraction of the salaries you would normally pay recent college grads.

Outside of the skill set needed by the silicon valley companies, I see nothing opening up in the midwest, which would come close to what you are describing.

I see endless H1B hires, I see decent people with college degrees being swept aside because they can hire temporary workers cheaper, with no benefits. Finally, I see more mid-level and above managers with MBAs being hired on the basis of perceived value when they actually know less about operations management than either of us.

Cynical? yes. Realistic? Yes

Not all industries are like Amazon, Google or Facebook.

The rustbelt is just now figuring out the walmart standard of cheap is good--perhaps 15 years behind the rest of the country.

The days of graduating college and working your way up are over, in the midwestern rust belt. To come up with a list of 12 or more questions, mentioned in your article, in the auto industry, for a routine IT job--anything from help desk, desktop support and Business Analysts, would be laughable.

I mean no disrespect--it's a very tough world here in the midwestern auto industry. They've played into the offshoring model to the point they cannot afford anything else.

 

 

 
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