12 Questions To Ask Before Accepting An IT Job - InformationWeek

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8/17/2015
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David Wagner
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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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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/18/2015 | 1:16:01 PM
Re: Glassdoor
@tjgkg- That is unfortunately the problem with any vcrowd-sourced data like reviews from Yelp or Trip Advisor or whatever. I can speak to Glassdoor specifically, but I think the key to looking through that is to look for big numbers of reviews. They are more statisically valid anyway.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/18/2015 | 2:00:25 PM
Re: Where will I be?
@whoopty- Fair enough. Then maybe ask to see what room you will be buried in. :)
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/18/2015 | 5:26:16 PM
Re: 3 basic ones
@petey- You've either been very lucky at finding companies that also had good cultures or you are probably not very happy. We're seeing IT unemployment so low right now that most IWeek readers can afford ot be pickier than that. But whatever works for you is awesome.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/18/2015 | 5:33:10 PM
Re: Glassdoor
@stratustician- Yes, you definitely don't want to just read a bunch of people who were laid off. But i think one thing to remember is that what made people unhappy might make you unhappy, too. Companies, like people, tend to repeat their mistakes. If a given problem is likely to make you unhappy and you see it mentioned multiple times by people, chances are it will make you unhappy, too.
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