More Things to Consider Before Taking a Job

June 24, 2010 at 11:29 am Leave a comment

Job hunting is a two-way street — you’re not only trying to convince an employer that you’re right for the job but the job needs to be the right one for you as well. Yet many job seekers get so caught up in the first part of the equation that they don’t pay enough attention to the signs of whether an organization is a good fit for them.

And this isn’t just a philosophical exercise — hiring experts say that a surprisingly high percentage of people who land new jobs are looking again in six months to a year because they jumped too quickly. Things like a bad fit with your boss, not realizing (and not liking) the specific duties of a job or a mismatch with the company’s goals and culture could have you on the hunt again far too soon, which you want to avoid for obvious reasons.

Beyond doing your research about a company by talking to current and former employees, reading all you can about the company online and asking good questions in an interview, you’ll want to look for telltale signs about whether this company and this position is a good fit for you.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before accepting a new job:

*How were you treated throughout the hiring process? Many job hunters are so happy to have finally been made an offer that they’re willing to forgive being treated shabbily by the company through the process. Yet an organization that allows its managers to behave badly — or incompetently — when recruiting and hiring may tolerate poor management practices overall. Were recruiters and managers polite to you? Were they organized about setting up interviews? Did they answer your questions? Did people get back to you in a reasonably timely fashion? Did they seem straightforward or did they appear to be hiding things? Remember, the hiring process is an important “window” into how the company operates. Don’t brush off bad hiring practices. Perhaps there was a reason the process was disorganized this time — but you’ll want to find out before you take a job there.

*What is the atmosphere of the workplace? Journalists, especially, are used to working in a communicative (some may say that’s one word for it!) and busy office with lots of give and take, and usually a fair amount of noise. If the office where you’d be working is overly quiet and people communicate only via email, that’s important to know beforehand — it may become a bigger deal than you’d think regarding your overall job satisfaction. How will you be communicating with your boss and co-workers? Are lots of questions and opinions encouraged? How do people treat each other? And if you haven’t been given any clues to this — if, for instance, you haven’t visited the area where you’d be working — you should ask why, and if the company is trying to hide something from you.

*Have you met top managers and bosses of the organization? It’s important to have been asked to meet with top officials not only so you can ask them questions but because they will have a stake in your career with the organization going forward. This also shows that your position is important enough that it’s worth the time of top decision makers to get to know you before you join. Also, companies that routinely have key managers involved in key hires tend to be better-managed workplaces. If you haven’t met more than one or two managers in the organization, it’s important to try to determine why; again, is there something to hide there?

*How do employees answer the key question: What’s it like to work here? If they have vague or dissatisfied answers that could be a red flag. Alternately, if they can describe — especially with detail — the culture, pros and cons and goals of the organization, that’s a sign that employees there are involved in and committed to the organization; and a good sign that you’re making the right choice in signing on.

*Congratulations are in order today to another dcworks supporter — Sean Reilly, who has been a Washington correspondent for the Mobile Press-Register and the Mississippi Press, will be joining Federal Times as a senior staff writer on June 28.  Sean’s advice for other job seekers is elegant in its simplicity — “I would just note that the truism is really true: Networking is extremely important.” Sean says that every job lead he pursued over the past few months — including the job he landed at Federal Times — came via word of month. And he has this good tip: “Don’t worry about asking even casual acquaintances if they’ve heard of any vacancies; for the most part, people are more than happy to share what they know.” Good advice. Congratulations and much success to Sean in his new position!

*Here’s a variety of leads to consider:

*Deloitte has an opening in its Arlington office for a federal proposal coordinator/editor:

Federal Proposal Coordinator/Editor
Deloitte – Arlington, VA
such as Marketing and Communications, Human Resources… Description The Coordinator/Editor is accountable for effective communications, document management and…

*The National Democratic Institute (NDI) in D.C. has an opening for a deputy director:
Deputy Director: Southern and East Africa
National Democratic Institute – Washington, DC
grant funding, budget and accounting procedures; Superior oral and written communication skills to present information, respond to questions from the public;…
From National Democratic Institute

*The Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning in Rockville has an opening for a communications director:

*And here’s an opening on the Hill (where quite a few transitioning journalists have happily landed!) — for a press secretary for the Senate Agriculture Committee:

Senate Committee seeks communications professional to serve as Press Secretary for fast-paced press office. Responsibilities include: planning and implementing media strategy, including “new” media; writing press releases and other materials; building and maintaining relationships with members of the media, editorial boards and in-state press; providing general press operations support. Candidates must have exceptional writing skills, ability to work quickly under tight deadlines and work well as part of a team. This is not an entry-level position; on-the-record, Hill or other related public policy experience is preferred. For consideration, send cover letter, resume and writing samples to

*And to wrap up today’s leads, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in D.C. has an opening for a communications deputy director:

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is now hiring a communications professional dedicated to social and economic justice to lead all aspects of public communication for the union. The Deputy Director for Communications will frame and develop cogent campaign messages; inspire, develop and lead junior staff; develop and maintain news media contacts to be used by all SEIU campaigns; and participate and advise in creating campaign-related
communications strategies and tactics.

College degree in communications or related field and minimum of eight years in advocacy communications required. Must demonstrate excellent oral communications, writing, editing, critical thinking and leadership skills. Must exhibit excellent judgment, be flexible, creative and assume high accountability for all areas of responsibility. Bilingual in Spanish/English preferred. Competitive salary. Excellent benefits. SEIU is an equal opportunity employer.

Position is available in Washington, D.C.


To apply send a cover letter and resume to :

Happy hunting!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

How Colleagues Can be Your Ticket to Jobs How to Avoid Job-hunting Traps

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