I write a lot about the more logistical factors of choosing a job. Do you have the skills to do the job? Will you like the day to day responsibilities? I also write a lot about choosing the right type of company. Is it a creative environment or a structured one? Is it big or small? Does it have global reach?
My former coworker Allison (definitely check out my interview with her if you haven’t yet) recently pointed out that the people you work with are everything.
She’s right. You absolutely have to like (if not love) the people you work with. No matter how great the job is the people who you are surrounded by will make or break the experience.
Think of your friends that “hate their job” and constantly complain about it. Are they complaining about the work or the people the most?
While it generally is a mix of both, I find that at the root of every bad day, is a “bad” person contributing to it.
Knowing whether you are going to love the people you work with is tough to determine in the interview process. That’s basically like asking someone to determine whether they’re going to be in a long-term relationship with someone after the first date. However, you should challenge yourself to observe certain things, ask certain questions, and most of all, LISTEN to your gut.
What to observe: Observe how people interact with each other around the office and especially while you are sitting in the lobby waiting to go into your interview. Are they smiling at each other? Are they stressed? Do they seem passionate and engaged about the things they are talking about or bored and uninspired?
What do ask in the interview: “How do people work together and share ideas?”
Knowing the “communication style” of an office is important. In my first job, I would always email or pick up the phone. If you walked over to someones desk to have an “on the spot” conversation it generally wasn’t very well received. In my last job, totally the opposite. It was a “pop over any time” kind of environment.
What your gut will tell you: It will tell you whether or not you are connecting with those who are interviewing you. Listen to it! You’ll only interview with a limited number of people but one of them will likely be your future manager, the person you need to really like the most.
What to further investigate: Do you know someone who works at the company or has in the past? Pick their brain about the types of people that work there and do well there. If you don’t have a friend, use sites like glassdoor.com – on glassdoor, employees (current and past) will write “reviews” about the environment of their companies. However, take these with a grain of salt – as with all “reviews” sometimes the most unhappy people are the loudest.
Your day to day happiness will largely depend on those you surround yourself with. Along with all the other important things, factor people into your decision!