Job hunting can place itself as a hobby in today’s world, right beside reading, writing, cycling, and other things. Looking for a job in this highly competitive world is often tough, time consuming, and an endless wormhole of acronyms and buzzwords.
Let’s Get You Hired
In a pile of applications, it’s hard to stand out or even be seen. Luckily enough, I came across Richie Crowley’s article about “hype sheets” replacing resumes. The article really opened my eyes and changed the way I approach my job applications. I would highly recommend reading his article and trying it out yourself.
A once directionless individual now had a system in place to conquer the challenges associated with the post-grad job hunt. I made a list of potential employers and created resume templates to match their requirements, in preparation of a relatively quick unemployment period. Or so I thought.
My Initial Job Offer
Let’s begin with the good news. I received an interview request with, let’s say “Company Z” (masked for confidential reasons) in Toronto, for a marketing role that I had applied for. This is great, right? I thought so too. Pretty sure most people enjoy receiving emails from prospective employers in their inbox when they least expect it. Especially if it originates from a job board. Double whammy.
This is special. After numerous applications and many (oh so many) “we regret to inform you” rejections, I finally have an employer who showed faith in my experience and skills, and is willing to interview me.
I’m nervous, excited, and anxious as I get ready for my interview. I need to impress. No, I have to impress. I do my research, wear my best suit, pick up my presentation (that I tirelessly worked on) specific to the role, and head to Company Z for my interview.
Although I did find it unusual for the employer to suggest an interview at the workplace throughout a pandemic, the prospect of working in a role I would enjoy trumped it. I met the employer at the office (with PPE protection of course) and the interview went surprisingly well.
How do I know this? Well, the employer was extremely impressed with my presentation and pleased with how I tackled his questions. The interview almost slowly transitioned into a conversation with a pal towards the end. All signs of a good interview.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks later, I got it. I had received an offer from Company Z for the role I interviewed for. I was on cloud nine, however, deep down I was slightly confident that I would get the job. Not gloating, but having spent significant time prepping for the interview, I knew I was a deserving candidate for the role.
Sorry — Offer Revoked
I had an offer on the table. Nothing can stop me now. However, you don’t want to rush into it, especially having interviewed with a few other companies during the weeks of deliberation by Company Z. Again, keeping in mind that you only have the next few days to make a decision on the extended offer.
Within three days of the offer, on Saturday morning, I receive an email from Company Z with the subject line, “Voided contract”. They had rescinded my contract. And they explained themselves using just two words, “Hiring change”.
I was not even given the weekend to make a decision on my offer. You could argue that I should have accepted the offer sooner, but my offer clearly stated I had at least ten days before making a final decision.
I was completely caught off guard by this move by Company Z, as it was technically a breach in the contract. Is it because I took too long to respond? Did he find someone cheaper to work with? Did he go back on his decision to even hire in the first place? Some of the questions that played in my head.
However, I didn’t make a fuss of it by shooting out a hate mail or calling to scream at him at the top of my lungs. I love the phrase, “take it with a pinch of salt”, and in this case, it was applicable to me, so I decided to graciously accept it and move on.
Knock Knock — I’m back (A Second Job Offer)
My life pretty much went back to following the same routine. I was back on the job market, looking out for roles that appealed to me. And then the most unexpected thing happened. Company Z sent me an email, with the subject line, “Remote work”. I thought I was dreaming. I pinched myself to make sure I was actually awake.
This wasn’t a dream. Company Z had really reached out to me for the same role, however, in a remote position. I was livid, but, decided to probe him by asking a few questions about this new remote role. My questions were both timely, relevant, and important; it only made sense before making such a big career decision.
His response to my questions were extremely vague and unappealing (which also included a sentence about me being too picky). It wasn’t at all what I was looking for, but maybe I deserve this for giving Company Z the benefit of the doubt in the first place. Maybe second chances are a thing of the past.
I declined the job offer. My response email to Company Z was very clear, after quickly realizing that it’s a toxic environment to be working at in the first place. I clearly outlined that it’s my right to be made fully aware of the responsibilities the new role entails before accepting anything. And his response made it all the more clear that this opportunity isn’t for me.
Most recent grads are willing to accept a significant pay cut in order to work for a large company that portrays great values, culture, and leadership. However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between which companies that are actually living for these values, and which are only paying lip service.
Personally, I believe you need to identify certain red flags or warning signs from the very beginning, to make sure that it isn’t the company culture you signed up for. The incident above played a major part in my learning curve.
Here are a few ways you can learn more about the company culture before accepting the position:
- Ask the tough questions at your interview. You should ask for specific examples that demonstrate how the organization truly lives by their values and refers to them while taking decisions. Here are few good questions you could ask:
— What portion of your business is focused in a few major accounts or clients?
— When was the last time you pursued a bold new idea as an organization?
— How has your organization evolved over the years? How did you go about implementing those changes?
- Question the pace of recruitment. Think of it this way, if someone is quick to hire you, they’re just using you physically to fill a role. There should be a qualifying phone interview, which generally is to check a bunch of boxes, but the next meeting should have a decision maker present in the room.
- No one wants to work there for long. If people you meet have only been with the company for a short period of time, it indicates an unpleasant work environment. However, do some research by finding out if they’ve been expanding and what their reputation is amongst former employees. A quick tool to use here would be Google or just look them up on Glassdoor.
- They leave you hanging. When your employer waits a really long time after the initial interview before getting in touch with you about next steps, it is extremely disrespectful. Leaving candidates hanging without a word for weeks after an interview is discouraging. You can guess how a company treats their employees by how they treat their prospective employees.
- Always, trust your gut. There is no better indicator of potential cultural fit than your inner instincts. If your instincts tell you a company isn’t a good fit, listen to it. It’s almost like your second brain. If you walk in and don’t get a good feeling, it’s probably not going to get better.
You know what’s more important in life than a higher salary?