Friday, March 1, 2024

JT & Dale Talk Jobs: How to tell what it’s really like to work at a company

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Dear J.T. & Dale: How can you tell what a company is really like to work for? My last employer said all the right things in the job interviews, but once I got there, I realized they lied. I don’t want to go through that again. — Tara

J.T.: There are sites like Glassdoor where employees post anonymous reviews. That said, the best way is to come up with some intelligent questions to ask during the interview. My favorite is “Tell me about the most successful new hire in the last year, what made this person so effective?” Then, listen closely because what the manager says is what she/he values in a worker. If that sounds like you — great. But if not, you may want to pass.

DALE: And my favorite question to ask an interviewer is similar: “What kind of people do best here?” Asking it sends a clear message that you intend to be among the star performers. However, there is more to choosing an employer than hearing what they say to you in the interview process. You mentioned that your current employer lied to you. That’s quite possible, but it also happens that the hiring managers say things they believe — they could pass a lie detector test — but those assertions turn out to be quite untrue in your eventual experience. For instance, their idea of “advancement” might be quite different from what you think that term implies. So, you need to go beyond what you hear from those doing the interviewing.

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J.T.: In addition, do some online research, especially if it’s a public company. You can add some questions during your interview process — asking about whether the company is adding to the employee headcount, if it’s adding new customers, and about turnover of employees and customers. If the people interviewing you don’t like those questions, you have your answer.

CNN reports that ‘hot desking,’ also called hoteling, dynamic or agile seating, has become a popular trend among employers. “All across the board it’s happening. Everyone is doing a version of [hot desking].”,

Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site Dale Dauten’s latest book is “Experiments Never Fail: A Guide for the Bored, Unappreciated and Underpaid.” Visit them at, where you can send questions via email, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803.

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