No I’m not talking about how employers can screen you – I’m talking about the other angle.

So you’re applying for job and are terrified of the fact that you’re going to be screened then interviewed by a person who probably knows more about your work history than you can remember. Big deal!

Most people are under the impression that an ‘interview’ and ‘screening’ are a one way thing – that only Employers get to screen their future employees for jobs that are available. You have no idea how inaccurate this is! Everything as far as your career is concerned runs both ways.

You work with a company and help it earn more money – you get paid more
You bad mouth your company – recruiters see you as a bad choice and your options decrease
You transform your company into a great place to work, learn and earn – your job options suddenly go through the roof!

So everything runs both ways!! You do some good you get it right back, and so goes the ‘evil’. As the old saying goes… but I don’t need to repeat that.

Interviews

How do you “interview” a “company”?? Seriously if I invite a candidate in for an interview I know what to see, what to ask – and who to ask it to! Here’s my guidelines on how to “interview” the “company” you’re interviewing with:

1. See the company: Everything about how an organization’s office looks will tell you about how sound and healthy the company is. If it’s neat and clean; or poorly maintained, located in a crowded bustling suburb or a fancy downtown tower or maybe even a dilapidated building in the middle of nowhere – the place speaks volumes about what you’re signing up for!

2. What to ask: A great office need not be a great workplace and vice versa – what we want is a great workplace – so keeping that in mind there should be focus, positivity and happiness when you mention “office”. You may or may not find an appropriate question on these lines to ask your interviewer – so that’s clearly not the best source for this information.

3. Ask the company: Who better to answer the questions than your interviewer, right?

WRONG! There are people all around you – receptionists, office boys, maybe even janitors or delivery men – the people we foolishly think may be ‘low class’  can actually give us deep insight into the workings, ethics and future of the company.

Its simple: you walk into an office and find the receptionist lost and confused looking, the office boy annoyed and grumpy, and delivery men looking frustrated waiting at the door – even worse all three, you want to keep an eye open for more signs of negativity.

As Gandhi said – if you want to truly know a person’s heart, you can find that out from the way he treats his juniors – even more from the way he treats his servant.

Screening

Every employee’s background is looked into, and usually checked quite thoroughly for fraud or signs of poor work history. Depending on the post you’re applying for and the company you’re applying to, most stuff about you would be analyzed by either a professional investigator or as we see in India (ok not everyone does it – but some do) a police verification report.

Why then should a company’s history be a secret revealed only during induction? Naturally you expect to know what you’re getting yourself into, so get a move on and find out all you can! For this we need to revisit the social studies – History and Geography.

1. History of the company: When was it formed? By whom? Who of the original founders left or was ousted? How much did they earn in the first few years and when did they go public? Were they growing slower or faster or around the same pace? Did their first few CEOs or C-level employees quit within a year or is the current CEO the one who started the company?

This will tell you so much!! Whether the company was formed by people who had a long term strategy or whether it was a ‘get-rich-and-exit’ scheme for them, whether the environment was progressive or repressive – even about if they are as serious TODAY with their growth as they were back then. You can then decide if this is important to you, and if you will be able to make an impact here.

2. Geography of the company: Where did they start? Did they shift headquarters more than one a year? Are they still in the same neighbourhood thet started in? Have they moved across countries (eg. started in the US and then over time transferred operations entirely to India or vice-versa)? Did their current C-level people move across the country, or even more impressive across countries to join them? Are their most popular clients recognized in the same country or are their clients MNCs?

This again tells you how much you can grow! If the company has offices in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Dallas in the US, Walldorf in Germany, Dubai in the Middle East and India and Singapore in Asia – you can be rest assured there’s a lot to do and a lot to grow!

If the company started in India and launched their IPO just a few years back – but nearly tripled (or even more) their balance sheet numbers since then, then that’s really something – even more so if they were able to scale 10x. If they’ve bought multiple companies in countries with a higher currency value that’s a sign of sure greatness!

Every company has something to see, something to learn from and something that can help you grow. I’ve moved from IT Consultancy to Health care, Tourism to Non-profit and the one thing that’s remained in common – is ME. When I’ve applied for a job I’ve always walked into the interview knowing as much as I can about the company, so there’s nothing left to ask the interviewer. In fact they’re pleasantly surprised that I’ve researched so much about them – sometimes even slightly shocked – but never find me unprepared. After all when the linen was out of the closet I still found it interesting enough to go for the interview; and then they understand what I’m all about.

And as long as you’re focused on the future of your company (the one you’re working for; not the castle of dreams you may/may not create after you retire) – you will always grow, learn, innovate and CREATE!

Now go get that job, and make us all proud!

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About Chaitanya Dhareshwar

Chaitanya Dhareshwar, a Technocrat | CIO.

Member of various key technology and management organizations (IETF, ISOC, CSI)
with 14 years of technology management & advisory experience
has transformed companies from "stone age" to "space age". I build high-scale, self-sustaining, self-service platforms. Passionate about technology, innovation and creating killer opportunities that only great tech can bring. I've led teams from 5 - 150 people, and am hands-on with all forms of technology.

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