You know the feeling well. There’s that little niggle in your tummy on the first day of your new job… did you make the right choice?
Before too long, you’re swept up in the learning curve of the new role, meeting your team and getting to understand who’s who. But, the shine doesn’t last does it? That niggle returns, the politics creep in, the overtime starts adding up and the promotion slips even further away.
You may not have done all your research and might be feeling like it’s now too late… You’re stuck in a role you’ve only been in for a few months and you’re too fearful of the resume damage that might occur if you throw in the towel. What could you have done differently? How could you stop this from happening again?
It’s all down to a shift in mindset…
Don’t just go in promising everything
Too often, we head into interviews solely ready to sell ourselves. We’re so focused on what we have to offer the company, that we don’t think about what they are going to do for us, for our lives, for our careers.
“It’s not what you can do for your company, it’s about what your company can do for you.”
This is all down to a mindset issue – desperation, a feeling of ‘lack’ and a concern for security. Sure, we have bills to pay, but wouldn’t it feel better to have those bills paid by a company you morally align with? Does the industry you’re heading into conflict with your environmental beliefs? Are the working hours anti-social or inflexible? Just because you’ve been invited for an interview, does not mean that they are the right fit for you.
Take some time to think about what’s important to you – you could even write yourself a list of non-negotiables for any job role you apply for. Remember, you are an asset, not a cog in the machine.
It’s not enough, these days, for companies to offer statutory sick pay and nothing else. In our highly intense working environments, stress and poor mental health are more prevalent than ever. Whilst you may not have suffered from these issues in the past, it doesn’t mean that you’re immune for the foreseeable future.
Many companies are integrating a number of ‘mental health days’, in addition to their illness provision – allowing employees to take some downtime before stress and poor mental health starts to impact their work. 95% of employees who have taken time off due to stress, named another reason – such as an upset stomach or headache. What’s more, less than 30% of employees feel comfortable talking to their managers about their mental health.
Before you sign on the dotted line, ask to see their mental health manifesto or support plan. Look for concrete answers and examples of their commitment to this within their company ethos and your contract.
The questions YOU should be asking
Think it’s all about getting their questions right? No ma’m! Make sure you check how well the company you’re interviewing for tallies up. Ask questions to understand if the company personally aligns with your goals, whether that’s childcare, flexible hours, the option to work at home, transport initiatives or health care. If they can’t answer on the spot, invite them to follow up in an email. It might seem intimidating to turn the tables, but it actually shows integrity and a level of wider awareness.
Within the Females in Food Job search Accelerator, we provide a 72+ question guide on what questions you should be asking during an interview. To download, sign into the lounge or become a member today.
Be brave, be demonstrative
Have you ever come up against an interview question that starts with: “Give an example of a time when…”
Yuck! Such a toughy, right? Well, your interviewers should be able to answer the same type of questions about their company or role. If you’re concerned about the environmental impact, ask them for examples of sustainable initiatives or eco-schemes. Looking out for diversity? Ask for their gender, race and nationality ratios.
Don’t be scared to hunt out the facts you need to make your decision. No one wants to walk in on their first day to find themselves in a place that simply doesn’t reflect their own agenda – that’s a shortcut to disenfranchisement.
Align your values
In your personal life, what matters to you? Spending intentional, tech-free time with your family? Reducing your plastic intake? Sourcing sustainably sourced materials for your home?
Whatever it is, there is no reason that this shouldn’t translate into your workplace. As a vegan, are you concerned about how the canteen is managed? As an advocate for equity, are you asking questions about diversity, inclusion, and equity within the hiring process? As a woman, do you have concerns surrounding harassment or childcare provision? As a parent, are you conscious of how work-life affects your home life?
Before heading to an interview, or even before applying for a role, take the time to work on your non-negotiable values… and stick to them.
Make an impression in the first 90 seconds
Sure, you’ve heard this one before. You have the first 90 seconds of your interview to make an impression – but so often we focus on that impression being one of a polite, capable and well-meaning employee. What if we flicked the switch and started presenting ourselves as trail-blazing, confident and ground-breaking individuals with a strong moral code and high expectations? How would that look for you?
What would you have to say in the first 90 seconds of your interview to leave the interviewee with the impression you actually want them to have?
As part of Females in Food, we provide a job search accelerator program, as well as giving you a community of women to bounce ideas off inside the membership community. If you’re transitioning into a new role or are interviewing for one, why not delve into some of the support we’ve curated for you.