When you search for jobs online, you need to gather information to be able to evaluate the work opportunities that you find. Consider one of the most important questions you can ask your next boss or anyone who is interviewing you. You will learn volumes about the company culture and what they really value.
Of course, you probably go to a job interview with a written list of prepared questions. It is an important part of showing that you come prepared and finding out more about where you may be working next.
The problem is that every company is likely to say pretty much the same thing regardless of how they operate. Instead of asking if they appreciate teamwork and initiative, try to get more specific. Ask them to identify who they consider a star employee and why.
There are several advantages to this approach. If you get hired, you will know who to watch and emulate. While you are a unique individual, you can always look for ways to learn from another person and adapt their style to suit your personal strengths and skills.
It is also revealing to see how much enthusiasm goes into the description. If your potential supervisor seems hesitant to say anything favorable about the employees they already work with, that could be a cause for concern. Maybe they are largely focused on themselves and will not be very available to you. Maybe there are serious conflicts and divisions already in place.
On the other hand, if you hear a generous and insightful round of praise, you may feel reassured. It is a good sign that employees receive appropriate recognition for their efforts and that you may get the same treatment.
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