I’ve spoken to many grads and “first jobbers” over the last few years. Some of them know exactly what to look for, but there’s still a lot that are heading in the wrong direction.
The good thing about being right at the start of your career is that you’re allowed to get it wrong. If you join the wrong company there’s still plenty of time to change course, learn from your experience and move on.
Heck, most of us have made the wrong choice and that’s ok. More often than not, it’s actually helped our development. We’ve seen what bad looks like and what to avoid in future.
Having said that, ideally you want to make the right decision first time.
A lot of people get blinded by the company trips abroad, the ping-pong tables and free drinks on a Friday. These ‘perks’ can sometimes be covering up for huge failings elsewhere.
Other people are solely excited about earning a full wage for the first time and are chasing those grad-schemes with the company car and huge starting salaries.
I’m not saying this stuff is all bad. This stuff is great and if you can find it absolutely take advantage of it – just make sure this company is going to invest in you in other ways.
That’s what you want from an employer – development.
This is a big moment in your career and if you make the right decisions now it’ll really give you the edge when you inevitably move on with your career further down the line.
What does this mean?
It means this business has structures in place to teach you the skills you need to be a success in your current role and beyond.
If you want to master sales or digital marketing, for example – do they have relevant academies internally?
If you want to be a people manager – do they have management training in place?
Find these things out before you take a job with them. The last thing you want is to turn up on your first day, be given your brand new Mac and company merch (so you can market them on LinkedIn and Instagram) and told to just get on with it.
There are also other questions you can ask to find out the businesses’ general approach to learning and development…
“What does your onboarding program look like?”
“How many grads/apprentices do you hire every year?” (The more they hire the more likely they are to have structured training in place).
“How much money do you provide per head for additional training?”
“What online resources will I have access to?”
There’s a lot more you could ask in an interview, but you’ll want to ask about other important things as well.
If you receive satisfactory answers to these questions, you know you’re on the right track. If the interviewer becomes hesitant to answer these questions or reverts back to the company socials – big red flag.
I hope that helps.