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    Is Your Workplace Toxic? How to Know — And What To Do Next

    Do you dread going to work in the morning? You might not dislike your actual job, but the culture or environment of your workplace itself. Unfortunately, a toxic workplace is all too common and can be difficult to handle.

    You’ve got an inbox full of real work to do. Yet, you spend much of your time at work worrying about a negative boss or a colleague who always blames others. A toxic workplace can leave you feeling drained, demoralized, and disengaged. But how do you know if your workplace is toxic? And more importantly, what steps can you take to navigate or escape that environment?

    If you’re stuck in a bad situation, use this blog as a guide to handle it. We’ll delve into the telltale signs of toxicity in the workplace and provide actionable strategies to reclaim your well-being and career satisfaction.

    Signs of a toxic workplace

    1. Poor leadership

    Toxic workplaces are often characterized by ineffective or abusive leadership. This can manifest in various forms, including micromanagement, favoritism, lack of transparency, and a disregard for employee well-being.

    2. Negative culture

    If negativity pervades the office atmosphere, it could be a sign of toxicity. Gossip, backstabbing, and a general sense of distrust among colleagues indicate underlying issues that need to be addressed.

    3. Lack of support

    In healthy work environments, employees feel supported and valued by their superiors and peers. However, in toxic workplaces, you may find yourself constantly undermined, belittled, or ignored, with little to no avenues for assistance or guidance.

    4. High turnover rates

    Pay attention to the rate at which employees come and go. A consistently high turnover rate may indicate systemic problems within the organization, such as poor management, unrealistic expectations, or a toxic culture.

    5. Stress and burnout

    Chronic stress and burnout are common symptoms of a toxic work environment. Perhaps, you find yourself constantly on edge, experiencing physical symptoms like headaches or insomnia, or feeling emotionally drained. It’s likely your workplace is taking a toll on your well-being.

    What to do next

    Realize you’re not alone

    “Everybody has a terrible workplace story. May it be micro-managers or owners that are temperamental, the examples of poor business leaders are endless,” says Steve Farber, president of Extreme Leadership, Inc.

    While it may not be in your best interest to discuss the environment with colleagues while you are physically in the office, it can be helpful to talk to others who are experiencing similar situations. Find out how your friends and mentors use healthy coping strategies in their workplaces. Evaluate which strategies work for your personality and situation.

    When it comes to talking to your own colleagues about employers and bosses, remember it’s best to do it over coffee or a drink. Leave the conversations outside the workplace. You don’t want to add fuel to the fire.

    Document your effort

    When you work in a toxic environment, your work may be called into question, you may feel like you are blindsided by sudden deadlines or expectations, or you may simply receive nasty or unprofessional emails.

    To combat this, rely on written communications to back you up. If your boss says they want reports on their desk by 5 p.m. Friday, follow up with an email confirming when you’ll have the completed reports. This way, when Wednesday rolls around and suddenly the reports are “late,” you’ll have an email chain (as opposed to an offhand remark) to back you up.

    Further, you can jot down notes about toxic situations as they unfold. Farber encourages employees to “document what is happening, and try to meet in-person with their boss or HR to go over any concerns, or continue on their path to professional growth and search for a healthier work environment elsewhere.”

    Interview the workplace

    When you’re interviewing for a job, remember that it’s not just about you. It’s about them too! It’s important to create a non-negotiable list of what’s most important for you in a new job. Keep this list in mind to evaluate before, after, and during your interview.

    Emily Merrell, founder of Six Degrees Society, says, “How badly do you want to work from home on Fridays? Is this a culture where they offer training or are you thrown right in? I would also grab a coffee and talk to previous employees of the company and ask them about their experience there and why they left.” Former employees will be free to speak more candidly about their experiences, giving you a good indication of what the culture is like.

    Assess your health and happiness

    “A toxic workplace can bring teamwork to a grinding halt, jeopardizing goals, affecting employee retention, and potentially becoming an enormous liability,” says Farber. “Some clear signs include not listening to their employees, constantly blaming others when things go wrong, focusing on the negative, and not setting goals or providing enough instruction to their team.”

    If these things drive you crazy, it may be time to move on, especially if your health is at stake. A toxic environment can hurt your morale and your health. If you’ve noticed you’re grinding your teeth, clenching your jaw, or getting stress headaches at work, it’s probably not worth staying. Move on to a company or organization that values your contributions and treats you fairly.

    Related: How to Identify Value-Driven Employers in the Job Search

    Move on from a toxic workplace

    Trust yourself, advocate for your needs, and pursue opportunities that align with your values and aspirations. If you’re ready to be in a better role and workplace, check out how Hired helps jobseekers find dream jobs. We work with companies hiring around the world for remote, hybrid, and in-office positions.

    Originally published October 2016. Updated February 2024. More

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    6 Best Apps to Increase Your Attention Span Now

    In season 1 of Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso, Ted helps his star defender Sam focus his attention span on the future and ‘forget’ past mistakes saying, simply, “Be a goldfish.” His wisdom is a great reminder to increase your concentration and focus on the right things. Whether it’s to avoid dwelling on a missed goal or progress on a project at work, how do you train your brain for better focus? How do you improve your attention span? 

    Since the year 2000, about the time the mobile revolution began, the average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. Even goldfish consistently hold higher attention spans at 9 seconds! (Maybe we should be like them?) 

    The Internet is fun and full of distractions: indeed, your work efficiency can suffer from liking too many cat videos on YouTube or researching way too much Fantasy Football. Maybe people in your open office setting rehashing inane reality shows compounds your issues. 

    Luckily, there are ways to use technology to maximize your focus and increase productivity. Here are six apps to increase your attention span.

    Why attention span is important

    Whether you’re studying, working, or simply trying to enjoy a moment of peace, a longer attention span enables deeper focus and engagement. Without it, tasks take longer to complete, mistakes increase, and overall productivity suffers.

    In an interview with CBS, attention researcher Gloria Mark explains three major consequences of a shorter attention span: 

    “People make more errors when they do attention-shifting.”

    “It takes longer to do something because we have to reorient to every new task every time we shift.” (This is known as the switch cost – the additional effort in reorienting ourselves.)

    “Maybe this is the worst of all: stress increases. When people are working on multiple tasks and they have to shift their attention, their blood pressure rises.”

    Can attention span be improved?

    Luckily, attention span is not set in stone. You can improve it with consistent practice and the right techniques. Just as physical exercise strengthens muscles, training your attention can enhance your ability to concentrate for longer periods. 

    Using attention training apps (we’ll get to those soon!) and techniques can help rewire your brain for sustained focus and better cognitive control.

    Are our attention spans getting shorter?

    Over the past few decades, researchers have found that people’s attention spans have shrunk considerably. With the constant bombardment of information and the rise of digital distractions, it’s no wonder this is the case. 

    However, it’s not all doom and gloom. While our environment may be challenging our ability to focus, advancements in technology also provide solutions to combat this trend. By leveraging attention apps and games designed to enhance focus, individuals can counteract the effects of a fast-paced digital world.

    How to increase your attention span

    Increasing your attention span requires a combination of discipline, mindfulness, and targeted practice. Here are a few ideas for non-digital solutions: 

    Practice attentive listening

    Read more – and block distractions while you do it

    Get some exercise 

    Limit distractions and social media use

    Focus on doing one thing at a time – resist multitasking

    Fortunately, there are also numerous apps available that offer effective strategies for attention training. These apps use meditation, cognitive exercises, and habit-building to help users strengthen their focus muscles over time. By incorporating these apps into your daily routine, you can gradually increase your attention span and improve concentration.

    Try these top apps to improve your attention span

    1. Forest

    The Forest app uses gamification to encourage focused work sessions. Users plant virtual trees that grow while they concentrate but wither if they leave the app. It’s a fun and effective way to stay on task and avoid distractions.

    Even better, Forest partners with an organization to plant real trees on Earth. With this app, you have the opportunity to both do good and feel good! Purchase it for your Android or iOS device.

    2. Headspace

    Primarily known for its meditation features, Headspace offers features specifically designed to improve focus and attention. With guided mindfulness sessions and interactive challenges, it’s a comprehensive solution for enhancing cognitive control. 

    In its mission to help you “be kind to your mind,” the app offers workouts, playlists, and sleep sounds, in addition to 500+ meditations. The app offers paid plans for both Android devices and iOS devices. 

    3. Peak 

    As a brain training app, Peak offers a variety of games and challenges to sharpen cognitive skills, including attention and focus. With personalized workouts tailored to your strengths and weaknesses, it’s an engaging way to boost mental performance.

    The games are designed to push users through short, intense workouts. They test focus, memory, mental agility, and more. Try them out on the app. It’s available for free for both iOS and Android devices.

    4. Lumosity

    Lumosity, developed by game designers and scientists, is one of the most popular apps for improving brain functioning. Known as a gym for your brain, Lumosity uses interactive games and training exercises to improve memory, processing speed, attention span, and overall cognitive ability. 

    First, you take a fit test for a baseline score and see how you compare to others in your group. From there you are given a daily workout plan, where you can track your scores and progress, and get insights from that data.

    Currently, there are over 50 games on Lumosity, and the app is available for both iOS and Android devices. Basic membership requires no fee. The monthly membership subscription does cost money, but it enables full access to all of the app’s features.

    5. CogniFit

    With the CogniFit app, you begin with an initial assessment quiz to measure your cognitive abilities and personalize a training program to address cognitive deficiencies. The game also has specialized training programs for concentration, ADHD, mental planning, and other areas where attention is required. Even cooler, you can challenge friends and earn “neurons” (the game’s currency) from the game’s platform when you perform well.

    The game is available for both Android devices and iOS devices. A basic membership is free and allows access to some games. A full membership requires either monthly or annual payment and allows access to all training programs.

    6. Elevate

    Experts in neuroscience have offered their expertise in the creation of Elevate, an app that gives you new challenges each day on over 35 cognitive skills. The app has numerous training exercises to help with attention, including those centered on concentration, processing speed, brevity, precision, visualization, and other areas.

    The free app is on iOS and Android devices. If you want to take advantage of all Elevate has to offer, you’ll need to make in-app purchases.

    Bonus: Calm

    While not an app with games to improve attention spans, Calm has a variety of tools to manage stress and anxiety, get better sleep, and feel more present. It offers soundscapes and music playlists to tune out distractions and increase focus. It also offers meditation and mindful movement sessions to improve well-being.

    Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, Calm offers a free and a paid version with the difference being access to more content. They also offer Calm Business, as an employee benefit, sharing 21% of Calm users are more engaged at work. 

    While the digital age challenges our ability to pay attention, it also provides tools and solutions to improve our attention spans. By incorporating attention training apps into your daily routine and adopting mindful practices, you can increase your focus, boost productivity, and thrive in an increasingly distracted world. 

    Would you rather focus on a new job?

    If you’re ready to switch your focus to a better role for you, check out how Hired helps jobseekers find dream jobs. We work with companies hiring around the world for remote, hybrid, and in-office positions. Salary transparency is a must, because we respect the time of both parties and want long-term success for employees and employers.

    Originally written by Nicholas Callos in September 2016. Updated by the Hired Content Team in February 2024.  More

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    Tech Candidate Spotlight – James Turner, Senior Mobile Engineer

    Can you share a little bit about your educational background?

    I have a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from Hampshire College. I also have 40+ years of self-learning new technologies as I worked in the tech industry. My BA has had the biggest impact on my career. I was able to spend a year working at the MIT AI lab and LISP Machine Incorporated as part of my degree. That gave me a big step up in entering the workforce.

    Related: Ready to Start Programming with AI? A Quick Guide for Software Engineers

    What would you like to learn more about?

    I’d like to get better at 3D design and CAD. I specifically want to learn more about and become proficient in using Blender to do organic designs and animation poses. Outside of tech, I’d like to get better at welding!

    What led you to pursue a career in tech?

    I’ve been interested in computers ever since I got to play with one at the Boston Museum of Science. Later, in high school I had the chance to work with PDP-8s. I quickly fell in love with programming. I became so interested that my advisor threatened to cut off my access so I would concentrate on my other subjects!

    How has your skill set evolved throughout your career?

    When I first started, FORTRAN and Pascal were the cutting-edge languages. C was the newcomer. I had an advantage in that I learned LISP as one of my early languages. When OOP came along later, I was already familiar with the idea. The big change has been the cutover from monolithic architectures to distributed ones. And of course, mobile was an entirely new domain to become proficient in.

    Related: What are the Best Programming Languages to Get a Software Developer Job? (Video)

    If you chose to specialize in one area, what was it and why?

    I’ve always been a generalist, able to do client, server, or now, mobile work. I have also spent time doing system admin, teaching, and video production. I tend to specialize for a portion of my career but still keep a broad outlook.

    Is your new role different from previous ones?

    It’s another mobile position, but in a brand new industry for me (real estate management). It’s also a strange mix of a startup with very deep pockets.

    What are you most excited about in your new role?

    It’s a chance to revolutionize a stagnant industry with new technology and a new outlook on the renting experience. I’m also thrilled to be a part of a greenfield development effort, which is something I love to do. The people I have talked to at the company have also been a lot of fun.

    What was your job search experience like before you joined Hired?

    I would post to job boards, apply to anything that looked promising, and try to connect with one or more recruiting firms that seemed to be interested in working with me. Then rinse, lather, and repeat.

    What’s your best advice for jobseekers on the Hired platform? 

    Get your resume in shape and spend the time to at least run it through some of the resume-tuning tools online. Because you don’t tailor your resume to each position on Hired, make sure that what you’re presenting is a good match for the kind of jobs you want.

    Related: Get Employers’ Attention: How to Craft an Effective Hired Jobseeker Profile Headline

    What would you tell someone who’s curious about Hired?

    Hired has consistently delivered high-quality opportunities for me, without spamming me with poor matches. The last two jobs I landed came from Hired, and they made a point to keep me in the loop through the entire process.

    Any general advice you’d like to give other tech professionals?

    Keep your skill set fresh and play with the tech for fun. If you don’t have some Raspberry Pis, get some. They are cheap and you can find a million uses for them. The people in the industry who do best are the ones who don’t walk away from the tech when the work day is done.

    Thanks for sharing, James! Looking for a tech or sales role? Complete your free Hired profile today!

    Looking for tech talent like James? Get a customized demo.

    About Flow

    Flow is transforming the residential rental experience by bringing together the worlds of community, real estate, property management, and financial services. Founded in 2022, Flow has 51-200 employees and is headquartered in New York. More

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    Tech Candidate Spotlight – Dmitry Cheryasov, Senior Software Engineer

    Can you share a little bit about your educational background?

    I have a Master’s degree in computer control systems from 1995. I also completed some postgrad studies in visual programming (one of the fashions of the day). As a junior developer, I pursued various certifications (Java, SQL, HTML, etc). Eventually, my work history became a better certification.

    Related: Inside the Coding Challenge: A Hiring Manager’s Perspective

    Which educational opportunities made the biggest impact on your tech career?

    A computer at home as a teenager. The tinker-friendly nature of 8-bit home computers, their simplicity, and immediate feedback were very inviting. The best analogy today would be to a web browser.

    Various books on electronics, computers, and mathematics also made an impact. Plus, a computer club about writing programs, not (only) playing games. Working as a programmer part-time during my university years helped too. It allowed me to more clearly see the questions to which the university courses were providing answers.

    What would you like to learn more about?

    The human mind and how to best drive it. It’s the principal tool of a knowledge worker. Structures, nature, and behavior of various complex systems, because this is what a software engineer works with every day.

    What led you to pursue a career in tech?

    It was just naturally exciting. Computer programming is the closest approximation of magic in the real world, complete with cryptic spells 🙂 But, unlike magic, it’s based on logic. And I’m comfortable with logic. Also, a career in tech, unlike a career in academia, helps bring home the bacon much better.

    How has your skill set evolved throughout your career?

    I’ve tried many things, but soon enough gravitated towards backend development, mostly through work on databases and programming tools. I tried to learn something new all the time in background mode, before the particular technology was in the spotlight: Java, networking, Linux, PHP, Python, Javascript, functional programming, etc.

    Usually, it takes 5-6 years between the time I start paying attention to something and the time when this thing becomes important in my work, directly or obliquely. For instance, I never used Haskell in production, but learning it helped me a lot to write better Python and Javascript.

    Related: What are the Best Programming Languages to Get a Software Developer Job? (Video)

    If you chose to specialize in one area, what was it and why?

    Once you become sufficiently good in some areas, it becomes more costly to pivot. I ended up working on backend software. One of the reasons is likely that backends are more often implemented solidly, with requirements less fleeting, even though more demanding. But I always try to have some idea about the areas around me. While I’m not turning into a full-time fronted developer, UX designer, SRE, ML engineer, product manager, etc, I try to try my hand at everything, given a chance. This lets me have a common language with colleagues who work in these areas.

    Is your new role different from previous ones?

    My new role is an unfamiliar industry that requires quite specific knowledge. Otherwise, it’s pretty similar: design and build software, and communicate with people as a part of it.

    Related: How to Maximize Your Job Offer as a Remote Engineer

    What are you most excited about in your new role?

    It’s a kind of role I understand and like. I also work with great colleagues in a solid engineering culture. What we are building is replacing ancient systems and improving things for a large number of pharmacy workers. Also, the company has a solid and growing business, indicating stability.

    Related: Top Employers Winning Tech Talent in 2023

    What was your job search experience like before you joined Hired?

    Hired landed me a job twice! Plus, several job offers. I have contacts with several recruiters, too. What makes Hired stand out is a clear process and good quality leads. Hired matches my skills and requirements well. It saves a lot of time and effort. Other services tend to overflow my inbox with enticing but often somehow off-the-mark suggestions, which have to be filtered laboriously.

    What’s your best advice for jobseekers on the Hired platform? 

    Formulate clearly what you want and what you are experienced in. Things requiring soft skills are valuable so mention them. Earn some badges because it shows you can code and know the basics. If you built something interesting, by all means mention it.

    What would you tell someone who’s curious about Hired?

    If you need a job, Hired is a solid resource. Put in the effort to fill in all the information. It will pay off. If you present yourself as an interesting candidate and have a polished profile, your profile may be featured. That’s a serious boost.

    Any general advice you’d like to give other tech professionals?

    Keep learning. Stay curious. Find fun bits in and outside of daily work. Look around and try to grasp the bigger picture. The machines are not going to replace us. Instead, they are going to empower us further.

    Related: Ready to Start Programming with AI? A Quick Guide for Software Engineers

    Thanks for sharing, Dmitry! Looking for a tech or sales role? Complete your free Hired profile today!

    Looking for tech talent like Dmitry? Get a customized demo.

    About Capital Rx

    Capital Rx is reinventing the way pharmacy benefits are priced and evaluated. Founded in 2018, it has 501-1000 employees and is headquartered in New York.

    Benefits

    401K plan, performance bonus, health/dental/vision/life/disability insurance, unlimited time off, company activities, stock options, and more.

    Tech Stack

    Python, React, AWS, Redux More

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    Tech Candidate Spotlight – Christine Kim, Senior Software Engineer

    Can you share a little bit about your educational background?

    I graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from Brandeis University. I also worked at the IT Help Desk while at school, and had an engineering internship my junior year summer.

    Having a solid foundation during my B.S. Computer Science degree made the biggest impact on my tech career. Since then, I had supportive managers who encouraged learning and attending conferences.

    What would you like to learn more about?

    Eventually, I want to take on a people manager role and would love to know what that entails. I’m sure there are a lot of things that I don’t yet have experience with.

    What led you to pursue a career in tech?

    I wasn’t one of those students who always knew I loved coding or computers. But in high school, I took one mandatory Computer Science class. Even then, I didn’t take away much except that it was pretty fun and made a lot of sense to me. Later, when I went to college, I realized CS could be a career.

    How has your skill set evolved throughout your career?

    At first, I came with a lot of basics and academic part of Computer Science knowledge. I didn’t yet know how I would apply it to real-life projects. But through my internship and personal projects, I saw how a real company runs. Then, in the first few years of my career, I rotated around different teams and projects. I realized what I really loved and that I was passionate about Android Development.

    Related: Ready to Start Programming with AI? A Quick Guide for Software Engineers

    If you chose to specialize in one area, what was it and why?

    I chose to pursue Android Development in depth because something about the platform resonated with me. I personally prefer Androids for my mobile device, but that wasn’t the complete reason. I enjoy that Android development feels like a mix of back-end and front-end engineering, and I like how easily accessible and visible my work can be.

    Is your new role different from previous ones?

    My new role is completely remote, which is different from my in-office role at my last company. Although my last company transitioned to being remote during the pandemic, I still had a rapport from the in-office days. That kind of connection is harder when you start with a remote company, but I love the culture of flexibility and work-life balance.

    Related: How to Maximize your Job Offer as a Remote Engineer

    What are you most excited about in your new role?

    I’m most excited about getting to know the product space better because it’s not a product that I personally use or have experience with. I’m also excited about working with the native mobile SDK. It’s different from the feature work that I’m used to doing.

    What was your job search experience like before you joined Hired?

    It was really hard to find the right opportunities for me, and I wasn’t even sure if I was looking in the right places. It was also a lot of legwork on my part to find those opportunities, apply, and then wait indefinitely for somebody to reach back out.

    Related: 9 Smart Tips for Jobseekers to Identify & Avoid Job Scams in 2023

    What’s your best advice for jobseekers on the Hired platform? 

    I think having a solid profile is the most helpful. That way, recruiters can best assess your background and send you the job opportunities that you are best fit for. After that, it’s all about being patient and going back to interview basics.

    Related: Get Employers’ Attention: How to Craft an Effective Hired Jobseeker Profile Headline

    What would you tell someone who’s curious about Hired?

    Hired is a no-brainer to sign up on Hired. It widens your search for a new job and gives you a better fighting chance than a lot of other platforms.

    Any general advice you’d like to give other tech professionals?

    Going back to interview basics is important no matter where you are in your career. And it’s equally as important to know how to present your valuable experience in a short amount of time in an interview setting.

    Thanks for sharing, Christine! Looking for a tech or sales role? Complete your free Hired profile today!

    Looking for tech talent like Christine? Get a customized demo.

    About DraftKings

    DraftKings is an innovative daily fantasy sports contest and sports betting company. Founded in 2012, DraftKings has 1501-5000 employees and is headquartered in Boston.

    Benefits

    401K plan, tuition reimbursement, health/dental/vision/life/disability insurance, diversity program, flexible working hours, employee groups and committees, and more.

    Tech Stack

    C#.NET MVC, React, JavaScript, Swift, AWS, MySQL, Bitbucket, JIRA, Datadog, RabbitMQ, Python, Confluence, Single-Page Applications, Redis, AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB), Amazon Relational Databases (RDS), .NET, Xamarin, Octopus Deploy, Bamboo, Git, Elastic Stack (ELK), new relic, TypeScript, Redux, Docker, Chef, Powershell, Ubuntu, NGINX, VMWare vSphere, Akamai, Kotlin, Solidity More

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    Why You Should Ask for a Reverse Interview (& How to Prep for It)

    Job interviews are typically seen as a one-way street – employers asking the questions and candidates providing the answers. While your primary goal in an interview is to advance in the hiring process, it’s also an opportunity to evaluate whether or not the job is a good fit for you. This is where a reverse interview comes in. It empowers you to take a more active role in the conversation. After all, you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you.

    What is a reverse interview? 

    A reverse interview, also known as a “reverse job interview” or “candidate-led interview,” is a type of job interview where the candidate asks the questions. The purpose of a reverse interview is for the candidate to gain a deeper understanding of the company, team, and job role, and to assess whether the organization is the right fit for their career goals and values.

    During a reverse interview, the candidate typically asks questions that go beyond the surface-level information provided in the job description or initial interviews. These questions are designed to uncover important details about the company’s culture, expectations, and work environment, as well as to assess whether the company aligns with the candidate’s professional and personal aspirations.

    In a reverse interview, you gather information that goes beyond what is typically found in job descriptions or company websites. This proactive approach not only demonstrates the candidate’s genuine interest in the position. It also helps them make informed decisions about whether the company and role are the right fit for their skills, values, and career aspirations.

    By engaging in a two-way conversation, you gain valuable insights into the work environment, expectations, and growth potential within the company. Ultimately, a reverse interview is a powerful tool for both the candidate and the employer, fostering a more transparent and collaborative hiring process where both parties can assess if there is a mutual fit and alignment of goals.

    The benefits of a reverse interview

    Showcasing your interest

    A reverse interview is a golden opportunity to demonstrate your genuine interest in the company and the role. By asking insightful questions, you convey that you are not just looking for any job but are invested in finding the right fit.

    Assessing cultural alignment

    Culture is a crucial aspect of job satisfaction. A reverse interview allows you to delve into the company’s values, work environment, and team dynamics. This insight helps you evaluate whether the organization aligns with your professional and personal values.

    Understanding expectations

    Flip the script and ask about the day-to-day responsibilities, project expectations, and success metrics for the role. This not only shows your proactive approach but also ensures you have a clear understanding of what is expected in the position.

    Gaining insider perspectives

    Engaging in a reverse interview provides you with valuable insights from those on the inside. Ask about the challenges and opportunities the team faces, and listen for cues on how the company addresses these aspects. This firsthand information is priceless.

    How to prepare for a reverse interview

    Research extensively

    Before the interview, delve into the company’s culture, recent projects, and any news or updates. This knowledge equips you to ask specific and informed questions, showcasing your dedication and preparation.

    Craft thoughtful questions

    Prepare a list of questions that go beyond the superficial. Inquire about the team’s collaboration style, the company’s approach to innovation, or any recent successes. Thoughtful questions demonstrate your strategic thinking and genuine interest.

    Related: Best Reverse Interview Questions; How to Offer Reverse Interviews 

    Tailor your questions

    Customize your questions based on the role and industry. Tailoring your queries to the specifics of the position not only showcases your understanding but also highlights your suitability for the role.

    Practice active listening

    During the reverse interview, practice active listening. Pay attention to the responses and use them to guide follow-up questions. This not only demonstrates your engagement but also allows for a more natural and dynamic conversation.

    Related: Want to Ace Behavioral Interviews? A Guide to Prep Jobseekers 

    3 examples of questions to ask in a reverse interview 

    There are many questions you could ask to learn more about the organization, the company culture, the nature of the work, and measures of success in the job. Here are a few questions to shed some light during the reverse interview on what it might be like to work for that employer.

    Related: What Questions to Ask Your Interviewer During Your Employer OnSite

    1. What decisions can I make without approvals?

    It’s important to know how much autonomy you’ll have performing your job function. It’s even more important to ensure your expectations are aligned. The details can be worked out after you start the job, but it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into ahead of time. Will you be working for a micromanager or someone who gives you direction and lets you run with it?

    A more senior role may come with more autonomy, while a junior position will have less. Countless decisions can range from expenditures to resource allocation to agreements with vendors and other partners, depending on the specific job function. The important thing is to get an understanding of the degree of autonomy you will have in the context of the job role and level of seniority.

    For an engineering or technical role, understand:

    the limits of your authority to determine the course of a project

    the approach to solving a particular problem

    when and how to engage with other parts of the organization

    2. How does the team communicate?

    Effective communication is a critical factor in the success of any organization. Work has become increasingly collaborative, especially in engineering and technical fields, and communication styles can vary widely among managers. Exploring how team members communicate with each other and with the manager will give you an indication of the pace of work and team dynamics.

    Technology has given us a wide range of communication and collaboration tools for real-time messaging, document sharing, and audio and video conferencing. Which of these tools are in use within the organization, and which ones the manager prefers to use, is an important element of the work environment. Is the role remote? If so, it’s even more critical to understand integration into team meetings and the daily flow of communication.

    Do they prefer written or verbal communication?

    Do they like to meet face to face when possible?

    Do they want regular updates, or do they only need to know when something deviates from the plan?

    Think about how these communication styles compare with your preferences. Consider how you might accommodate any differences.

    3. How do you bring out the best in people?

    It goes without saying: you’ll present yourself as a self-motivated and driven professional during the interview. But a good manager understands the importance of creating an environment for each individual on their team to flourish. How an organization views this aspect provides insight into their values and working for them.

    Do they take an interest in the professional development of their team members?

    How do they remove roadblocks and protect the team from internal and external demands that distract from the true priorities?

    To what extent do you have opportunities to be mentored or coached?

    Discussing these topics shows you how supportive you can expect this person to be.

    Use reverse interview questions to find the right fit

    Asking for a reverse interview is not just a bold move; it’s a strategic one. The interviewing process is all about finding the right fit, and this applies equally to the employer and the jobseeker. Is the job a good match for your skills, interests, and values? 

    If so, there is a foundation for a good working relationship and you are more likely to be a productive and successful employee. By actively participating in the conversation, you position yourself as a candidate who is not only qualified but also deeply committed to finding the right professional home.  More

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    How to Identify Value-Driven Employers in the Job Search

    Values are the principles guiding actions and decision-making. Company values not only shape the workplace and culture but the hiring process too – and in turn, your job search. As this turbulent hiring market tests employers and their commitments, jobseekers should understand which companies remain dedicated to their values. 

    Three pillars of hiring: equity, efficiency, and transparency

    At Hired, we believe the most successful companies are guided by strong employer brand values and fair hiring practices. Our observations of successful companies tell us equity, efficiency, and transparency are key to making hiring better for everyone.

    Equity levels the playing field to open opportunities to a diverse range of talent and reduces the wage gap by offering fair pay. Efficiency expresses how streamlined companies are when advancing candidates through the hiring funnel. Transparency refers to how openly companies communicate salaries or salary bands to candidates, as well as insights into the hiring process and expectations. 

    On Hired, we find that transparent expectations through detailed jobseeker profiles and openness about jon preferences lead to better matches and is a productive use of both parties’ time.

    Why equity, efficiency, and transparency matter to jobseekers

    Equity

    The challenges of 2023 – economic uncertainty and layoffs to name a few – put DEIB at risk. Some companies scaled back DEIB efforts when budgets shrank. However, the best employers and those who will succeed in 2024 are the ones who continue to prioritize and stay accountable to DEIB initiatives. Forward-thinking companies know that bias-free processes lead to more innovation, higher retention, and better performance. 

    Underrepresented jobseekers often face systemic biases and barriers that prevent equitable access to opportunities. This is frustrating and often disheartening, especially as it affects overall career advancement. 

    Equitable hiring keeps companies accountable and creates fair and unbiased opportunities for jobseekers to succeed. Equitable companies foster inclusive cultures where employees feel respected, valued, and supported to reach their full potential. They enact policies that provide access to growth opportunities and flexibility so employees thrive personally and professionally. Fair hiring practices speak volumes about the supportive, fulfilling work environment you’d experience as an employee. 

    Efficiency

    The hiring process is already stressful as is. Jobseekers certainly don’t need an unorganized interview process on top of that. Have you spent time jumping through hoops just to reschedule last minute – or worse, be ghosted entirely? Even experienced talent are facing inefficient, opaque hiring processes that waste time, generate anxiety, and create barriers to career advancement. 

    The good news is that companies with efficient hiring processes are out there and they’re fostering positive candidate experiences. An efficient hiring process shows a company respects jobseekers’ time, has an organized culture, and uses best practices to facilitate skills-based hiring.

    The companies that streamline their processes value your time and energy. When you experience an organized, fast, and respectful interview process, you know that culture carries through the entire company. Consider an efficient hiring process a first look into:

    Work culture

    How organized a company is

    How decisions are made

    What working cross-functionally is like

    Transparency

    Talking about money shouldn’t be uncomfortable – especially when it’s employers discussing salaries with candidates. Luckily, 2023 brought meaningful progress in salary transparency, thanks to laws enacted across the country. 

    Salary transparency leads to fair, equitable pay and informed negotiations. This fosters trust and advocates for merit-based recognition. Open compensation practices empower employees through insight into growth trajectories and ensure they are valued competitively. 

    Many companies are now publicly sharing salary ranges for open roles, which empowers jobseekers to advocate for fair pay. When candidates know where they stand, they can confidently step into a role that recognizes their worth. Plus, companies that post salary ranges and openly discuss compensation philosophies are more likely to pay employees fairly, award merit and advancement, and eliminate wage gaps.

    How to evaluate an employer’s commitment to these values

    Ideally, every company will embody equity, efficiency, and transparency in their actions and not just words. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. The hiring process and day-to-day culture may not reflect what’s outlined on the company website. So how can jobseekers assess how committed employers really are to these values? 

    Signals to look for from employers

    To find out whether an employer is equitable: 

    Listen for specific, detailed responses from an interviewer to equity-related questions. Can they give examples of what they’re doing to drive DEIB forward? 

    Research company policies on DEIB, their track record in hiring and promoting diverse candidates, and initiatives to support a diverse workforce

    Take the details into account: How serious are they about representation? Are you only being interviewed by white men? Are you interviewed by women but realize they’re the only ones at the company?

    Read company reviews online to get a feel for their current/former employees’ thoughts on equity

    Review if they have won awards, are involved with charitable giving, or have employee resource groups

    To get a feel for how efficient an employer is, look for these cues: 

    A clear and concise interview structure

    Prompt follow-ups and responses

    Well-organized communication from the company

    No last-minute cancellations or rescheduling

    An interview panel that is up to speed and doesn’t waste time

    Clear information is provided about the role and company 

    Instead of ghosting, they communicate clearly and honestly (and don’t leave you waiting indefinitely!) 

    To understand how an employer values transparency: 

    Observe whether they share salaries or salary bands

    Evaluate their openness (or lack thereof) to negotiation

    Research industry standards (try Hired’s Salary Calculator!)

    Inquire about the company’s compensation philosophy in the interview process

    When evaluating an offer, consider the entire compensation package beyond just salary, including benefits and bonuses

    Research the company’s reputation regarding employee satisfaction and fair compensation

    Research news articles, funding announcements, yearly revenue growth/declines, stock filings, quarterly reports, and layoffs

    How to ask about company values in interviews

    To inquire about equity you might ask: 

    “How do you ensure fair and unbiased hiring decisions?”

    “How do you support employees of different backgrounds in their career advancement,?”

    “How do you accommodate different needs and work styles in your team?”

    “What is the company’s approach to work-life balance and flexible working arrangements?”

    “Does your company offer equitable career progression opportunities for growth of employees with varying backgrounds within the same role?”

    “Do you think the career advancement policies of the company are fair for all, regardless of their background?”

    To inquire about efficiency you might ask: 

    “What is the company’s approach to decision-making and project management?”

    “How do you ensure effective communication among teams?”

    “What systems and tools are in place for tracking progress and accountability in projects?”

    “How does the company handle deadlines and time-sensitive projects?”

    “Can you provide an example of how a typical project is managed from start to finish?”

    “What will the interview process entail and what is the expected timeline?”

    “Where would efficiency rank in terms of importance for tasks?”

    To inquire about transparency you might ask:  

    “What is this company’s compensation philosophy?”

    “How is the salary for this role determined, and how often is it reviewed?”

    “Are there opportunities for bonuses or performance-based increases?”

    “What are the KPIs that would impact my compensation?”

    “How does the company ensure equitable pay practices across all levels?”

    “How is the company communicating to its employees regarding company goals, progression to them, shifts in team structures, and market trends?” 

    “How often are company-wide meetings?”

    Top tech employers exemplifying equity, efficiency, and transparency

    Which companies walk the walk when it comes to these values? We crunched the data and are sharing which companies (many of which are actively hiring!) ranked the highest across each value:

    Note: 

    Small businesses include companies with 1-299 employees

    Medium businesses include companies with 300-9,999 employees 

    Enterprise businesses include companies with 10,000+ employees

    Equity

    North American Small Businesses

    Hazel Health

    Parachute Health

    Cogility 

    North American Medium Businesses

    Beyond Finance

    Veho 

    Lattice

    North American Enterprise Businesses

    Yum! Brands

    Acuity Brands

    Workday

    UK Businesses

    ITV 

    Zopa

    Beamery

    Efficiency 

    North American Small Businesses

    Butter Payments

    Parachute Health

    Babylist

    North American Medium Businesses

    Chegg

    Capital Rx

    One Medical

    North American Enterprise Businesses

    NBCUniversal

    Carvana

    Yum! Brands

    UK Businesses

    Zopa

    Hopin

    Education First

    Transparency

    North American Small Businesses

    Babylist

    Firstup

    Nacelle

    North American Medium Businesses

    2U

    Hudl

    Beyond Finance

    North American Enterprise Businesses

    iHeartMedia

    Carvana

    Yum! Brands

    UK Businesses

    Focaldata

    ITV 

    Ticketmaster

    Hired has specific features to help amplify companies with these values. Check out some of the features we’ve developed based on data and insights to reduce bias.

    Methodology 

    For each core value, our data team produced a sub-score based on the average across the individual metrics. From there, a weighted average across those sub-scores produced the final combined score, which was then used to determine the company rankings. Get more details on the methodology here. More

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    How to Recover After a Bad Interview

    Don’t stress over a poor interview – use it to improve

    So you don’t feel great about an interview you just had – now what? No matter how much you prepare, some interviews simply go terribly. Like so many obstacles life throws your way, it’s up to you to choose how to react. So, what are the next steps? Use these pointers to guide you through any stumbles and recover from a bad interview.

    1. Take a step back and reflect

    Before rushing to any action, take some time to reflect on – but not obsess over – what actually went wrong in the interview. It’s important to cool down from any frustrations or anger you feel immediately after. Avoid over-analyzing each answer. The key here is to be as objective as possible. It’s entirely possible to recover from a bad interview. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate how you handle setbacks too.

    Say you made more minor mistakes such as being too vague about your weaknesses or forgetting to mention a volunteer experience on your CV. There’s no point in stressing over it. It doesn’t make sense to bring this up to your interviewer after the fact.

    Christy Rosen, Certified Career Coach and Interview Professional, tells interviewees, “Don’t beat yourself up. Reflect and figure out what happened. This is key to understanding what went wrong. If you feel like the interview didn’t go well, more than likely it didn’t. So what did you do wrong? Did you investigate the job description and know everything? Specifically for this job, did you take the time to prepare for the interview?”

    Related: Want to Ace Behavioral Interviews? A Guide to Prep Jobseekers 

    2. Ask for feedback 

    Christy is a big advocate of asking for feedback. She loves it when people ask because it shows:

    They want to be better

    They are willing to take constructive criticism

    “In a follow-up email, post-interview express how much you appreciate the interviewer’s time. This is also a good opportunity to address any blunders. Say, ‘I love this question you asked me. Quite honestly, there are some elements I neglected to tell you that I would like to share here.’ (Keep it concise.) This is a great way to showcase your ability to self-reflect.

    In an interview, I recommend asking for feedback at the end. You can say, ‘I enjoyed our interview. Do you have two or three points of feedback for me about how the interview went for you?’ This opens up a professional conversation at the end and is another way for you to stand out.”

    3. Attempt damage control, elegantly

    If you made a mistake that might seriously impact the interviewer’s decision, such as failing to mention your only relevant work experience to the role you’re interviewing for, it’s worth at least considering a shot at damage control. In short, if you think it’s a mistake that would likely turn a ‘yes’ to a ‘no,’ you’ve got nothing to lose by trying to patch things up.

    The easiest way to bring up additional information is generally in your thank you note after the interview. Interviewers will already expect it so adding in a few additional sentences wouldn’t be odd.

    First, figure out exactly what you want the interviewer to take away from your note. Then, find a concise way to write it. Try to avoid making it sound like an apology. You’re simply adding new information to what was discussed during the interview, not admitting to a mistake.

    If, in the worst-case scenario, you had an incredibly off day (perhaps you were ill), it might be worth asking for a second chance entirely. The worst that can happen is they deny it. But if you already think you bombed the interview, there’s no harm in asking. This is particularly true if you really want the job. Don’t make a habit of this though and make sure your second interview is miles better.

    4. Learn from your mistakes

    Perhaps most importantly, a bad interview is a good learning experience. Each mistake helps to better prepare you for future interviews. Use your mistakes as learning material to prevent them from happening again.

    Analyze your mistakes

    Start by identifying all of the mistakes you made, then determine what the main cause was. Perhaps your missteps were a result of nerves. This is common and results in fumbling over answers or rambling.

    Or, if you were underprepared for the interview, you didn’t anticipate the interviewer’s questions. If so, you may have not prepared solid answers or forgotten to mention relevant experiences.

    Taking the reflection piece a step further, Christy says, “Think about what to hone in on for the next time. Focus on the learning piece. What will you do differently? How will you better prepare? How will you boost your confidence?”

    5. Practice for the next time

    If nerves are your issue, practice is your friend. Ask a friend or family member to mock interview you with their own questions. This helps you be more comfortable thinking on your feet and answering questions on the fly.

    In addition, practice your answers to the most standard interview questions. This may include why you want the job, why you’re passionate about the company, and your strengths and weaknesses. 

    Christy emphasizes practicing a lot for the “tell me about yourself” question in particular. “If you nail that, you’re going in the right direction for the rest of the interview. It’s one most people mess up. Confidence in knowing what you’re doing in the interview is crucial to setting the stage.” 

    It would also help to write down the questions you had in the interview (reflecting on what you said) and preparing for future interviews based on these learnings. What would you ideally have said?

    Related: 30 Behavioral Interview Questions You Should Be Ready to Answer 

    Another helpful tip as you practice is to remember to breathe. Reflecting on her coaching experience, Christy explains, “Breathing helps your brain work. It’s also important to pause. You can ask: ‘Do you mind if I think about that for a second?’ Most people don’t do that. They just start talking and figure out the answer as they go. The interviewer sees and hears this. It’s a bit of a ding against you.”

    Related: Who (And How) to Ask for a Job Reference 

    Give yourself a fair shot

    If you were under-prepared for the interview, ask yourself whether it was because you didn’t spend enough time beforehand or you prepared for the wrong questions.

    It can be frustrating to feel you spent a lot of time getting ready for an interview that went in a totally different direction. But you can use this experience to better gauge the types of questions to expect in the future.

    If you simply didn’t spend enough time preparing, ask yourself why that is. Perhaps you weren’t motivated by the job in the first place and you shouldn’t have pushed it to the in-person interview stage. Maybe you couldn’t find time in your schedule to prepare or it took longer than you expected. If so, budget extra time for future interviews. 

    Regardless of how bad you feel after a poor interview, remember that it will never be your last chance. That is, whether you ask the same employer for another shot or use your blunders to fine-tune your skills for the future. Someday you’ll (hopefully) be laughing about terrible interview stories. Maybe you’ll use your experience to coach someone else on how to recover from a bad interview.

    About Hired 

    Hired is the most efficient way to find a tech or a sales role you love today. With unbiased insights, DEI tools, skill assessments, and dedicated Candidate Experience Managers, Hired works with over 10,000 companies around the world to connect thousands of active and qualified candidates to employ their full potential. After registering, platform jobseekers match with top employers thanks to better data, preference curation, and compensation transparency. Backed by The Adecco Group, Hired is rated by G2 as a leader in Recruiting Automation, Job Search Sites, and Diversity Recruiting. 

    Originally written in April 2019 by Napala Pratini. Updated by the Hired Content Team in January 2022 and December 2023. More