By: Pamela Lewis
Don’t overlook the one thing that will make or break your success.
The salary is right, the title is right, the benefits and location are right. You like the people you’ll be working for. But what about the people you’ll be working with? Your colleagues and team members? How do you feel about them? If the answer is that you’re not sure, you should probably find out.
When you take a job, you’re basically joining a social network. Your co-workers become a huge and influential part of your life. They’re the people you spend most of your day with. You kind of need to like them.
It’s the difference between dreading going into the office every day or looking forward to it. A study from employee engagement company, TINYpulse, found that employees overwhelming responded “team members and colleagues” when asked what they loved most about their jobs.
You are who you associate yourself with. It’s true. If your co-workers are unmotivated and uninterested in doing a great job, their attitude toward work will rub off on you. You will subconsciously try to assimilate yourself with your group. Also, when you join a group where you feel like you don’t belong, chances are, you won’t be able to get ahead.
While it’s a totally reasonable request to ask to meet with your co workers, it’s also not something most people do. So be careful how you word it. Something like this is the best way to approach it: “I’m really excited about the position. Before I formally accept, would it be possible to talk with the people I’ll be working most closely with to get a sense of how everyone works together? A quick meeting over coffee, or just a quick informal chat?”
A good hiring manager should appreciate you wanting to make sure it’s a good fit for you. If your request is turned down, that says something about your boss and maybe even the company. It’s really hard not to see it as a red flag. Either your boss doesn’t think your happiness at work is important, doesn’t really care if you take the job, or she’s hiding something about the culture that she’d rather you didn’t know.
No reasonable person commits to marriage without getting to know someone. And no reasonable employee should commit to a long-term relationship with co-workers they haven’t even met. Considering the amount of hours you devote to it, the quality of your professional life should be just as important to you as the quality of your personal one.
Pamela Lewis is a digital copywriter and blogger at Ladders.