You don’t need a time machine to change bad career decisions…


Lots of people are looking for work right now. Are you one of them? Is it possible to know what are you getting into when you go for the interview?

job interview

The answer is No. Too many times people accept a job thinking it’s something they want only to quit a few weeks later. And that’s either because we just plunge into the job offered with our eyes closed or we’re just given the wrong picture…

The information you get about the place/company can be misleading.  The nice, modern meeting room with leather chairs where you’re invited for the interview turns out to be one of the board rooms that you wouldn’t normally have access to. You tell yourself “Wow, this place looks cool, I bet they have a lot of money!” After starting on the job, you get a small cubicle with a computer that looks to be from the 80’s.  Wish you had a time machine?

The person who interviews you may not be your future boss. One of the questions you must ask is if you will be reporting directly to him/her. If you get a No, then you should ask why the direct QA lead/manager is not invited to this interview because you would like to meet him/her.

We all know that all projects are the same. If you’re a QA, you always do the same things: read requirements and specs, write test cases, execute them, log defects, etc. It’s the people who  make the difference and you will like it or dislike it depending on what kind of colleagues you have.

You don’t need to invent a time machine to change career decisions if you just follow these tips:

  • don’t let yourself impressed by appearances; on your way to the room where the interview will take place try to get a glance at people’s cubicles, look how big the cubicles are, how new/old the computers are, how are people sitting (back to back, a few at a table with computers in a row, etc). These things matter.
  • the interview is an opportunity for you to find out things about them, not just them about you. You have to like what you see also. Ask lots of questions about the team – for example how many testers there are, how many developers, are they sitting at different floors, is there a good communication between them. Or are BA’s nice and helpful?
  • try to be detached from the interview and have confidence in yourself. At the end of the day, if you don’t take this job there are always other opportunities for you and there is always a reason (even if you don’t know it) why you didn’t take this job. Be patient and keep looking.

The bottom line of all this? All the tips in the world cannot save you from making a big mistake in accepting a job. But you learn from your experience. Next time you are in the situation you will know what to look at and what to ask before you make that decision. Then it’s your turn to tell us your tips.

Good luck with finding a good job!

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Other posts you may also like:

Before you start your first contract

What to look at when I start a new job

How to get up to speed with your new project

Interview tips with Henry Luk, test manager

Interview tips with Andrea Macri, BA lead

See other interviews with IT recruiters here.

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Photo credits: Randi Glasbergen – thanks!

2 responses to “You don’t need a time machine to change bad career decisions…

  1. Hi Georgia,

    Very nice and interesting post. I completely agree with what you’ve said.
    I would also like to add that it is almost mandatory for the employer to present the future employee the workplace and show him around the office. I would definitely reject an offer if my interviewer did not show me the place where I will be working. Also, an equal reason to reject the offer is if I am not interviewed by my future supervisor. I agree that others should and could be present, but the future “boss” should be there as well 🙂
    Another question worth asking during the interview would be why do they have the position open. Did the previous employee leave? Why? Was s/he let go? Why?
    Every little detail that is omitted during the interview might just come back and bite you 🙂

    All the best,
    Ovidiu

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