How to check that a job will make you happy

Written by Jamie Lawrence-Craig

Feeling a part of a team, fitting in around the office and wanting to spend time with your colleagues are even more important than cold hard cash. That’s according to us at Revive, and a lot of other people and experts too, including a survey carried out by Glassdoor in 2019.

And it makes sense. You spend about a third of your life in the workplace: of course wellbeing is more valuable than unhappily accruing money. Here are our tips to ensure your next job ticks the most important, life-satisfying box: happiness.

The values of the company

Sometimes reading a company website can feel like déjà-vu. Most large, medium-sized companies and even start-ups are aware that they have to portray themselves in a corporate but approachable, sustainable but serious, structured yet meritocratic way. Core values often read the same. But you can dig deeper to really understand a company’s values to ensure a good match.

What can you reasonably do? Before you apply, read the website carefully. It might reveal things you didn’t see at first, the press section in particular can tell you how the company tries to position itself in its sector. You can scowl social media and employer review websites to track interactions and wider discussions within and around the company. It might also help to find the CVs or resumes of current and former employers to see their educational background, interests and career history, and most importantly, the turnover of staff. If you know or know of someone who already works there, get in touch.  

Interview the interviewer

It’s very easy to be flattered by an invitation to an interview. If you get to this stage, the interview is your chance to impress, but also your opportunity to judge just how happy you would be working there. This is a far more accurate litmus test than researching online. Before the interview, ask to confirm who you will be speaking to and their respective positions. 

During the interview, choose the questions you ask wisely. You can ask about the position or the work itself, but we recommend asking something that will tell you something about the office culture such as ‘What was the last thing you celebrated in the office?’ or ‘what kinds of things do staff do together outside the office?’ in your best non-euphemistic tone. 

Does the work itself sound interesting?

It might sound obvious, but this is key. You can work for a company whose product or service you love, but if the role itself doesn’t challenge or push you, or make the absolute most of all the talent and potential you have, then it’s not right.

Working habits aligned

Is there a chance to work remotely, or are you someone who loves the conviviality of an office? There’s a reason why most face-to-face interviews also include a tour of the office. If you are someone who works well in a quiet, tranquil space, you need to know that you will find this sanctuary in your new place of work. If you value working remotely and for the right reasons, such as productivity or quality of life, ask to do this early on and explain why. 

When it comes to making a decision, do your research, ask the right questions, but trust your gut because your gut looks out for your happiness, as it should.

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