Orianna Cardoza/Contributing Writer
Students who ask the right questions in a job interview can determine if a company has a healthy work environment, according to a coach counselor from the University’s Career and Talent Development office.
Leandria Vickers, a coach and counselor from the University’s Career and Talent Development, guides students towards professional success. As students start to become part of the workforce, there are certain things they must think of before staying in a job or even accepting one, she said.
“It should be a place you’re excited to go to,” Vickers said. “Along with that, a place that challenges your weaknesses but also allows you to build off your strengths.”
Before going to an interview, students should research the company and see how it matches their interests. They can look up what the company does and their reviews.
“First check out Glassdoor, see what the current and past employees have to say about the company, see if what they’re saying gives you red flags,” Vickers said.
Glassdoor is a website where former and current employees can write anonymously their opinion about the company. It also gives people an idea of the salary for certain positions, what the office space looks like and what the company has to say on their own profile.
People can also ask questions during their interview to get a better understanding of what the company does.
“It’s not just a one-way interview it’s two-way,” said Vickers. “Ask about the company culture, what the team does outside of work, do you all ever get together? Ask them about the work and life balance.”
Sabrina Bocaranda, a junior double majoring in marketing and international business with a minor in psychology rejected a job offer because of the environment during the interview.
“I researched them online and the address on the website wasn’t really the address they had given me, and the recruiter said they were between offices so they were a startup out of a house,” Bocaranda said. “That was the first red flag, and it wasn’t as professional as I thought it would be. I understand it’s a startup but they didn’t have an office space.”
Bocaranda also described the employers’ unpreparedness as one of the red flags.
“It wasn’t very formal and it wasn’t taken super seriously, the other CEO kept coming in and out and they were working between the interview,” Bocaranda said.
Once in the company, the level of organized management and leadership can also make a difference in the work environment. Andrea Paz, a senior studying psychology and criminal justice, had to leave a company she worked in for three years because of poor management.
“There were times when we had a lot of issues with schedules because they were supposed to be sent out Tuesdays and show Tuesday to Tuesday,” Paz said. “But there were times when Tuesday would come and they would only give the schedule for the next day written on a receipt, and that wouldn’t work because people had families, people had school, we needed something to organize ourselves and it wouldn’t.”
Vickers also said it’s important to look at the co-worker’s interactions as this will play a role on whether there is a positive or negative atmosphere in the company. If the company has a “standalone” environment, for example, she said, co-workers will ignore each other unless they need to collaborate.
“Maybe when we have to work together we do it, but when there’s free time there’s a lot of rumors going around and a lot of gossip,” Vickers said.
Money is also a factor that can make the experience at a company healthy or unhealthy. Some jobs have higher salaries than others and this can be a deciding factor for some people.
“A lot of people stay in a job because of the money, and there are some people willing to sacrifice money to do something they enjoy.” Vickers said.
However, according to Vickers, when comparing a big corporation to a small non-profit, wealth does not determine a healthy or unhealthy work environment.
“A non-profit might not have a huge revenue coming in, but work environment is great because everyone there is invested in the work,” she said. “Compared to a corporate environment where everyone is there for the big bucks. It can flip flop the other way too; have great teamwork but they’re surviving day by day or a good corporate environment like in Google.”
In Google’s offices, employees are encouraged to work comfortably and are allowed to choose between working in a regular desk, lounge chairs, or even a treadmill. There are kitchen areas with free food and the company has recreational spaces for their employees to enjoy with co-workers.
Many times, people do not know how to leave poor work environment. Depending on the situation, Vickers recommends staying in a company for at least one year since employers prefer to see that on a resume.
“If you’re a month in, depending on the situation I wouldn’t leave right away,” she said. “See what the biggest issue is for you, do you not have enough work and life balance? Is it your co-workers, or is it your supervision? What are some initiatives you can put into play?”
However, there are special reasons, Vickers said, like moving and family issues that can affect a decision.
For students looking for a job, Vickers recommend they use Handshake, a career development platform, which can be accessed at fiu.joinhandshake.com. The Career and Talent Development department, she said, uses it for job offers and registration for career fairs, among other features.
For counseling on resume building, jobs and internships Vickers is available for all majors in EC 2852. Other Career and Talent Development offices can be found in SASC 305 in the Modesto Maidique Campus and in WUC 255 in the Biscayne Bay Campus.
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