12 Things You Wish You’d Known Before You Took the Job — Infographic

Have you even taken a new job and found, to your horror, that it didn’t turn out the way you thought it would?

Perhaps promises were broken.

Or someone forgot to tell you about certain distasteful elements of the job.

Or you found out you were the seventh incumbent in three years.

Or no one mentioned the noncompete agreement.

Or you learn the company is 120 days past due on its bills.

Or…you get it…things you wish you’d known.

Here’s a due diligence guide. Please feel free to keep it bookmarked on your computer and share it with friends:

12 Things You Wish You

July 2017: I want to add a note for you to ask about whether or not you will be asked to sign a non-compete agreement. You can see more about why here. It isn’t pretty.

I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Get hired. Email me at donnasvei@gmail.com for more information.

Featured on Career SherpaLifehacker
Updated July 2017

© 2013 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

Comments 11

  1. Hello Donna,

    Just discovered your site via Mark Dyson (The Voice of Job Seekers). I’m glad I did. You’ve given us some good information in this post to help job seekers do their homework. Thanks for sharing, Donna!

    Drew Tewell

    Hi Drew, Thanks to Mark and to you. It’s nice to meet you here and on other social media sites today. Donna

  2. Great list – and here’s one more:

    Ask “What are some “hero stories” you tell here?”

    For example:

    “Tell me a story about a big win, or a great job you know about.”
    “What happened one time when someone made a big mistake?”
    “Talk to me about a time that someone really blew a client away. What happened?”

    This gives REAL insights into what the company actually values (as opposed to what they *claim* them value on their website.)

    Stories are culture. The stories they tell reveal the culture – which affects you every day at the office.

    A reverse behavior based interview. I like it! Thank you Tom. Donna

  3. Great post! I agree with the previous comment – great ways to learn the company culture and values. When people love/hate their jobs, it’s usually about values as much as (or more than) the actual work. For instance, I always had trouble with “face time” cultures.

    Your advice about meeting your boss’s direct reports is spot on. I once had a client who took a job without meeting a single person except his future boss. He met in a conference room so he didn’t even get to see the work areas. He wasn’t a newbie – he was a fairly senior manager. He called me a few weeks into the job to say, “This was a HUGE mistake!”

    Hi Cathy,

    Thank you. I know that some of these suggestions make people uncomfortable. The truth is, some parts of finding a good job are uncomfortable. I would far rather squirm a bit while asking these questions than squirm a lot while finding polite ways to talk about the rotten job I just left — which it what your client probably had to do.

    In addition, I always respect the candidates who can graciously ask some semi-tough questions in order to protect themselves.


  4. I can’t say that I completely agree with the interpretation of people that are on LinkedIn at a particular company. I have been on LinkedIn for over 8yrs and it’s not a “job board” that’s just one of many ways to use the site. Myself and the vast majority of people that I know on LinkedIn use it in many other ways where searching for a new opportunity is near the bottom of that list.

    A large amount of the LinkedIn subscribers are using it to connect to others that are in the same profession that they are and to keep up with industry trends especially where new technologies are concerned. Many people use LinkedIn to do their job better based on communicating with their network that has specific expertise in their specific field.

    Regarding having a number in the contact section, I have my work cell number listed because I am in business development and would like to be accessible to those that have need of the professional services that are provided by my company. It was stated that people might not be happy in their current employment if they are on LinkedIn however more and more employers are asking their employees to create profiles and to reach out to prospective clients or partners in that environment as well as increase their company’s professional visibility/digital footprint in the professional networking space.

    I just thought I’d add a bigger picture perspective on how a lot of LinkedIn subscribers are using the site.

    Kevin Dingle


    That’s very helpful additional perspective.

    Interestingly, I know many people who aren’t on LinkedIn. They say it’s because they’re happily employed. They probably don’t understand the opportunities for professional and business development, as you describe, afforded by LI groups.

    Thank you so much for your comment.


  5. The LinkedIn bit (the first part) is BAD advice! There is a whole myriad of reasons why people have profiles on there, some already mentioned by Kevin, that do NOT mean they are looking for a new job. Many people use it just to keep up with old friends, classmates, and former co-workers in a way that’s more “grown-up” than Facebook or Twitter. And on the flip-side, some people just don’t like it, or don’t like it as a job resource, and therefore do not use it even if they’re unhappy at their job.

    The second part of the LinkedIn advice though, about looking for connections and reaching out to people, can be helpful. But I would recommend sending a LinkedIn message to initiate contact instead of calling.

    Thank you Evelina. I’m enjoying learning more about LinkedIn through all these varied perspectives. Kind regards, Donna

  6. I loved this article. Thanks so much. I put together a similar one a few years ago: http://heatherkrasna.com/2009/01/08/avoiding-a-bad-work-situation/.

    The main thing I’d add is, ask to see the actual work space where your office will be located, and ask about the specific name of any software you’ll be using. Don’t assume the company will provide decent technology so you can actually do your job unless you asked and have it confirmed.

    Ask whether you’ll be supervising other people or if you’ll be expected to hire new people. If so, what’s the budget and timeframe for the hiring? If that’s unclear–are you being asked to do 3 people’s jobs?

    And lastly, I also disagree to some extent about LinkedIn. It depends on one’s profession. In my line of work–career coaching–I would not want to work in a place where the other career coaches aren’t on LinkedIn, because to me, that demonstrates they are simply not competent to be doing career coaching in this day and age. And if I worked in recruiting or sales, ditto. I would want to see all my colleagues on there, or I’d have reason to think the company and staff are not keeping up with modern methods of recruiting and sales.

    All helpful thoughts and ideas. Thank you Heather. Donna

  7. Hi All,

    Dave Farquhar wrote a terrific analysis of this post here: Questions to ask before taking a job | The Silicon Underground http://buff.ly/ZXDyUL.

    I particularly enjoyed his comment about LinkedIn:

    “Check Linkedin. I don’t think this necessarily indicates a company with everyone trying to flee; people use Linkedin for a variety of things. Too many people making it easy to contact them by phone sounds like a clever operation on the face of it, but you need to look into it a little more. If they’re salespeople or recruiters, of course their phone number is right there on the profile. But if all the sysadmins in the IT department have their phone numbers listed, then I’d start to get wary.”


  8. Donna, this is superb & I love the infographic! Absolutely excellent guidance–as always!

    Thank you Ed. Donna

  9. Nice article though I disagree with being cautious about new roles, there should be A LOT of new roles in a growing company. And whatever you do, take GlassDoor with a huge grain of salt, it’s a great vehicle for all those disgruntled employees. Finally, if you are senior enough, as to see the cap table.

    Hi Vikki, Thank you for this. I love it when my posts stimulate conversations with a variety of perspectives. Kind regards, Donna

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