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Worried You'll Regret Your New Job? Ask These 2 Questions During the Interview

Yana Iskayeva | Moment | Getty Images

It's one thing to realize a job isn't right for you during the interview process, but quite another to find out on your first day.

Unfortunately, it's not that uncommon: 72% of young workers say they've taken a new job and felt a sense of surprise or regret that the role wasn't what they were told to expect, according to a survey of 2,500 millennial and Gen Z jobseekers from The Muse.

This so-called "shift shock" could get worse during the pandemic, says The Muse founder and CEO Kathryn Minshew. Recruiters are desperate to fill talent gaps quickly, and it's harder for candidates to gauge company culture without visiting the office or seeing everyone in one place.

So, Minshew says it's more important than ever for job-seekers to own the interview process and make sure the job and company are a good fit.

In early interviews, she recommends keeping things general and asking the recruiter: How would you describe the culture and work experience here?

Further on, ask for more specifics. Minshew's favorite strategy is pairing questions to get at the good and bad: Can you tell me one or two of your favorite things about the work environment here, and then one or two things that might be challenges or frustrations I should know about before joining the team?

Giving someone a chance to talk about the upsides will make it easier for them to also bring up the downsides, Minshew says. Ultimately you want to figure out, "does this company seem to have a good sense of its pros and cons, or do they pretend everything is perfect?"

If the interviewer can't honestly bring up an area of improvement, that's a big red flag, Minshew says: "No work environment is perfect."

Also think about the interview process itself. Are you being given a lot of time to to ask questions beyond the job itself and learn about the company culture? Can the interviewer speak specifically about what they like and dislike about working there?

You can also check employee reviews on sites like The Muse, LinkedIn and Glassdoor, but remember that people who leave reviews do so because they have something either really positive or really negative to say.

Check out:

Why it’s so satisfying to watch people complain about their jobs on TikTok: ‘People are sick of work’

72% of young workers say they’ve regretted a new job after starting

Here’s what to say during an exit interview—and what to leave out

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