Interview tips: 9 'green flags' to watch for

How can you ensure that your next role fits your career goals and priorities? Ask thoughtful questions in your interview, and consider these revealing 'green flags' in the responses
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Today’s IT job seekers square up in an interesting market where technical skills are in high demand. When you’re ready to start looking for your dream job, red flags can tell you it isn’t the right opportunity.

But it’s just as important to identify the "green flags" that demonstrate a company offers what you’re looking for. Remember, you’re looking for a fulfilling career, not just another job. You want to ensure that an organization values the qualities you’ll bring to your new role.

Keep the following concepts in mind when crafting your questions for the interviewer:

1. Corporate culture 

How does the company create a unique and supportive work environment?

Ask the interviewer what it feels like to work with the company. What do they find fulfilling? Will you be able to be your most authentic self when you’re at work? How do they celebrate and respect diversity?

[ Also read IT talent: 3 interview questions to prep for (and how to respond). ]

A company should recognize that one of the most valuable ways to cultivate creative solutions is to listen to people with diverse experiences and perspectives.

2. Professional development and continued learning

How will you be able to leverage important career-development opportunities?

Will you have the chance to learn and work with new, cutting-edge technology? Can you flex your creative mind to work on conceptualizing new methods, processes, and solutions to complex problems? Do they offer certification reimbursements, mentoring, or other incentives?

[ Related read Hybrid work: 5 tips for prioritizing the employee experience ]

In their response, look for indications of how the organization will support your overall capacity to learn, grow, and collaborate with team members and coworkers.

3. Career mapping

Do you get the sense that the company will care about your success?

Can they show you options for how your career will progress? Can they provide examples of how current employees have advanced? Will they ensure you have the freedom and the support to innovate and flex your unique skills?

Look for indications of how the organization will support your overall capacity to learn, grow, and collaborate with team members and other coworkers.

4. Leadership 

What kind of hierarchical structure does the company adhere to, if any?

Will you have access to senior and domain leaders? Will you be able to freely share your ideas?

5. Wealth sharing 

Does the company offer stock programs or similar opportunities to share in the organization’s success?

6. Recognition 

Does the company regularly recognize and appreciate talent, success, and hard work? What programs are in place that demonstrate their commitment to rewarding innovation?

7. Benefits 

What kind of insurance would you have access to, and how comprehensive is it?

How does the company prove they are invested in your physical and emotional well-being? Do they offer solutions for new parents and other family-friendly benefits?

8. Wellness 

Do they organize interest groups such as book clubs, sports teams, or game nights?

These considerations are essential for individual and professional wellness. They reflect that the company looks for intentional ways for its employees to connect to build a stronger sense of belonging.

9. Last but certainly not least, fun!

How will this company help contribute to your joy, inside and outside work?

Fun is intrinsically linked with company culture. Do some investigating to find out how your prospective new job will help facilitate a lively, positive environment. Do they encourage and promote opportunities to build comradery and engage in friendly competition?

In the end, an interview should be an equal exchange. It provides an opportunity for the interviewer to get a sense of your skills and for you to learn about your prospective new workplace.

Think critically about the company’s response to these questions and take this chance to ask yourself the questions that matter. What are your values, and how do they align or conflict with the job you’re interviewing for? Will your work make a meaningful impact?

Asking the big questions and doing investigative work will help you see the green flags that point to a fulfilling path. This is your moment, so seize it!

[ Check out essential career advice from 37 award-winning CIOs! Get a variety of insights on leadership, strategy, and career development from IT executives at Mayo Clinic, Dow, Aflac, Liberty Mutual, Nordstrom, and more: Ebook: 37 award-winning CIOs share essential IT career advice. ]

Ashok Kumar Putsala is the Assistant Vice President, Talent Acquisition of SenecaGlobal, where he builds offshore teams in Hyderabad, India. He has more than 17 years of experience in talent acquisition, engagement, and management for both IT services and IT product organizations.