5. Know the Company Culture
"You want to work for a company whose values you can buy into," says West. Information about the company culture will reveal itself throughout all aspects of the interview and research process. Do they seem serious and conservative? Maybe they have a laissez-fair attitude and joke a lot. How are the offices set up? Is it a cube farm? Is the company responsive when you try to contact them?
A good interview question for prospective candidates, says Lilly, "What am I going to learn in six months that I won't know today? You'll learn a little bit about the company in that moment."
Some other questions that will help you gain insight:
How often are performance reviews done?
What does it take to be successful here?
What is the management style?
6. Who's the Boss?
Let's face it: Your boss or supervisor will affect every day of your working life. A good boss can make bad jobs bearable, but a terrible boss can ruin the best of jobs. "It's like any relationship. You have to be comfortable with the person you're going to be spending time with. If you can't stand the person that's managing you, it's probably a good indication it's not a good fit for you," says Lilly.
"Job satisfaction is highly dependent on your relationship with your supervising manager and you need to do everything possible to make sure the person's style and personality is a fit," says Hughes.
7. Talk to Potential Peers
You want to meet your direct supervisor for sure, but you should also try to meet everyone in your chain and anyone you'll have to work closely with. This isn't always possible depending on the size of the company.
"If you have a connection with someone who works at the company you are interested in joining you should reach out to that person and try to get more information. Whether it's to help you get the position or to find out more about the position, [find out] what their experience is," says Lilly.
Something Lilly says he likes to do with his new candidates is take them out to lunch to meet the team or, depending on the situation, get together with one or two of his team leaders to have a technical discussion.
Whether it's through the HR department, social media or in the elevator leaving your interview, try to strike up conversations with peers in that company. Experts warn, however, if you reach out through social media, keep it private. Hughes also warns, "Be careful that you don't just take everything as fact. If you happen to talk to someone who is not a high performer, they may have a negative view that is not indicative of the organization."
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.