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“How Can I Avoid Joining the Wrong Company?”

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Expert: Raymond A. Pirre, CPA
A member of NJSCPA, is Managing Partner at GSP International, a leading Executive
search and Placement Firm specializing in the accounting and finance professions.

This is an excellent question and many people are concerned about joining the wrong company due to the devastating effect it could have on your professional career development and your personal life. Although there are many ways to avoid this dilemma, let’s discuss in my opinion, the 2 most effective actions you can take to avoid making a career mistake.


Fortunately in today’s world of information resources we have a tremendous ability to gather information about the organizations we are going to interview with. Researching an organization has become a simple task due to endless amounts of information that is available, even small and private firms have websites, and if they don’t there are other sites discussing what their organization is all about. A quick tip about pre-interview research is to try to gain an overall “Feel” or “Big Picture” overview of the company’s products and services, management philosophy, history, trends, recent news and company credo. Don’t get bogged down into memorizing details of the company’s P&L or footnote disclosures. This information does not help you in gaining a reasonable degree of comfort as to whether you would like to work for this organization. I realize that research sounds very basic and obvious, however, it is a fact that most people will spend more time researching a vacation or a car purchase than the company they are considering to work for. Please research thoroughly!

Interview Process

In my opinion an opportunity to be face to face with an interviewer is the ultimate way to ask the probing questions that you need answered to determine whether you are joining the right organization for your specific professional and personal needs. Remember an interview is an opportunity for you to learn as much about the company and its’ people as they will want to learn about you. It is not just a one way street in favor of the company’s interrogation of you, but unfortunately most people believe this to be true, and approach the interview in this mindset. Therefore, you must be prepared in advance to ask the questions that you need to be answered in order to make a proper career decision. Don’t be afraid of the company’s response if it is not what you want to hear, in that case you know the organization is not for you and you have accomplished your interview objective. Some good interview questions for you to ask:

  • “If I work hard and prove my value to the firm, where might I be in five years?”
  • “How does the position and the department contribute to the overall company mission?”
  • “What characteristics best describes individuals who are successful in this position?”
    (Follow up by stating you maintain some of those characteristics).
  • "Does the position offer exposure to other facets of your organization?”
  • “How will my performance be evaluated?”
  • “What are the opportunities for advancement?”
One other bit of advice do not place credence in other peoples thoughts or impressions of an organization that you are interested in. Many times this hearsay is not representative of the organization at all. Approach an interview like the field work phase of an audit only after you have completed it can you express your opinion. Hopefully these thoughts will help you in joining the right company for you!