Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Is There Potential For Advancement?

Unfortunately, this question is perhaps the most popular and is possibly one of the worst questions you can ask in an interivew. In many cases, you will get exactly what you asked for. A one word answer - Yes!

If you're really interested in discovering the career advancement opportunities in an organization, you need to ask a series of questions that give you a good perspective of their true growth potential. Topics such as the financial success of the company (current and projected), past hiring practices, availability of training, and expectations of employees in this position, will each give you insight into the possibility of the company giving you the advancement expectations you are seeking.

Here are some questions that get you the info you want:
1) What are your sales projections for this year and next year?
2) What will this company look like in 5 years?
3) Is the company expecting to acquire new business or add a new division?
4) What is your policy on internally promoting?
5) What is your policy on internally posting positions?
6) How long have my potential new co-workers been at their levels?
7) How long have my potential new supervisors been at their levels?
8) What are the expectations of a person in this position their first year?
9) What do you expect an employee in this role to have accomplished in 3 years?
10) What type of career advancement training is available to employees?

Each of these questions give you some insight into their advancement opportunities. An organization with a track record of growth or will be adding new business units will obviously need to move people up ands around within the organization. Additionally, companies that try to promote from within and provide developmental training(rather than training that just helps you in your current role - product training, software training, etc) tend to have a culture that focuses on developing internal employees for future promotions.

So, the next time you want to learn about the growth opportunity in a perspective employer, make sure you ask the questions that give you the REAL answer!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Read This Before You Apply To That Out Of State Job

In today's challenging job market, opening up your search to include other communities and other states could be the best way to increase the probability of finding the position you are looking for. While most of the seed companies are trying to find people with experience in that local market, most companies in agriculture are very open to filling position with candidates from another area, and offer relocation incentives and compensation for making the move.

Unfortunately, it is all too easy to apply to jobs all over the country without any consideration to the impact on both yourself and others in your life. In fact, many job seekers do not consider what locations are suitable for themselves or their family until it is too late in an interview process. It's unfair to a potential employer to realize that the location of their position is not suitable for your family after you have started through the interview process. It's even more unfair to your family members to figure this out after engaging interest in a position and not discussing the position's location beforehand.

If you are open to considering out of state opportunities, be sure to have an open discussion with your spouse or family members to determine a list of acceptable and unacceptable geographic locations. Factors to consider include career opportunities for family members, housing prices, recreational activities, weather, schools, and friends & family in the area. You can search different job boards to get a feel for what type of job opportunities there are for a spouse or family members. Also use sites like,, and to get a feel for real estate prices in that area. This is a much better way to get a feel for the primary factor of the region's cost of living and a more accurate snapshot than a "cost of living" calculator.

Relocation is a career option that will certainly enhance your ability to find the opportunity you are looking for. However, be sure to work with your family to make a simple list of desirable locations before you start your search. Doing so beforehand will save you a tremendous amount of headache and inconvenience.