By Paul McDonald, Senior Executive Director, Robert Half

Many professionals are getting swept up in the phenomenon known as the “Great Resignation.” They are quitting their jobs to search for something better, whether that’s a higher salary, more opportunities for advancement, different benefits and perks or the chance to improve work-life balance. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 4.4 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in April alone.

The desire to work remotely permanently is also driving many workers to launch a new job search. As we all learn to live with COVID-19, more organizations are asking their employees to return to the office permanently — and that has more professionals thinking about quitting. In a recent Robert Half survey, 50% of professionals who are currently working from home said they would look for a new job that offers remote options if their company required them to return to the office full time. That’s up 16 points from one year ago.

Changing jobs is always an adventure, of course, and there is always a chance that a new employment situation won’t turn out to be as fulfilling as hoped. Moving too fast to change course in your career can add to that risk. That’s what many professionals are finding after they have abruptly quit their job as part of the Great Resignation’s mass exodus and jumped into a new position at a different company. They are feeling regret about switching jobs.

This is happening on such a wide scale, in fact, that it’s being called the “Great Remorse.” There are two key factors contributing to many professionals regretting their decision to take a new job. First, these aren’t fully understanding what the position entails before they accept an offer. And second, they don’t have a good sense of the company’s culture before they join the organization.

How can you reduce your chances of feeling remorse after getting hired? The following tips can help.

Do your research before applying

Many professionals simply aren’t doing their homework before they submit their resume to a potential employer. In some cases, candidates are focusing too much on one or two aspects of an opportunity, such as the advertised salary or a company’s brand name, and thus, aren’t considering the full picture.

While you can never really know what it’s like to work at a company until you’re there, you can certainly gather a lot of insight before an interview. Resources to explore include employer review sites and, of course, your own professional network.

You can also glean a great deal about an employer’s workplace culture from the company’s website and blog, its social media sites and its reporting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, including its progress on promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) across the organization.

Ask for specifics during the interview process

Sometimes, job candidates are uncomfortable asking hiring managers for more details about the job or organizational culture. Don’t feel that way. The interview process should be a two-way street. You need to know that you will be joining a company and taking on a role that will be right for you just as much as a potential employer needs to confirm that you are likely to thrive in their organization.

Asking thoughtful questions will also help set you apart from other contenders, and it’s a great way to demonstrate your soft skills during the hiring process. Here are a few examples of questions you might want to pose to the interviewer, depending on the circumstances and who you are meeting with:

  • Why is this position open?
  • If I perform like the person promoted ahead of me, what growth opportunities would likely be available to me in the organization?
  • I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but what is the performance review process like at the company? And do you conduct these reviews annually, every six months or more frequently?
  • If the individual interviewing you would be your direct supervisor, consider asking questions such as: “How often would you and I meet, formally or informally?” and “What skills and attributes do you think are most important for someone in this role to possess so they can succeed?”

Don’t go into a second interview cold. See this post for a list of commonly asked second interview questions and sample answers.

Get the handle on remote work

If you’re in the running for a position that will have you working remotely all or part of the time, you’ll want to gauge how well-supported you’d be in that role. Many professionals currently feeling regret about a new job situation are working remotely, and they found out too late that their employer is not doing enough to ensure they have clear expectations and deadlines to meet, are feeling engaged and motivated and are kept in the loop on company news and team updates.

Here are a few questions you may want to ask a hiring manager about a remote job opportunity:

  • What is the onboarding process like?
  • Will I have both a mentor and a work “buddy” assigned to me? (Note: Larger organizations will typically assign both to new hires. A mentor will help guide you as you learn how to manage your role and responsibilities, while a buddy is on hand to lend support as you navigate the company’s culture and forge relationships with your new colleagues.)
  • Do you have employee networking groups? What types of virtual activities do they arrange for their members?
  • How does the company ensure that remote workers have the same opportunities as on-site employees to participate in professional development, compete for advancement opportunities, and take advantage of perks and benefits designed to promote workers’ health and well-being?

To help ensure that you’re prepared to succeed as a remote worker, review this list of do’s and don’ts.

Take your time

You may be in a hurry to land a new job, and likewise, the hiring manager you’re meeting with may be eager to staff the role that you’re vying for. But don’t feel pressured to move so quickly that you can’t go into your decision-making with a clear head and the confidence that you are making the right choice. It’s well worth taking the time to be certain — for both you and your potential employer.

If there isn’t enough time in the interview to cover all your questions, or if you think of things you’d like to ask after the fact, request a follow-up meeting with the hiring manager by phone or video. As part of that request, let that person know that nothing you’d like to discuss is a dealbreaker (even if it might be) because you don’t want to remove yourself from consideration inadvertently. Simply say you’d like to gather a bit more insight to help inform your decision-making.

If the company is truly interested in hiring you, then they will make the effort to help you collect the information you need to say “yes” to their job offer with enthusiasm — and hopefully, avoid feeling any regret after you join the organization.

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