Trick or Treat! It’s the Idealist Career Advice Candy Bowl

Trick or Treat! It’s the Idealist Career Advice Candy Bowl was originally published on Idealist Careers.

Here at Idealist, we’re embracing the sweeter side of the season and getting into the October spirit! 

We surveyed our team to find out their answers to some spooky career questions. But we’ve got no tricks here, only bite-sized career advice treats. So grab your pumpkin spice latte and dig into the Idealist Career Advice Candy Bowl!

What’s your go-to interview question to ask a potential future employer?

In every job interview, I like to ask, “How do you expect the person filling this role to grow within the organization?” because I want to make sure there will be opportunities and support for me to develop my professional skills and experience.

— Jaxx, Content Coordinator

I ask the interviewer “What do you love about your role and why have you stayed with this organization?”

— David, Social Media Specialist

As I entered the Idealist office for the first time, the first thing I asked Ami, our founder, was “Jeez, it is really quiet in here, don’t you want some music in the background?”  

He laughed, “Nope.” 

I had only worked in settings with vibey tunes percolating, apparently something more conducive to the fashion industry. I could’ve avoided that green moment by asking my soon-to-be colleagues about the working environment. I adapted just fine without light house music defining our morning ambiance, but it highlighted for me why a newbie should explore what their new environment will be, just in case some vibey preferences are, in fact, a prerequisite to their productivity.

— Bradley, Director of Business Development

Any tips for going into a salary negotiation?

Know and be able to talk about the value you bring to your role and workplace. It’s great if you have examples of successes.

Research thoroughly the salaries for similar roles at similar organizations, as a starting point. 

Think of a fair range to negotiate, make sure it’s within competitive range of similar roles in your surrounding area.

Sometimes an increase is possible but the organization may not be able to provide as much of a raise as you imagined but can offer more benefits in addition to a smaller increase. Listen to what they have to say and negotiate what is best for you. 

— Angie, HR and Operations Manager

Why, the Nonprofit Salary Explorer, of course!

— Patrick, Director of Product

How do you handle first-day anxiety?

I ask a million questions! I lean into being the new person and try to enjoy the “newbie” vibes of soaking everything in, not knowing everything. It’s okay to not know and ask.

— David, Social Media Specialist

I focus on taking an interest in everything around me. I ask questions and listen carefully to people’s answers. I may not always remember what everyone tells me, and I may need to ask some of them again, but it really helps prevent me from focusing on myself and getting anxious about what I should or shouldn’t be doing.

— Georgia, Director of Marketing and Communications

How do you deal with a tough manager?

The first step is always communication. Try setting up a meeting to go over any recent miscommunication or tough feedback you received; outlining what you plan to bring up and sharing it beforehand can give you both the time and space to identify what issues you may be having and how you can work through them together.

— Jaxx, Content Coordinator

Work to figure out what success looks like for them and then focus on helping to drive the success they are looking for. Learn to understand by listening carefully, both intellectually and emotionally, to what they are worried about and find ways to alleviate those pressures and concerns.

— Georgia, Director of Marketing and Communications

Finally, how about one treat you’ve discovered about a career in social impact?

When I made the switch to the nonprofit sector, I found people to be so genuinely kind! And so many of them are the “helpers” of the world.

“What can I do to help?” is a question I find myself asking not only at work but in my personal life, too, and it has opened so many conversations not only about what folks need but reasons why they don’t or can’t ask for help. If I’ve learned anything from working in the nonprofit sector, it’s that people have a natural instinct to want to help in the world and make it better.

— Janet, Community Support Manager