The importance of making sure that you fully understand what you are applying for cannot be underestimated. I all too often have people come to me who have recently started a new job but have quickly realised that it was not what they expected. This can be for various reasons, but ultimately it is because they weren’t fully aware of what they were going in to.
Ultimately until you join a business you can never fully know what you are moving into, but there are steps you can take to give you greater security.
Meet with the team (preferably in a relatively informal meeting) - meeting your peers can give you a good degree of comfort as to whether or not you will fit in.
Ask about career progression - Real examples of how the business moves people on should be given rather than vague aspirations.
Fully understand the work you will be responsible for and involved in - With the best of intentions on both sides it can be easy to misunderstand exactly what your responsibilities will be.
Involve your recruitment consultant:
Who have they placed their previously?
Do they know the culture of the team/business?
Do they know who has left the team recently and why?
Use your network - Who in your past has worked in or with the team you are interviewing for? It is a surprisingly small world and you can usually find someone to provide some informed opinion.
Trust your gut instinct - most people who realise they made the wrong decision will admit that their gut instinct was telling them that something was wrong.
Clearly you must never forget that you are interviewing for a job. However if you remain polite, balanced and professional there is no harm in asking a few probing questions at interview. In many ways it will demonstrate that you are a serious, credible and thorough person to join their team.