The internet and job boards have made job hunting easier than ever. Many times you don’t even have to apply for a position – a recruiter finds you. How do you tell a real position from a scam? Once you determine the position is real, how do you know if it will be a good fit?
Define Your Values
Be honest about what is important to you in priority order. Achievement, independence, salary, support, etc. are all factors that play a part in job satisfaction. The order is different for every person. Ignoring your values (most commonly pretending one value isn’t as important as it really is) usually causes stress that could have been avoided. A good reference for these values is at O*Net Online https://www.onetonline.org/find/descriptor/browse/Work_Values/).
Research the Company’s Values
Do your research on the company. Note the repeated phrases on their website and within employee/customer reviews. Make sure the company’s values align with yours. Research the company leadership if possible. Many executives are involved in the local community.
Go to the Interview Anyway
Intense research is no substitute for meeting with the company and its leadership in person. In many cases, you can get a feel for the environment rather quickly. We have seen candidates refuse to interview for a position because it didn’t match their expectations on paper. Soon after a candidate willing to interview was surprised to find the company willing to negotiate because their skills and values aligned. At the end of the day, going on an interview is connecting with others in your industry. It is very rare that an interview is a waste of time. At the very least, it’s a way to practice interview skills to nail it when the perfect position comes along.
Note the Red Flags
Once you’ve gathered all the evidence, it’s time to decide. Be open to the fact that sometimes you may be wrong, and the company is not a good fit. Also, be open to the fact that you may be unrealistic. Companies are made of people. People are not perfect. Employers are people; people with their own motives and driving forces PLUS a level of responsibility to their employees.Identify what a toxic work environment looks like and catch the red flags as early as possible. Do not stay in a toxic situation. However, just as important as seeing the red flags is seeing the potential in a company.
Company A: Pays a little less than what you are looking for. They promote from within. There’s a known history of employees with longevity.
Company B: Pays well upon start. Hires from outside rather than promoting from within. Only a few employees have longevity.
Company C: Pays much less than what you want. Offers flexible schedule and telework options.
While salary expectations are an important consideration in choosing a company, there is still hope for Company A. They promote from within and have a known history of employees with longevity. These two factors suggest that employees in Company A are satisfied with their employment and have opportunities to move up. Job satisfaction is another important factor to consider when defining values.
Company B, for instance, pays well from the start. Employees have more than enough to feel financially secure. That sounds great! However, it’s a mistake to base an employment decision on one factor. Don’t ignore the red flag – lack of longevity. Many candidates find that pay will never be enough to make up for the drawbacks of some work environments.
While hiring from outside may have helped you get a position that pays well up front, often there’s only so much opportunity for growth. However, companies that hire from outside get management that brings fresh ideas and overall company growth. Maybe your financial situation has room for flexibility. We often see candidates that want to work but can’t because of the cost of childcare. You don’t have to have a family to value flexibility. Often, we see candidates that left their lucrative position for their own sanity. They sacrificed income for potential work/life balance.
Most of the factors we’ve discussed so far have been external. There are also internal factors to consider such as providing enough of a challenge to be exciting but not so much that it is overwhelming. Would the work provide meaning and value? It’s not always obvious whether a position can fill some of these internal values.
Do the best you can with the information you can get. In this digital age, there is plenty of information available on prospective employers to help candidates make the right decision. Take the rest as experience. You won’t regret it.
Did you know that Optimum RTS offers HR consulting?
Suzanne is the glue that holds Team Optimum RTS together. She wears many hats in our office and her organizational skills are OUTSTANDING!