Whether you have just one excellent job opportunity or have several offers on your lap, your career decision needs careful consideration from all angles. There is more to evaluate than the general aspects of job title, salary, and benefits.
The Romantic Metaphor
Employment, like romance, is a relationship, with the initial interview akin to a first date. The first date will determine if there will be a second one, then a third, etc., before developing into a steady and exclusive relationship. During the dating process, trust needs to be developed, and compatibility tested.
In a job market where there are more job seekers than employers, especially for candidates in their early career, the power of “who gets to have the last say” is often surrendered to the employer. But shouldn’t both parties each determine if the other is the right fit – like in dating?
Here’s a guide to help you determine if your potential employer is the best fit for you.
- 1. Investigate Your Potential Employer
- 2. What Are They Saying About Themselves?
- 3. What Are Others Saying About Them?
- 4. Brand Personality Yay or Nay?
- 5. Is There a Physical Attraction (Size, Location, Environment)
- 6. Evaluate Their Core Assets: Product, People, Culture
- 7. Then You Have Your Say
1. Investigate Your Potential Employer
Just like how companies will review your CV and scope out your social media profile to make sure you’re a fit, you should do the equivalent. Perform a thorough assessment of the potential employer’s company culture, personality, and values to understand how they align with yours. Do this as early as before you apply for the job, before your interview, throughout the entire hiring process, and even after you have been made the job offer.
2. What Are They Saying About Themselves?
When researching the company, take time to read its mission and vision statements from the corporate website. Learn more about the organisation’s structure, current projects, and its corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. The “About Us” or “Careers” section can tell you a lot about a company, including its priorities and how much it values employees.
During the interview, don’t be afraid to ask questions about the company ethics, policies, methodologies, and plans. It demonstrates your genuine curiosity and keen interest. Pay attention to how the company presents itself, and keep in mind any red flags that may come up.
3. What Are Others Saying About Them?
“I don’t care what they say. I’m in love with you.” Well, this is an exception when considering to start an “employment relationship”. Don’t be blinded by the glamour and glitz. In making a career decision, you’ll need to hear what other sources have to say about your potential employer.
You can find all sorts of information online today. Dig deep into news coverage, blogs, and crowdsourced employee review sites, such as Glassdoor and Indeed, for insider insights on a company’s culture, work-life balance, management’s attitude, and its stance on equality, etc. If you know someone in your network, who used to or currently works in the company, you can consult them to find out more.
Employees with a good association with the brand can translate into better leadership, more involvement, and quality product offerings. The best brands in the world are not just desirable in the eyes of the consumers but are also brands that people would love to work for.
4. Brand Personality Yay or Nay?
A company’s persona matters. Some may find a brand’s personality innovative and free-spirited, while others may perceive the same brand as too provocative and aggressive for their liking. Translating this into the dating concept, how long do you think you can last in a relationship with a partner whose character is not compatible with yours? Better to not start than to have it develop into an ugly and short-lived one.
Look up your potential employer’s social media profiles. They are the best public platforms for you to learn about the company’s personality and tone of voice from its posts and social engagement.
5. Is There a Physical Attraction (Size, Location, Environment)
Now, let’s be honest. These are sizeable “physical” considerations:
Size of Company
Will you thrive as a small fish in a big pond, starting your career in a multi-national corporation that employs thousands of people? Or will a five-man start-up be the better match for the versatile you?
Office Location & Commute
How long will your daily commute be? The reality is that if it’s going to take you two hours with multiple transits to get to the office every morning, it can take a toll on your work-life balance.
Do you have a preference for a social workspace or a quiet corporate office? You can always request a brief tour around the office at the end of your interview to get a feel of the working environment.
6. Evaluate Their Core Assets: Product, People, Culture
How much do you know about the company’s product? Do you have confidence in its market viability, and will you be its advocate? If a salesperson does not believe in what he or she sells, the selling process becomes an unethical manipulation. Of course, you may not be seeking a sales role, but bear in mind that a company’s product performance contributes to the bottom line that pays its employees’ salaries and bonuses. So, as part of the company, you’ll need to want the product to do well, believe that it can, and contribute to its market performance. It will be hard to fake it.
Work friendships can go a long way, possibly beyond the 80,000 hours we spend in our working lives. Some hiring processes may require you to meet and interact with future colleagues, allowing you to assess how well you can work with them.
Mentorship & Training
If not at your first interview, you will surely meet the person you will report to. Through conversations, you can evaluate if he or she will be the right person to guide you on the job and help you develop in your career. Where there is continuous learning, there is progression, and progression translates to motivation and job satisfaction. Don’t hesitate to find out what training opportunities the company has to offer.
Everyone has a different definition and threshold of work-life balance, stemming from our commitments and lifestyles. Some jobs may require employees to work long hours but offer substantial financial rewards. Weigh the pros and cons and work out what you are willing to sacrifice.
7. Then You Have Your Say
Now that you have vetted your potential employer thoroughly, what’s your verdict? Does the attraction still stand? Or are there more differences than you care to admit? No job is likely to check all boxes, but be sure that you want the job as much as the employer wants you and that you both have equally as much to gain from the relationship.