Does your workplace reflect your values?
So how do you do this?
First of all get clear about your own values. Sit down with pen and paper and make a list of all the things that are important for you. The list is not censored and nobody else will read it so just write whatever comes to your mind. Do you value flexible working hours? Responsibility? Guidance and supervision? Routine? A good team? A parking space? A certain salary? Do you prefer making money or following ethical behaviour; is your priority customer focus or sales? Be honest to yourself when making this list since it will ultimately lead to a job in which you will feel comfortable and happy.
Also remember an application is always two-sided. Not only do you want to be the right fit for the company, the company should also be the right fit for you. The first step to get this one right is to do some research. Company websites often give mission and vision statements outlining their goals and priorities. The services they provide and the details they reveal can indicate some of their values. They might even show the associations they are members of and the projects to which they donated. You can read customer reviews and google the company in order to see what others say about it. Use social media and see whether they have a Facebook Page and if so what they post about. All those information give you a pretty good idea on what the company is like.
After having gathered theoretical information see how they translate it into reality. Start screening them from the very first point of contact, the job advertisement. Do you like it? Does it look professional and as if they care about it? How to they respond to you submitting your resume? Did they call you or send an e-mail? Did you receive all necessary information in advance or were you left in the dark? And finally, how does the interview start? Do you feel welcomed and acknowledged or are you just one of hundreds of applicants? Who is interviewing you? How do they interview you? Do you feel comfortable around those people? Do you like the office/ building?
As much as you are interviewed it is also your opportunity to interview the company.
At some point during the interview the interviewer will ask you whether you have any questions (and if not decide for yourself what this says about the company). When being offered to ask questions it is always a good idea to actually have some prepared. And it is also your chance to get to know the company a bit better. Ask for current projects in your department, the general direction in which the company heads and the values the company wants to present and also see in the employees they hire. Don’t be afraid of asking, showing and active interest in the company you are about to enter will rather impress your interviewer.
After having collected all those information match it with your own values and come to a decision. In the best case you would have found the right fit for you but you could also leave with a job offer with a bad feeling. Even though it might be daunting to refuse an offer it is always better to wait for the job you enjoy than committing to a position that causes you headache.
After all, most important is that you live a life that you enjoy in whatever this might be.
Sonja Winkelmann, Recruiter.