You’re looking for a job and it’s just a sea of cubicles and office buildings out there. Some have nicer chairs than others, some have better break rooms or coffee machines. And while you may be most interested in the pay and benefits that you’ll get from your new job, what you should be asking yourself – is this the right place to work? Is it the right place for you?
Step back for a minute. Stop thinking about how to get a particular job and instead focus on how you feel about this job.
Is it something you’re going to be proud of 10, 15, 20 years down the road? Would you be happy to still be working there? When you’re applying for a job and choosing a place to work, don’t fixate on your qualifications; simply slow down and do a little research on the company in question.
When you’re doing research on a company, there are a few things you should look for. In this article, the tips we give you will deal with what to look for in a potential company.
1. Company Values
For instance, ask yourself, does this company align with your values? A basic Google search can determine just how honest and trustworthy a company is. But more importantly, how does this company fit within your worldview? It could be little things, like a yearly fundraiser to help fund a charity, that makes you realise that “Yes, this company is doing good in the world, and I want to help out.” Or, you may determine that this company is more interested in looking out for oneself. Determine your values and see if the company matches up. The longer you stay with a company, the more important it is that your values match.
2. Internal Communication
While not always considered, the quality of communication within an organization is important because it impacts the welfare of employees. There should be plenty of opportunities for meetings and real, meaningful employee satisfaction surveys that are read and applied. The approachability of managers is also something crucial to your ability to thrive as an employee. Ask about a company’s communication structures during a crisis, and emergency and internal procedures in your interview. Beyond that, see if you can reach out to current employees to inquire about the overall consensus of internal communication. If you’re just another cog in the factory and that’s not what you’re looking for, maybe you should move on.
Quick tip: Most companies are going to emphasize teamwork. It’s such a cliche word in interviews, but what does it really mean for you? Ask some probing questions to see if it’s just a word they throw around to sound good or if they really mean it.
Teamwork is vital to any successful company and also to employees, who may feel more satisfied when they understand the role they are playing in the bigger picture and are able to feel a proper part of the team. Instead of having a space full of people looking out for themselves, a company that emphasizes working together cohesively offers employees the ability to share in other’s successes and failures.
So question if teamwork is emphasized across all levels. If you get a promotion, will your coworkers be happy for you, or jealous? Will your supervisors applaud you, or not share in your joy once you become their equal? Ensure that teamwork is a valued skill, throughout the company and not just at the entry level.
4. Training and Advancement
You’re looking at this job as a long-term career prospect, so you’ll want to check on the quality of available training and opportunities to advance your career. Naturally, a high-quality company will invest time and money to provide both of these in an efficient way. This is a question you can ask about at your interview, but you can also research it. A company that is thinking of its employees’ training and advancement alongside outside opportunities is interested in not just advancing themselves but also your career, and it is a company that is probably worth investing in.
5. Health and Safety
Accident prone? I definitely am and even working at a desk job ensured that I had my fair share of papercut accidents. While these were minor and simply needed a basic bandage, you’ll want to consider the health and safety of your future workplace. Your safety at work has to be a number one priority, so it’s vital that any company you are considering has a proper health and safety management system in place. This is absolutely fundamental to your health, so you really ought to establish the health and safety situation before agreeing to work anywhere.
For David Rowland, Head of Marketing at Engage EHS, any business person worth their salt will have an in-depth knowledge of health and safety policy and practice. This is because health and safety is not only an end in itself, it is a means to an end towards a more efficient business that has an improved bottom line and greater brand loyalty amongst consumers.
6. Modern Technological Outlook
You’re probably not applying to work at Google, yet it’s essential that you keep up with technological developments in the workplace, and are familiar with whatever up-to-date computer platforms are being used in your industry. If you choose to work in a company that doesn’t have a modern outlook on technology, you risk being left behind in the long run. Today, having an updated computer program is vital, not just for your knowledge, but also for your work. You don’t want to be caught in the awkward position of using a platform so outdated that nobody can access your documents. And sure, using a fax machine was really important 30 years ago, but if your company is relying on one to share documents, it’s probably a sign that they’re not moving with the times.
There you have it. Looking for a job is much more important than your pay and overall status within the company; it really will impact your future. Asking yourself these questions will help you determine if it’s the right place for you.