As a job seeker, it’s easy to zero in on pay, benefits, and even work-life balance. At Energage, we refer to these as “The Basics.” But don’t skip what may be the most important step of the process: Making sure you — and the organization you’re considering — are the right workplace culture match.
Our research shows perks are least important to real employee engagement and satisfaction. So, how do you know if you’ve found a good fit? It starts with knowing what to look for — and what questions to ask. Here are four important job search tips:
1. Do your homework
If you’re like most people, you’ll want to feel you’re contributing to something meaningful. Job search tip #1: Pull up the company website and take a look around.
- Is it easy to pick out its mission, purpose, and vision?
- Why does the company appear to exist?
- Are the company values stated, and do they resonate with you personally?
- Ask a friend or trusted partner, “Do these values describe me?”
2. Perform an onsite values check
Ask the interviewer to share — and explain the meaning behind — the company’s core values.
- What are the company’s mission and purpose?
- What examples of “living the core values” can you provide?
With this job search tip, you’re checking for a couple of things. First, do the organization’s values have meaning to you? And second, is it clear employees internalize and practice them? Find out what’s most important to the organization and how people work together on an everyday basis.
If you’ve done your homework and you were able to identify the company’s values, yet the person leading the interview isn’t able to articulate these points, consider this a waving red flag.
3. Who’s doing the talking?
Interviewers should give you the opportunity to speak and ask questions. But if you find yourself doing all the listening and not so much talking, this is another red flag. It’s also an indication that psychological safety might not exist within the organization. Take heed.
4. On job and recruiting sites
Here’s one more job search tip: Avoid giving credence to websites that allow employees – and former employees – to anonymously review companies and their management. While popular among job seekers, these websites don’t verify their sources. There’s no way for you to know whether the comments are coming from a competitor or a recently fired employee who has an axe to grind. Instead, look for a healthy employer brand on the company’s website.
So you’re ready to get out there. Do your homework, remember these job search tips, and ask the right questions. You’ll get the workplace culture answers you need to make an informed decision—and hopefully clinch a job that’s satisfying for the long term. Good luck and happy hunting!