When choosing your next employer, it’s easy to get stuck on making a good impression. In doing so, you lose sight of what matters most to you and your future. To avoid this all-too-common predicament, be sure to properly vet your potential employer using this 4-point checklist.
The next time you are researching new job opportunities or are preparing for an upcoming interview, remember it's on the company to sell itself to you as it is you to them. Take a look before for the only list you'll need when considering a new employer. Or, for the abbreviated version, check out our digital checklist.
This is an easy one to define, but often we forget about the benefits we should negotiate for beyond straight compensation.
The company should be knowledgeable about the salary requirements for the job and location. Likewise, as a 21st century candidate, you have more resources than ever to properly research this information. If they aren’t willing to do their due diligence prior to your interview, then they aren’t the type of company that is taking the time to make a proper investment in you.
There are a number of salary checkers on the market, and according to this article by Live Career, here are the top three.
When you think of compensation, consider that it’s not just about the money. What else is on the table that they can offer you if negotiating your compensation is not an option? And more importantly, what variables do you value most?
It could be a convenient location, vacation time or benefits package. The answer is different for everyone. So prioritize what you value most prior to the interview, and don’t be distracted by things that aren’t important to you. Unlimited snacks in the kitchen is not worth a pay decrease!
Here are some examples of extra benefits to consider negotiating for, in lieu of direct compensation.
- Flexible time and/or time-off
- Distance to and from work
- Benefits package
- Signing bonus and/or bonus structure
- Vacation package
- Continuing education
- Training and development
- Lax dress code policies
When you work for an organization that actively works to keep staff motivated and happy and where employees can be open and honest, it promotes a feeling of value and trust. Furthermore, it fosters an environment where change is heard, accepted and acted on.
When employees feel like they have a more personal stake in the company, it can be a powerful, motivating factor in promoting an increased feeling of employee satisfaction. When conducting your pre- and post-interview research, look for signs for an open culture that allows employees across all levels to contribute.
This might look like a steady stream of employee-based feedback such as creative ideas, suggestions and concerns with their employer. What this does is help the company be more responsive when employee concerns arise or for vetting/implementing employee-produced ideas. And as a future employee, you need to feel like you are a contributing member of a company.
Promotes colleague camaraderie
Remember that you will literally spend more waking hours each day with your colleagues then you will with friends or family. But as Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining could attest “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Spending 40+ hours per week isolated at a desk or in mind-numbing meetings will eventually wear on even the hardiest, most productive of employees. Companies that hire for personality/cultural fit and promote a balance of social interaction alongside business activities help boost employee morale and encourage team bonding. Both of which create an upbeat and dynamic atmosphere.
The idea of non-traditional employee-employer relationships is quickly becoming the new norm. Flexible hours and remote work capabilities are just a few examples of this. Beyond the convenience factor, a real benefit is that it fosters a feeling of trust and transparency. Additionally, when you consider the fact that too many American workers are afraid to use their sick days, finding a company that promotes family leave time or time-off for vacation can be a breath of fresh air.
When possible, look for an organization that affords you the ability to determine your work schedule and endorses a healthy work-life balance. By doing so, you can experience a dramatically less stressful professional lifestyle.
There are a number of complex, long-term factors that we as job-seekers often neglect during the early stages of the interview process.
Employer Review Sites
It seems like a no-brainer, but often times it’s not until after you’ve accepted the position that you check an employer’s reviews via sites like Glassdoor. On the contrary, if you only look at one site such as Glassdoor, you are failing to grasp the complete employer/employee picture.
Chances are you wouldn’t make a big purchase without considering multiple reviews. So why would you invest years of your life in a company without taking the time to get an objective opinion. To help you get the full picture, make sure to visit several of these sites while vetting your next employer:
Not only is it vital to envision what your personal and career future looks like, but knowing the company’s long-term growth strategy is important as well. Whether you are taking a new job for career advancement or compensation, the fact of the matter is you want to be a part of an organization that shares the same values you do. Knowing that you are aligned upfront could help to avoid discovering this mismatch down the road.
This is a tough one to diagnose, but looking for consistencies in company messaging or hiring processes could be red flags for larger organizational issues that are sure to follow. After all, the devil is in the details. Take the time to revisit conversations you’ve had and documentation received during your interview process. Are different departments saying the same thing? Or worse, are your future team members upbeat and consistent in what they are doing and saying while you’re onsite?
To guarantee your happiness past the honeymoon stage, consider the following organizational and development elements.
Understanding the levels and progression opportunities within the position that you are applying for is always good to know. Am I coming into the position at the junior level? Is there opportunity to grow within this same role or will I need to be promoted to a new position? Knowing the type of role that you are interviewing for and the potential for growth, you’ll have a clear picture of what your future could hold.
Never be afraid to ask what will it take to be successful in this position. This is especially important at the onset of your new role. You’ll know from the start what your first 3-6 months may entail and will also help to ensure that both you and your employer have equal expectations, getting you started on the right foot.
Inquiring about a company’s development program is a great question to ask. Not only will you learn how you’ll be able to improve your skills or learn new technologies, it also shows the hiring manager that you have initiative. Discussing the readily available training tells your potential employer that you are always looking for ways to improve, refine and grow your skills and knowledge.