Photo Credit: Creative Company Conference 2011 via photopin (license)

Choosing the Best Companies to Apply To

Whether you are changing jobs or job hunting on Gumtree for the first time, it is important to consider what kind of company you want to work for. In the end, you want to choose a place where you will want to be because happy employees produce the best work. Working someplace where you are unhappy is not beneficial to yourself or to your employer. Much research has been done to determine what employees look for in a place of employment.

Famously a book on the subject, Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It by Cali Ressler & Jodi Thompson, lists 10 important things that employees look for in a company:

1. Purpose: A man needs a mission.

2. Goals: If we don’t know where we are going, we lose interest.

3. Responsibilities: If no one is accountable, nothing will get done.

4. Autonomy: Sentient beings need to know that our intelligence is appreciated and that we can be trusted to perform our tasks, without the proverbial authority figure glaring over our shoulders.

5. Flexibility: Life is anything but predictable; we need employers to understand when the car breaks down or the baby is ill. Most people will go the extra mile for a company if the company will do the same for them.

6. Attention: People often work well when they are noticed and praised for their efforts.

7. Opportunities for innovation: It may be that your company has always run a process as XYZ, and surprise, running it as ABC might save costs and be more efficient. Trust people to innovate; it works almost every time.

8. Openmindedness: No two humans are the same. Appreciate that everyone is different and you will have a happy workplace

9. Transparency: Guessing games and gossip in the corridors will kill even the most successful endeavours.

10. Compensation: If you want monkeys, pay peanuts.

Bearing this magic list in mind, research companies that you think you want to work for. Find out about their workplace politics and how they feel about paternity and family leave. Are flexible hours and telecommuting options that are honoured or frowned upon?

When you go for an interview, keep your eyes and ears peeled to learn all that is not told in the formal interview room. Take notice of these things:

1. How are you greeted by security and reception personnel? How are these people treated by other staff members? This will tell you a lot about how individuals are valued in an organisation. A friendly good morning is a much better way to start your day than a grumpy guy at the gate.

2. Who parks in the parking lot? If GMs get special parking spaces while other workers have to park on the street, it may tell you about how the inside of the company works and how workers are valued.

3. How do the washrooms, cafeteria, and breakrooms look? If these are a step down from the public spaces, it may be a sign that workers’ needs are not as important as the public’s impression.

Remember that the interview is a two-way street. As much as the company may be accessing your skills and personality, you should be seeing if you and the company are a good fit. Is this a place where you will be happy? Most people spent the majority of their waking hours at work; you may as well be in a place where you’ll be content.

Photo Credit: Creative Company Conference 2011 via photopin (license)

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