Ever thought you found the perfect job, you couldn’t wait to get started and then six months down the line you sit at your desk wondering what happened. Your boss is micromanaging every bathroom break you take, your colleagues let you get the blame for their mistakes and your challenging work turns out to be tedious and stressful.
This happens because we are not clear on what we are looking for when we find a job.
When we make a list of what we look for in a job we tend to focus on money, travel distance, fit on skills, promised opportunities. Or even worse, we settle for what is available at that moment. And like in any relationship or friendship, that is not likely a recipe for success.
And none of those factors are as important for job satisfaction than matching on values and having the same expectations of a healthy, supportive, challenging work environment.
Of course as a jobseeker it feels unnatural to refuse a good paying job not too far away from you home. But if your values don’t match you can end up in an unhealthy organization where you are unhappy, wasting your time and risking your health and mental wellbeing.
So how do you figure out if you and your prospective employer are a likely match?
5 tips when you are applying for a job.
1. Get clear on your own values
Your values tell you what is really important for in a job. If you figure out what they are, you can make a more well informed decision for the next job.
What values are important to you in your social life? In what conditions do you thrive?
It is often not really the money or the actual task that will make you disillusioned with your work. Take time to figure out what made you feel proud and happy at your last jobs? What were the things you really didn’t like.
For example if freedom is an important value to you, maybe you won’t be happy in a 9-5 job were you have to account for every minute of your toilet break.
2. Do research
Find out what values a prospective employer stands for. Are their values in alignment with what you believe to be important?
Usually you find a company’s values in their mission statement. But also look for information on projects they support, training programs etc.
Sometimes working for an organization with a bigger purpose and knowing you are part of something bigger can make up for the job itself doesn’t tick all your boxes.
3. Discuss your values during the interview
During a interview you can stand out by showing that you are clear on your values.
Employers like applicants that have a clear understanding of who they are and what they have to offer. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Show who you really are as a person.
Tip: Work in some examples that show that you are able to make moral decision that are a fit with their Core Values.
4. Ask about the company’s values
Ask what behavior the managers associate with the company’s values and how that shows in the workplace.
Not only will you make an impression by asking about a company’s values, but it is important to assess what the company and the managers are really about as well.
What are they expecting of you, what behavior do the value. What makes you a meaningful employee in their eyes? Just ask them straight out! By asking smart questions you can figure out if they are really interested in your development and if loyalty goes both ways.
The job interview is your chance to see if they really practice what they preach. If they can’t give you a quick answer on how they practice their values, values are not an important part of their culture.
5. Ask for a try out day.
If you have the opportunity, ask if you can come in for a test day. Most managers really appreciate it when your are willing to show what you are worth. But it also provides you with a valuable chance to check if you are really compatible.
Check how the atmosphere is like and if you really feel the company’s value in the day-to-day work scene.
If you get the chance, talk to other team members. Explore if you feel a click with the people you will spend 8 hours a day with. Ask them about their experience with the company. What can they tell you about the company culture or their job satisfaction? Are there major things going on in the organization that influence the job satisfaction. You will be quickly able to asses for yourself if this is the right match for you.
Interested in finding out what your Core Values are?