Job seekers spend so much time worrying about what companies want that they give very little thought to what they want out of their employer.
Even in a tight job market, people have a right to be choosy about the type of company they work for.
“Every day that you go to work, the company is hiring you again. At the same time, you are joining them voluntarily,” says Kris Duggan, CEO of BetterWorks, the Palo Alto, California, software company. “You have control over your career path. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”
When it comes to landing a new job, most people would assume compensation is the deciding factor. However, studies show people also care about more than just their pay scale. They care about the company’s culture and their own work-life balance. In fact, the other factors may trump compensation.
Your wants and needs from a future employer are going to vary, but career experts say there are some important attributes that should be high on your list. From culture to career development, here’s are 4 things to look for in your future employer.
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Development matters more than salary
Nobody wants to work for free. Nor do they want to end up in a dead-end job where their salary tops out after a couple of years. That’s why career development matters. Not only do you want to ensure the job you are taking is the right one to match your goals, you also want to make sure there is an opportunity for you to develop professionally.
Ask if they offer in-house training opportunities and mentorship programs.”
— Amanda Augustine, career expert
The prospects for career growth are so important that Duggan says if there isn’t room to advance in the company or to gain skills to help you move up, you’re better off skipping the offer entirely. “Bottom line, if you’re not learning, you’re not growing,” Duggan says. “Employees who find purpose at work often do so when they are strengthening weaknesses, developing new skills and defining strengths.”
So, how can you find out if your company fosters a learning environment where you can grow and thrive? Career expert Amanda Augustine says to ask if they offer in-house training opportunities and mentorship programs, or if they have a career trajectory in mind for you. These shouldn’t be the 1st questions you ask in an interview, but they should be addressed before considering an offer.
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Look into classes and certification
Unless you are about to retire, every job you take should be viewed as a steppingstone to greener pastures, whether internally or externally. One way to achieve that goal is to continue to learn and hone your skills, and that’s where tuition reimbursement comes in.
Consider not just tuition reimbursement but a range of options that can help you stay at the top of your profession and industry. …”
— Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half International
Many companies cover some portion of the tuition for college and trade school classes and certificate programs. Finding out if the prospective company does is as easy as checking its website or asking during your interview. Whether your future employer will foot the bill for your education isn’t one of the 1st questions you should ask, but it can come later in the hiring process, Augustine says.
Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half International, a staffing company in Menlo Park, California, says reimbursement doesn’t have to be limited to class tuition.
“Consider not just tuition reimbursement but a range of options that can help you stay at the top of your profession and industry — certifications, professional dues and memberships, attendance at industry conferences,” he says. “Be prepared to take on some of these costs yourself if the firm can’t cover everything.”
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Company culture may weigh in decision
In a tight employment market, job seekers often are so happy to get an interview or job offer that they forget to think about the company culture before accepting.
The fact is a company is looking for the right fit, so the job seeker should be also.”
— Joanie Courtney, senior vice president of Monster Worldwide
The company culture is going to make a difference, and not just because you spend so many hours a week at your job.
“The fact is a company is looking for the right fit, so the job seeker should be also,” says Joanie Courtney, senior vice president of Monster Worldwide, an employment website. ” Everything can seem right on paper, but if the 2 sides aren’t going to get along spending every day together, that’s typically an unsolvable problem.”
According to Kathy Harris, managing director of recruiting firm Harris Allied in New York, job seekers need to consider the company culture before taking a job. If you are coming from a culture with flexible hours and casual attire to one where you are expected to put in 12-hour days, donning a tie and suit, it’s going to be a shock.
“You have to ask yourself, ‘Does this make sense?'” Harris says.
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Don’t forget work-life balance
Years ago, job seekers cared mainly about salary, other compensation and job security. Those things still matter, but striking a balance between work and an employee’s personal life is becoming an important element, especially among millennials, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers workplace study in 2011. What good is a high salary if you spend every waking moment in the office?
Ensure the company you are considering cares more about you than just your performance during working hours.
A work-life balance can come in many different flavors, but the key is to ensure the company you are considering cares more about you than just your performance during working hours. For some job seekers, an ideal work-life balance is having flexible hours, while for others it can mean working from home a couple of days a week or being able to run errands during work hours.
“Candidates sometimes get blinded by a great salary and benefits package and outstanding perks until they get into the role and realize they are tethered to it 24/7,” says McDonald of Robert Half. “Ask the hiring manager, ‘What’s a typical day like? Tell me about the company culture. Is the team filled with early birds or night owls?’ Ask about work hours and how often people are checking in or working on nights and weekends.”