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Why a Future Employer’s Values Should Matter to Your Job Search

I’ve started coaching business analysts who are looking to change jobs. They are a mixture of burned out, needing a change or wanting to grow in their careers these days. My most recent engagement involves helping a client review job postings and craft resumes. We’ve been spending time talking about how each job fits (or doesn’t) her skills, experience and values. We’ve also been spending time researching the future employer’s values to ensure that the employer is a good fit.

In one of our sessions we found a posting that was particularly interesting – and not in a good way. We went out to their company website and read more about their core values. I will paraphrase in our words the values that got our attention:

  • Excuses are for losers
  • Employees are expected to be online and available at any time
  • We’re smarter than our competitors
  • We only pick people who are the best so don’t expect us to hire you unless it’s clear you fit in with us

Your future employer’s values matter so read between the lines

We discussed her impressions of these values. We focused not just on the text but how they were stated. What you’re reading above is how we interpreted them. We could tell they were go-getters looking to disrupt their industry. But we could also tell there was an air of arrogance and “good-ol’-boy-ism” in how they went about it.

This posting gave us an opportunity to talk more deeply about her personal and professional values. An employee’s happiness and growth at a company are tied not only to the job’s responsibilities but whether there is a good match in values.

Where to find a company’s values

Once you’ve located an interested posting, find the company’s presence online everywhere you can:

  • go to the company’s website. Start with the About page.
  • find their company page on LinkedIn. Scan their Home, About and Video pages.
  • lookup the company on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other social media platforms. Review their posts. Notice what hashtags they use.
  • go to Glassdoor. Read the Overview, Reviews and other pages. (Note: I always take the Reviews and other pages with a grain of salt because they are subjective.)

Some early stage start-ups or very small companies may not have much of an online presence. Never fear! If you choose to apply and are interviewed, be prepared to ask lots of questions about their values and culture. Remember, know what’s important to you in a workplace and be prepared to ask questions.

Assess what you find and how you feel about it

All of this information is data you can use to determine if you’d like to apply for their job. Look at this information as a set of facts (some, admittedly subjective) and then assess how you feel when you read it or hear it. Don’t gloss over answers that don’t sit well with you. Ask for more information or clarification. Listen to how you feel as you take in the answers. This will guide you on whether this company might be a good fit.

In my coaching example, my client and I talked about how she felt when she read their values. “Some of what they said turns me off,” she said. “I don’t think I’d fit in.” She decided to pass on the posting.

When job hunting, think not only about what you want in the job but also the kind of company and work environment you’d like to work in. This will help you identify companies that share values that are important to you.

Are you thinking about growing your business analyst career? Contact me for coaching.

2 thoughts on “Why a Future Employer’s Values Should Matter to Your Job Search”

  1. […] Make no mistake, by the time a leader is comfortable saying something like this out loud, the employees already know that they do not work in a psychologically safe environment. This sentiment will have permeated through the workplace like a noxious gas, stifling productivity and killing morale. It’s this kind of atmosphere that increases employee feelings of disrespect, overwhelm and burnout, not the employees who “can’t handle it.” And ultimately it’s the organization’s, not the employees’, problem to fix. (Learn more about why it’s important to know about an employer’s work culture in my post Why a Future Employer’s Values Should Matter to Your Job Search) […]

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