How to Find a Company You Love - A Millennial's 5-Step Guide
About me: I am a Valamis employee that loves my job and my company – I am advancing my career in a workplace that gives me a clear purpose and a positive environment to continue developing professionally while exploring creative ideas. I'm located in our Boston office, where I am a part of the Valamis marketing team that is spread out all over the world.
DISCLAIMER: I may have a 'Millennial bias. 'Some call it 'Millennial entitlement' to enjoy where they work and to seek purpose, but I believe it to be rational behavior. Viktor Frankl may agree with me. A full-time employee often spends more time with their co-workers than their own family members so in my personal opinion it makes sense to enjoy your work.
THE 5-STEP GUIDE
The job search is tedious. No one wants to spend time job searching and interviewing to ultimately hate their newfound job. A 2015 survey by LinkedIn stated that 36% of respondents changed jobs because they were unsatisfied with the work environment or culture and 41% were unsatisfied with the leadership of senior management. But how do you know before you get to a company whether you will like it or not? Employers most likely will not expose issues in the workplace when trying to recruit talent. How can you sift through the false information and more accurately find out what it's like at a company -- before you get there? How will you know you like where you work? Truth is, you can't. But there are 5 steps to take to be in the best position to find a company you love.
1. Define what matters to you short-term and long-term, personally and professionally
- Prioritize what matters to you most: Stability, work environment, career growth, development, money, work-life balance, employee well-being, flexibility, benefits, company history, adrenaline-rush (join a startup) etc. Determine the variables and rank them.
- Workplace engagement: Is the work engaging? Is the product/service/industry interesting? Does the career opportunity excite me? Will my work diversify or be indefinitely routine?
- The future: Where do you see yourself in one year, two years and five years? How will you get there?
- Make a realistic budget, investment strategy, possible career trajectory plan, create a vision board - do everything you need to visualize what you think you want in the future. Likely to change, but it is helpful to be driven towards clear goals instead of ambiguity and happenstance.
- Get organized: I am a huge fan of productivity tools. My two favorites for the past few years have been: Trello and Momentum. Maybe you prefer writing in a planner or taking mental notes, but do what works for you.
Once you have step 1 down, it's time to investigate a company to see whether they fit what you have defined in step 1.
2. Use Glassdoor
I found Valamis' job posting on Glassdoor, an organization with a mission "to help people everywhere find a job and company they love." Glassdoor is a very useful site to uncover the inside dynamics of an organization. (Update May 2018 - Glassdoor was sold for $1.2 billion). Over 41 million unique visitors have visited Glassdoor monthly and 10 million of those visitors have reviewed over half a million companies globally. Employers cannot remove or edit reviews which provides a very transparent look into multiple facets of a company. Employers can only create profiles and add job postings.
You can find employee insight on:
- Work-life balance
- CEO approval
- Company Size & Revenue
- Pros and Cons of the workplace
For example, the above image shows that out of 15,302 Employee Reviews, 397 reviews mentioned a Pro of working at their company was they ‘learned a lot.' You can also see that in 1804 reviews, work-life balance is mentioned as a con at this particular company. Glassdoor provides insider feedback and you can see trends emerge regarding a company. It is also important to investigate whether any changes in management recently occurred or any merger/acquisition activity that could impact the reviews.
3. Investigate the Job Posting
The messaging in a job posting is crucial in attracting quality talent. Judging from my past experience, I defined a clear set of values I was looking for in a company. I prioritized three variables for my next job: a positive work environment, career growth and a place where people love to work.
When I saw the Valamis job posting, I was first intrigued by the Valamis company description:
"Our headquarters are located in Finland, which has one of the best education systems in the world. We believe that new learning methods combined with the right technology are the key when helping organizations prepare for the future way of working."
Then there were 2 key phrases that struck me regarding company culture:
- 7th Best Workplace in Europe -- This is a workplace with opportunities for Education and Training
- Finland made me think I will have opportunities to gain:
- international work experience
- cultural competence
- communication skills
- push my comfort zone
- Scandinavian work culture.
- Extra credit: The job posting was written by a Chief Human Resources Officer, which shows that the company has a dedicated Human Resources department; a department with expertise in managing people and their well-being.
4. Employer Research - Website & Social Media
The Valamis job posting caught my attention but I wanted to take a look at the Valamis website and social media. I gravitated towards the recognizable NASA logo on the website and went on to read the white-paper with NASA. The prestige of NASA and the cutting-edge projects and applications of Valamis, Valamis' corporate eLearning platform lured me in. I was hooked on the company mission but also the workplace values. It is important for a company to show dedication to an employee's well-being and to actually mean it. After looking through social media, it was clear that there was a thriving organizational culture. Employees (other than the marketing and HR team) were engaged on social media, contributing to posts and commenting. Other sites like: Crunchbase, Indeed and LinkedIn can provide insight into a company's history, current status, current employees and industry trends.
Ask questions about culture, growth and day-to-day responsibilities. Frame these questions around what you defined in step one. I had a series of interviews virtually and it was very clear that I was going to be a part of a supportive team. In my interview, I had the opportunity to ask real employees what it's like working for the company every day.
Yep, that was a lot of work and a lot of time spent working through this 5-step guide. But if you don't take the time to find a job you love, you'll be doing this process all over again, and job-hopping can be costly. The work is well worth it!
Marketing Manager, North America