Applying for a new job? Does the potential employer share your values?

It’s easy to underestimate just how important personal values are when it comes to choosing your next employer. It’s even easier to focus on just getting that next job instead of taking the time to reflect on whether it’s the right next step for you and whether you’ll be a good fit, particularly if you’re unhappy where you are or if you’re out of work. The pay packet can become the sole focus.

But for long term career satisfaction, that bit of soul searching that helps you identify what is important to you as an individual can be the difference between the perfect fit and the perfect storm.

Everyone is different. Your personal values are just that. Personal. While one person values collaboration, someone else will value competition just as highly. For everyone who wants flexibility, another person thrives on rigidity and while some appreciate the opportunity to be creative, just as many others prefer process.

One way you can understand what motivates you is to take the Barrett Values Questionnaire: This simple tests that asks you to select 10 values from a long list provides a great jumping off point for a serious conversation with yourself about what your values are. Take the test online and have the results emailed to you within minutes. How do the results feel? Do you recognise yourself in the description? Do the words resonate?

If they do, great, you’ve gone some way to understanding what your values are. What makes you tick. If they don’t, that’s ok too. Having the personal awareness to look at the results and recognise that they don’t reflect who you are gives you a great jumping off point for further reflection.

Once you know and understand your values, you can apply them to the organisations you are thinking of applying to work for. Whether it’s researching the organisation online and through LinkedIn, talking to current and previous employees of the business or checking reviews on Glass Door (like TripAdvisor for employers, take reviews with a pinch of salt), you can get a good sense of how the organisation treats its people and how it operates.

Read my previous post for more on how to find out more about your prospective employer.

Beyond that initial research, if you decide to go ahead with your application, use your interview to find out more about the organisation. In another earlier post, The 10 secrets of interview success, I highlight the benefits of asking your own questions.

Your interview is your opportunity to find out more information about the role, the company and the team you could be working with. Asking questions like “what will the average day or week involve?” or “how would current employees describe you as an employer” can give you a great insight into the organisation’s values and  help you to decide whether they are the right company for you, if you’ll like working with them, whether you will enjoy the job and whether it will take your career in the direction you want it go.

How does this apply to values-based decision making? Crucially, it helps you decide whether the workplace and company ethos match your values. To use the examples above, if you work best in a collaborative, collegiate setting and discover your prospective employer is all about the competition, you might not be a match made in heaven.

And it works both ways too. It’s worth being absolutely clear about your values and motivates you up front. Put them on your CV. Talk about the kind of person you are at interview. Doing so will give the recruiters the chance to figure out whether you’ll be a good match for the vacancy.

Ultimately success is you finding a job that fulfils you not only in terms of your professional skills and abilities, but by feeding into every aspect of you as an individual. And if you find it, you might just start loving Monday mornings again.


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