Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 1st 2015 Contents B6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, December 1, 2015
The interview process is a bit like a
blind date: you're trying to look your
best, and so is the employer! However,
The last thing you need in your next job
is to fail. Or, to end up working for an
employer or in an organization that is a
bad fit for you. If you fail or hate the job,
you could be hunting for a new job too
My Experience: Why a Values Match
Is So Important
Don't make the mistakes I made! Lessons
I learned when I accepted a bad job offer
(and how I could have avoided it).
Many years ago I was working for an
employer who was very demanding, and I
was getting burned out. I began to look for
alternative employment. I needed the new
job to offer me:
• A match for my skill set.
• No travel. Well, maybe a little travel, but
not a lot.
• An opportunity to learn more and become
a better expert.
• A boss I "like" (which means not a micro-
manager, and one who is honest).
• A short commute would be great, too. It
had to be less than 45 minutes.
I was ecstatic when I found a job which
met all those criteria. Little travel was
required, and I could leverage my technical
skills and grow, too. The boss seemed like
a genuine guy with whom I had a real con-
nection. On top of all of that, they offered
me a NICE raise. I could not wait to get
On my first day, I got an indication that
the company and I were not a good match.
I learned that a reorganization had been in
the works when they offered me the job.
I no longer had the same responsibilities
as I expected. I also had a different boss,
and fewer tools to do my work. They had
not mentioned these changes to me.
Then, I discovered through their actions
and policies that this company fundamen-
tally hated their customers. That was a deal
breaker. I have always loved my customers.
Customers make it possible for me to eat,
and I like to eat. I knew that I had to leave.
I simply could not live with myself working
for a company like that.
After a few weeks, I knew that I had to
leave. What had happened? How could I
have gone from ecstatic to depressed about
work in a matter of weeks? The answer is
that there was a huge disconnect between
my personal values (honesty, integrity and
customer satisfaction) and the values of
How did I get there? Check that list
above. Which of my requirements related
to corporate values? The only one on the
list is the one about the boss, and it's really
pretty vague, isn't it?
Finding a Good Match for You
Here are 3 key questions to help you
determine if you and the employer are com-
Q1: What are your values? What are
you looking for in that new job?
Take some time to figure out what really
matters to you. Think about it - what you
liked and hated in your last job(s). What is
important to you in that next job? What
do you want to avoid in that next job?
If you need a starting point, review this
worksheet of personal values to see which
things you really care about. Go through
the list and put a check mark next to the
ones that resonate with you. Go through
the checked ones a second time and pull
out the top 5 - in order. That final 5 defines
Q2: What can you learn about the
prospective employer's values from the
Once you know what *you* care about,
take a look at the new employer. What do
they value? Research online can provide
you with good information:
• Start with their website. Look for "about
us" or search for "mission" or "vision"
or "values." These will indicate what they
value. (Of course, there may be a dis-
connect between what they think they
value and what they actually value, so
you need to dig deeper.)
• Google the company, as well as "I hate
[company name]" and "[company name]
sucks" to see what people may be com-
• Go to glassdoor.com and look for a com-
pany profile. If a profile exists, check it
out - look at the employee comments
plus the ratings for management and for
the company as a place to work.
• Look for reviews on sites like Yelp.com
and Amazon.com. If you find reviews of
the employer's products or services, read
the reviews to learn what customers think.
Online research is only one part of the
Q3: What can you learn about the
prospective employer during the inter-
During the interview process, they are
assessing you, and it's smart for you to be
assessing them, too. Your time with the
hiring manager, HR, and the team members
is your opportunity to learn about them,
their values, and the company's values.
Here are a few questions to help you fig-
ure out the values of a potential employ-
• What "hero stories" are told here?
• Can you tell me a story about an employee
who did something great here?
Ask team members:
• Tell me about your work here. What are
you most proud of?
• Tell me about something here at work
that really frustrates you - what makes
you crazy here?
Ask the manager:
• Can you tell me about a time that a team
member blew you away with their per-
• Is there anything else you know now that
you would want the hiring manager to
tell you - if you were in my shoes?
These are the kind of questions that will
help you understand what kind of a working
environment you would be entering -- what
is valued and how great performance is
Learn from my experience, and start with
your personal values. If the new employer
isn't a good fit for you, you won't stay long,
and you won't succeed while you are there.
Employers are leery of "job hoppers" so
this situation will make your next job search
a bit more challenging, too, as you carefully
explain why you are leaving a new job so
soon without trashing that current employ-
During the interview process, they
are assessing you, and it's smart for
you to be assessing them, too. Your
time with the hiring manager, HR,
and the team members is your
opportunity to learn about them, their
values, and the company's values.
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