Finding The Right Company For You
When you first graduate, you may be tempted to take the first opportunity that comes to you. But it’s important to take your time and to ensure that you find the perfect job and company for you! Although a job role may seem perfect on paper, matching your skills, experience and goals, you need to ensure that the company is the perfect fit too. Working for a company that you feel motivated by and that you believe in, will help with your future career growth by knowing that you are part of a company that you want to progress within!
Today we have some expert career advice from Hannah Salton. Hannah is a qualified executive coach, career consultant and former corporate recruiter. She spent the first eight years of her career recruiting graduate talent for leading international corporations. Follow Hannah's advice to find the right company for you...
Help! How do I know which company I want to work for?
Throughout school and higher education, your path has probably been mapped out for you at a high level. Our lives are neatly packaged into academic years, from school all the way until university.
Things typically become a lot less structured after you graduate. The well-trodden and familiar “road ahead” disappears, leaving 50+ long years of working life stretching out ahead. Some may see this lack of formal structure as a great opportunity to take real control of their future and carve out careers that are truly fulfilling.
For others, the lack of clarity gives rise to an unfamiliar nervousness, which results in a hesitancy to move forward. After all, if you aren’t 100% sure of which direction you want to go in, how can you know which path to take first? And even if you do figure out what you want to do, how do you know what company you want to work at?
While the Internet can provide tonnes of relevant information, from career advice and company profiles to job vacancies and salary reviews, navigating this vast array of information can be tricky. Knowing where to look and who to trust is challenging, even before you even begin trying to figure out what type of companies you want to target.
A good place to start is by reflecting on your values
As Viktoria mentioned on day 1, values are principles or standards that you deem to be of the utmost importance. The term “values” in this context doesn’t necessarily mean moral values, although your morals may well be reflected within your key values. Your values simply represent what is most important to you as a person.
Personal values are general to an individual (e.g. not work specifically), however, it makes sense that you would want your career to align with your values, to ensure there is not a conflict between what you and your employer value.
Reflecting on your values causes us to reflect deeply on our most important priorities – what we value above all else. If a type of career or employer’s values does not align with your own values, you could find yourself becoming frustrated and disillusioned with your career and lose the motivation to maintain high standards of performance over time. At the very least, the companies you apply for mustn't violate or contradict your most important values.
How can I tell what a company’s values are?
The first place to look is on the company’s corporate or careers page. Companies – particularly larger ones – are much more open and transparent about their values than they were 10 years ago, as they recognise the benefit of attracting candidates whose values align with those of the company.
Similarly, job seekers are recognising the importance of aligning with a prospective employer’s values and are keen to understand as much as possible about what the firm represents before committing to work there. These might be listed as company values, core values, or guiding principles.
Why does it matter to me what a company values?
Values often drive culture, and the working environment has a huge influence on how happy and successful we are at work.
Manifestations of these values can sometimes be obvious in the language and wording used when talking about the company on their website. For example, if a company shares a lot of insight about training and professional development - along with clear examples of how staff have benefited from this - the company is likely to value learning and growth.
Newer companies with a less formal culture may try to get this across by using a friendly or informal tone of voice in their communication and how they describe themselves. It’s not uncommon for smaller companies wanting to come across as friendly and approachable to have employer profiles with ‘fun facts’ like their favourite pizza topping listed online.
Many new tech startups try to create the image of a light-hearted and inclusive culture by sharing details of an office slide or company pet.
A word of warning…
Be mindful of companies that repeatedly tell rather than show you their values. For example, many companies talk about the vital importance of diversity and inclusion to their company, particularly on their corporate website. Job seekers may (rightly) become sceptical of the depth of this value if they discover that all graduates that have been hired for the past few years are all the same gender, ethnicity, and economic background.
As much as companies are being more open about their values, they also know that choosing certain values could be likely to attract a certain type of candidate they aim to recruit. Any company can say they value innovation, but it may be an aspirational value, rather than a reflection of the company at the moment.
How can I work out what a company really values?
Adopt a proactive, curious and reflective attitude when researching a company. After looking at the core values shared online, assess how consistently any other communication or exposure to the organisation aligns to what they say they value.
For example - you may be suspicious if a company claims to value collaboration and community, and the first few people you meet from the company come across as cold and standoffish.
Follow the company’s career-focused social media accounts to try and get more of an understanding of their people. Companies often use this platform to try and get across the more human element of their organisation, for example, Q&As with employees, ‘day in the life of a trainee’ blogs, photos from socials and charity or pro bono initiatives.
Again, remember this will still have been approved by the company’s official comms team so it won’t be a total ‘warts and all’ expose, however companies are trying to share a more authentic, less formal and more human side to the company through channels such as Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.
How can I gain a deeper understanding of company culture?
The best way of truly understanding what a company values and therefore what the culture is like is by speaking to its people - either at organised events or through your own personal networking.
If you build up a good rapport with someone in conversation, you can start to ask slightly more personal (but not intrusive) questions such as: “what’s your favourite thing about working here?” or “what do you find most challenging about working for the company?”.
While employees may feel pressure to highlight only the positive side of working for their company, asking more focused considered questions can allow them to share stories and insights from their own personal experiences, rather than simply regurgitating generic benefits from their company website.
To wrap up…
Finding the right company for you is important, and not an easy task. Invest time and effort to try and get to know companies at a deeper level through digging deeper – ideally having conversations with people that work there. Keep notes to record your interactions so you can reflect back on them afterwards.
About the author:
Hannah Salton worked in corporate graduate recruitment for 8 years, before transitioning to become a career coach & consultant in 2017. Through her one-to-one coaching programmes, Hannah helps graduates across the globe develop the skills, confidence and awareness needed to secure their dream job.
We hope that you feel enlightened by Hannah's key job searching tips and that this advice can help you to find the best opportunity for you. Make sure you check out the exciting opportunities at Fujitsu.
Hello)) My sister Hana. People in our country always say: the first job that you get must work in it)) and that you have to bear all the negatives in it)) in order to gain experience and knowledge and the way to work and enter the job market))) then a person can change the job for the better)) I do not know whether that applies to you))
posted 3 months ago by Hasan
Hi Hasan, I do think it's rare that you land your perfect job first time around. Very often, we learn a lot in our first 'proper' job, and that learning can help us to progress into something we enjoy even more. However, there is a lot people can do to ensure their first job role meets at least some of what they are looking for. It would be very difficult getting up and going to work every day if you hate every moment and everything about your job! But everyone is different, and has different priorities and expectations about first jobs. I hope this helps!
posted 3 months ago by Hannah
Good evening Hannah! Thanks a lot for these very interesting tips. I had a question on the "digging deeper" idea because I usually adopt this strategy as I believe it is important when applying to make sure you would be suitable. The question is: how much weight should we give to the digging deeper part and how much to making an application way before the closing date of a deadline? I often read under a job vacancy that it is advised to apply way before the closing date and sometimes I "fear" digging too much for this reason.
posted 3 months ago by Kelly
Hi Kelly, this is a very good question - it's always good to be aware and consider the listed closing date of any application. In an ideal world, you would target companies ahead of them even having a vacancy, so you can network and connect without the immediate time pressure. If you do see a vacancy and you haven't yet 'dug deeper' I would recommend reaching out to someone right away, and starting your application in parallel. If you don’t hear back in 24-48 hours and you are keen for the opportunity, it might be worth going ahead and submitting it. Of course, each job should be looked at on a case by case basis and a you should make a personal judgement call. Good luck!
posted 3 months ago by Hannah
Hi Hannah! Thanks for the great advice! Do you think that if we go for a company that is engaged with something outside of our hobbies and interests, we could still be satisfied with the job?
posted 3 months ago by Stefani
Hi Stefani, thanks for the questions, and your comments! I think many people are very happy and satisfied working for companies that don’t directly align to their hobbies. I would recommend trying to find out more about the team/role you’d be joining to help work out if it aligns with your preferences and expectations. Good luck!
posted 3 months ago by Hannah
Thank you for all the tips. I agree with what you say, although sometimes it is difficult to trust the comments of people since not all of us look for the same thing when applying for a job. What do you think are 3 essential questions that could give you an idea that you are applying to the right company?
posted 3 months ago by Rebeca
Hi Rebeca, thanks for the question! It’s important to run any advice, insights or comments you get through your own personal filter – don’t take any one person’s opinion as fact. I would recommend asking questions based on what it most is most important to you. Some example questions could include asking about a typical working day, or asking what they like and dislike the most about their role. Good luck!
posted 3 months ago by Hannah
What would you recommend if you cannot find the company reviews on glassdoor or indeed?
posted 3 months ago by Yimmy
Hi Yimmy, thanks for the question. I would recommend talking directly to the people who work there. You could ask for introductions from your friends or family (if they know anyone that works there), or you could try to reach out to employees on LinkedIn and ask if they would be up for a virtual networking coffee. This is more likely to work if you pick people with things you have in common with them for example if you can find an employee who went to the same university as you. Good luck!
posted 3 months ago by Hannah