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Conventional wisdom suggests that the best and the brightest will have the opportunity to work wherever they want. Good for them! Unfortunately, not all workers will have those same options. The reality for many workers is that they need to find positions that are within relatively easy commute distances to where they are employed. Even with the increase to the number of people who work remotely because of Covid, it is still important for many to live and work in close proximity to each other, particularly in our efforts to achieve a proper work-life balance. But how do you make that determination of Where to work?
Well, let’s break things down a little, and think about it like this: There are those for whom a job is just a means to a paycheck; they need to work, and the kind of work is less important than having a regular income. Then there are those who are career minded and want/need to work in a particular field because they are dedicated to it, have extensive training for it and can’t see themselves doing anything else. In either case, if they are not telecommuting, the location of their work is relatively important.
But location isn’t the only important criteria. The quality of the company and the quality of the job should remain major consideration in determining where to work, no matter what you do. In order to help you figure that part of equation, you need to ask yourself some questions, or do some research to acquire more details for a better decision-making process.
Does the size of the firm matter to you? Would you prefer to work for a large multi-national corporation with multiple locations and potentially thousands of employees in the same location, or a small company with maybe a few hundred workers, or even fewer?
Does the particular kind of work matter to you, or are you just looking for a job with a paycheck?
Do you need/want benefits, and do the benefits offered coincide with your plans and goals? For example, do you need the employer to provide matching retirement contributions? Is full health care coverage for you and your family offered? Is there an education reimbursement plan? Do they offer commuter cheques to pay for taking public transportation to and from work?
Are there restaurants and other necessary services nearby?
How close to work to your kids’ schools need to be?
Does the employer provide childcare services or support?
Is there room for advancement within the company? Does the employer tout progressive internal hiring?
What is the corporate culture like? Do they provide a collaborative environment where diversity, kindness and compassion coexist with opportunity?
If you walked past their offices at the end of the work day, would you observe people who seemed content, or burned out?
The answers to some of these queries can be found in the company website, news stories, annual reports, industry-specific publications, even social media. But not all of the information you need can be easily scoped online. Sometimes you need to dig a bit deeper and more broadly to uncover the information that will convince you to apply at a particular company.
One of the places you might consult could be the Best Places To Work features that show up annually in many regional and local newspapers. Yes, newspapers are admittedly old tech, but they can still provide insights into many employment categories and particular companies. Typically, the information would be assembled from surveys taken by employees at hundreds, or even thousands of companies, by tens of thousands of employees. The results, when tabulated, can provide a variety of insights that can aid job seekers in their search.
Of course, if considered individually, survey responses would seem very subjective, but when assessed among hundreds or thousands of respondents, these kinds of surveys can help point you in a more specific direction, and arm an applicant with vital decision-making tools. Not every company is listed in these surveys – a great company could opt not to participate in the survey, for example – but you might learn about trends in various market segments that will entice you to further hone your search and investigate companies and opportunities that you hadn’t considered prior.
With so much hiring going on right now – unemployment rates are way down and hiring in almost every segment is on the rise – opportunities abound. A dedicated job seeker today has more tools available for making decisions regarding their future employer than they have ever had before. Whether the length of your commute is your top priority, or it’s your intent to work at the most well-known company in your field, the decision of where to work is in your own hands. You may need to do some research and planning, but the information is out there. In fact, it’s everywhere you want to be.
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Tough Interview Questions and Answers
Every few weeks or so we pose a question you might get asked during an interview and a suggestion on how you might formulate your answer.
This week’s question:
What aspects of working with others do you find enjoyable?
Employers might ask this question to help determine how you will fit into their corporate culture. It is most difficult to answer when you know little to nothing about the company, but it’s never really that difficult to respond effectively. If you’re not familiar with the employer, some basic research could reveal a little about the internal culture of the company, as could their social media presence. This info might lead you to an opportunity to observe some of their employees without pressure. You can go to restaurants near the place of business and chat folks up to help you determine if you want to work alongside them, Better still, find out if their location has their own lunchroom and if the public can eat there so that you can observe up close. The core values you want to convey to your interviewer include things like collaboration, the sharing of ideas, getting timely feedback, learning from others, working on teams, project development and iteration, friendly competition, etc. These are all qualities that employers want to see from their ranks. If these areas are indeed important to you, make sure your interviewer knows their relevance to what you can bring to their company. Use your PAR statements to present examples of those criteria and how they effectively contributed to previous work and your success. Be brief and concise with your descriptions of how these qualities enhanced your work, productivity, relationships with coworkers and job growth. It is not recommended that you focus on the social aspects or benefits of the position and working for the company. Doing so can lead your interviewer to believing you are less interested in what you can bring to the company than the social advantages of being employed there. Always stay focused on the job.
To see previous installments of
Tough Interview Questions and Answers,
(Most recent are at the bottom of the list.)
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