POST WRITTEN BY
Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council
Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership
The job offer you’ve been expecting has finally come, and you are excited beyond words, but once that initial moment of euphoria passes, you may start wondering about whether you will actually fit in at the new place of employment. One major question you may ask is whether your future employer has the same values as you and how those values will play into your efforts to fit the organization’s corporate culture. One way to identify a company’s core values is by taking a hard look at the people who work there. Above all, trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel like a good match for you, it probably isn’t.
To help, 10 members of Forbes Coaches Council explain how a working professional can decide if the company that has given them a job offer is in line with their values:
1. Ask Direct Questions
Determining whether to accept a job offer can be difficult. I believe the interview process should be a bit two-way. Both parties must be happy with the decision made. Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions. Ask why the position is vacant. Why did the person before you leave the position? The answer to this question can give you great insight about that company. – Mika Hunter, Female Defender
2. Check Their Reviews
We have the privilege of living in the internet era. You can find online reviews about almost everything, including companies. Visit Glassdoor and have a look at what current and former employees have to say about the company. You will learn information not found on their website or shared in the interviews. If you read something worrying, discuss it with the company before you join them. – Caterina Kostoula, The Leaderpath
3. Speak To More People
If, at the end of the interview process, you do not have enough information to make a decision, continue to ask questions. Let the company know that you want to speak to additional people. Asking questions is even easier after you have the offer. If you are unsure after speaking to others, I would pass (assuming you have other options). – Donald Hatter, Donald Hatter Inc.
4. Go With Your Gut
There are many theories about “best fit” and research you can and should do as a candidate. However, the little voice inside you knows. That’s your gut instinct. Think of a time when you went against your inner judgement and afterward thought, “I knew all along but didn’t listen to myself.” Use all of your tools, analyze your information, and tune into and listen to your gut feeling. – Christine J. Culbertson (Boyle), Coach Christine: Building Business, Leaders and BIG Lives
5. Assess Culture Fit
First, articulate your values. List them in three categories: must haves, should haves and could haves. Then have a good understanding of the company’s culture by going to Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Inhersight (particularly for women), etc., and talking to at least five employees for a more objective view. Then, evaluate. Full alignment is great. Otherwise, they should at least meet your must-have values. – Amy Nguyen, Happiness Infinity LLC
6. Leverage Social Media
People are more transparent than ever online. In addition to reading review sites, such as Glassdoor, check out social media profiles of company leaders. Read up to see what interests them, the content of their posts, who responds to them and whom they influence. This can tell you what they value and emphasize. If they bring up hot-button topics, these will probably also arise at work. –Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CIC, COPNS, CTTCC, An Expert Resume
7. Do Thorough Research Upfront
Research is a crucial part of creating an effective match between you and a company. It is imperative to find out as much as possible about a company’s values, culture, organizational structure, financials and growth opportunities before you decide to accept a job offer. Skipping upfront research may end up costing you and the company unnecessary time and money if the match falls through. – Lillian Gregory, The Institute for Human and Leadership Excellence
8. Know Your Own Satisfaction Drivers
If you have an offer, you should have already had many interview stages to get a sense of fit and whether you understand the goals and needs of the company. It’s your responsibility to ask questions along the way and to do your own research. Know your own satisfaction drivers. Ask about expectations, mission, communication styles, performance measures and what kinds of people are successful here. – Joanne Markow, GreenMason
9. Ask The Experts
The best way to discover if a company’s values are in alignment with your own is to ask the people who know best: your potential future co-workers. It is completely appropriate to ask if you can meet with some potential team members to gain insight on the role and determine how the company is living their values as experienced by their employees. They will be the experts with real-world knowledge. – Tonya Echols, Thrive Coaching Solutions
10. Find Out If They Live Their Slogans
Most companies have cute slogans and phrases on their websites. You should ask if they are real or only skin-deep. One way to find out is to connect to those who may have left the company. Not all are negative. Some may give you reasonable pros and cons of working there or their insights into how to start and build your career. Ask them in so many words if the company practices what its slogans preach. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of leading business coaches and career coaches. Find out if you qualify at forbescoachescouncil.com/qualify.