They need you in the office but you like working from home. Now what?

Pictured: woman with her feet up on her desk at home

They need you in the office but you like working from home. Now what?

March 28, 2022

Pictured: woman with her feet up on her desk at homeAt first, the idea of working from home made a lot of employees uncomfortable.

They worried about feeling isolated and about being distracted or unable to focus. They didn’t have their homes set up with a space to work and with the entire family home all the time, it probably felt like chaos.

Two years later, they’ve figured out how to make it work and have settled in. They’ve learned to like it!

And now, companies are making decisions around bringing their employees back into the office. They need to decide if they will continue to have employees work remotely, move to a hybrid model, or have everyone fully return to the office.

As they make this decision, companies are trying to balance the wants of their employees and the needs of their business. They need to be profitable and competitive with productive employees, and they also need to make sure their employees are happy.

There is no one simple answer. Every company has unique needs so the solution will be unique to them. And every job is different. Some require face-to-face interaction while others work perfectly well in a remote environment

What I want to focus on here is how employees are responding to the prospect of going back into the office.

This is what I’m hearing from my own clients:

  • I don’t want to commute. I’ve saved money by staying home and I don’t want the hassle with the traffic.
  • I like working in my sweatpants!
  • I’ve saved so much time by not having to get dressed and pulled together for work.
  • I don’t want to spend my money on new clothes for the office.
  • I like the flexibility that working from home gives me. Going to the office means I won’t be able to take a quick nap after lunch.
  • I do my exercises at lunch, and I won’t be able to do that if I go back to the office
  • I am more productive working from home.

I feel the need to point out that the last point above about productivity is the one that companies are going to be most interested in! Your productivity serves their business needs… but so does your happiness.

On the flip side, I do have some clients who have already gone back to their office. They’re happy to see their colleagues but they find it disruptive. They tell me they can’t get their work done.

It is to the benefit of the company that its employees see each other in less formal “watercooler” settings, and it’s to your benefit as well. These casual meetups are opportunities for spur-of-the-moment brainstorming sessions, spontaneous sharing of ideas, and for networking.

When we work remotely, those casual meet-ups with our colleagues don’t happen. Every interaction is planned. That means that both you and your company miss out.

As your call to return to the office looms, I invite you to think about this from your company’s perspective.

Remember, companies are in business to make money, be profitable, remain competitive, and grow. If they don’t do all these things, then you might not have a job to go back to the office for.

With all of this in mind, the question is: How can both your company’s needs and your wants be met?

You have your list of wants (and perhaps, a resistance to change when you’ve just finally settled in), and your company has business needs.

How can you use this information to create a solution where everyone benefits?

This is about incorporating your wants with the company’s needs. If you can think about things from their perspective, you may find a way to incorporate what you want so that it fits within their needs.

If this is of interest to you, I invite you to take the following steps.

  1. On a piece of paper, create two columns.
    - In the first column, write out all the things you want.
    - In the second column, write out how the company benefits from what you want.
  2. On another page, write out your accomplishments from the past year along with the results of those activities, especially in terms of how the company has benefited.
  3. Then, have a conversation with your manager. Let them know that you want to support them during this time of transition. Take the opportunity to share what you want, and frame it with a focus on how your wants benefit the company.

I’m hoping these steps will open up your perspective. What you want is important! But if they don’t serve the company then it may not be feasible, and it’s important that you get clear on this!

You are an integral part of your company’s success. They want to keep you!

Work towards a solution where everyone benefits; the company will be profitable, growing, and competitive and you will be happy as well.

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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Where Are You Going in Your Career? Here’s How to Decide

clipboard with the words: "Where I'm going from here..."

Where Are You Going in Your Career? Here’s How to Decide

January 30, 2022

clipboard with the words: "Where I'm going from here..."What are you doing to set your intentions for your career?

Setting your intentions for where you want to go in your career is essential.

This is your opportunity to get clear on what you believe will make you happy and to set your trajectory. Because yes – you do have a choice! And when we know where we are headed, it’s easier to make the best decisions to get us there.

So how do we set career intentions?

As we think about what we want for ourselves in the future, one of the best things we can do is look back.

Following the advice of the very wise Maya Angelou: “If you don't know where you've come from, you don't know where you're going.”

Here’s why: It’s when we look back at what we’ve done and how we feel about it, that we can make smart decisions about what we want to do next.

So, as you think about where you want to be in the future, use this Career Guide to look back at what you’ve been doing at work with regards to three specific areas that are known to drive (or undermine) career satisfaction:

  • Your skills
  • Your values
  • Your interests

When we can take these three important areas and align them with how we spend our time and how we connect with the company we work with, we can positively impact how happy we are in our careers.

This is a process of introspection… so download this guide, grab a pen and a comforting drink that inspires deep thought (my favorite is cup of black tea), and give your future the time and attention it deserves.

Sidenote: Setting your career intention not just an end-of-year activity. You can walk through this process anytime and plan your year ahead. Is it July? Cool. Keep going…

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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Will You Be Happy in That Job? Three Ways to Know.

These three areas are indicators about whether you'll be happy at work

Will You Be Happy in That Job? Three Ways to Know.

January 17, 2022

These three areas are indicators about whether you'll be happy at workAs we look at the work situation in the U.S., where people continue to leave their jobs, driving the Great Resignation amidst an ongoing pandemic, we have to ask: What is out of alignment for these workers?

What is making them so unsatisfied at work that they leave under such dire conditions?

I believe this question is tied to the three specific areas that serve as indictors for whether a person is satisfied in their career.

Those 3 areas are:

  • Which skills are we using?
  • What are our values?
  • What are our interests?

When these three areas are in alignment with the work we do and the company we do it for, we are typically satisfied in our careers.

But when one or more of them is out of alignment, dissatisfaction rises.

I suspect that what’s been happening during the pandemic is that there has been a shift in the values that workers hold.

Perhaps they realize what truly matters to them in this new day and age, and that it’s different than what it was just two years ago.

Or maybe they don’t agree with the way that their company is responding to the health challenges, or they don’t like how they’re being treated under these conditions.

It is also possible that their interests are shifting. Times like these make us step back and take stock as we ask, “Is this really how I want to live my life?”

In all of these cases, we’re looking at the need to align what we are good at (skills), what we believe in (values), and what we want to do (interests), with the way we spend our time at work.

As YOU think about moving ahead in your career, whether it’s to a new company that you’re looking for or in your current role, what will make YOU happy?

  • What are the skills that you want to be using?
  • What values do you want to make sure are in alignment with the company you work for?
  • What interests do you want to pursue?

These are not small questions. I encourage you to sit in them, think about them, and even write out some answers for yourself. They are important questions, and they indicate whether you’ll be happy in your next job.

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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Marking Time: Reflections on a Year

Jayne Mattson writing her annual letter

Marking Time: Reflections on a Year

January 3, 2022

Jayne Mattson writing her annual letterWhat do you do to mark the shift through the New Year?

Especially in times like these, with a multi-year pandemic and the difficulties of connecting safely with our loved ones, I believe that tuning in to the New Year can help us more consciously embrace what’s good in our lives.

At least… I hope so.

I began a new ritual last year: I wrote myself a letter that I would open one year later, and I invited my readers to do the same.

What I’d like to do now is ask: Was it useful? Was writing myself a personal letter at the turning of the year a useful endeavor?

Let’s find out…

As I opened my letter today, I was surprised to see that I wrote a four- pager. I don’t remember doing that and I don’t think of myself as a writer but apparently, I had a lot to say!

And as I read through my message, three themes rise up: Gratitude; Relationships; and Innovation. I can see how these themes made sense last year, and they make sense right now as well.

Gratitude:

My letter tells me that I woke up early January 2021 with a heart full of gratitude because the three top priorities in my life of faith, health, and connection with family & friends were strong.

I am an optimist by nature and tend to look at what is good to make it better. Even last year, mid-pandemic, I chose to focus on the positive things that happened in my life that got me through what are some of the most challenging of times for all of us.

Like many people, I had lost friends and family. Not being able to grieve fully in person made the losses even more painful. Despite that, I still felt gratitude for having them in my lives for so long and I cherished each memory we had together.

Relationships:

The physical was certainly difficult, but meeting people virtually seemed to alleviate it in many ways. (Good to note as we head into our 2nd pandemic winter.)

Since my relationships with family, friends and colleagues are extremely important, I found ways to stay connected. I am known as “the glue that keeps people together” and I embrace that as part of my identity – so much so that I wrote a book about building relationships just a few years ago. Bringing people together is second nature to me.

Innovation:

The last theme in my letter was about how over the previous year I had leaned heavily into innovating as I created new marketing channels for my business.

I hired a Marketing Consultant and a Web Designer who helped me rebrand my business and create an amazing new website that I still am so proud of!

It was challenging work because it made me get very clear on who I help, how I help them, and how I want to find and connect with the people I serve.

That work was hard, but it was so worth it! I’m still using that marketing strategy now and I’m looking forward to leveling up in the new year with Live video on LinkedIn!

As I look over last year’s letter, I have some very specific takeaways:

Writing that letter was helpful. I feel like it’s creating some powerful cohesion between where I was at this time last year and where I feel like I’m going now as we head into the new year. I can see the flow of the themes and it brings confidence and clarity that I would not have had if I hadn’t written myself that letter last year.

Noting the themes between then and now is powerful. I can see the flow of ideas and direction. As I look back, it gives me a sense of accomplishment; as I look forward, I feel conviction about where I’m headed.

The themes of Gratitude, Relationships, and Innovation feel to me like a balance of past, present, and future. I like how that feels – being grateful for where I’ve been, cherishing what I have, and being planful about where I’m going.

Will I be writing another letter this year? Yes. In fact, I’ve already started it.

And I invite you to write one to yourself as well. The flow of time can sweep us away if we let it. Marking time with letters to ourselves can help us be more intentional about where we’ve been, what we want, and where we’re going.

Will you be writing a letter to yourself? Let me know in the comments! Then next year when it’s time to open my next letter, I’ll tag you and we can both open our letters and share what we’ve learned!

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Speaking Up: How to Confidently Assert Your Boundaries at Work

Speaking Up: How to Confidently Assert Your Boundaries at Work

December 13, 2021

Early in my career, I had a manager who would berate his employees during our staff meetings.

Whenever I saw him do this to my colleagues, I would talk ask them after: “Why don’t you speak up?” The answer was usually just a shrug, or a question: “What would I say?”

Then one day, it happened to me. My manager scolded me right there in front of my colleagues. I was embarrassed, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

As soon as the meeting was over, I went into my manager’s office and said, “I would like to talk to you about that you said to me in the meeting this morning. When you said _______, I felt disrespected, specifically because you said this in front of my colleagues. I welcome feedback, but can you please do it behind closed doors?”

He said: “I am sorry. You’re right. I won’t do it again.” I’m happy to say that he stopped speaking to me that way during meetings!

Sometimes people just don’t realize that how they’re doing something is having a negative impact, and they don’t see how else they might do it that could provide better results.

There are three elements at play here that I want to bring to your attention: boundaries, confidence, and assertiveness.

When my boss berated me in front of my colleagues, he crossed one of my boundaries: I will accept feedback, but only in private. As soon as he crossed this line, I knew I had to say something.

This is where confidence came in. Confidence is based in courage, and courage doesn’t exist without fear. Going in to talk to my boss wasn’t easy. I wasn’t sure how he was going to take it. But talking to him about it was essential. I had a boundary to defend!

And in fact, I demonstrated that boundary by talking to him in private. I like to think that me doing unto him the way I wanted him to do unto me is part of why it went well.

And lastly, we all need to be assertive. Assertiveness is about communicating in a clear and direct manner. It’s about using the right language so that we can get our message across with respect so that we are heard without hurting someone else’s feelings.

I think there’s a fine line between assertiveness and aggressiveness that we have to walk carefully, especially for women. If we push too much, they’ll be offended and put off; if we push too little, they won’t take us seriously. Walking this line takes practice.

I often help my clients work out how they want to respond to situations like this. Here are two things that I have them think about:

  1. What is the action or behavior that didn’t work for you?
    example: my boss berated me in front of my colleagues
  2. What is the action or behavior that needs to happen instead?
    example: I welcome feedback behind closed doors

Then use those two pieces of information to help you craft an assertive statement that clearly describes what you need.

Again, this takes practice. But if you work with these situations intentionally, you can help to promote an atmosphere at work that will enable you to thrive!

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Drawing Lines: How to Maintain Healthy Boundaries at Work

How to maintain healthy boundaries

Drawing Lines: How to Maintain Healthy Boundaries at Work

December 6, 2021

How to maintain healthy boundariesDuring a recent presentation, I asked my audience – a group of early-career professional women – this question:

“Which professional boundaries do you find difficult to maintain?”

Their answers showed that:

  • 66% struggled with committing to their personal time outside of work hours because they continue to check emails after the workday has ended
  • 22% had difficulty saying “no” to opportunities that did not align with their lifestyle needs and values

This same audience agreed that the challenge is further exacerbated when you have goals and desires around your work including:

  • Wanting to be recognized and valued for your work
  • Feeling respected by others
  • Getting feedback in private
  • Being valued for their willingness to express differing opinions

It’s easy to feel torn between reaching for our career goals and protecting our personal lives. It might be tempting, even, to forgo our boundaries and personal lives for the sake of our career goals.

I caution you against that mindset. Once a boundary is given up, it’s much harder to regain. Plus, that’s a short-term approach. I’ve thought it myself: “I can do this for a year…”. But one year turns into three, which turns into a lifetime of imbalance.

It’s not just that you’ve opened the door and now you can’t close it. It’s more that it’s a habit that you’ve created within yourself. You don’t even see it happening… but habits are pervasive and difficult to change.

We’re also talking about setting other people’s expectations. If you don’t maintain healthy boundaries in your current job, it can be difficult to reestablish the boundaries you want without changing jobs altogether. If your boundaries are so compromised that you’re miserable, that’s a viable option… but if you can stop it from happening in the first place, you’ll save yourself a lot of pain and frustration.

So, decide right now what you want your career to look like and how you want that to balance with your personal life. It’s better to create stricter boundaries now that you can loosen later than to create loose boundaries that are almost impossible to tighten.

This problem of maintaining healthy work/life boundaries is not new, but it has gotten worse with working from home. These lines get fuzzy when they exist within the same four walls.

I encouraged the women in my audience – and I encourage YOU - to clearly define what your boundaries are:

  • What boundaries do you want to create and maintain?
    Be specific! Examples: No checking email after 7pm, or only take on opportunities that are in line with where you want your career to go.
  • What does crossing the boundary look like?
    Again, be specific. Envision it so that you’re more likely to see it when it happens.

Once you have a clear definition and understanding of your boundary, your next step is to have a conversation with your manager. When you are both on the same page about what you each expect, your boundary will likely require less management and, should lines start to get crossed, it will be easier to get back in bounds.

Want a little bit of accountability? I’m here for that! Tell me in the comments below: What’s the boundary that you want to maintain?

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The Career-Growth Gender Gap: It’s still here but we’ve got plans

women can take action to change the career-growth gender gap

The Career-Growth Gender Gap: It’s still here but we’ve got plans

November 22, 2021

women can take action to change the career-growth gender gapIf you are a woman and early in your career path, there’s something you need to know:

Women face challenges in their career growth that men do not.

If you think that we’re beyond the gender problem, I invite you to think again… because we are not!

In fact, women face TWO specific challenges:

First - Women don’t move up to the next level within their first five years at the same pace as men

Second - Because they don’t get promoted, women do not develop the same leadership skills as men within this same time frame.

These two steps are essential for career growth!

Researchers call this the “broken rung.” According to a 2019 study by McKinsey and LeanIn.org, these obstacles that prevent women from progressing in their careers.

Here’s the thing:

If you don’t get promoted, you don’t get into the pipeline for further promotions. Instead, you play a game of catch-up and it’s easy to continue to fall behind.

So… what can you do about this?

As an answer to that question, I’d like to tell you about a wonderful group of early-career professional women that I recently had the wonderful opportunity to speak with.

They were enrolled in a year-long program designed to address these common career-growth challenges that women face in the workplace. These women knew that they had to take control over what they needed and wanted in their careers. They were aware that if they were going to remove the obstacles they faced, they needed to understand the challenges that created them.

As part of their program, these women identified their values around what is important to them in the workplace. With that in mind, I spoke with them about three key areas that build upon what they value in the workplace.

  1. Work boundaries
  2. Confidence
  3. Assertiveness

These are foundational factors that support their values. (If you want to identify your own values with regards to the workplace, download the Corporate Culture worksheet.)

Here’s a quick summary of these key areas and how they support and align with your values:

Work Boundaries reflect how you want to be treated in the workplace. Keep in mind: You should treat others the same way you hope to be treated. Following the Golden Rule can serve a guiding light.

Confidence helps you define and establish your boundaries.

Assertiveness guides you towards using the right language to get your point across clearly and tactfully when your boundaries are threatened or compromised.

What I find most exciting about these key areas is that they are skills. That means you can learn them and practice them so that when you need them, you’ll be ready.

Here is what I’m hoping you’ll take away from this:

  • You have to choose to take control over what you want and need in your career
  • You can take action to combat the challenges you face
  • Finding support through communities and a career coach can help you make these things happen for yourself.

We are still facing gender challenges in the workplace, but we are not victims to them. You can take specific, focused action to support your own career growth. When you do the work, success will follow.

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Solve the Hidden Talent Shortage with a New Approach

Solving the Hidden Talent Shortage with a New Approach

Solve the Hidden Talent Shortage with a New Approach

October 4, 2021

Solving the Hidden Talent Shortage with a New ApproachAccording to the Manpower Group, almost 70% of employers report that they cannot find the people with skills they need. (Manpower Group, 2020, The Talent Shortage.) In the U.S., employer intentions to bring on workers is at a ten-year high. (Manpower Group report, Q4 2021)

At the same time, the U.S. unemployment rate was at 5.2 in August 2021.(Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 3, 2021, The Employment Situation – August 2021)

In short: There are jobs available, and there are plenty of people looking for those jobs.

So, what’s the problem? The operative word is “talent.” There are plenty of people who are looking for jobs. But companies struggle to connect with the job seekers who have the right skills and experience to fill the open roles.

I believe this challenge exists because companies are using old ways to find new talent.

Thanks to improved technology and changes that we’ve need to make around the globe to adjust for a global pandemic, the use of video interviews and social media outlets to drive recruiting strategies has increased. But where companies find the talent to interview has not changed.

Until companies start approaching the talent pool from a different direction, finding the right talent to fill open roles will continue to be a challenge.

The strategies for finding talent that companies typically use are no longer working. To get ahead of the trend, companies need to become proactive not reactive in finding talent, and they need to bring in more of a human touch to the process.

There are some nuances to this problem that I want to address: It starts with where companies are looking for talent, but also includes what they are looking for from within the talent pool.

First, companies habitually look for talent when the position is ready to be filled. They open the position and only then do they hit up LinkedIn and other online platforms. They work their way through the pile of unknown talent via resumes from people they’ve not yet met. Bigger companies may even filter those resumes with technology using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which removes any sense of the human behind the words.

But what if companies reversed this process?

What if they started with the pool of talent and got to know the people interested in working with them… and at the same time, gave those people an opportunity to get to know the company and its culture better?

What I’m suggesting here is that companies could build their own Hidden Talent Network where they can gather the pool of interested job seekers before the job is open.

This would allow the companies to address the second nuance that I mentioned above: Changing what they are looking for from that talent.

Typically, companies look for ideal candidates who already have everything that is listed on the job description. That means they miss one key factor: the candidate’s potential.

Finding the right person for a job isn’t just about whether they’ve got all the boxes checked. It’s also about their potential to check more boxes as they grow with the company.

Why does this matter? Turnover is expensive!

It can cost a U.S. company $4000 or more to hire one employee, and it can take up to 52 days to fill a position. (Toggl.com) If you hire someone who doesn’t stay, the company starts the process again, losing more money and time in the process.

Therefore, the goal should not be to hire someone who checks all the boxes in the job description; rather, hire someone who has the potential to check those boxes and much more. Hire someone who envisions themselves staying with your company for the long term, and who you already know fits the culture.

Building your own Hidden Talent Network would help you do this. It provides you with a pool of people that you already know, and who have gotten to know your company as well. Before the job is even open, you can identify the people who tick most of the boxes and show potential to grow with your company. You’ll shorten the time to hire and potentially reduce how much money it costs to find them.

So how do you build a Hidden Talent Network? Slowly, over time, by scouting talent and giving the talent the opportunity to scout you.

For example, you could host talent events where you can speak to them in groups about where your company is going. In what ways is it growing and what types of talent do you hope to be looking for in the future? Talk about your organizational culture and what you value. This would also be a great time to set expectations: What can job seekers expect during your hiring process? Which skills and qualifications are mandatory? What can they do to be an even better fit as the anticipated jobs come open?

Transparency on your part will help you find the right people and get the conversations started early.

From all the years that I’ve spent working with job seekers to help them find the right positions that will help them build a career for themselves, the one thing that I’ve consistently seen is that the best jobs are found through the hidden job market.

That “hidden job market” is something that a job seeker builds for themselves by making connections with the companies that they are interested in working with.

Companies could do this as well by making it easier for individuals to connect with them and speeding up the whole job placement experience for everyone involved. It could also provide them with an untapped market of talent that they could onboard quickly.

The world has changed and continues to do so. If companies want to get the best talent, they’ll need to change with it. The global pandemic has made us all more human. Connection matters more to us. The companies that are embracing this humanness are the ones that will find the best people.

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The Best Questions to Ask a Hiring Manager

The Best Questions to Ask Your Hiring Manager

The Best Questions to Ask a Hiring Manager

July 12, 2021

The Best Questions to Ask Your Hiring ManagerIf you are truly focused on finding a job with a company that has right culture for you, the questions you ask the hiring manager will be key.

The hiring manager is the person who would be your boss. And as I mentioned in a recent article, the best time to ask questions about culture is during the interview.

What you ask matters. Those answers will give you your best insight because they are being provided by someone with whom you’ve had time to build up a rapport.

The questions you ask your hiring manager are key because you need to know not only whether you’d be happy at this company, but also: Would you be happy working for this person at this company?

The thing is, the company might be the right fit… but if you get stuck with the wrong manager, you could still not do well.

Before we identify exactly which questions to ask, we need to go back to the definition of company culture, which refers to beliefs and demonstrated behaviors. The values of the organization need to permeate throughout and align with what it is and how it is demonstrated.

The key words in the definition above are demonstrated behaviors.

In other words, your questions need to be focused on how the hiring manager behaves, not just what they believe or say about themself.

What does a behavior-focused question sound like? Here are some examples of questions you can ask the hiring manager:

What you want to know: How does the manager recognize and reward their staff members?
Ask: Can you provide me with a recent example of how you recognized one of your employees for a job well done?

What you want to know: How does the manager deal with mistakes?
Ask: Can you give me an example of when one of your employees made a mistake and how you handled the situation?

What you want to know: How do they respond to feedback?
Ask: Can you tell me about a time when one of your employees gave you feedback? How did you react to it?

I hope this gives you a sense of what questions you might ask, and how to ask them in a way that gives you specific examples. After all, you want to work for the right company! By asking these types of questions, they will help you make a better career decision.

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How to Tell if This is the Right Company for You

how to tell if this is the company for you

How to Tell if This is the Right Company for You

June 28, 2021

how to tell if this is the company for you

How can you identify whether the company you are interviewing with has the right culture for you?

This is the question that most of my coaching clients come to me for help with.

They are tired of working for companies whose cultures don’t support them doing their best work.

Ok – wait. Let’s be clear about what they (and maybe you) actually want.

My coaching clients WANT to work for a company where they will:

  • Be able to do their best work
  • Feel proud because they work there
  • Enjoy the work they do
  • Feel like they fit in with the people
  • Anticipate staying for a long time

They want to work for a company where they can be their authentic selves, their best selves, do work that they enjoy, and can see themselves staying at for the long term.

In short: They want to be happy.

The question then becomes: During the interview process, how can I tell whether or not this is a company where I’ll be happy?

This is a two-part answer.

Part 1: Go into the interview with a clear sense of what you’re looking for.

If you aren’t sure, download my free guide, What is the Right Corporate Culture for you? It walks you through a series of key questions to help you identify what is important to you that needs to be matched by the company you work for.

Part 2: Ask specific questions about the culture at the company you are interviewing for.

You benefit in asking these questions because:

  • They will help you stand out because they aren’t the usual questions that others ask.
  • It will be clear through the questions that you ask that where you work matters to you.
  • The answers will help you gain a clearer understanding of the organizational culture.

So… what are some good questions to ask?

That will depend largely on what you are looking for, so here are some great questions to get you started:

  • How would you describe the culture of this company?
  • What do you value most in your employees?
  • What is the predominant leadership style in your company?
  • How do you reward people for exemplary work?
  • What type of people thrive in your company culture?

These are great opening questions specifically because they are open-ended. They enable the respondent to answer freely. Answers to these questions and others like them will give you some nice insights into the company and the perspective that your interviewer holds about that company.

If you hesitate to ask questions like this, I encourage you to dare to ask them anyways.

Remember: you aren’t the only one being interviewed. What you think of the company matters just as much as what the company thinks of you.

Do you want to make sure you're happy in your next job?

Use this worksheet to clarify what you need in the next company you work for.

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