A Practical Guide For Finding a Great Place to Work

A Practical Guide to Finding a Great Place to Work

Don’t Accept that New Job Until You Ask These Important Questions

You’re looking for a great place to work; with people you admire and where jerks don’t survive. A place where you can get results, without losing your soul. 

A great place to work where you can learn and grow; where your work makes an impact.

In this economy, if you’re good, you’ve likely got choices. So how do you decide if this is the right place for you?

How do you figure out if your prospective employer is truly offering a great place to work or a shiny veneer with a foosball table and a clever recruiter?

A Practical Guide for Building Career Security

Whether you’re wrestling with a greener grass dilemma or just starting out, take time to dig a bit deeper and ask yourself these questions.

C- Cause

Do your homework on the mission, vision, and values of the organization. Dig around their website, do a Google search, talk to others who work there—be sure you understand what matters most and how it aligns with who you are. Just because this is a great place to work for someone else, doesn’t mean it is for you.

• Does the mission of this organization light me up?
• Are people here doing work I believe in?
• Is this how I want to be spending my time?

A- Admiration

Do what you can to find out a bit about the people who work here. Ask open-ended questions during the interview process to learn more about their motivations and leadership styles. Then ask yourself:

• Are these my people?
• Are there leaders here who I admire—people I could learn from and perhaps even emulate?
• How did they treat me in the interview? How did they treat their assistant? How did they show up when they ran into others walking down the hall?

R- Rigor

Do what you can to see how work gets done. Ask to talk to some people doing similar roles. It won’t feel like a great place to work if you can’t get anything done.

• Do they have the tools they need for success?
• Is there a culture of accountability and collaboration?
• What gets in the way and slows them down?

E- Energy

As you look around, tune into the energy level. Most great places to work have a vibrant feel.

• Do people seem engaged and excited about what they’re up to?
• Are the breakrooms filled with lonely people staring into microwaved Tupperware with little connection, or are they smiling and engaged in upbeat conversation?
• Start in the parking lot. What would it feel like to walk through those doors every day?

E- Expansion

Think past job security to career security. A great place to work will leave you better than they found you.

• How will you grow professionally and personally from working here?
• What new skills will you acquire?
• Will there be opportunities for lateral moves and special projects?
• What is the typical career path for someone in this role?

R- Risk Taking

This may be the hardest to tap into, but it’s worth trying. If you get a chance, do a bit of job shadowing or at least talk to people in the role you will be taking on.

• Is this a culture full of FOSU (fear of speaking up) or do people feel like they can tell the truth—up, down and sideways?
• What happens if you make a mistake around here?
• Are innovation and new ideas encouraged?

If you’re looking for a great place to work, it’s worthwhile to take the time to go a level deeper to learn as much as you can about what you’re getting into.


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Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, Founder of Let’s Grow Leaders, helps leaders around the world achieve breakthrough results, without losing their soul. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she has over two decades of experience in sales, customer service, and HR. She was named on Inc's list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers and American Management Association's 50 Leaders to Watch. She’s the author of several books: Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates (Harper Collins Summer 2020), Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul, Overcoming an Imperfect Boss, and Glowstone Peak.

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