This appeared in print as part of the story “Best Laid Plans” In 2007, the City of Columbia’s visioning document suggested that council...
I am new to the area and seeking employment. I’m looking for advice on how to tell if I’m interviewing with an “employer of choice,” or someone who will commit to me and be a really good fit. Do you have any tips?
Being an employer of choice most often means that the company offers a work culture and model that makes it easy to recruit superior employees. One common feature among choice employers is that they look out for the well-being of their employees as well as their customers.
Remember one thing: Not every employer of choice fits every employee. For example, Google is an employer of choice, but some people leave because of the culture. Google encourages socializing, networking, and group activities; some people might not thrive in that environment.
Employers of choice have many traits in common, but the employer that you choose may not have the same characteristics as the employer of choice next door. Often, these companies will have a powerful yet simple mission statement and value statement. You’ll find that employers of choice strive to pay above the norm and offer a comprehensive benefits package.
Here is a list of common characteristics to look for and questions to ask during an interview:
They’re focused on commitment.
Question to ask: What strategies, programs, or practices does your company use to retain staff as well as customers?
They have growth opportunities.
Question to ask: Once I start working, what type of training or career development opportunities are available?
They encourage involvement.
Questions to ask: How do your team members contribute when they have ideas for new products or services? What are the opportunities and expectations to sit on committees for event planning or best work practices?
They have positive co-worker relationships.
Question to ask: What would your staff tell me about your work style?
They offer a solid work–life balance.
Question to ask: What does the company offer that helps maintain a healthy lifestyle outside of work?
They value job performance.
Question to ask: Once I’m on board, I understand I will be evaluated. What type of regular guidance and feedback should I expect?
They emphasize employee recognition.
Question to ask: How do you provide feedback to employees about their performance, accomplishments, and needs for improvement?
There are many more characteristics of an employer of choice, but if you can find out these things in advance, you’ll gain an advantage over the job applicants who don’t. You will show your potential employer that you are sincerely searching for the right company for yourself.
Anne Williams is not an attorney. All content in this column is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality and is not to be construed as legal advice.