5 Tips to Choosing the Best Company for Your Career

If your approach to choosing a company to work for is simply “it’s the biggest company in town,” or “its website is awesome,” you should think again.

With a little energy up front, you’ll not only discover a good company to work for, but one that will be the perfect fit for where you want your career to take you.

First, do your research. Instead of only applying for positions with well-known or big companies, find out which organizations are most successful and considered industry leaders. A mid-size advertising agency that’s winning awards for excellence in web design might be a better choice than the over-staffed, deep-seated firm downtown. Look at local “great places to work” lists.

Evaluate their values. Every company doesn’t have the same world-view, so choose one that has a set of core values or practices you can support. If you want to grow roots and advance at work, you need to be able to dive in with your whole heart. You’ll be able to work harder, create more innovative solutions and impress your leaders more if your real-life values match up with your work-life values.

Meet someone on staff. If you’ve done your research and like a certain company’s values, try to establish a relationship with someone on staff. Introduce yourself and ask him or her to coffee, and have three or four broad questions ready to discuss. Respect his or her time, listen intently and use the chat to learn about some of the intangible aspects of a company. Some good questions to start with are:

  • What is the culture at your company like?
  • What is the thing you love most about your company?
  • If you were a leader in the company, what’s one thing you’d change?
  • What makes your company unique?

Remember, you’re not trying to get the dirt on the company; you’re trying to learn what it’s really like to work there.

Be practical. If you know you’d never be happy with an hour-long commute, don’t apply for a position in the next town. Decide what factors are most practical and most important in your life, and choose from companies that fit happily within those borders.

Measure the perks. This is the fun stuff! When employers offer an on-site gym or crazy-affordable health insurance, they’re making a statement. They’re saying, “We value the health and happiness of our employees, and we’ll go the extra mile to make our company a great place to belong.” It’s not always true, but when a company has very few perks, they may put a low value on employee satisfaction. It can even be a sign that the company is struggling, so look for a corporate culture that demonstrates balance, health and fun as key elements.

Once you’ve taken these steps and created a list of your top three or four places to work, the job hunting process will become so much easier. You’ll discover what you really value most in a company and approach your interviews with confidence and passion. You’ll actually want to work there!

The great thing about getting to know a company beforehand is that when the time does come to interview, you’ll be an expert. Your knowledge of its history or core values will show your potential new employer that you’re committed not only to a paycheck, but to the heart of the company.

And that’s what the best companies are looking for in its employees.

Interested in a career at Paycom? Apply at Paycomcareers.com.