This article appeared in the Arizona Republic on Saturday, May 4th.
In a month, the first crop of 2019 college grads will get their diploma and head into an incredibly welcoming job market; Employers plan to hire 16.6 percent more new graduates from the Class of 2019 than the Class of 2018, according to NACE’s 2019 job outlook survey.
With years of schooling in the rear-view mirror, it’s time for these recent grads to take their first step into their full-time working career. Facing a great big world with endless possibilities can make the job search unnerving, maybe even overwhelming.
Every recent grad should keep one thing in perspective: know thyself. In searching for a job, prospective candidates need to consider what is truly important and focus their job search on opportunities and organizations that align with those core values.
Recent grads should start by asking these three important questions:
- What kind of workplace will I thrive in?
- Do the company’s core values mirror my own?
- Does the company have a positive company culture?
Type of workplace
When considering “type” of workplace, many factors come into play for the candidate. For example, do they prefer to work in an actual office or work from home? Do they want traditional hours or would they rather work according to their own schedule? From a physical point of view, would they find an open office more advantageous than a cubicle setting?
The candidate would be well served to create a mental image of the ideal work environment, and really focus on the small details. As the picture comes into focus, writing down the things that are most important will help bring the job search into focus.
Importance of core values
Core values form the foundation on which we conduct ourselves as people. They also form the foundation for how and why a company does business in the manner they do. The importance of matching personal core values with those of the organization cannot be overstated.
When core values of an employee and a company align, harmony exists. Where harmony exists, engagement and productivity tends to rise and remain at high levels. Where core values clash, discord occurs, resulting in an unhappy, disengaged employee. Prospective candidates need to first identify core values that are most important to them, then explore whether or not the potential employer shares those values. Doing so can be the difference between finding career-based employment and just working a job.
A thriving company will usually have a strong culture that its workforce rallies around. Fitting into that culture creates a positive atmosphere that encourages collaboration and often increases energy in the workplace. As the saying goes, “a high tide raises all ships.” It works the same way with a solid company culture. Employees are more likely to be working together, on the same page, when the company culture is strong.
New candidates need to remember that every employment-seeking interaction should be a two-way interview. The employee needs to be interviewing the prospective company just as intently as the company interviews the employee. During this process, the candidate needs to delve deep into questions about the company culture to determine whether or not the two sides are a fit, and whether or not the fit is likely to remain in the future.
Fresh out of college with virtually no interviewing experience, the job search can feel like a daunting task to a recent grad. Doing a little prep work identifying these basic, but important, aspects of what they seek in a company and a career can make the process less overwhelming. It might even make it fun.