Careers & Coffee 13: How do you know if an employer is good fit for you?

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In this episode of Careers & Coffee, Liz and Dan discuss what to look for in a potential employer, and also, red flags that might appear!  Liz mentions trusting team members (1:08) and here is a link to the Simon Sinek video she refers to.




Dan Holterhaus 0:00
All right. Good morning, Liz, guys and girls, Eastern Iowa, how we doing another episode of careers and coffee.

Liz Kennedy 0:09
It’s a great day in Cedar Rapids.

Dan Holterhaus 0:12
Another great day, summer day, it’s hot. My plants are dying in my yard. So I got to get some we need some water. We need some rain. Hopefully it comes soon. But, you know, it’s summertime. What can I expect? Yeah. Well, today, let’s just go ahead and dive right into it. Let’s talk about what makes an employer a great place to work. Yeah. And, and I know I’ve worked at, I think I’m on my seventh or so employers since college. But, Liz, I want to know from you what you think makes an employer a great place to work?

Liz Kennedy 0:51
Yeah, I can’t even count how many places…Okay, so good places and bad places. I think the bad ones are easy to pick out right? Like, trust, there’s no trust. And there was a great our leadership CEO sent around a training yesterday, that was great from Simon Sinek about trust and how important that is, in a workplace. If you don’t, if you don’t trust that your employees are going to do their jobs, or vice versa. More importantly, the employees don’t trust that the managers are going to follow through or feel like they’re being watched, you know, If there’s just no trust between leadership and the general workforce that a look at a company that is definitely going to be a downer place to work. And one of the examples he shared was like the same employee working two jobs. So he was working at a coffee shop.

And was just like, the greatest employee at the coffee shop, was super engaging, was great at his job and just was a joy to be around. And then he said, you know, do you like your job, and he’s like, I love my job. And here’s why. And then he told him about his other job that he had, where he didn’t love that job. And it was like, he felt like the managers were always watching him to make sure I always tried to catch him doing something wrong, and just was not a positive work environment. So trust. And that’s difficult in the job interview, I think to figure out what do you how do you think you would know that you could trust an employer when you’re interviewing with them?

Dan Holterhaus 2:39
Yeah, I mean, for me, that’s a really good question. I think I go back to it was probably much easier to kind of get to know somebody and get to see their body language before all this, you know, zoom, and everything when you could go in and you can see the physical work location, you know, maybe meet some other people that were in the office as well. But yeah, I think, I think for me, it just comes back to do you, could you see yourself getting along with those people? Like, Are those your people? And do you feel some sort of like energy? When you go to that location? Or when you’re talking with those, you know, somebody who’s interviewing you, you’re your future boss, potentially? Are you inspired? Can you see yourself maybe moving into their role someday? Do you like what that company does? So I think, yeah, some of it comes back to your own goal setting too, right. And we got some resources for, you know, finding your skill set, which I know you want to touch on. But I think kind of having a good idea of what you want, beforehand is huge in determining like, if you’re going to enjoy that workplace, and if that employer is going to be a good fit for you.

Liz Kennedy 4:01
Yeah. Um, like, I think maybe one of those pointed questions you could ask during the interview, like when they say, you know, do you have any more questions, at the end, a good question, maybe to ask, like, what’s the expectation for employees work? You know, how do you know, how do you hold employees accountable? And a question like that could kind of illustrate their management style, or like the company management style of how they monitor work? That might be helpful and understanding just like the process of, you know, how do you know? How will I know I’m doing a good job, and how will you know that I’m doing a good job? Because those are gonna be questions you have that first day when you walk in. And you’re like, Ha, new job. What, what is expected of me? And those other kind of good questions to ask in that interview, especially if it’s kind of a second round interview and you feel like okay, I feel comfortable with these people. Yeah. And then obviously, like, stay away from the obvious, like, if they make wild claims, like you see around town right now, like the signs like make $10,000 in two weeks, you know, like, that is not legit.

Dan Holterhaus 5:15
A little bit of a red flag, if that’s Call this number and make $10,000 this week,

Liz Kennedy 5:19
Right? Any red flags that you get – you should pay attention to those red flags, because they’re there for a reason, and talk it over with another person say like, Hey, what do you think about this? If you don’t know what the location is of the employer, that’s a big one. Sure. Even if you’re working from home, you know, even if it’s a remote position, and probably especially if it’s a remote position, you need to know where is that company located? And where’s their corporate corporate office located? Is it legitimately a company you can google company locations to see, you know, Is this legit. And occasionally, we’ve gotten some posting on Corridor Careers, which we’ve turned down because we’re like, because we check and see like, this is not a familiar company to us. And it doesn’t sound right. Anything that sounds even anything that gives off like, just the feeling of like, I’m not sure about this, we’d rather not post that job to our board. Because job seekers are vulnerable. I mean, they’re looking for some kind of solution to their next career path step. And sometimes, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Dan Holterhaus 6:30
Yeah, there’s, you should definitely be able to find a little bit of company information, whether it’s on Google, you can see reviews on there, or on Facebook, I know, I’ve done that, I think I was getting some flooring, or carpeting put down in my old place that I lived in. I hadn’t really heard of this company before they were, you know, in, in our area. And so they didn’t have a website. So I got on Facebook and look them up on there. I was like, okay, they had some reviews on there. And they showed a few pictures. So I was like, okay, like, you know, legit company. So there’s a lot of different ways to be research. Kind of circling back, Liz, I want you, I know, you want to touch on a great resource. And we’ve mentioned it before on the podcast. And that’s the owner resource for kind of figuring out your skills and perhaps kind of what your tendencies are in the workplace, and what might be a good fit. What do you have

Liz Kennedy 7:29
a couple resources? Um, well, we’ll link to this in the show notes. But like, there’s, if you’re like, not really finding a job title that appeals to you, I would suggest that I had a conversation with a job seeker last Friday, where it was like, really, a light bulb went off in my head of like, Hey, this is hard. You know, like, I understand that. I don’t pay attention to job titles so much, I pay more attention to categories. And the reason I do that is because there’s so much finagling that happens at the HR level of like, job titles will change over time, or maybe they get souped up by somebody in the managers team that thinks, Oh, well, we should call it this. And sometimes your job title is changed. so that it can justify a we can justify a different salary level or, or a different a different work skill set, as companies change over time. And so I, I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the job title, especially if it’s funky. And it doesn’t really make sense to you, but pay attention to the category it’s in. And there’s a career of resource called the emci assessment. And you can take it either as a six question questionnaire that just give you kind of like a brief overview of like, here’s where you might, these are the industries, you might be most suited to, what you’re going to also take the same assessment with a 60 question questionnaire, which is going to be much more in depth and much more matched to your kind of preferences and skill sets. And what it spits out at the end is kind of like a list of here’s some industries and maybe some job titles that you should consider. And then you can take that information and like, Okay, well, I’m really good at customer service. I don’t necessarily want to be on the phone every day, but I might want to use those customer service skills because I’m strong, they’re strong, I have strong skills in Customer Care. And so you might think about, okay, well, how else could I use customer service, and admin and clerical jobs, always use that skill set as well. Any kind of teamwork is definitely going to use those kind of same communication skills. So you can kind of just kind of move around using job titles or, or I mean, categories, job categories, and industries to kind of understand where you might make a good fit.

Dan Holterhaus 9:55
Yeah, I agree. And I think that’s a super good point about you know, finding that Job industry that kind of makes sense to you. And I mean, even, you know, I’ve read some books in the past that basically said, you know, especially if you’re just getting started in your career, get in to the industry or like with the company, if you can, even if it’s at a very ground level, right, and you can work your way into the job. I mean, most people don’t have their dream jobs, you know, fresh out of school. And sometimes not many, many years after that either, right? But if you can get into an industry and something that you’re interested in, and grow into, you know, that role that that you may want long term. That’s really, that’s really a good way to go about it, I think,

Liz Kennedy 10:46
Yeah, I’m just kind of piggyback to like, what makes a good company, you know, like a great place to work. Obviously, benefits are going to be something that you care about, you know, what, what kind of benefits does company offer because it kind of clues you into what they find is important. But the structure of the company is also important. And I’m biased because I work in an ESOP, which is an employee stock ownership plan, like an employee owned company. So I see the value of what an ESOP has to offer. And there are more and more companies that are transitioning to ESOP or some level of shared employee ownership because they see that value of sharing profits with their employees. And it’s just a little bit kind of a different style of company. And then, you know, just a regular corporate or publicly owned company, they’re just going to have different priorities. So ESOP’s are something to look for, generally, a company that is an ESOP will brag about it to no end. So it’s not going to be a mystery that their employee-owned, they’re going to tell you. Um, there’s other companies called B Corp, which like New Pi, New Pioneer Coop, I think, is on the road to becoming a B Corp. And there’s some really stringent policies to become a B Corp has everything to do with, you know, how they treat their employees to sustainability. And so there’s some kind of like ecological ties with B corps and things like that. It’s a very interesting type of company to work for as well. And then sometimes, it’s helpful just to kind of understand that you kind of read into a company a little bit, sometimes in their job descriptions, when they talk about what it’s like to work at their company. It will clue you in as to whether or not might be a good place to work. Most of the companies that I would say all the companies that post to Corridor Careers have a leg up because they’re, you know, they’re really interested in hiring local employees. And that’s why they’re posting to our job board. So I think all the employees, employers that post on our board are worth looking at.

Dan Holterhaus 12:59
Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, they’re, they’re obviously looking to hire for a reason, right? They have more business. They’re good companies, right? Like, that’s a lot of the reasons why our local businesses here need need good employees, because they’re good businesses themselves. So any parting words,

Liz Kennedy 13:18
I would just say look beyond the job description. So you know, if, like, for instance, there are some jobs on our board that might be like, there was one that was like a friend’s ‘Friends Ambassador’ or some kind of a little bit different type of job title, not quite sure what that means. So be curious about some of those jobs that are a little bit different. Read into the job description, and you’ll just scan through, you’ll get a sense in the first paragraph. Okay, this might be for me, that particular job was all about coordinating a travel group, you know, and so you wouldn’t think ambassador and friends would be, you know, I would title that job probably differently if it was me, but look beyond some of those job titles because you might find a really cool job that’s going to match your skillset and be really rewarding.

Dan Holterhaus 14:13
Cool, all right. Good stuff was all right that’s gonna do it for us. careers and coffee.

We’ll see you next time, guys. Thank you.

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