How to choose the next company you will work for

Are you looking for a job or plan to do that in the near future?

Then this blog post is for you.

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Usually, when candidates interview for a job they forget the most important thing: they are not the only ones under evaluation.

You, as well, should evaluate the company, and the interview is one of the few opportunities you have to ask very important questions about the culture and values owned by the company you aspire to work for.

Actually, you should think about that even before to apply for the job offer. Look at the website of the company, its blog, LinkedIn page and see what its Vision, Mission, and Purpose are, because its purpose will be yours if you end up working for that company.

Plus, the purpose creates the strategy through which the company will achieve its purpose and inspires the culture for that strategy to succeed [1], and culture is the one thing you cannot undervalue while looking for the next company you will work for.

Company culture and, consequently, team culture is what will make you happy (or unsatisfied) at the workplace.

Indeed, team culture is a strong predictor of job satisfaction [2].

Will you have the freedom to fail and learn from your mistakes?
Will you be empowered by the organization?
Will you have the autonomy to make decisions, tools and resources to perform your work at the best?
Will you be able to make good use of your skills and abilities and have an impact on the organization?
Will you continue to learn and grow and take new challenges?

These are only some of the questions you should try to investigate before, during and after your interview.

You should look for these indicators, not only because they can predict your future happiness at work, but also because they predict the (possible) bright future of the company: job satisfaction is the top predictor of organizational performance [2]. In other words, if you and your team are gonna be happy, your company will thrive and grow.

Today people are the real competitive advantage of companies and only companies that put their people at the center will survive in a very competitive environment.

When small and medium companies look at tech giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, just to cite a few, usually they complain because they cannot offer what these giants offer to their employees.

However, this is only true to some extent, as most of the policies of these big companies can be put into practice with almost no effort (and no money): flexibility, occasional remote work, learning opportunities, exciting career paths.

Sometimes, these small/medium companies are scared by these changes so, instead of creating a “generative culture” they usually take shortcuts like setting innovation labs/departments, acquiring startups, adopting methodologies or reorganizing [1].

Therefore, be wary of companies that are afraid of changes and innovation (the real one), look for their culture, ask questions, try to discover which are their values and beliefs, and while they evaluate you during the interview, don’t forget to evaluate them too.

And, finally, don’t work for a company that does not bring out the best in you, because as Peter Drucker said:

The purpose of an organization is to enable ordinary human beings to do extraordinary things

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[1] Jez Humble, Barry O’Reilly, Joanne Molesky “Lean Enterprise” — Publisher: O’Reilly Media, Inc., 2014 — link

[2] Forsgren, Nicole, Kim Gene, Kerstnen Nigel, Humble, Jez. 2014 State of DevOps Report — link

This post was in part inspired by some interviews I personally did and in part inspired by the first chapters of the book Lean Enterprise [1].