Getting a job is tough.
Finding a great company to work for can be even tougher.
There are lots of good jobs to be had as the economy continues to improve, but where you work is just as important as the work you’re doing. To put it simply: Do what you love at a place you love.
I recently got a job working here at CARFAX, which was just named one of the “50 Best Places to Work in America” by Glassdoor, the web’s most transparent career community. As one of CARFAX’s newest employees, I’m here to tell you what I looked for in a company, and what made CARFAX so appealing to me.
When you come into the Virginia offices of CARFAX, the first thing you see on the wall is a collage of happy faces and the words “Let’s Help Millions of People!”
You are greeted with a warm “good morning,” and offered a water bottle and a piece of chocolate as you settle into a comfortable chair. But then as soon as you pick up a magazine, lo and behold, your 10 o’clock interview is actually starting at 10 o’clock!
On your way back to the conference room, you take a left and immediately trip over a small putting green. You look up, smile a little out of embarrassment (no one noticed, or minded), and see a bright light. No, you aren’t having a religious experience; it’s just the natural light coming in from the windows, filtered through the glass offices. There’s also a mass of people working wildly in an open floor plan. They are either gathered in groups around desks discussing future plans or typing away on dual monitors with headphones on, and everyone has a smile on their face.
Yes, it didn’t take long on my first interview to sense something is wholly unique about this place.
To help you find a great place to work that’s right for you, here are three questions to ask yourself:
#1. The Company: “Do I like what they do?”
The first thing you need to decide when looking for a new job is whether or not you could see yourself working there.
While that sounds obvious, according to The Conference Board, a prestigious New York-based nonprofit group, 52% of Americans are unhappy at their job! For whatever reason, a majority of Americans don’t like their job, and they aren’t doing anything about it.
Determining a company that satisfies your mental health is as important as satisfying your wallet. So when you research a new company, ask yourself this question: What is the company’s mission statement and how does that align with my own core beliefs?
As a college graduation present, my grandparents gave me a bit of money to go out and buy a car.
The first thing I did: I went to CARFAX.com.
You see, I was one of those millions of people CARFAX helped. They gave me – a non-car guy – the courage to walk onto a used car lot and drive home with a brand new (sorry, used) car. It’s easy for a product to say that it will help you, but it’s a whole lot different to see it in action.
#2. The People: “Do I like these people?”
Five-sevenths of your life will usually be spent working. Why subject yourself to that if you don’t like the people you work with?
When you look for your next job, make sure you can see yourself getting along with the people – both professionally and personally – because without those people the work just becomes a job.
Have you ever met a person that you instantly liked?
You don’t know why, but there was just something about them. Maybe they laughed at one of your terrible jokes, or maybe you believe in phrenology and they had a nice head shape. Heck, maybe you just thought their shoes were nice.
Whatever the reason was, I instantly liked everyone I met at my first interview.
Everyone I spoke with was incredibly smart, wildly talented, and extremely polite. It would’ve been overwhelming if they all weren’t in such a good mood all the time.
When asked what CARFAX employees thought about working at CARFAX, they said things like, “Awesome,” “Energetic,” “Dedicated,” “Fun,” and “Warm fuzzy sense!” Not only are these people happy to work there, they are downright excited to come in every morning.
#3, The Culture: “Do I like their style?”
The culture of a company is its DNA; it’s what makes the company special.
Like DNA, the culture determines the defining traits and characteristics of the company. These include:
- Work/life balance
- Individual freedom
- Vacation and health care packages
Make sure that when you’re looking for your next job you keep these issues at the front of your mind.
If I had to describe CARFAX using only one word, I would say they have camraderition (camaraderie + competition).
CARFAX employees like winning. With shuffle puck, putting greens, and pop-a-shot tournaments, there is never a shortage of games being played. And with a lot of friendly rivalries there is never a shortage of smack-talk. But at the end of the day everyone is on the same team. So while it’s fun to play each other in games, when there is work to be done, everyone puts aside their egos to makes sure the best idea goes to market.
Plus, working together is no problem. CARFAX employees work on an open floor plan to facilitate mobility and accessibility, and management sits inside glass offices to promote transparency.
If you look at any company on Glassdoor’s rankings you’ll see patterns start to emerge. The companies that make the list year after year promote a product that helps millions of people, combine great management with young talent and endow their employees to take chances. It’s no wonder that Google and Facebook are always rated so highly.
And I should know because I’ve worked for another incredible company.
Before CARFAX, I had the distinct pleasure of working for The Motley Fool, and I can tell you that their spot atop Glassoor’s list is more than justified. Like CARFAX, their mission statement is helping average Americans. They’ve also cultivated a spirit of success, and they have a very lax NERF gun policy.
But that’s not the point.
The point is this: I’m extremely fortunate.
Few people work for a good company, let alone a great one. I’ve now worked for two of them.
So with that in mind, the next time you’re on the job hunt, and you’re going in for your first interview, take the time to research the company. Use the three questions I’ve provided. Go to resources like Glassdoor, read the employee-submitted reviews and check out the companies that make their Best Places to Work list. If you do all that, then you’re already well on your way to landing your dream job at a company that’s the best place to work for you.