Disclaimer: if you have not read Self-Awareness Part 1: To Talent I highly suggest you do so before continuing.
In part 1 we asked a series of questions. Now that you know the answers let’s move from self-awareness to life level application. What shall we do with this information? In Part 2 we will offer up some suggestions on how to use this information to identify and discern potential companies for which you may choose to pursue.
What are your top 5 strengths?
Are you utilizing at least 3 of your top strengths in your current role? Which aspects of your role most fulfill you? If you’re not utilizing at least some of your top strengths in your job, chances are you are not happy. Identifying a role that taps your strengths is key to finding the right fit.
*did I overuse the word strength? Yeah, probably but I do what I want.
This one might be a little bit tricky. Talk to someone inside the company or a past employee. Ideally more than one individual. Also, consider your source. What type of culture does your source value? Are they soured or drinking the Kool-Aid? Your best bet? Talk to a recruiter who has an inside perspective of what it’s really like to work at dozens of companies in the industry. I might know one…
What am I talking about?
·Seminars or shows. For example, I worked with a candidate who valued the opportunity to attend materials shows where she could learn about the latest and greatest available raw materials and technology.
Sometimes companies will publish this information but most don’t. Nike has a reputation for providing world class leadership training. If this is important to you it’s appropriate to ask HR at an early stage in the interview process. It reflects positively on you and gives the company a chance to shine. Or not. And then you know that’s not the right fit for you. Done.
Independent vs. collaborative. Relaxed and casual vs. fast-paced, structured and deadline oriented?
Again, this is inside knowledge but some companies have developed a reputation for their work environment. You know who they are. They know who they are. Depending on the market segment and product you can get a basic sense. Trend driven companies like Forever 21 will have a more intense vibe because their product and styles are constantly changing to keep up with a trend driven consumer. Makes sense right?
5. Advancement Opportunity
How is the company structured? Are they a flat or vertical organization? This is another appropriate question to ask HR. You can find out if there’s room for advancement by asking indirectly. Here’s how:
·What’s the reporting structure?
·When was the last time an employee was promoted?
·What’s the average tenure?
Or you can directly ask an industry insider. You’re the boss applesauce.
6. Company Size
As a general rule larger corporations will have more clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Meaning you may only need to focus on one part of the process. That doesn’t mean less work or responsibility. It does mean you will probably be required to work cross functionally and attend more meetings. Interested in focusing on one part of the process? This may be a good fit for you.
A medium sized company will have less structured role and will allow you the freedom to get the job done with less red tape, less meetings (sometimes) but you’ll probably be wearing a few hats. If you like having more control over the overall process and more freedom this may be a better fit for you.
If your LinkedIn profile photo is you hiking through Peru my guess is you’re not going to be happy at Elie Tahari. But seriously, this should be an obvious one and yet for so many it doesn’t play out that way. Which brands and product do you connect with? The more you can relate to the brand, their consumer and the product the better. Your purpose is where your passion and talents collide. You know what you love.
Did I leave you with more questions than when we started? Are you more confused now? It’s not easy to navigate the industry, identify those companies which we feel not only connected to but can also thrive in their company culture and work environment.
If I know what’s important to you, I can quickly give you a handful of companies that you should consider pursuing. I can also tell you which ones you will likely be unhappy with.
So what do you think? What matters most to you?
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