Employer values are they aligned to yours?

Employer Values – When you look for the right job match you often consider the culture fit, but what about the value fit? An emerging term for recruitment organisations is Employee Value Proposition which captures more fully that total fit between what you stand for and what the organisation represents.

Culture determines how work gets done, but values sets how a companies makes decisions, establishes priorities and represents deeper ethical qualities.

“Ensuring that a company shares your values from the outset is a threefold process: First, you need to identify your own core values; next, ask the right questions during the interview process; and finally, conduct your own assessment to see if your values match those of the organization.”

Kristi Hedges

Divergent values may be minor and irritating such as an organisation that accepts meetings starting late if you value punctuality. Or the divergence could be more serious where your personal core values are threatened (working in an organisation with a poor environmental record, or using non ethically sourced components, or the use of slave-wage conditions in third world companies. In these situations our internal dialogue gets stuck in ongoing conflict and we find it increasingly hard to bring our best self to the work place.

Identify a few values that are most important to you. These are the frame that guides your decision making are central to your personal brand and who you want to be in the world. If they are infringed upon, you will feel it acutely. Examples are honesty, integrity, positivity, quality, service, or trust. You can use values sorting resources such as The Good Project from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  

Hedges proposes a Values Focused Interview plan that you can use as a candidate to better understand a companies values. Using the Behavioral interviewing methodology to get the interviewer to explain what the organisation is doing and how the company values are being applied.

Structure your questions as open ended and ask the interviewer to provide specific examples pick two to three questions that will demonstrate that the values are clearly in practice.

some example questions…

  • What are promotable qualities here? Who is someone at my level that’s been recently promoted? What qualities did they exemplify?
  • What behaviors are not tolerated here? What’s a situation when these were violated? What happened?
  • What’s an example of conflict at the company around strategy or direction? What led to the conflict? How was it resolved?

While the answers to these questions will not give you certainty, they can help you to uncover more detail about how the organisations brings its stated values to life, which gives you a better view into what the future might look like.

Key Takeaways

  • Matching your prospective Employer Values with your own is likely to provide you with greater career satisfaction and avoid the risk of your personal core values being threatened.
  • If you are in consideration for a new role – use the opportunity to use behavioural interviewing techniques back on your interviewer to get them to demonstrate the Employer Values
Synopsis of an article from Harvard Business Review
How to Tell If a Prospective Employer Shares Your Values
by Kristi Hedges
Published: 12th October 2020

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