If you’re looking for a new job, you don’t want just any position. You want a “good job.” But what does that really mean? 

In the past, the top attributes of a “good job” were a competitive salary, an impressive title and a functional office setup. Of course, those things are still nice to have. But, in today’s world, another consideration is rising to the top: Values fit.  

Research shows that:

  • 71% of professionals would take a pay cut to work for a company with a mission they believe in and shared values  
  • 61% of job seekers choose employers based on values and beliefs  
  • 59% of people who left jobs said the most compelling reason to leave was finding a better “values fit” (which was twice as many people who chose compensation or career advancement).  

If you’re going to spend 2000+ hours a year doing a job, you want to be aligned with your employer’s values—especially around company goals, how people are expected to behave and how decisions are made. 

6 steps to finding a job that matches your values

So how can you find out if a job or company matches your values? Try these six steps:  

1 Identify your work values 

To know if your goals are aligned with a prospective employer, the first step is identifying your workplace values. Most of us have a general idea of our values when it comes to work, but it’s essential to set aside some time to think about what’s most important to you. 

To get started, ask yourself questions like: 

  • How do your personal values impact your workplace values? 
  • What did you like about your last position? 
  • What did you dislike about your previous job? What caused you to leave? 
  • What would you have changed about your previous job? 
  • What motivates you or gets you excited about work? 
  • What kind of relationships do you want to have at work? 
  • How would you describe the perfect organization for you? 
  • What organizations do you admire and why? 

Once you have a list of values, rank them. What are your must-haves vs. nice-to-haves? What are your red flags? 

2 Share your values with others 

Once you know your values, don’t be shy about telling people about them. Make them apparent on your LinkedIn profile. Prepare to talk about them in interviews. Start seeking like-minded people and network with those people. Practice explaining why your values are important and how someone with your values benefits an organization. The more you talk about your values, the more likely you are to find a role where you can be happy.   

3 Do your research before you apply (or at least before you interview) 

When you’re considering a specific role or company:  

  • Check out the employer’s website to see if they list corporate values, purpose, or mission 
  • Look at the information the company publishes on its websites, social media and blogs 
  • Call anyone you know who works at the organization and get first-hand information  
  • Take a close look at what products/services the organization offers and who their customers are
  • Investigate the company’s reputation on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or Indeed
  • Google search the company to learn about latest news and general info

When you finish your research, consider what you know about the company’s personality, behavior and reputation. Do they seem to match your values? What questions do you have about the company’s values?

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4 Interview the interviewer(s) 

If you make it to the job interview stage, you’re interviewing the company just as much as the company is interviewing you. That means you have an excellent opportunity to get your lingering values questions answered. You can start by asking the interviewers to describe organizational values, but it’s even more important to ask questions that prompt the interviewer to give examples.   

For example, you could ask things like: 

  • What are your company values, and how do they impact the team? 
  • Flexibility is important to me. Can you tell me about a time when you had to be flexible with an employee? 
  • Tell me about your company culture. 
  • What does an average day/week look like in this role? Will any duties need to be performed outside of regular work hours? 
  • Describe the team. How big is it? Who is in it? How do they interact? 
  • What are some new/exciting initiatives the company has put in place? 
  • If I succeed well in the role, what additional projects will I be allowed to participate in? 
  • What’s the trajectory for this role within the organization? 
  • What does success look like in this role? How is it measured? 
  • Do you feel the company values align with your own? 
  • What is the average employee tenure in this department? 

Pro tip: If you have more than one interview, ask each person that you speak with your value questions. Do different people have different ideas? After each interview, jot down what they say, so it’s easier to compare. If the answers are wildly different, ask for clarification.  

5 Ask to talk to your future colleagues 

If your initial interviews go well, ask to speak with some of your future colleagues from around the organization. You will spend a lot of time working with these people, so it’s good to get a feel about whether you’ll hit it off.  

The goal is to get to know the company from every angle. It might seem like an extra step, but it gives you the most accurate information about what you’re getting yourself into.  

6 When you get a job offer, don’t forget those values 

If you get a job offer, don’t get swayed by a fancy title or a flashy compensation package. Taking a job is a big decision that will impact your life for a significant amount of time. So, go back to your values list. 

Ask yourself: Is this job what I want? Will I feel comfortable and energized in the workplace? Will I do work that I’m proud of? If not, continue your search elsewhere. If yes, you just might have found yourself that sought-after “good job.”   

Want a flexible, rewarding career? Consider Korn Ferry Interim. 

If you want to design a career on your terms, becoming an interim professional might be right for you. With interim engagements, you have the flexibility to choose when, where, and how much you work. Learn more about interim work or join our interim network. 

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