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Career Search: Screening a Potential Employer

Career Search: Screening a Potential Employer

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screening-employerBy Latanya Hughes
Faculty Member, School of Business at American Public University

When job candidates seek a career, many candidates only look at the description of the position and the requirements. They examine whether the job requires travel or if it has remote working options. They investigate every detail of the position, but they fail to screen the employer.

How do you go about screening a potential employer? First, you want to research the employer. Use the company website, industry trade magazines, the company page on LinkedIn, a blog if they have one, and even government resources. What is their employer rating? What are employees or the community saying about the employer? What is the environmental and economic footprint of the employer? What is their mission? What is their vision? The most important question: What are their values?

Why is the latter question the most important? Their values tell you if the company is a good fit for you! You do not want an employer whose values conflict with yours. This mismatch will cause you a great deal of stress because you will find yourself compromising your personal principles and values to achieve the company’s mission and vision. Your morale becomes low and your productivity will suffer. Your ideal career will turn into a nightmare job!

Aligning your values with the company’s values is a practice of “person-organization fit”. In a 2005 University of Iowa study, business management experts Kristof-Brown, Zimmerman and Johnson defined person-organization fit as “the compatibility between people and organizations that occurs when at least one entity provides what the other needs or they share similar fundamental characteristics or both.”

Person-organization fit is just as important as person-job fit. Person-job fit is exactly what it sounds like: the compatibility between individuals and the job/tasks they perform at work.

When you align your principles with that of the organization, you will know whether it is the right place to be. There is nothing wrong with screening a potential employer. How else will you know if they are the right employer for your career?

About the Author

Dr. Latanya Hughes is a full-time faculty member at American Public University. She received a bachelor’s in hospitality management from Tuskegee University and a MBA from Strayer University. She received the Doctor of Strategic Leadership in Global Consulting from Regent University in the School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship.

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