There are two reasons why it’s essential to figure out a company’s true values (opposed to the generic ones listed on its “Careers” page). First, you want to make sure the organization is the right fit for you. Second, during the application process, you want to show the hiring managers that you understand the atmosphere, mission, and principles.
One of the best ways to figure this out? Check out the company’s perks. Then, use those to your advantage throughout the application and interview process.
1. Professional Development
Professional development opportunities can take many forms: mentorship programs, tuition reimbursement, free courses, conference tickets, tech talks, and so on.
When a company offers any or all of these, you can assume the company will really support your growth and development and likely tends to promote from within and. After all, management is investing in you!
Use This to Land the Job: Highlight your desire to continually learn and become a more valuable member of the team. Showcase any classes you’ve taken or conferences you’ve attended in your resume and cover letter as well as on your LinkedIn profile.
2. Paid Vacations
It’s always awesome to find a company that’ll pay for your vacation. Urban Airship, for example, gives its employees an all-expenses-paid trip for every three years they’ve been working there. Meanwhile, Black Mountain Systems takes its entire team on an annual retreat.
This tells you that the company truly believes in work-life balance. The leaders clearly understand that taking time off makes you happier, healthier, and more productive. Hello guilt-free weekends!
Use This to Land the Job: If it comes up in the interview, talk to the benefits of a good work-life balance and how exercising, sleeping well, taking lunch breaks, and so on has helped you increase your productivity.
3. Leadership Training
A very successful woman once told me she’d never worked at a company that didn’t put its managers through a training program to develop and refine their leadership skills.
“Even if you’re just an entry-level employee,” she explained, “you’ll still benefit from this policy—because you’ll have better bosses!”
This is a great indicator that there’s a really solid team atmosphere and a healthy relationship with superiors.
Use This to Land the Job: You’ll want to highlight your strong communication and teamwork skills. If you’re applying for a leadership position, say something along the lines of, “I believe successful managers should always strive to improve their skills. Along those lines, I recently read Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, by Seth Godin.”
4. Flexible Work Schedule
Offering “flex hours” is increasingly common. Although this policy can vary from company to company, it usually involves allowing employees to set their own hours or even work from home.
When an organization lets its team members do their own thing, you can assume there’s an emphasis on freedom and independent thinking—and a lack of micromanaging.
Use This to Land the Job: Show, don’t tell: Talk about a time when your manager gave you free rein on a project or your schedule and you utilized it responsibly—leading to a specific win at work.
5. “Fun” Perks
Lots of perks fall under the “fun” category, from game rooms and ping pong tournaments to weekly happy hours and karaoke nights.
A company with lots of cool perks is likely promoting a tight-knit, social atmosphere. If you like being friends with your co-workers, this is an ideal place for you!
Use This to Land the Job: Talk about the importance of team bonding—not only is it enjoyable, but it makes the entire company stronger. If it comes up naturally, mention how you’re still friendly with former co-workers and how much you truly value those relationships.
With this extra insight into a company’s culture, you can find a workplace that fits your personality and needs—and show off that fit to your interviewer.
Photo of bingo courtesy of Shutterstock.