According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), we spend a third of our adult lives at work. It only makes sense that we’d want to feel engaged and fulfilled by our jobs.
These days, it’s not just a stable salary and a range of excellent benefits that candidates are searching for in a new role. Modern employees want to feel as though they’re pursuing their passions, promoting their interests and making a difference with what they do.
Around 83% of millennials say that business success must be measured not just by financial performance, but also by the impact they have on society. In the finance and banking sector, where cash flow is at the heart of everything, how do you make sure that you’re working for a company that sees beyond the numbers?
Here are some strategies that will guide you towards an organisation that shares your values.
Know Your Core Values
Before you can begin searching for an employer that respects your ethical views, you need to know yourself. Dig into your principles by asking yourself a few crucial questions, such as:
- Which roles have made you feel the most accomplished in the past – why were you happy in these positions? Perhaps you loved working with people as a customer relations manager.
- What makes you frustrated or angry at work? Which values were being suppressed in these negative moments?
- What drives your most important decisions in life? How do you know when you’re doing the “right” thing?
- What do you want to be remembered for in the banking space? How would you describe your personal brand?
The answers you give will provide you with a list of values to search for in potential employers.
Read Between the Lines in Job Descriptions
Job descriptions are valuable resources for candidates in search of a position that aligns with their values. A well-written description not only shows you what kind of work you’ll be doing, but it also gives you an overview of the kind of organisation you’ll be working for. Look for:
- Benefits that will fulfil your needs such as flexible hours, generous holiday policies and self-improvement opportunities (e.g. mentorship systems and courses).
- The word “you”: A job advertisement that talks about what “you” get out of the role, as much as what the business is looking for are a sign that the company will value you as an employee.
- Insights into the business plan: Look for anything that shows you how the institution has evolved over the years, perhaps from a “traditional” bank into something more modern. Words like “diversity,” “forward-thinking” and “evolve” are good signs here.
Research News about the Company
Some companies in the banking and finance sector have struggled with their reputation in recent years while adapting to a transforming industry. Find out how your potential employer has handled their path to growth by reading up on news stories over the last few years.
Look for stories about philanthropic initiatives that show a commitment to supporting the community, or R&D press releases that show the company investing in the latest tools. Even a tale about employees winning local awards is a good sign that the organisation supports its staff.
Remember to do some research into the CEO, CFO, and leaders in the business too. The executive suite embodies the vision of the organisation and may help you to determine whether you’ll fit well with its company culture.
Take Advantage of Social Media
While you’re looking up the leadership team associated with your new employer, you may find that you end up on social channels like LinkedIn. Social media is a great opportunity to get a feel for the organisation’s personality. Do the people you look up seem professional but approachable? Do they have a sense of humour that puts you at ease?
Pictures of office celebrations and videos of happy team members are a great way to confirm that you’re signing up for a fun experience. Even in a highly regulated space like banking and finance, it’s important to know that your efforts will be rewarded, and you’ll have chances to blow off steam.
Pay extra attention to any evidence of team-building sessions and games that demonstrate you’ll have a chance to build affinity with your new co-workers.
Ask Questions in the Interview
Finally, remember that interviews aren’t just an opportunity for your new employer to learn about you, they’re also a chance for you to peek behind the curtain of your potential workplace. When the hiring manager asks, “Do you have any questions for us,” take advantage of this opportunity.
There are plenty of ways that you can get an insight into company culture by asking things like:
- How does your team reduce stress during difficult assignments, or when handling tight deadlines?
- Why do you enjoy working here, what do you think the most attractive quality is for new employees?
- How easy is it for someone new to fit into the team? How do you build connections between staff members?
You can also ask questions about the core values of the business. Research suggests that companies with a well-defined set of values have greater coherence and productivity. If a hiring manager can quickly tell you what matters most to the team, and where the organisation focuses its efforts, that’s a good sign that you’re applying to work for a great employer.
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