The Key to Job Fulfillment: Learn to Evaluate Company Culture 

Finding the right job is more than just finding the right compensation package. Discovering long-term happiness in a job also means identifying a company culture that resonates with your values and what matters most to you.

In this article, we examine the importance of company culture and also provide you with tips to evaluate the work culture of perspective future employers.

The Importance of Company Culture 

In a Gallup report, employees who were quietly quitting were surveyed about what they would change about their current workplace.¹ These three were the top answers:

  • 41% Culture or Engagement
  • 28% Pay and Benefits
  • 16% Well-being

Based on these results, better culture and engagement is the most desired change! While we may often be attracted to a job based on its pay and benefits, ultimately culture and engagement determine whether we stick around.

According to Great Place to Work, there are three main criteria.² Here is how a company culture can affect an employee’s career:

Credibility

A solid company culture starts with trust, and that trust begins with you. You’ve got to believe that your leadership’s actions align with their words. It’s all about honesty, integrity, and ethical behavior. When you trust your leaders and find them credible, the effects are significant.

Your job satisfaction skyrockets, motivation peaks, and your commitment to the company strengthens over the long run.

Fairness

Fairness means fostering equal opportunities and just compensation. When you trust your organization maintains a level playing field with equitable recognition and compensation, your experience turns notably positive. Equity cultivates a deep sense of justice and equality, elevating employee satisfaction and engagement.

Workplaces supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives often create more opportunities for individuals with disabilities, contributing to a more inclusive and enriching work environment.

Respect

Respect is more than acknowledgment; it’s a genuine appreciation for you as an individual with a life beyond work. A culture based on respect values your contributions, welcomes your perspectives, and provides flexibility in your work arrangements.

When you encounter respect, trust, and the support to pursue your professional goals while balancing your personal life, your engagement, dedication, and commitment to the company flourish. Respect creates a nurturing and empowering work environment where diversity and inclusion thrive.

Related Article: Set the Right Foundations: What is Belonging in the Workplace? 

Make Sound Career Decisions: How to Evaluate Company Culture 

Now that you understand the importance of company culture, let’s look at the steps you can take to assess the culture of any potential employer. Here are five practices you can apply.

1. Identify what you are looking for in your next job.

In finding your next job and getting to know a potential employer’s organizational culture, you must first identify your priorities. Ask yourself what you are looking for in your next job. Create a list and use that to research potential employers.

According to Gallup, there are common things that most employees look for in their next jobs.³  What matters most to you?

  • 61% Better work-life balance and personal wellbeing
  • 58% To be able to do what they do best
  • 53% Greater job stability and security
  • 42% Diversity and inclusion

2. Learn about the company’s reputation.

Once you have identified your priorities, research the company’s culture and how it aligns with your priorities. Start by connecting with people in your professional network who currently work for or have previously worked for the company.

You can do online research on sites such as Glassdoor, Google Reviews, and Indeed. These platforms will have various tools for you to research a company and hear what other employees past and present think of them.

Related Article: Improve Your Job Search Online, Look Beyond Job Titles! 

3. Assess how the company presents itself.

You can further assess a company’s values and priorities by reading its mission statement and “about us” page online. You can follow this up by reviewing their social media and press releases. Look for their tone, the causes they support, and their stated priorities.

For instance, their commitment to diversity and inclusion. An inclusive company will often explicitly state its values regarding diversity, equality, and inclusion in these documents. They may highlight their efforts to create a workplace where everyone is seen, valued, and appreciated, regardless of their differences.

4. Observe their work environment.

Being invited to an on-site interview is an excellent way to learn about an employer’s company culture. During the interview, pay attention to the atmosphere in the office.

  • Are the employees interacting with each other?
  • Do they greet you when you pass by?
  • Are there smiles on their faces?
  • Do the people look frustrated or tired?

While you may only be getting a very limited snapshot of a company in this way, this can help give you an idea of if you’d like to work there.

5. Ask the right questions during your interview.

You can also assess a company’s work culture by asking questions during the interview:

  • What is the best part of working here?
  • What are the company’s ways of supporting professional development and growth?
  • What are the leaders’ management styles like?
  • How do you observe the company’s core values within the company?
  • What nonprofits and philanthropic causes do the company support?

6. Evaluate the hiring process.

Gauge your experience during the hiring process.

You can ask yourself:

  • How quickly did they get back to me?
  • Were they professional in their conduct?
  • Were they transparent in their communication?
  • Were they eager to answer my questions?

This can offer insights into the company’s efficiency, communication style, and their commitment to fostering a positive candidate experience.

7. Listen to your instincts.

Ultimately, trust your instincts when assessing a company’s culture. During interviews and interactions with current employees, pay close attention to how you feel:

  • Are you excited about the prospect of working there?
  • Do you feel engaged and aligned with your values?

First impressions often convey a lot about what to expect. Your intuition can be a valuable compass in your job search.

FIND A MEANINGFUL AND REWARDING CAREER WITH PEAK PERFORMERS

A great company culture cultivates an environment that supports career growth. Peak Performers can help you find a temporary or permanent job that aligns with your own values and priorities. Since 1994 we’ve been helping job seekers find careers and helping clients find great talent.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about our career opportunities.

References 

1. “State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report.” Gallup, www.gallup.com/state-of-the-global-workplace. 13 Oct. 2023.

2. Hastwell, Claire. “The 8 Elements of Great Company Culture.” 8 June 2023, https://www.greatplacetowork.com/resources/blog/elements-of-great-company-culture.

3. Wigert, Ben. “The Top 6 Things Employees Want in Their Next Job.” Gallup, 21 Feb. 2022, www.gallup.com/top-things-employees-next-job.

‘Ally’ Is a Verb: 8 Ways to Practice Allyship at Work 

Fostering a company culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion has become essential for organizations and their employees. While diversity initiatives play a vital role in creating a more inclusive environment, what truly shapes workplace allyship is the collective actions and behaviors of every individual at work.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to the workforce, this article can guide you on how you can actively practice Allyship at work. By embracing these strategies, you can contribute to a more equitable and harmonious workplace where everyone feels valued and supported.

What is Allyship at Work? 

Allyship at work is the active and intentional support demonstrated by individuals within an organization to promote inclusion, equity, and fair treatment for marginalized or underrepresented colleagues. This goes beyond being a passive bystander or having good intentions.

Allyship requires deliberate actions to challenge and dismantle discriminatory practices, promote equal opportunities, amplify marginalized voices, and create a more inclusive and supportive work environment.

What Brought About This Conversation? 

The concept of Allyship originates from social justice movements and activism such as the Back Lives Matter movement. It is often associated with the civil rights movements in the United States, where individuals from different backgrounds joined forces to fight against racial discrimination and segregation.

Over time, the concept expanded beyond racial justice and encompassed other forms of oppression, such as:

  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • Disability
  • Age

It became a broader framework for individuals who recognize their privilege and use it to advocate for and support marginalized communities. While Allyship has gained prominence in recent years, it is essential to note that marginalized communities have long relied on allies to help amplify their voices and effect change.

The term “allyship” itself may have become more widely used and discussed, but the underlying principles of solidarity and advocacy have been central to social justice movements throughout history.

How to Practice Effective Allyship at Work 

Allyship emerged as a way to address systemic inequalities and promote solidarity among marginalized groups. Here are a few things you can apply to practice Allyship in the workplace.

1. Educate Yourself

Seek knowledge about marginalized communities, their experiences, challenges, and perspectives. This includes understanding the historical context, social structures, and systemic inequalities contributing to oppression.

You can read books, articles, and online resources written by authors from diverse backgrounds to gain multiple perspectives. Depending on preferences, you can also consider sources like:

  • Watching Documentaries
  • Attending Seminars
  • Listening to personal stories
  • Following thought leaders
  • Participating in panel discussions or affinity group meetings

Pay attention to narratives that challenge stereotypes and be open to new perspectives. You may have to examine your own perceptions, assumptions, and circumstances so that you can better understand different views. Being open to learning new beliefs and re-evaluating yours is the beginning of fostering a more inclusive mindset.

2. Listen and Amplify

Focus on listening to the experiences of marginalized individuals. Recognize that as an Ally, you may need to step back and allow their voices to be at the forefront. Avoiding dominating conversations and actively encouraging them to speak up is a great start.

When engaging in conversations about diversity and inclusion, consider other perspectives rather than centering the discussion around your own experiences and actions.

In collaborative projects, seek their input, involve them in decision-making, and ensure their perspectives are considered.

3. Use Inclusive Language

Inclusive language includes using gender-neutral terms, person-first language, and avoiding stereotypical assumptions. Creating an inclusive work culture starts with you.

Gender-Neutrality 

If you’re unsure about someone’s pronouns, politely ask or use gender-neutral pronouns such as they/them until you receive clarification. Be mindful of using gendered language that assumes everyone fits into binary gender categories. Instead, use gender-neutral terms whenever possible.

For example, use “they” instead of “he” or “she” when referring to a person of unknown gender or when discussing a hypothetical scenario.

Person-First Language 

When discussing disability or health conditions, use person-first language that emphasizes the individual rather than defining them by their condition, recognizing their humanity before their disability. You can say “person who uses a wheelchair” instead of “disabled person.”

When addressing people with disabilities, it’s best to communicate with them about their preferences.

Avoid Stereotypes and Assumptions 

Be cautious of making assumptions or generalizations based on someone’s race, ethnicity, gender, or any other characteristic. When uncertain, ask individuals or use widely accepted terms that communities use to self-identify. Try to avoid perpetuating stereotypes or making sweeping statements such as:

  • People from that country are all rude.
  • Immigrants steal jobs and burden the economy.

Alternatively, it’s better to avoid making assumptions and stereotypes altogether. Everyone is unique, and we should acknowledge that there are differences in every community, place, ethnicity, gender, and age.

Be Mindful of Microaggressions 

Microaggressions are subtle, often unintentional, actions or comments that belittle others.

For example, telling a woman, “You’re too emotional,” implies that her feelings are invalid or excessive. Or saying to a person with a disability, “You’re so brave/inspiring,” perpetuates the notion that disability equates to bravery or inspiration. Eventually, this kind of thinking fails to recognize the qualities and achievements people with disabilities prefer to be recognized of.

As much as you can, avoid microaggressions, such as making assumptions about someone’s cultural background, questioning their abilities based on stereotypes, or invalidating their experiences.

Use Inclusive Terms 

Choose inclusive terms that encompass a diverse range of identities. For example, use “partner” instead of assuming someone’s marital status or “parent” instead of assuming gender or family structure.

Language and terminology evolve over time. Stay open to learning and adapting your language usage based on new information and feedback.

4. Challenge Bias and Microaggressions

You can’t control what everyone does, but you can use your influence to improve the situation. If you witness microaggression or biased comments, speak up and address them respectfully. This may require you to intervene in conversations, advocate for fairness, or report incidents through appropriate channels.

Consider challenging biased statements or engaging in thoughtful questioning to encourage individuals to reflect on their microaggressions or biases. For example, you can ask:

  • Have you considered the impact of your words on others?
  • What led you to believe that stereotype?

Most importantly, model inclusive behavior and language in your interactions. Treat others with respect, value diverse perspectives, and actively challenge your own biases. By being an example of Allyship, you inspire others to follow suit and contribute to a more inclusive workplace culture.

5. Support Affinity Groups and Initiatives

Find out if affinity groups or employee resource groups (ERGs) exist in your workplace. These are voluntary, employee-led communities that bring together individuals who share a common identity or experience.

  • Reach out to these groups and express your interest in supporting their initiatives.
  • Engage and learn more about the group’s experiences, challenges, and achievements.
  • Actively listen and offer your support when appropriate.

If you have specific skills or expertise that can benefit the group, offer your assistance respectfully and collaboratively. Recognize that the group’s autonomy and leadership should be respected, and your role is to support and uplift their initiatives.

6. Use Your Privilege to Advocate

Privilege can manifest in various ways, such as based on race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or ability. Reflect on how your privilege may afford you certain advantages or opportunities others may not have.

You can take on the role of an educator by engaging in conversations and raising awareness about privilege, bias, and social justice. Speak up in meetings, write letters, or join advocacy groups to support initiatives that address systemic barriers and create more equitable structures.

7. Support and Respect Boundaries

Respect the boundaries and comfort levels of marginalized colleagues. Understand that their experiences may differ from your own, and avoid pressuring them to educate you or share personal stories unless they willingly choose to do so.

8. Reflect and Learn from Mistakes

Allyship is a continuous learning process, and it’s essential to acknowledge and learn from your mistakes. Be open to feedback, reflect on your actions, and commit to personal growth and improvement.

AMPLIFY YOUR DE&I EFFORTS THROUGH DISABILITY HIRING WITH PEAK PERFORMERS

Peak Performers is your Ally, and we firmly believe that disability should never be a barrier. By recruiting professionals from a diverse talent pool, you can create a more inclusive workforce.

Whether you need a temporary solution, direct hire, or executive search, our services cover a wide range of industries, including engineering, administrative, technology, finance, legal, government, nonprofit, and office roles.

Contact us now to learn more about how we can assist you in building a diverse workforce.

Virtual Interviews: Essential Tips and Tricks for Jobseekers

Video interviews have become commonplace in this era of remote work and virtual communication. If you’ve recently received an email inviting you to a virtual interview for your dream job, the anxiety of navigating the process may be overwhelming. However, by learning effective strategies for approaching these interviews, you can increase your chances of receiving the job offer. In this article, we discuss detailed tips that can help you excel in virtual interviews and make a lasting impression on prospective employers.

7 Powerful Virtual Interview Hacks That Works 

Here are some virtual interview tips to help you land your next virtual job:

1. Familiarize yourself with the interview platform.

Platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Skype are top choices for virtual meetings. Take the time to explore and understand the features and functionalities of the specific platform you’ll be using. First, ensure that you have the necessary software or app installed on your device. Once the platform is installed, it takes some time to navigate through its interface.

Familiarize yourself with the various buttons, icons, and menus. Locate essential features such as mute/unmute, start/stop video, screen sharing, and chat functions. Keep files such as portfolio samples in your desktop or home folder to make it easier to share on your screen later.

Some platforms also offer a live transcription or live captioning option, wherein the platform AI captures the words spoken in the meeting and shows the words on the screen as a subtitle.

Consider exploring additional features that might be useful during the interview process. For example, some platforms offer virtual backgrounds that allow you to hide your actual surroundings and present a professional backdrop. If you would like to use such features during your interview, learn how to use them beforehand, but don’t forget about the other simple settings. Test the camera and audio settings to check that they’re working perfectly.

2. Prepare your virtual interview space.

When preparing for virtual interviews, it’s important to create a professional environment that reflects your seriousness and dedication. Here’s what you can do to prove this:

Choose a clean and clutter-free area. 

Ensure to clear out everything that may seem distracting.

Ensure proper lighting. 

Position yourself facing a natural light source, such as a window, or use artificial lighting to illuminate your face evenly. Avoid having bright lights behind you, as this can create a silhouette effect and make it harder for the interviewer to see you.

Select a neutral and non-distracting background. 

A plain wall or a neatly arranged bookshelf can work well. Avoid backgrounds that may draw attention away from you or appear unprofessional. Virtual backgrounds can be an option but choose them wisely, opting for subtle and appropriate designs.

Minimize noise and disruptions. 

Inform family members or roommates in advance about the interview and ask them to keep their noise to a minimum. If necessary, close windows to reduce outside noise, and turn off any devices that may cause interruptions.

Dress professionally. 

Even though it’s an online interview, consider appearing tidy. Starting with your hair, try to keep things professional.

Test your camera position. 

Adjust the camera angle to ensure it frames your face properly. Also, consider positioning the camera at eye level or slightly above to avoid an unflattering or awkward perspective.

3. Practice your answers.

If you want to feel more confident and articulate during your interview, consider practicing your answers. This is especially useful when it’s your first or you haven’t done so many interviews in the past.

Research common interview questions. 

While you can’t exactly know what the interviewer may ask, you can boost your confidence level by researching common questions related to the job position and industry. Look for questions that often come up in interviews, such as questions about your strengths, weaknesses, experiences, and your interest in the company. Prepare answers for these questions based on your skills, experiences, and achievements.

Structure your responses. 

Follow a structure that starts with providing a concise and clear introduction to your relevant experience or qualifications. Then, delve into specific examples or anecdotes to support your points. Finally, conclude your response by summarizing the key takeaways or lessons learned from the experience.

Practice with a mock interview. 

Enlist the help of a friend, family member, or mentor to conduct a mock interview. Ask them to act as the interviewer and provide feedback on your responses. Use video conferencing software to simulate a virtual interview environment, allowing you to practice adjusting to the virtual setting.

Focus on storytelling and examples. 

When answering questions, try to incorporate specific examples from your previous job or educational experience. This helps to make your responses more engaging and memorable. You may use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to provide a context for the interviewer.

Practice articulating your answers concisely. 

Practice delivering your answers within a reasonable time frame, typically 1-2 minutes per response. However, be mindful of rambling or going off on tangents.

4. Research the company.

By thoroughly researching the company, you’ll be able to demonstrate your knowledge, enthusiasm, and alignment with their values during the interview. This preparation also allows you to engage in meaningful conversations and stand out as a well-informed candidate.

Explore the company’s website. 

Take the time to explore different sections, such as the About Us page, mission statement, and values. Pay attention to their products or services, target market, and any recent news or press releases. Familiarize yourself with the company’s history, achievements, and future goals.

Research recent news and industry trends. 

Stay updated on recent news and developments related to the company and the industry it operates. Look for any press releases, announcements, or articles that highlight the company’s accomplishments, challenges, or plans.

Check the company’s social media presence. 

Visit the company’s social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Pay attention to their posts, articles, and engagement with their audience. This can provide additional insights into the company’s culture, recent projects, and community involvement.

Research about the interviewer. 

If you have information about the interviewer, take some time to research their background and professional experience. It may also work in your favor to know beforehand if there will be more than one interviewer. Look for their LinkedIn profiles or any published articles or interviews they may have done. This knowledge can help you establish a connection or find common ground during the interview.

5. Prepare to ask questions.

Based on your research about the company and job requirements, prepare thoughtful and specific questions to ask the interviewer. This shows you’ve done your homework and demonstrates your genuine interest in the company and the vacant role.

Ask about recent projects, company culture, growth opportunities, or any initiatives you came across during your research. If not available on their pages, you can also ask about the company’s policies and assistive technology and structures in the office to assist people with disabilities. However, avoid putting questions about salary and benefits on the frontline. Some companies often do not advertise the salary on job post for various reasons.

While it’s important to understand the compensation package and benefits, it’s generally recommended to avoid asking about these during the initial interview. Save these questions for later stages of the hiring process, such as during salary negotiations or when an offer is extended.

You can further inquire about the timeline for the recruitment process and what the next steps would be after the interview to demonstrate your eagerness to move forward.

6. Use non-verbal cues to show your interest.

During a virtual interview, body language plays a significant role in how you come across the interviewer. To practice and enhance your non-verbal communication skills:

Even when you’re being interviewed from a screen, a nervous posture can still be perceived. Maintain an open and upright posture throughout the interview.

Make eye contact. 

Look directly into the camera to create the illusion of eye contact with the interviewer. They may also catch it if you are reading from a phone screen or paper. This can make or break their impression of your attentiveness and interest in the conversation.

Show enthusiasm. 

Be mindful of your expressions, as they can influence how you come across to the interviewer. Remember to express your emotions genuinely and express enthusiasm during the interview. A warm and positive facial expression helps establish a connection with the interviewer and conveys your interest in the role.

Pay attention to your voice. 

The tone of voice is an important aspect of non-verbal communication. Aside from your visuals on screen, your voice and volume will have a strong impact on your interview. Enunciate your words and vary your tone to avoid sounding monotonous. Use appropriate volume for your mic and pace to ensure your thoughts are easily understood.

Demonstrate active listening. 

Non-verbal cues such as nodding your head and maintaining an engaged facial expression can indicate active listening. Show that you are attentively listening to the interviewer’s questions and comments at all times.

7. Be punctual and ensure connectivity.

Treat virtual interviews with the same level of professionalism as in-person interviews. Aim to be punctual and log in to the interview platform at least five minutes early before the scheduled time. This demonstrates respect for the interviewer’s time and shows your reliability.

A slow or unreliable internet connection can disrupt the flow of the interview and hinder effective communication. Before the interview, test your internet connection to ensure it is stable and reliable. You can run a speed test or try video calling a friend to confirm that your connection is strong and can support a smooth video call. It might also be helpful to close unnecessary applications or browser tabs on your computer to optimize performance.

Read more: Preparing for your interview at Peak Performers

FIND YOUR NEXT IDEAL CAREER ONLINE WITH PEAK PERFORMERS

Sometimes, finding an accessible job platform may seem like a daunting task. This is why Peak Performers is here to help! Find the company and role that matches your skills and interests best.

We’re committed to helping professionals with disabilities find employment in equal-opportunity work environments. Contact us today to find a job you’ll love.

Salaries on job description

Salaries on Job Postings

Overview of Issue

In a recent survey, 91% of job seekers and 67% of recruiters want a salary to be listed on a job description. However, only 12% of jobs posted list a salary according to a Ziprecruiter interview with CNN. This issue has gained recent attention with legislation moving swiftly across the country and prominent leaders calling for transparence and equity.

And yet, many employers still express reluctance about including the salary in the job posting.

Watch the video below for our argument about the benefits for companies including salaries in job descriptions, featuring Peak’s Clarence Augustine.

Looking Up Salaries Online

In our modern Internet age, more and more job seekers are looking up the salary, or expected salary, on tools like salary.com or glassdoor.com.

Salary.com is an aggregator of data that helps employers and job seekers estimate the compensation range of a given role in a given area.

Glassdoor, by contrast, relies on user information where past and present employees report what they made in a specific role at a specific company.

Increasingly, job seekers can get a pretty good idea of how much they’re worth to you.

Transparency is Key

91% of job seekers want to see a salary listed. They also want to know what the benefits look like, what their upward mobility paths look like, and how the company culture is. Job seekers increasingly are doing extensive research online before the interview to vet a company, just as the company is vetting them.

For staffing agencies, we seek to get as much of this information ahead of time as possible. This helps us to be able to better sell your role. This information is always useful but is downright critical in the current tight labor market.

Sharing the salary on your own job posting is also estimated to pull in 2-3 times as many views on various job posting sites. So, if you’re struggling to find people, you should really think about including the salary in the job description.

Pay Equity

It’s currently estimated that women earn 80 cents to the dollar that a man does. This problem is also experienced by various marginalized groups of people: people with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, and LGBTQIA+ people. When a group is historically disenfranchised, they may be less likely to negotiate for the competitive wages earned by their peers.

Pay equity is still a huge problem in the workplace and including a salary on a job description is one of the first and easiest steps a company can take to beginning to correct for this continuing issue.

Why Companies Don’t Include Salaries

Companies might be reluctant to include salaries on job posting for a couple reasons (and why those arguments are flawed):

  1. Attempting to payroll lower costs – many companies feel that they can get away with lowballing candidates in order to keep costs low. This often increasingly feeds into existing pay equity disparities. Also, candidates can just look it up online and will lose trust in your organization when they find out you’re lowballing them.
  2. Not enough budget for required skill – some companies may not have the budget for the skills and abilities they need to recruit for so they don’t include a salary in order to get some unsuspecting candidates to accept the role. This will probably leave you spinning your wheels with recruiting and experiencing a higher turnover rate, thus costing you more money in the long run. You must pay people what they’re worth.
  3. A company is worried about their existing employees pay – finally, some companies are concerned about their existing employees finding out what their new hires are making. Ultimately, this is an issue with pay equity and a company should be paying new employees close to what their current ones are making. Attempting to cover this up will lead to significant turnover and job dissatisfaction.

Let’s Talk about Salary Bands

Unfortunately, the other mistake many companies make is including a really wide salary band that doesn’t give an accurate expectation of how much people will actually be earning in the job. This too can drive a negative perception of the company as perspective employees suspect you’re trying to trick them into a role.

Try to express, as transparently as possible, the base salary (before commissions and bonuses) and keep the range between $5,000 – $10,000.

 

Remote work drawbacks

Considering the drawbacks of remote work

Is remote work good for my career?

I’ve worked remotely before so I get it: rolling out of bed right before work, looking out your kitchen window at the sunrise while you check email and sip coffee, taking a neighborhood walk to break up the work day—it’s pretty nice. For many other people, such as those with kids or those with certain disabilities, this can be a godsend allowing them to have a schedule that actually works for them or a work environment where they’re comfortable and productive.

For these reasons, I think that remote work will always have a place, as it should. But I think it’s still relatively new and it’s important to point out some of the drawbacks. Also, if you’re considering remote work for the first time, be sure to check out our article here.

Remote work downsides:

1) The jobs are highly competitive to attain.

According to Google, there are twice as many people looking for “remote jobs” as there are people looking for “jobs.” This is pretty consistent with the job seekers I meet. They often ask about remote work and then only reluctantly agree to consider on-site jobs or hybrid roles. Also, its estimated by Zippia that only 15% of jobs are work from home. So, if you are only considering remote jobs, realize that you will be competing against WAY more people for way fewer jobs.

2) Remote workers may be more likely to get laid off.

In a survey of 3000 managers by beautiful.ai, 60% agree that remote workers are more likely to be laid off first (only 20% said this is unlikely). Laying off people is hard—but perhaps these conversations are made a little easier when the person is not sitting across the table from you? Perhaps its made a little easier when you don’t have lunch with them in the break room every day? 

3) You may be less likely to get promoted.

Face time matters for your work life: a lot of interpersonal relationships develop in the workplace and its easier for your manager to see the great work that you do when they can see it in person. That’s not to say you can’t get promoted but that it might be harder to develop rapport with your bosses and colleagues. Also, you might have to be more deliberate about demonstrating your hard work. This trend has been called by Fast Company the “Zoom ceiling” after their study found remote workers less likely to get promoted.

4) Your boss probably likes the office.

Odd are, your boss probably enjoys working on-site and got to where they are from going into the office. For many people, their work life dominates their social life. You may be able to tout evidence of remote worker productivity, of which there’s plenty of recent discussion, but that alone won’t overcome their natural preference. After all, when you work remotely, they now have to spend a large portion of their week talking you on on video chat.

5) It can be lonely.

I can personally say that I prefer working remotely on days where I need to deeply focus on a project. However, I nearly always find myself working through lunch, rarely take that afternoon walk, and at the end of the day I’m longing to talk to someone in person, to collaborate, and I find myself eager for validation on my work product. Some of my remote coworkers describe how they’ll go out to eat dinner at a restaurant, even alone, just to be around other people. 

Disclaimers

We’re all going to have different experiences working remotely. My boss and many of my colleagues work remotely. Many of them HAVE been successfully promoted. I’ve worked remotely as well as in a hybrid environment. There can be some incredible advantages to remote work, but it’s also important to evaluate some of these drawbacks too.

2023 Job Seeking Advice

Find a job in 2023

Top job seeking advice from Peak Performers

It’s that time of the year: time for merriment, cookies, holiday wishes, and even New Years resolutions. Top of many people’s lists are finding a job or finding a better job. Are you looking to find a job in 2023?

What are our job seeking tips for 2023?

Recession planning

Job seeking will be harder in 2023 than it was in 2022 due to a likely economic downturn (one that is probably already upon us). However, talent is still exceedingly hard to come by due to the number of people who left the workforce during the pandemic so as a job seeker the wind is still at your back. My best advice is this: do not procrastinate because more and more layoffs are happening. If you need a job, start applying for a new one as soon as possible. I have more recession planning tips here.

Network, network, network

75% of all jobs are gained by who you know. While Indeed and Ziprecruiter get the hiring limelight, most jobs are still acquired through shaking hands and making friends. So now is a great time to get on LinkedIn and build your personal brand. Now is a great time to join a job club, such as LaunchPad Job Club. Check out more about why networking is important.

Success is (partly) about showing up

In a recent Business Insider Article from 2021, they report that in retail and food industries 90% of people scheduled for interviews don’t show up. In the professional sector, people are much more likely to show up but ghosting is still a major problem felt by all employers. So stick to the basics: answer your phone when it rings, respond to employer emails, show up to your scheduled interview, and write a nice thank you letter after your interview. 

Remote work, pretty please?

Did you know that on Google the number of people looking for “remote jobs” is double that of the people just looking for “jobs?” Remote work continues to be in vogue and is a valuable accommodation for many people with disabilities as well as those with familial obligations that keep them home. However, just realize that you’ll be competing against more people than ever before for those precious remote jobs. Odds are your boss actually likes working in the office and may want you there too—in fact some companies are enacting policies to NOT promote remote workers. Consider going back into the office or at least consider a hybrid work environment.

Seek out less visible companies.

We live in a rich-get-richer attention economy. Large, well known brands will get 100s of applications to 1 received at a small/medium sized business that does not have brand name recognition. It’s always been hard to get into these companies but, since many of them are implementing hiring freezes or laying people off, it’s harder than ever before. Drive around your city and write down the names of companies that are unfamiliar to you. Read local business publications to build a list of lesser-known companies. Consider new strategies for seeking out and applying for jobs. 

Peak Performers can help you find a job

Are you ready to find a new job or a better job? Peak Performers is actively hiring!

Employment after being an entrepreneur

How do I put my start-up business on my resume?

Running your own business is hard and you have to wear many hats. I’ve been there with a failed venture called “Mr. Good Name” back in my 20s that I started with a buddy of mine. It provided online reputation management services to small businesses in Ohio.

Being an entrepreneur teaches you a lot of skills you wouldn’t normally be exposed to; however, it doesn’t always translate well to a traditional resume and some employers may be reluctant to hire you. 

Tips for translating your resume:

What do you call yourself?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is adding the title “CEO” if you were a one-person show. Yes, you were the CEO but a CEO’s resume looks really different than that of most people. Some recruiters might be concerned that you’re either arrogant or that you’re over-qualified for their position. Unless you actually had a significant amount of staff reporting to you and are actively seeking another CEO role, I would avoid lofty titles. I prefer simply “business owner/founder.”

Tailor your skills to the job.

If you’re a one-person show, you likely were the head of marketing, accounting, customer service, and sales. You did it all! Look at the kinds of roles you’re applying for and cherry pick specific experiences and skills to include. You won’t be able to include all of your experience and that’s ok.

Addressing failure.

If you’re applying for a job after running your own business, it’s probably because your business didn’t work out. In my own case, my business partner and I knocked on over a thousand doors and had a direct mail marketing campaign, but ultimately we launched the business in a recession and there was not enough market demand for online reputation management services. Am I ashamed of this? No. But culturally we tend to look down on failure without context—so provide that context. Use the experience to tell a story during the interview of what you tried and what you learned and then employers will be more understanding.

Tout your success.

If you had any success with your start-up, you probably had to work HARD for it. So include the story of your business as well as growth it achieved.

Signal that you work well with and for others.

Here’s the big one: many people start their own business because they have trouble getting a job in the first place, can’t keep a job, or have trouble working with/for other people. So, they try to do their own thing. HR wants to be assured that you will stick around after they go to all the trouble to hire. During the interview, address these concerns as directly as possible and be ready to demonstrate that you are a team player who can report to others.

What if I’m still doing it?

If you are still working at your start-up, be aware that potential employers might be concerned by this. Employers are concerned that 1) your attention will be divided 2) you’ll jump ship the moment business picks up or 3) you’ll use this job to steal customers or business secrets. It might be worthwhile to consider shuttering your business or keep it up only as a lightweight consulting gig.

Layoff FAQs and Planning

Planning for layoffs and frequently asked questions

Are layoffs coming in 2023?

Right now, the long-forecasted recession seems to be more imminent than ever. Some economists are predicting more layoffs in the near future.

Why are layoffs happening?

High tech companies sometimes act as the canary in the economic coal mine. High tech companies currently are struggling with access to cheap borrowing and venture capital. Furthermore, consumer spending has backed off. Other high tech companies are cutting back their workforce in anticipation of a coming recession.

Layoffs happen when companies need to cut down expenses. Often, employees are the most expensive part of most businesses and so they’re often the first element to be impacted when recessions happen or business slows down.

What should I do if I’m at risk of getting laid off?

  1. Work on your resume now. It can be hard to re-construct your work experience after you’re no longer with a company. When exactly did you do that project and what percentage impact did it have on the bottom line? Take the time while you’re still employed to get all the information about your current job that you may need to market yourself for your next job.
  2. Build your network. 75% of all jobs are found via referral. It’s all about who you know! Layoffs are a universally traumatic time period, for the people that leave and those who stay. If you are axed, know who you can reach out to for help finding another job and who will be your reference. Also keep in mind that often you can go to work for your competitors (provided there’s not a non-compete in place) or even your customers. Make sure to get personal contact information for people who will be allies in your upcoming job search.
  3. Get on LinkedIn. I often joke that only three kinds of people active on LinkedIn: recruiters, sales people, and job seekers. If you get on LinkedIn and start interacting with people and building your personal brand with insightful posts, you send a strong signal that you are available to work.
  4. Start applying. While you’re updating your resume and solidifying your network, you might as well apply for a couple jobs. You can take a couple of interviews and who knows…maybe you’ll find a great company to work for? Even if you don’t find a job right now, this will help you exercise these skills and get a feel for what the job market is like right now.
  5. Save some money for a rainy day. I’m not a financial counselor, but I will point out that many job seekers feel like they have to say “yes” to the first thing that comes along because they need a paycheck ASAP. If possible, try to save some money to ride out a period of job loss so that you can find the right opportunity and not just an opportunity. Similarly, you can start researching COBRA health insurance options (or other marketplace options) so you’re not left without insurance.
  6. Imagine the worst, hope for the best. While it’s not fun to imagine getting laid off, doing so can help emotionally prepare you for the worst case scenario. Doing this emotional preparation allows you to respond better in the moment and to hit the ground running if it does happen. Job loss often comes with grief and this can help you process your grief faster so it doesn’t get in the way of your new job search.

Who gets laid off first?

Layoffs often affect many people and companies all do it a little differently. Here’s some of the most frequently targeted groups of people:

  • Mid-level managers. Often, companies will seek to downsize by cutting out management. If you are a mid-level manager overseeing a small team, you may be at higher risk if your company were to merge these smaller teams.
  • Less tenured employees. Sometimes there will be a feeling of “last in, first out.” If you were recently hired you may be at higher risk.
  • Higher paid employees. Employees who have been around longer and are paid relatively higher than their peers doing similar work might also be at higher risk of lay-offs.
  • Lower performing employees. Sometimes companies will target specific employees based on performance reviews.

Who can help if I get laid off?

Peak Performers is happy to! Please browse our jobs here! Also be sure to reach out to your local workforce development center and your personal network.

Additionally, make sure to check out our local resources list. Remember, you’re not in this alone.

Job Search Feedback

Feedback is critical to your job search.

Processing feedback when looking for a job

When you ask a friend to read your resume and tell you what they think, that’s feedback. When you go to networking events and give your elevator pitch, what you hear (or don’t hear) afterwards is feedback. Whether you get called for interviews, that’s feedback. During the interviews themselves, the questions you are asked is some of the most valuable feedback you can get. 

Sometimes feedback is direct: a recruiter tells you why you’re not a fit because of XYZ or someone tells you how to fix your resume. Often, it’s indirect: people don’t call you back, people say generally positive but non committal things, people don’t ask you follow up questions.

Indirect feedback insights:

If you hear nothing. If you hear nothing, this should inspire you to make changes. Hearing nothing is generally a signal of a lack of interest or a mismatch for your target audience. Either you’re talking to the wrong people or the right people aren’t interested in talking to you. Or, you somehow come across as a person who people don’t want to talk too—this is often the case when job seekers talk too much and the people they’re talking to are trying to break away.

If you hear positive, non-committal feedback. I call this the “cheerleader effect.” Perhaps you have a friend or spouse who is emotionally invested in your success, and they feel like cheering you on will help you get a job. While it feels good to receive this, dig deeper and ask people to provide feedback “as if you didn’t know me.” 

You are asked “dumb” questions. Your resume, cover letter, elevator pitch, LinkedIn profile, and even the emails you send are part of your whole marketing package. If you’re getting asked “dumb” questions—ones that you think should be obvious—there exists a communication gap between what you’re saying and what people are understanding. Try recording yourself speaking and printing your resume to read it out loud. What is clearly spelled out and what do you have to “read in-between the lines” to understand? What requires industry experience to understand? I’m a big fan of making it all clear enough for a layperson to comprehend.

Direct feedback insights:

Listen, don’t defend. It can be tempting justify or defend why we’re doing things the way we’re doing things. Direct feedback is a tremendous gift that takes courage to give. Listen to what is said and thank them for their feedback.

Listen to all, implement some. If you ask a dozen recruiters for feedback, you may well get a dozen different opinions. Sometimes we’re tempted to take the feedback of those who are most persuasive. Be careful about the pendulum effect. 

Listen for consensus. What’s more valuable than one person’s opinion is multiple people’s opinion. When you start seeing shared insights, that’s when you should really consider making rapid changes.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Learn to adapt and be flexible. Have multiple versions of your resume and elevator pitch and be ready to change things on the fly based on who you’re talking to.

Looking for work? Seeking feedback?

We’re happy to have a conversation with you! Check out some of our many open jobs.

Getting over your interview fears

Job interviewing fears

Interview fears and how to get over them

Interviewing can be scary. You’re meeting strangers, your self worth is in question, and your future income hangs in the balance of this one conversation. So let’s talk through some of the top interview fears and what you can do to combat them.

Common job interview fears

“What will I get asked?”

Most interview questions are NOT unique. There’s “where do you see yourself in 5 years” “tell me about a time…” “what makes you want to work for us” and maybe even “describe your greatest weakness.” It’s all pretty copy/paste until they ask you specific questions about your experience. This fear of ambiguity can best be combatted by practice: look up a list of common interview questions and practice how you’ll answer them. Then have a friend or family member practice interviewing you. Here’s a good list of common interview questions.

“What if they’re judging me?”

In short: yes they are—that’s their job. The best thing you can do is take practice interviews with friends and family members and then ask for honest feedback. How do I seem? Did I say the right thing? Would you hire me? Taking this feedback itself can take some practice: but in general:

  1. Ask open ended questions intended to simulate conversation and reflection
  2. Listen to what they say without defending yourself or seeking to provide additional justification
  3. Move past the cheerleading “you did a great job” and onto the critical feedback

“What if they don’t like me?”

If you make it to the interview, most likely the recruiters/hiring managers have assessed that you’re basically able to do the job. Often they’re seeking to confirm these opinions and then screen you for “culture fit,” which is basically how much they like you or think their team will like you. In general my advice is: smile, make good eye contact if you’re able, and seek to find personal commonalities.

“What if I get nervous?”

Most people will get nervous in the interview. I’ve seen people break down in tears or use the bathroom to vomit. However, realize that the interviewers are probably empathetic people. Politely explain that you’re feeling nervous, do the best you can, and your interviewers will try to give you the benefit of the doubt.

“What if I’m late?”

Preparation is key. Don’t be too late, or too early—I recommend being about 5 minutes early. If you get there before that, go for a quick walk around the block. Look up the route on Google Maps, plan for traffic, and have a backup plan in case the worst happens. 

“What if I say the wrong thing?”

It’s important to realize that in this instance, saying the wrong thing is better than saying nothing. If you never apply or ghost on your interview, you are effectively saying nothing. If you say the wrong thing, you might still get hired. If you say nothing, you definitely won’t get hired.

Final Word: Just Show Up

Showing up and doing the interview, no matter how badly it goes, still gives you a shot at getting the job. You might be nervous or uncomfortable, but showing up is half of the battle. The worst thing you can do is GHOST them. 

And if you’re looking for a job, we try to not have scary interviews! Submit your resume or browse our many jobs!

Asking questions in an interview

Get your interviewer talking!

Advice for creating interview dialogue

An interview is all about you, right? Well, not really. 

An interview is about your potential future employer’s needs and how your skills and experience align with their needs. Also, it’s about how much they like you and see you as a “culture fit” for their team. 

A successful interview is a dialogue, not a presentation (nor an interrogation).

If you’re doing 95% of the talking, you’re doing it wrong. Here are a couple tips:

1) Flip the script

One of my favorite techniques to use in an interview is to start with flipping the script on the interviewer after introductions. Here’s how it might go:

“Thanks so much for taking the time to interview me today. I really admire your company and am honored to be considered for this role. If you don’t mind me asking, could you please tell me more about the role and what kind of candidate you’re seeking?”

Basically, this is asking them for the answers to the test before you take it. Most of the time, they will tell you what they’re looking for. You can then use all of this information to confirm that you’re the ideal candidate while you answer their questions about your skills and experience.

2) Connect personally

I recommend you find some small way to connect to your interviewer personally. Create small talk, listen for their response, and search for personal commonalities, such as a favorite pet, sports team, or even movie you’ve seen. You will have tons of things in common with anyone you meet!

Once you’ve found that commonality, get them talking about it.

“That’s really cool to hear you’re a dog lover too. Can I show you a picture of my dog? I’d love to see one of yours too.”

Reinforce what you have in common in order to make them like you personally and make them evaluate you as a better “culture fit.”

3) Ending Well

Finally, at the end of the interview they’ll often ask “what questions do you have for me?” This gives you an opening to ask questions. 

Focus on open-ended, feel-good questions, such as “why do you love working here?” and “what makes your team great?” and “what attracted you to this company?”

Then, always ask:

“Do you have any reservations about hiring me?”

This gives you one last chance to address any concerns they have and also gives you valuable intel about how you come across in the interview. Also, it will give you insight into whether or not you’re likely to even get the job.

Also, check out our jobs!

If you’re in the labor market, our team of recruiters and hiring managers don’t bite! They’re here to engage you in a conversation, understand your skills, and consider you for our open jobs. Check out our jobs here!

Career coaches

All about career coaches

What does a career coach do?

A career coach will often help you with several key activities:

  • Editing your resume, LinkedIn, and cover letters
  • Helping you expand your network
  • Advising you on making a career shift or overcoming employment barriers
  • Evaluating job prospects
  • Preparing for interviews

How do I find a career coach?

You can find potential career coaches by simply going to LinkedIn and searching for “career coach.” However, if possible you should find a career coach that has worked with someone you know or is in your target industry. Ask friends, family members, and network connections for people who might be able to help you in your career search.

When should you hire a career coach?

1) If you can’t do it yourself. Some people struggle with composing a resume or need significant help with being able to overcome an employment gap or switching careers. If the difference between you getting a job and not getting a job, it may be worthwhile to hire a job coach. However, realize that they can’t do it for you—they can give you advice and help you craft a well-written resume, but it is ultimately your job search activities that will lead to a job.

2) If you’ve exhausted all your resources. A little while back I wrote “a guide to Austin job seeking resources.” Utilize services such as Workforce Solutions, job clubs, and online resources first before you seek out a coach. Attend networking events and send messages to people you know on LinkedIn. There is a wealth of information out there and available to you as a job seeker. Paying for assistance can expedite the process but make sure you’re not overlooking free resources.

3) It’s risky for you to look for work. If you’re already currently fully employed and planning to make a big career shift, it might be worthwhile to hire a career coach to help advise you. Making a career shift can be really hard, and they may be able help you strategically prepare for this all while minimizing the risk of losing your current job. After all, sometimes the best path is to seek a new role or alternate job duties in your current company instead of quitting it outright.

What should you consider when hiring a career coach?

  • It’s a fuzzy science. Many successful job coaches gain their experience from working in HR or recruiting, or even going through the job search process successfully themselves. Some will go on to gain credentials such as Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC). Instead of looking for fancy credentials, look for local career coaches who have helped other people you know or who come from industries you want to focus on. Hire career coaches for their skills and their network.
  • Most will do an initial conversation for free. It never hurts to take a free consultation. At the very least, they may offer some free DIY advice or general guidance to help steer your search, even if you don’t hire them. Just be wary of a hard sell or over-inflated promises. 
  • Most do it to help people. Most people who get into career coaching do it because they want to help people. Many come from HR roles and want to take a more direct role in helping the job seekers they encounter. Yes, they want to charge money for their services but many also have an altruistic motives.
  • You’re still going to do this yourself. No matter how good the coach, they should not write your resume and cover letters for you. They should not apply for jobs for you. And they should not attend networking events for you. At the end of the day, you’re the one that an employer is hiring. 

How much does it cost to hire a career coach?

Business news daily estimates it to be $75-150 per hour with rates going higher depending on the industry and demand.

If this makes you wince, remember that most job seekers go without a career coach. However, recognize that we are each our own small business and sometimes paying for the expertise of a consultant can be valuable.

If you’re looking for a job, we’re hiring.

We’re hiring and would be happy to look at your resume.

Here at Peak Performers, we don’t charge candidates to help them with their job search. We make our revenue from having employees work for the customer and typically will spend some time with a job seeker for free to provide feedback and guidance so they can better market themselves. Our services offer a bit of coaching, but not at the level that everyone needs.