Monday, March 1, 2010

Companies and Friends: Enough in Common


Most of us understand at least to some degree what is required for two people to be friends. Just a handful of the many qualities required for me to be friends with someone are:

  • Common Interests - You and your pal need to have at least a few things in common. You both like swimming then you can swim together. Obvious.
  • Mutual Benefits - You and your pal should be able to benefit one another in some way. You like to listen and they like to talk.
  • Fun to be around - No one likes someone who brings them down.
  • Good Conversation - If you are not talking at least some of the time then what's the point.
  • Understanding - If you cant glean at least a little bit about how your friend is and why they do certain things than are they really a friend.
  • Challenging - A friend helps you grow as a person.
When I am looking for work I try to evaluate companies the same why I would a friend.

But right now I am looking for work, I really need it, should I really care that much about what a company does if they may hire me? Yes. A thousand times, Yes!


First, suppose my qualifications are a perfect match for Company XYZ or so it seems from the Job Ad I found online. I personally have never heard of XYZ but the position seems to pay well and I am happy with that. I apply and they want to interview me. I am elated I finally got an interview! I go in and we talk about the position and they ask about my personal interests. I am a big Green Energy supporter. They ask a few more questions and I answer everything truthfully. The interview ends right on time and a few days later they call back and they regret to inform me another party has filled the position.

I was a perfect match what happened?

Well little did I know Company XYZ a major manufacturer of construction machinery has most of it's contracts with major Oil Companies. The position I was applying for was for development of new oil drilling technologies and when I mentioned my Green Energy interests it gave them a big RED Stop sign screaming "don't hire me!"

What would have happened after I was hired? Would I have been happy supporting an organization I disagreed with? No.

I did not do my research to find out if we would be a good match.


The correct way to look at prospective employers is to do a bit of research before you even apply. Find out if they meet the same qualifications as you have for your friends.

  • Common Interests - You like cutting edge research and the organization is known for its R&D department. Ding!
  • Mutual Benefits - You are a good match with your skill sets and the compensation for your work is what you are looking for.
  • Fun to be around - Will you be able to enjoy your job at least some of the time?
  • Good Conversation - Can you relate enough with the company or with the position that you could talk about it comfortably?
  • Understanding - Do you understand the goals and purpose of the organization and why their protocols are the way they are.
  • Challenging - Will this make you more of a person or less?
If they meet your personal qualifications or at least most of them then it is definitely a good opportunity for you. When you walk into the interview and you say I am a Green Energy advocate then maybe they will ask about it. They may share how they feel. What the company does to promote Green Energy. You make a better impression when you can relate.

When I am doing my research I tend to check out the following websites:

  1. The Organization's Site: What do they have to say about themselves?
  2. Wikipedia: Many Companies Have Pages on their Histories and Practices
  3. GlassDoor: Reviews of Companies and Salary Information

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