Now that we've gotten several of the basics out of the way, we can move on to other topics. Today's post is to start the dialogue on choosing the best employer based on what is a good fit for a person as an individual.
One of my kids was at summer day camp recently and she brought home a freshly tie-dyed t-shirt, which was still dripping wet with bright colors. The shirt needed to be washed and ready to wear the next day and I was busy getting ready for important meetings at work the next day. I grabbed the shirt to throw it in the washing machine and ended up with deep blue and green dye all over my hand, and it wasn't washing off! I had a fleeting thought about the impression this would make at work, realized it wasn't an issue, and this got me thinking about making sure you select an employer where you can be yourself.
I mentioned in my first post that I joined HP through an acquisition. It was several years ago, but the most impactful impression that still stays with me is that people at HP bring their "whole self" to work. In my early career experiences, pre-HP, people would separate their work and life completely; personally I think this is where the work/life balance term was invented. You'd be one persona (the "life" side) in the morning getting ready for work, another persona all day at work, then back to the home persona after work. Whatever people had in their home lives stayed at home. And as a working mom, I had planned on separating work and family.
I was, and still am, impressed that HP had found a better way. Through managing by results, HP expects high performance and at the same time has an environment where I don't have to leave that part of me at home. I can be high achieving and I can be a mom, and I have a remarkable number of role models at HP.
Here are some interview questions that you can use to find out whether an employer is a good fit for your "whole self":
Do you have affinity or network groups that I can join? (i.e. Women at Work, Black Employee Network, Young Employee Network, etc.)
Describe the culture of your company - what are the best and worst attributes?
What are the critical success factors of someone in this position? What types of people are successful at this company?
By exploring the company's fit for you, you're more likely to find an employer where you'll be most successful and will find a place you'll want to stay.
Are there any other interview questions you would suggest to others who are looking for the best fit?