3 Sure Ways to Determine if an Organization Fits Your Values

3 Sure Ways to Determine if an Organization Fits Your Values

When you’re job hunting, finding an organization that appreciates your expertise AND aligns with your values can feel like a game of chance. If you’re in the education space like we are, the way an organization implements their values in the workplace carries an immense amount of weight. This is especially true for organizations whose work directly affects the well-being of the children and communities that surround them.

Studies have shown that organizations that consistently enforce, cultivate and engage positive organizational values in the workplace tend to attract and retain employees that are happier, more productive, and stay with the organization longer. Sounds like a dream right?

So, how do YOU find these value-driven organizations that align with your beliefs, and what can you do to stand out? We have 3 simple suggestions.

Tip 1: Research Their Stated Values

The first simple step to identifying an organization’s values is by visiting their website and looking for their mission, vision statement and overall belief system. Many times, this can be found on the About Us page or something similar.

Take the time to review who they say they are and what they say they value. If they are a values-driven organization, you likely won’t have a hard time discovering these values on their website. If it’s a struggle to determine what their stated values are, then they likely aren’t a values-driven organization.

Now you know if they can talk the talk. Next step – finding out if they walk the walk.

Tip 2: Review the Reviews

Reading reviews is a great first step towards discerning if an organization’s behaviors align with their publicized values. To get an internal snapshot of an organization’s climate and beliefs, start with employee review websites. Scan the ratings and comments on GlassdoorComparablyKununu and Vault to get the inside scoop on how current and past employees view the organization. To better gauge the integrity of the organization’s promise to their customers, go through the comment section on Facebook ReviewsBBB, and Google Reviews.

Keep an eye out for recurring commentary that reveals the organization’s character. If the comments are consistently negative, we can safely assume one of two things:

  • The organization doesn’t value their employees’ or customers’ feedback. Negative comments that recur, especially over a span of several years, may indicate that the organization does not value feedback, nor do they plan to implement practices that could provide a better experience for their customers and/or employees.
  • The organization doesn’t have the means, processes, or people to fix the issue. Keeping tabs on customer and employee reviews isn’t always on the top of a company’s priority list, which may cause them to be in the dark about important issues. If you feel you can confidently solve and address the grievances customers or employees have shared, this could be an opportunity for you to be an asset to their team.

The faster an organization proactively rectifies an issue, the better it is for their reputation and culture. In the event that you land a job interview with the hiring team, in a polite manner ask them how they are handling the negative comments online and what are they doing to make amends with their customers and employees. Humbly sharing a few suggestions that may potentially solve the issue in a professional, positive manner should strengthen your candidacy.

Tip 3: Hear It For Yourself – Conduct Informational Interviews

Informational interviews with current and former employees are another way to gain insight about an organization’s culture and value system.

You can start the process by leveraging Linkedin to see if anyone you know currently works, or previously worked, at that particular organization. If they are a current employee, and if you like what you hear, you should ask them to flag your resume for consideration.

Don’t have any contacts who have worked there/currently work there? Try your second-degree contacts. LinkedIn is a great tool to see who your friends might know. If you discover they do have people in their network who worked/currently work at the organization, reach out and ask if they’d be willing to make an introduction. No luck on LinkedIn? Then go old-school and ask your friends and colleagues directly if they know anyone who has previously worked or currently works at the organization you’re looking into. If they do, see if they can facilitate a brief introduction.

If none of these methods work, then you’ll need to work your values questions into your hiring interviews with the organization. Don’t hesitate to do this. After all, job interviews are your opportunity to assess the organization as well as their opportunity to assess you.

Before you meet for your informational interview, revisit your prior values research and form a few questions.Have a list of your values, their values and your value-driven interview questions ready. It will help you weigh the responses you hear as you conduct your informational interview.

During the informational interview, observe how your interviewee goes about expressing the organization’s values as well as their own. 

  • Does the interviewee speak about them in a natural, candid way or is it forced?
  • Does the interviewee provide concrete examples of when the organization’s values were demonstrated successfully?
  • Are their values clearly exhibited throughout the organization and by particular groups (the executive team, mid-level management or lower-level employees)?
  • Does the interviewee recall examples quickly?
  • Does the interviewee speak positively about the organization, their coworkers, and their overall job?
  • Do the values discussed align with the values you listed as important?

If your interviewee does not mention the organization’s values, ask them why? Is it because the organization’s values aren’t put into practice, encouraged or supported in their work environment?

If you receive responses you don’t care for, it’s okay to pass. It’s okay to turn down or walk away from an organization that does not align with your values – in fact, you should. If you feel a strong alignment with the company’s values, well then now you have a company worth considering.


Until next time, stand out & do good!