Does the shoe fit? Choosing the right company

NCR is one of many companies with offices located in Atlanta. Besides considering location, think about what company culture and benefits you would like in a future job. // Photo by Alex Dubé Student Publications

How do you know if a company or workplace is the right one for you? Whether it is your first time dressing up and printing out resumes for the Career Fair, or if you are a seasoned veteran when it comes to making LinkedIn connections, the question of which employer to choose is one that vexes all, especially once those coveted offer letters roll in.

Pay

It is important to consider the pay of a position, of course. When considering an internship position, you will likely be paid by the hour, whereas the offer letter for a full time position will probably list your salary in terms of annual gross income (before taxes). 

Obviously, you want to maximize your paycheck, so consider the salary and make sure it is an amount you are comfortable with.

But the money flowing into your bank account every week, every two weeks or whenever your paycheck is disbursed, is not the only compensation you should be looking for in a company. 

Benefits

You should ask your recruiter or your interviewer about their benefits package. The days of getting paid in cash and being supported by pension when you retire are long gone for the vast majority of industries. Companies now offer complex compensation packages that can offer benefits, perks and more.

These benefits can include those required by law, those that are not required but expected in a labor market like this one and those that are just nice to have. 

Benefits required by law are workers’ compensation insurance (which pays you in case you get sick or hurt from your job), social security and medicare contributions, pay above at least the federal minimum wage and unemployment insurance. 

In some states, employers may also be required to pay for disability insurance. 

If your employer has more than 50 employees, you are also entitled to a health insurance plan from your employer (up to the standards set by the Affordable Care Act) as well as family and medical leave.

Many healthcare plans exclude vision and dental, which is why these are often considered separate policies. 

Dental and vision are usually considered optional premiums and are add-ons to standard plans. These will help pay for your eye exams, new glasses or contact lenses, dental exams, braces, extractions and more.

The world of benefits is vast, so do your research on plans and coverage before accepting your offer.

Location

When considering your future, do you see yourself in a city or a suburb? Do you want a large office or a small one? Do you want flexible remote work options in your job?

These are all critical questions to ask yourself when deciding which companies to even apply to.

Even once you have an offer in hand, you may be able to negotiate to a different office location if your employer has more than one.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly receding, workers nationwide are appreciative of their newfound freedom in working from home. Remote work policies are broadly popular across many fields, and corporations have been forced to hold on to them for the foreseeable future. 

According to McKinsey, a global marketing consultant firm currently hiring in Atlanta, “Thirty-five percent of respondents say they can work from home full-time. Another 23 percent can work from home from one to four days a week. A mere 13 percent of employed respondents say they could work remotely at least some of the time but opt not to.”

Company Culture & Perks

According to Great Place To Work, “At its core, company culture is how things get done around the workplace.”

Company culture is a combination of the serious and the un-serious parts of a company. 

That includes perks, work-life balance, dress code and values. 

When you get a chance to speak with a recruiter or an interviewer, do not shy away from questions about these important topics, especially if you are on the full-time job hunt. 

The last thing you want for your future with a company is an environment where you are not comfortable.

The right company for you is one that meshes with your values the best. 

A supportive atmosphere at work has been shown to make employees more productive. 

A culture where employees feel safe, comfortable, and valued is itself valuable since it creates workers who make social connections, show empathy, collaborate and encourage each other.

All of these lead to a better bottom line for the business, which is a win-win situation for both employer and employee.

A way to make sure a company you are considering is one that meshes with you is to search for the mission statement on the website. 

A mission statement contains the values that a company strives to embody — if this is one that you find yourself supporting, you are well on your way to finding a company that is the right fit for you.

The final and funnest part of working at a company is the perks. These are nonessential, usually company-specific benefits of working there. 

For example, you may receive an employee discount for your purchases at the company store, or you might get discounts on travel. 

To learn more about the perks, ask a current employee what kinds of perks they receive.