August 04, 2021

5 Questions to Ask a Potential Employer

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The year 2021 has been labeled as the “Great Resignation,” as millions of workers are quitting their jobs with the goal of finding a better work-life balance with employers. According to NPR, a record 4 million people quit their jobs in April 2021. One major reason why is when the company culture doesn’t align with employee values.

For candidates who are searching for positions, the job interview process is just as much about vetting a company as it is about a company vetting a candidate. Employers are having a tough time finding quality employees today. According to “The Wall Street Journal,” there were more job openings in the U.S. this spring than pre-pandemic, especially in fields like construction, manufacturing and hospitality.

To find an ideal employer fit, employees can ask the following five questions during the interview process. The answers to these will reveal whether or not the culture is a fit and can save candidates time in finding a quality employer.


1. What Are Your Values & Mission?

Mission and values matter to employees today, especially Millennials and younger generations of workers. CNBC reported 86% of Millennials would take a pay cut to work at a company whose values and mission-aligned with theirs.

Values and mission influence everything from leadership and management styles, to how an employer contributes to the community. Candidates can ask an employer how company values affect product or service development, relationships within the company and community involvement.


2. What Benefits Do You Offer?

Company culture includes how an employer supports employees. You may spend 40 hours or more working for an employer every week. Since that’s such a large time commitment in your life, ask about benefits and programs like:

  • Health insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Learning and development opportunities
  • Wellness programs
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Remote work capabilities
  • Team-building activities
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • 401(k) and employer match

Benefits matter because they affect your budget and actual salary value. Consider that working for an employer that doesn’t provide health insurance or paid time off means you’ll have to cover those expenses on your own. You may be more willing to accept a lower salary offer when you can work from home and eliminate your commute. 

Think about what you want from an employer to find the best benefits match.


3. How Do You Support Work-Life Balance?

Work has a major impact on overall well-being. According to the American Institute of Stress, workplace stress can contribute to physical ailments like headaches, neck pain, back pain, and mental health issues like anxiety and depression. 

Benefits factor into work-life balance, and so does flexibility. Pay attention to how an employer answers a question about work-life balance to reveal insights like:

  • Remote work options
  • Flexible work hours
  • Mental health and physical health support programs 
  • Childcare support/parental leave

The most successful employers know that a supported workforce is more productive. According to HR Dive, workers who report work-life balance are more productive, twice as happy and show greater loyalty to employers compared to those who struggle to find work-life balance. Understand how potential employers will support your well-being.

4. How Would You Describe Your Work Environment?

Whether an employer requires staff in the office or has gone all-virtual, work environments greatly influence productivity. Ask about work characteristics like:

  • Collaboration styles, including how meetings are conducted and what project management tools are used
  • What typical manager-employee interactions are like (how frequent, open-door policy, etc.)
  • Office plans and desk set-ups

Depending on your preferred work style, you may seek out one type of work environment over another. Work environments affect your employee engagement, which affects work quality. According to Gallup, highly engaged businesses see a 17% increase in productivity and a 41% decrease in absenteeism.

If you know you do your best work autonomously in a quiet environment, a workforce that requires lots of meetings and collaboration in an open office may not suit you. If you want a close relationship with a manager and open communication, you’ll want a work environment that encourages open-door policies. 

Think about what you want out of the work environment to match up to the best employer.


5. How Would You Describe Your Retention Efforts?

This question gets straight to the point: what does this employer do to keep its employees? Ask this to reveal insights like:

  • Professional growth opportunities and how an employer supports employees long-term in their professional journeys
  • What an employer prioritizes to keep employees happy
  • How long the average employee works for a company
  • Why employees with the longest tenure have stayed at that company
  • How a company approaches staying competitive in their industry
  • Why retention matters to a company

Employers should prioritize retention since turnover is costly, requiring around 33% of an employee’s annual salary to replace that employee, according to Employee Benefit News. Turnover also impacts employee morale, innovation, productivity and profits.

Learning the answer to how a company would describe its retention efforts shows candidates just how invested an employer is in its employees. Retention efforts help instill a culture of trust and demonstrate an employer cares about employees long-term.


Vet the Employer During an Interview

Candidates who make it to the interview process are empowered to interview a company, just as the employer is interviewing them. Learning about a company’s culture during the interview process can help candidates determine whether or not the employer is the right fit. Finding an employer match can lead to increased career satisfaction, better work-life balance and improved overall well-being.

It can help to apply with an employer partner like AccruePartners when you’re looking for a job. We make the perfect match for candidates with the best opportunities.  Learn more about career opportunities from our partners.


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