Finding an Employer Who Meets Your Needs

By Sara Rugett
YSU Director of Career Exploration & Development

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – College seniors and new graduates are often asked, “Where do you want to work?” The reality is that many haven’t thought about it yet.  When pressed for an answer, some can come up with two or three employers, but they’re not sure.

The good news is that you don’t have to be sure about an employer to accept an interview. However, you do need to identify a few potential organizations in order to start finding and applying for jobs.

How to identify and evaluate potential employers

Sara Rugett

Other than scouring job boards or checking with the local chamber of commerce, the easiest way to start identifying potential employers is by looking at various employer lists. These are lists of employers who have been recognized for being a positive place to work, and are all easily searchable online. Some better known lists include the Northcoast 99 (best companies to work for in Northeast Ohio), Forbes’ Best Employers for Diversity and Ohio Business Magazine’s Best Workplaces in Ohio. Remember that lists are only a starting point. There are plenty of great employers who aren’t on a list.

To determine if a company is a good fit, you will need to identify your values and priorities. Do you need flexible work arrangements to meet family obligations? Is it important for you to have a structured path for career advancement? Do you prefer a fast-paced competitive work environment? Do you want to work for a prestigious, well-known firm or a nonprofit organization that will make the world a better place?

To determine if an employer is a match for your values, you will have to do some digging. Common sources of information include the job interview (ask specific questions about the work environment), the company culture section of a firm’s website and online ratings from platforms such as Glassdoor or Indeed. 

Finding the right company usually takes self-reflection, research and sometimes trial and error.  In the end, job searchers shouldn’t turn down an opportunity with a company just because it might not be their ideal employer. If the job offered provides a good salary, a new set of skills or the all-important industry experience, it is worth serious consideration. 

What if I choose the wrong employer?

Many people second-guess their decision to move to a new company, especially in their first three months on the job. If you are having regrets over your most recent job move, give it some time. You and your new employer are still getting to know each other.  Staying at a new job for a year is usually considered acceptable and gives you time to acclimate to new people and processes. If after a year, you still think you are in the wrong place, you can always restart your job search. 

While your new employer doesn’t have to be a perfect match, watch out for red flags that could signal a questionable employer.  These include a poor consumer service rating, a recruiter who doesn’t give direct answers to your questions, pressure to accept an offer quickly or vague job responsibilities.  One flag may not be a problem. But the more unanswered questions you have, the more likely there is cause for concern.

Did you know, according to the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, that there are more than 40 organizations in our area that employ 500 or more? And there are many more small and mid-size employers in and around Youngstown. 

If you are willing to go a little further afield and don’t mind a longer commute, you can find hundreds more employers in neighboring counties while still residing in Youngstown.

In the end, you are only limited by your knowledge of what employers are out there.