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The 1 thing that is critical to know before taking a new job

Interview your interviewer

Most employees think they are getting interviewed for a job.  It never dawns on them that they should be interviewing the company they are considering for employment as well.

Find an Employer Who Will Invest in You

Most people don't think about what their job means.  Think about it.  Where is the one place you spend most of your time?  It's probably a tie between with your friends and family and at your job.

You invest your time for a paycheck.  But what else should you get out of the time you spend working?  Experience?  Sure.  Shouldn't you get something more though?  After two years with an employer, should you be the same person as when you started?

If you are, your employer isn't doing you any favors.  Often, employers see employees as just workers, not a valuable asset.  How do you see yourself?  How does your family see you? Can you be replaced without any thought or are you valuable?

If you see yourself as valuable, look for employers who think the same way as you.  After two years of employment, you should not be the same employee as when you started.

Recently, Harlan opened its Workplace Simulation to help prospective employees identify a role they will love.  Instead of taking the traditional approach of simply describing a job, we allow future Food Manufacturing Professionals the opportunity to experience a variety of roles and select the one they feel is best for them.

Harlan's innovative approach has proven very successful.  Since the simulation opened, new employee retention and satisfaction is up significantly.  Take a look at Harlan's workplace simulation here.

5 tips to identify employers who will invest in you

  1. Make sure the employer is willing to show you exactly what the work environment is like.
  2. Make sure that the employer help you match your interests with different types of work.
  3. Make sure the employer provides you pro-active support and resources that extend beyond the first day or week.
  4. Make sure the employer provides you in-depth and on-going training that has some form of certification or certificate of completion.
  5. Make sure the employer can clearly outline to you the advancement and/or promotion path and can validate to you that the path is real.

Let's break these 5 tips down

Make sure the employer is willing to show you exactly what the work environment is like.  While you are interviewing for a job, you have to do that job somewhere.  What is that 'somewhere' like?  Some questions to consider:

  • Can I move around or am I in one spot all day?
  • Is my work area cramped or crowded?
  • Am I part of a team or will I be working alone?
  • Is it loud?
  • How is the lighting?
  • Is my work area hot?  Cold?
  • What exactly will I be doing?
  • Do I have to wear special equipment or PPE?  If so, what is that like when I am working?
Job candidate participating in simulation activity

Harlan job candidate participating in a simulation activity

Make sure that the employer help you match your interests with different types of work.  There is more to a job than what's in a job description.  Let's use a job we have open as an example.  Quality Assurance TechnicianHere are 3 of the job responsibilities:

  • Enter results of product evaluations and production checks into the computer database, using Microsoft Excel; analyze the data using charts, graphs and statistics, report trends to the QA Supervisor
  • Publish reports based on the production data and non-compliance to specifications or standards
  • Collect ingredient samples for analysis, conduct tests, initial and file raw material COA’s and report any results out of specification

If you don't like technology, are not good at concentrating for extended periods of time, are not super-detail oriented and are not naturally curious, you won't like this job.  At least not for long.  But these things are not always in the job description.  So the only way to find out if you will like it is to experience what it is like first hand.  By simulating what the job is like and what the environment is like, you get a really good idea if it is a good fit for you.  So invest in interviewing employers who provide you this opportunity!

Bake Line Simulation

Harlan's Bake Line Simulation Area

 

Harlan's Bake Line

One of Harlan's actual bake lines

Make sure the employer provides you pro-active support and resources that extend beyond the first day or week.  Most employers have an 'on-boarding process'.  Often, this can last a day or a week.  After that, well, you are on your own to figure it all out, which can often be difficult and sometimes frustrating.  Invest in interviewing employers who have a solid mentorship program that lasts at least 2-3 months.

Master CFP Mentor

Harlan Mentors are both knowledgeable and fun to be around

 

Harlan Mentor

One of Harlan's Master-Level certified mentors

Some questions you might want to consider asking the employer:

  • How many people does the mentor work with? (The mentor should be working with no more than 4 new hires.  Three is better)
  • Is the mentor trained? (Do they receive any special training or certification?  The information and know-how they provide you should always be correct and they have the tools to help you excel).
  • Is the mentor rewarded for my success?  If so, what exactly does 'success' mean? (The mentor should be incentivized to meet with you frequently, be a trusted advisor and ensure you achieve your personal and job goals)

Make sure the employer provides you in-depth and on-going training that has some form of certification or certificate of completion.  If you have ever played a video game, you know that the better you get at the game, you advance upward and often collect badges which recognize your achievement.  The same should hold true with your job.  After two years with your employer,  have you moved up based on mastering certain skills and activities?  Did you get any additional or advanced training as part of your employment?  Did you receive any certifications?  Ask these questions when you are interviewing your next employer!

  • Is there a program which allows me to move up if I master certain skills and activities?
  • Do I get any advanced training as part of my employment?
  • Am I eligible for any specialty certifications?

Make sure the employer can clearly outline to you the advancement and/or promotion path and can validate to you that the path is real.   The best way to explain this is to outline what we do here at Harlan.

Our SAFE program, which stands for Standards Based, Accountability Driven, Food Excellence, has several certifications within it.  Every employee goes through the process and is required to achieve 2 of the 3 certifications.  Once the employee achieves the second certification, they are eligible for advancement and promotion.  This can happen within the first year of employment!  If you chose to interview with us, make sure to ask about our certification programs.

We've created a video that helps to bring some of the things we have touched on here to life.  Our goal is to help you find a place you can build a meaningful career, not just find a job.  Jobs are plentiful.  Opportunities to grow and advance from that job require a little more effort on your part.

If growing and advancing is important to you, please use this information as a guide and if you are interested in joining Harlan, simply click here.

Let's get started!

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Harlan is a world class food manufacturer with facilities across the United States and Canada.  

We are a leader in the manufacture of specialty and artisan baked goods, as well as other numerous innovative food products.  

Our goal is to consistently deliver to the retailers we serve a consistent supply of safe, quality food.

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