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Choosing a New Mid-Life Employer

By Dr. Jan Cannon

Every year numerous publications list the "best" places to work. You may be surprised to find out why the companies on the list are not the only "best" places to work.

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Best Places for Whom to Work?

  • First, it's important to understand the criteria for a business to qualify as a possible contender for the "best" list.

    Each list has its own process for identifying and choosing participating companies. Most are based on organization size and the number of years in business. Very small or new businesses generally don't make the list.
  • In addition to the size and years in business, companies need to be willing to spend the time to complete the surveys, which generally include employee questionnaires, leadership responses and human resources information about corporate demographics such as size, hiring practices, retention and pension plans, etc.

    Often this requires resources of time and personnel that many businesses are not willing to spend for the possibility of getting on the list. It can be a costly venture for the businesses that participate.
  • Finally, the size of the sample (the number of businesses that participate) will be limited. Whether the application to participate is self-selected or based on some selection criteria where a fixed number of businesses are chosen to apply, the sample will not include all possible businesses.

    Many businesses never make any lists, but that doesn't mean they're not good companies to work for.

A word of caution when using a "best companies to work for" list: do your own homework. They may have met the criteria established by the organization doing the ranking, but you'll need to supplement the research.

In many cases the business policies that are important to you may not be those evaluated in the "best of" analysis. For instance, they may look at retention rates for workers over fifty, but not say anything about hiring policies for that population. If you're looking for a job, the companies on the "best of" list may be great places to work or retire from, but they may not hire you in the first place.

Bottom Line

Whatever your key issues, those are what you should look into for the companies you're interested in, regardless of their affiliation with any list.

So, start with a "best" places to work list, but don't limit yourself to those companies only. Doing a thorough job search will give you a list of the "best" places for YOU to work. And that's the list you should rely on.


About the author...

Dr. Jan Cannon, Job-Hunt's Mid-Life Career Expert, is author of Now What Do I Do? The Woman's Guide to a New Career, Find a Job: 7 Steps to Success, Finding a Job in a Slow Economy, co-author of Exceptional Accomplishment, and a career professional for 20 years. Visit her website, JobSearchDoctor.com, and circle Jan on Google+ for more career advice and help.