Should Morals and Values Impact Your Jobs Search?

Posted October 16 2023 By Jackie MacGregor

Katherine Ryan has been one of the most vocal comedians when it comes to highlighting abuse within the industry. She acknowledged on the BBC Radio 4 show, Desert Island Discs, that she “wrestled” with her decision to appear on another show, alongside a known “predator.”

Obviously, many have speculated as to who she could have been alluding to. But that isn’t the purpose of this blog.

Instead, her comments got me thinking about how many people have ever taken jobs that conflict with their own personal values. Whether that’s an industry you don’t necessarily agree with, working with a particular person or simply doing a job that you don’t believe in. Looking for work can complicated enough, at times, without even considering an alignment of morality and values.

And whilst Ryan’s example is perhaps an extreme one, it is nevertheless one worth considering. She explained to the BBC, “I had a choice, I could go to work with someone whom I believe to be a perpetrator of sexual assault or I could turn down the job - those are my options […] My compromise was, all right I am going to go but I am going to let him know under no uncertain terms what I think of him. I'm not going to just smile and look like I am allowing his behaviour, I'm not going to let him think that I don't know and that everybody he works with is just going to let him get away with it.”

So, if you were looking for a new role and you wanted to ensure that a company really did align with your beliefs, how would you do that?

Well, besides the obvious of avoiding an entire industry you don’t agree with on principle, here is some advice:

Research their company values

Most companies now list their values on their website or promotional materials such as recruitment packs or brochures. Do they align with yours? Are these values ones that would make you feel comfortable and motivated in the workplace? Why not ask how the company landed on the values that they currently have or how they live them?

Research their board and wider team

Have a look on the company website or their social media platforms. Does their board and their wider team reflect the make up of a company you would like to work for? Are they committed to diversity and inclusion processes? What kind of effort is being made to ensure an equitable hiring and onboarding process?

Research their CSR commitments

Is this a company that is willing to make a difference to the communities it works within? What charity work does this business undertake? Are they involved with any specific charities? Do they do regular fundraising work? Have a look on their website and their social media channels to find out. If you can’t see any evidence of this, don’t be afraid to ask about it, should you get to interview stage.

If in doubt …

Ask questions. Ask your recruiter, ask the hiring manager, ask your interviewer. If you really want to get into the details of a company, use your interview or one to one time to ask the questions that matter to you. Some things just aren’t included on a website or recruitment pack and it’s best to be up front.

No job is perfect but, if you do your research and ask the right questions, you should find one that aligns with your own personal values and preferences.

If I can help at all with your job search, please drop me an email –


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