How to Know if a Job is the Right Fit
Have you ever looked at an intriguing job posting or learned of an open position with a sought-after employer and wondered if you and the job would be a good match? Even if you have all the required experience, skills and education for the position, there's never a guarantee that the job will turn out to be perfect for you if you decide to take it. So, how do you know if you and the job are the right fit? We've compiled a list of factors to consider before pursuing an interview or accepting a job offer.
The Job Description
You should review the job description carefully to determine: Does the job sound like it will be fulfilling? Will it stimulate and challenge you or become monotonous? Will you be able to employ the skillsets you most enjoy using? And, are there opportunities for professional growth? While you may like the idea of assuming this role or the thought of working for a particular company, you want to be energized by the work. The more confident you are that you will find satisfaction in the job, the more likely you will succeed in it.
Your Potential Supervisor
It's a no-brainer that the person you find yourself reporting to can make or break your entire on-the-job experience. That's why it's important that you carefully consider that person. Think about whether you prefer a hands-on boss or one who will allow you to work independently. Then, inquire in interviews about the supervisor's management and leadership style. When he/she is interviewing you, look for both verbal and non-verbal cues about how their personality would blend with yours and take note of how they interact with you. Get a sense of whether they will support your growth and success in the company. If you find that you don't mesh well with the person who would be your supervisor, think twice about pursuing or accepting the job.
What You Learn in Interviews
You may be interviewed by several people in the company, including your potential supervisor, one or more potential team members and human resources staff. You'll want to "interview" them as well, making sure you have questions prepared about the work environment, what a typical day looks like, leadership styles, and future opportunities for advancement. Asking questions in an interview not only impresses the interviewer but also helps you gather the knowledge you need to understand the organization and the people working there.
If you interview with potential co-workers or team members, you need to assess whether you can see yourself working with these people on a daily basis. Given that you may only meet them during the interview and not have much time with them, you'll probably need to go with your gut feeling. If you don't get the opportunity to meet or interview with your potential team, you'll need to ask the human resources staff or your potential supervisor about them. Find out what challenges and successes they have had and why and ask why the position is open. If they are open to it, you may want to request an interview with a peer so you can get that same perspective on the management and the team.
The Company Culture
You want to make especially sure that the employer's "culture" (it's personality, values, processes, work environment, etc.) are a fit with your values and lifestyle. You will want to find out: Is it a casual and flexible workplace or one with rigid structure and very formal rules and regulations? Does the company encourage creativity, innovation and collaboration? Do employees start and end their workday early or late? Is work/life balance encouraged or are employees expected to work 60-hour weeks and on weekends? Does the company promote employees' personal health and well-being?
You can learn about an employer's culture by exploring online on their website and social media, as well as on websites such as glassdoor.com (company reviews). Research the company's mission, determine what values they emphasize (e.g. being environmentally-conscious), and look into the organizational structure to identify teams and leadership hierarchy. Check out the company's social media pages for posts on events, activities, community service participation and charitable contributions. Also look at social media profiles of people who already work at the company to see if they are the kinds of people you can see yourself working with.
Once you get an interview, you can ask about the culture - but certain questions (e.g. asking about working from home or paid time off) should be asked in a strategic manner or when the time is right (e.g. after a few interviews and you've developed a rapport with the potential employer). Feel free to request an office tour, as that will answer many questions about company culture, such as whether people appear happy and engaged, whether there is ample space for team project work, etc.
What Your Research Reveals
You always want to research an employer as part of your interview preparation, but you need to dig deeper to determine if there's a good fit. You may want to investigate their financial status (if they are a public company), the state of their industry, their market share, position and competitiveness, and the quality of their executive leadership. Much of this information will indicate the company's staying power and whether your new job will be secure.
What Your Network Tells You
Investigate whether anyone you know (or their contacts) has worked at the company or knows someone who has. By going to LinkedIn, you can see who has worked at the company, and by approaching them with questions, they may be inclined to give you a candid response.
If you can, try to connect with people you might potentially work with at the company. If not, someone outside the department or team you're targeting might be helpful. Ask about the culture, what every new employee should know, what they like best (and least) about the company, and what type of people they think will fit best at the company.
The goal is to get an insider's view of the company and its employees, not just the front-facing picture you'll see during the hiring process. You'll get a much better sense of the people who work there and how you may or may not fit into the environment.
Your Career Goals
You most likely have a vision of your career path and the levels of success you aspire to achieve. You want to compare your goals and priorities to what the new position offers to make sure they are aligned. Will the job move you closer to achieving your long-term career goals? If not, continuing to pursue that position or company may not be the right move for you.
Although things like salary, job location and company size will also play a role in your decision-making, your job search should focus on finding a position that fits well with who you are as a person and your lifestyle, as well as with your career goals. When the job is the right fit, it will be in sync with both your personal and professional aspirations.
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