We have spent countless words and articles discussing how to tell if a potential employee is a right fit for a company. So much so that we have become experts on hiring (not to toot our horns). But what about the opposite side of the spectrum? How does a candidate know a job is the right place? Why is this job a good fit for you?
Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the fray of company lingo, viewing employees as nameless candidates. Fortunately, we have entered the time of the Great Resignation. We have hounded on the topic many times, but it still stands true. In the post-pandemic world (which sounds just as ominous as it is), employees have a new sense of self-worth and understand they deserve to work for a job that is perfect for them.
So, how do you figure out if a company is the right fit? How do you know why is this job a good fit for you before it’s too late?
Here are a few tips.
- Timing Is Necessary, But Not Crucial
- 1. Read the Job Description
- 2. Does the Job Fit My Strengths?
- 3. Does the Job Align With My Life?
- 4. Is This Your Plan?
- 5. Is There Room to Grow?
- 6. Check the Culture
- 7. How Is the Boss?
- 8. Are You Excited?
- 9. Are You Comfortable?
- 10. Can You Be Yourself?
- 11. Does the Job Match the Description?
- 12. Is Your Job Secure?
- 13. Is Your Salary Enough?
- 14. Does Your Role Impact the Company?
- 15. Look Over the Contract
Timing Is Necessary, But Not Crucial
In a perfect world, you should be able to decide if a company is the right fit for you before you accept the job. Let’s be honest, this is not always the case, and believing so is naive and overly positive.
At the end of the day, a job offer is a negotiation. Not only is the employee attempting to sway the hiring manager, but the hiring manager is attempting to sell the job to the employee. It’s a fine dance, both subtle and teetering on the edge of a rose-colored tint.
Poetic waxing aside, this means both sides of the interview process may be making things more positive than they truly are. That may sound cynical, but it’s the nature of the game.
Henceforth, you may find out a job is not for you after you’ve accepted the offer. It may come after the first week. Depending on the job, it may come weeks after your training period ends. It is impossible to tell.
Unless the job is contractual, do not let time hinder your decision. It is okay if you figure out a job is not for you two weeks into work. It’s better to rip a bandage off quickly. If you figure out a company is not for you, turn in a resignation letter and give two weeks as soon as possible. Do not keep yourself miserable because you just began a job.
Sometimes you just know.
1. Read the Job Description
The first tip is that of the job itself. Yes, this may seem simple in nature, but it’s important to remember.
Study the job description before you apply. When looking at posts on job boards like Indeed, take the time to look over them. Don’t let a glance fool you. Sure, the top job responsibilities may seem perfect, but there may be underlying things that turn you away.
Does the job description fit everything that you want to do? Are there things you are unsure about?
If the job description is mostly the responsibilities you want, but there are a few you may have concerns doing, be honest with yourself. Will you be happy in the long run having to do these things?
Not all titles fit like a glove. Sometimes a job may be called one thing, but include some responsibilities that spill into other roles. This situation is common, but don’t let it fool you.
2. Does the Job Fit My Strengths?
Furthermore, is the job everything that you want to do? Is it what you are good at?
This may be easier said than done, but don’t let wages push you into a job you know, deep down, that you will end up hating.
While it’s great to leave your comfort zone for new opportunities, don’t choose a job that’s so far out of your field that you will never feel energized and satisfied.
Yes, money is nice. But having a job that challenges you and makes you feel accomplished is much nicer.
3. Does the Job Align With My Life?
Why is this job a good fit for you? It means more than just having the perfect role.
What are the working hours? Which days of the week will you be required to work? How far is the job from your home?
Consider things like hours and commute should when choosing a new gig. Sure, they shouldn’t be the defining factor. We all have to make sacrifices to get the jobs we want but remember your happiness long-term.
If you are looking for an entry-level position and the only one interested is an hour commute, don’t let it ruin your chances, but realize it should not be your long-term goal (if commute matters to you). Eventually, you will begin dreading the long drives.
Furthermore, remember that becoming a professional in your dream field takes some dedication and sacrifices, but you should aim for happiness, even if it is after paying your dues.
If you are a senior worker in the position to be choosey about your new company, then these factors should weigh even more.
4. Is This Your Plan?
Sometimes we can be whisked away by dreamy new experiences, falling off our main course. Ultimately, stay true to yourself and your goal.
For example, if your dream is to be a video game developer, and you are offered a role as a mobile software developer, does this path align? Does it benefit your future chances of becoming a video game developer?
We often get set off the path we intended on by great new opportunities. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seize them, but remember to think about how they may play into your overall goals. If you take a job in a corresponding, but not exact, field, you may end up in that field for the rest of your career. Are you okay with that?
Some may be fine playing things by ear and taking opportunities. Some may want to stick to a strict path. If you are the latter, remember to keep your future in mind when applying to new jobs.
5. Is There Room to Grow?
Going off of your plan, does the new role have room to grow?
Of course, if you are at the top of your field, this may no longer be an option. But, if you are not exactly where you want to be, you want to avoid glass ceilings.
Does it seem like the company is trending upwards? Are there positions above you? Will you be able to learn new skills that may apply to promotive roles?
While you may not find these answers on a job posting, be sure to ask them during the interview. No one wants to be stagnant. You don’t want to feel like you are on a hamster wheel, endlessly working with no foot forward. Opportunities are critical for job happiness.
6. Check the Culture
This goes two different ways. To put things simply, does this company’s culture fit with yours?
This tip includes both the company and the employees you will be working with. Both are crucial to deciding why a job is a good fit for you.
Firstly, take the time to research a company before you apply. Look at their social media, read reviews on job boards and look up the company’s website and news.
After all, you should be trying to decide if a company aligns with your values.
These questions may include:
- Does the company care about its carbon footprint?
- Are they creating products that help people?
- Does the company seem to be on the right side of your opinions?
- Do they have an inclusive work environment and staff?
- Do they seem interesting and/or lighthearted? Passionate about their product or services?
- Do their former employees speak of them highly?
- Do their customers speak of them highly?
Sure, you may not be able to figure out all of these questions during your research process. If you cannot find an answer to the question, ask it during the interview, this is a respectable move.
Overall, figure out what type of company you want to work for and what their values should be. It may not seem important, but you want to be proud of your employer in the future. You don’t want to figure out you are on the wrong side of history.
Furthermore, how does the employee culture seem?
It may be impossible to answer until you are employed, but it’s important to keep in mind. Be observant of your coworkers and team during the first few days on the job. Keep an eye on how they handle things, speak to each other and feel about the job itself.
If the job is open to customers (like a retail store), check it out in person before you apply. Do the employees seem genuinely happy?
At the end of the day, you do not want to work for a company that has a toxic workplace.
7. How Is the Boss?
Think of all the times you’ve heard about someone quitting a job. How many times was the main reason the boss or supervisor?
It’s a lot.
We aren’t going to drag on about what makes a good boss a good boss. At the end of the day, that decision is up to you. But, it’s extremely important to your happiness at a job.
Like employee culture, it may be impossible to tell before actually being on the work floor. If it leads to the point where you find out the boss will not jive with you, then there are steps to take.
Ultimately, we are speaking about the vetting process. During the interview or training days, if you have a gut feeling the boss isn’t for you, raise a red flag. Do not think you can deal with a bad boss for a good opportunity. It often will not end well.
If you can tell a boss is unsavory before you even begin to work, that’s a huge concern. Or it should be.
8. Are You Excited?
Why is this job a good fit for you? This may be the right question to ask yourself on paper, but it’s not the only question.
A job may seem perfect in regards to location, salary and workforce, but are you happy? Do you want to get out of bed every morning?
A job may seem right at first but quickly sucks out your working energy. Yes, work is work. It’s never going to be what you want to do during your day. But it shouldn’t feel like a burden, either.
It’s as simple as that. If you have just started a job (or been there for years) and are not happy, you should not be there. Do not overthink it.
9. Are You Comfortable?
This one is pretty simple, as well.
Are you uncomfortable at your job? Do you feel unable to speak up about issues or ideas? Is there another force making you uncomfortable?
It doesn’t matter how great a job is. If you are uncomfortable at work, stand up for yourself. Speak to HR immediately if necessary. If things do not get resolved, don’t continue to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation.
10. Can You Be Yourself?
Sure, a job might not allow you to wear your sparkly weekend clothes or sing karaoke in the break room, but you should never feel like a shell of yourself at work. If you feel like a cartoon employee, gray and sad, then you are probably not being yourself.
A job should align with your principles and let you feel comfortable. You should never feel like a pawn held by strict rules. It should never feel Orwellian.
If you feel held down by rules or employee opinions, you might not be in the right place after all.
11. Does the Job Match the Description?
As we stated earlier, sometimes a job doesn’t quite match what was advertised. Sometimes a gig promises you one thing, but you end up spending the majority of your time on another.
Now, this may rely on a multitude of factors. Maybe the company is new or short-staffed and needs your help elsewhere. Maybe they want you to learn multiple roles. It’s impossible to say. If you have a problem with it, speak up and ask questions. You accepted the job that was offered, not this new role.
If the company won’t allow you to do what you are supposed to, it’s time to move on.
12. Is Your Job Secure?
Feeling unsafe in your job is. Well. Awful. Your career is your well-being. It drives your life outside of work. You should never feel as if your day-to-day is at risk.
Job security comes from a multitude of things. It relies on how well you are doing at work, how well the company is doing as a whole and how your relationship with your supervisors is. Unfortunately, things can go sour.
If it seems like the company is on a downward spiral and your position is at risk, don’t be afraid to start looking elsewhere. Trying to correct a ship is noble, but jumping off to save yourself is respectable, too.
13. Is Your Salary Enough?
This goes without saying, but the pay is important. It’s okay to take a pay cut if the job will be more fulfilling. Deciding between work happiness and financial stability is ultimately up to you, but never put yourself in harm’s way.
Simply put, make sure to take the time to calculate your expenses before taking a job. Make sure the pay, even if lower, will fill your needs.
Research average salaries of occupations before you make your decision. Make sure the new role fits in with the average. If it is well below, don’t be afraid to ask for a higher wage during the negotiation process. If they are unwilling to match, you want to look elsewhere.
It’s okay to take less money for a passion job. Only do so if it doesn’t put you in a financial hole.
14. Does Your Role Impact the Company?
When asking why a job is a good fit for you, remember to ask what importance you will have.
No one wants to feel like they do little to nothing for a company. Take the time to research the role and ask questions during the interview. It’s important to get a good sense of how crucial your new role is.
Feeling like you have no value to a company can be disheartening, even if the job is great.
This tip falls back into the tip of reading over the job description. Sure, it may take some reading between the lines, but it is possible.
For example, if you are looking for a job as a website designer for a small company, does it seem like the job will be filled with long-term importance? Sometimes companies can overcorrect and create positions for roles that may not fit in the future. What may be necessary for a freelancer may end up being a full-time position that does not do much.
15. Look Over the Contract
Finally, take the time to read over the contract and/or job offer before your final decision.
Yes, it’s fairly late in the vetting process to drop out of a job when the contract is handed to you, but this is fine! Don’t sign a contract or job offer you are unsure about. Follow your gut and take your time. Never be pressured into signing something immediately.
Tell the hiring manager if you need time to look things over or reflect. They should allow you to take the time. If they don’t, consider this a red flag.
Finding the perfect job fit can be tough. Sometimes things may look great from the outside, but be uneasy within.
While it is important to have long-standing roles on your resume, you should not take a job or stay with a company if it makes you unhappy. It’s as simple as that. Resigning and having a short stint on your resume is much better than sticking with a company that you dislike.
At the end of the day, the decision comes down to your gut and your brain. It’s cliche, but it’s applicable. How do you really feel about the job? Does the presentation and hiring process make you feel uneasy about the company? Are you not 100% positive and excited about the position?
Yes, sometimes you must take work just to have work. Not everyone has the benefit of being picky about a job fit but remember your worth. You may not be where you want to be yet, but you should still be content.