How to Tell If It Is a Good Fit

By Joe Stein

 
 
“Just not the right fit”. This is a phrase that job seekers are used to hearing from prospective employers when being informed that they are not being selected for a position. It is something, however, that also applies for a job seeker evaluating the company they are pursuing. 
 
You can, of course, jump after the first position offered to you and if you are currently unemployed that may be the right move to make. If you, however, are in a more enviable position of being employed and able to assess how the potential position compares to where you currently are working than the fit becomes very important.
 
So, you may be wondering what you should be looking for or at when it comes to determining fit. A key is to make sure you have your awareness on high alert, and examine your surroundings and conversations closely. Taking good notes during the course of your time with the prospective employer can later serve to refresh your memory and assist you in making a better assessment (and it will make the potential employer think that you are really interested). Below are some examples of assessment questions on this topic for you to consider. 
 
·         What Is the Reputation of the Company? – If you are pursuing a larger company that has been around for a while, then you should be able to find out information about it. This may come from your own networking with people who work (or have worked) with the company or online. The largest website for company information is Glassdoor.com. On this website is stored an inventory of company reviews on the interview process and company culture. A flag of caution does need to go out on this website, as my experience has found that the vast majority of reviews are negative for almost every company (I guess if you liked it, why would you take the time to write?). Websites like this can, however, give you a general idea regarding what are some of the type of issues that employees have found.  Potential areas to focus on are what you can find out about pay raises, benefits, or company turnover, all of which can be potential warning signs.
 
·         Did You Connect With Your Manager? – I do acknowledge that Mangers can change over time, but why start a new job with a Manager that you do not feel right about? Most studies have shown that the #1 reason that employees leave a position is due to their supervisor. If you start a job concerned about your Manager, you are probably not going to stay very long in the position. Potential items to look for is a Manager that you feel you will be able to talk to. Is this a person that you believe will help to develop you in your career? Is the Manager conversational in the interview or very directive. If you are interviewing for a leadership position, do you feel aligned with this person philosophically. If you do not and accept the position, you will probably find yourself “butting heads” over how to handle different matters.
 
·         How Was the Interview Process? – You will probably never be treated better than when you are being recruited. After all, the company is trying to convince you to join them. So, if the process was not a very pleasant one for you, then this should be a big warning sign. For example, did the Recruiter or Hiring Manager seem too busy for you, or did they not do what they committed to? On the opposite side, if you felt well informed and truly wanted, then this is a good sign regarding how important communication and employees are to the company.
 
·         Is It a Good Team? – Besides your Manager, probably the next most important people are those that you will be working the most with. Did you get a chance to meet them? Were you able to talk to any? Chances are you were not given this opportunity, but if you do, please take advantage of it. Hopefully, you at least were given a chance to tour around and observe. How was the physical work environment? When you walked around did people greet you? Did you observe employees talk with each other…did they seem to be pleasant conversations? You can tell a lot with your eyes, so try to observe as much as you can.
 
·         Does It Meet What You Want? – Prior to starting your job search, I always recommend creating a list of items that you really want in your next position. Are you meeting most of this list with the position you are considering, or settling for something that you may regret? Most job seekers will instantly assess the compensation and benefits program, but what about career opportunities, commute or any of the other items that are important to you. All should be considered when determining if this opportunity is a good fit for you.
 
We often think of fit as only something that is important to the employer. As a job seeker, we obsess over what the Hiring Manager thinks and whether he or she believes you will fit within their Department and overall organization. It is something, however, that is equally or even more important for a job seeker to assess. Unfortunately, what we often do is ignore the clues in front of us, or dismiss what our brain is telling us and accept a position that does not quite feel right. Before jumping headfirst into your next position, make sure you know it will be a good fit.
 
As always, best of luck in your job search!