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How do I know if a job is right for me?

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You are one of the lucky ones. Your resume made it through to a hiring manager and you either have an interview scheduled or you are in round 3 or 4 and you are contemplating an offer.

How to determine if a job is a good fit?

and even more importantly what should you be doing long before this point?

The question:

How do I find out if a company is the right fit for me? What questions do I ask in the interview?

If you are asking the question in the interview it is too late. I agree.

But do you know when it is really too late? — What happens when you have already accepted the position and you realize that you are not comfortable with the climate or environment at work? Yikes! But there are many people who have looked for work for so long that they jump at the chance to get moving again.

How to adapt to an uncomfortable work environment?

1. See if you can find ways of adapting. If you think that the coworkers are hard to work with, perhaps you need to spend more time getting to know them and their culture.

• → I’m following this closely with one of my sons. He transferred to a new site with his company. It was a promotion to an operator level and he has to prove himself. He is paired with someone from another culture who speaks minimal English. My son has had friends from many cultures so he can adapt but he sensed anger from other worker.

• → I encouraged my son to continue efforts to communicate, he was already using sign language and adapting his English to meet his coworker. He just told me, “I think we are starting to gain ground. My coworker told me about his past, coming from a foreign land with the horrors of war-torn tragedies affecting his own family. I see why he could be angry. But it is getting better, he gave me a high-five yesterday.”
2. See if you can change your own attitude. It is easy to think you know all the answers and you have nothing left to learn.
• → If you have just graduated with high honors and been the whiz kid your whole life, you might find it harder to fit in when suddenly other people hold tight to the information and may find you either threatening or not up to speed on how they do it there.
• → Take some time to get to know how they do the work before you start complaining that you know a better way. When the time comes that you gain their trust, you can then make some suggestions.

How do you avoid getting into the company with the wrong culture?

1. Start researching the company long before you apply.

• → Learn what they do from their website and use LinkedIn to get inside information about the company and who works there (or who formerly worked there).
• → Make sure you understand the product or service. Not only will this help you not to get into the wrong culture but it will also help you land the interview and be offered the position. People hire those who invest in learning about the company and show it in their resume and cover letter.

2. Conduct informational interviews.
• → Once you figure out who you might know that works there — and this is much easier now that we have social media to add to our Google research, you can ask one of those people to an informational interview.
• → Invite them to lunch, coffee, or a brief phone conversation to discuss what the company is like and how it feels to work there.
• → Get inside tips on what products or services they see as being the most critical to understand and get red flags on any inside issues or changes in company climate (mergers, acquisitions, downsizing) that could be happening in the future.

Try a few of these tips and see if you don’t find yourself in a much more happy and productive work environment. You’ll be doing your resume a favor because nothing hurts worse in a tough economic climate than frequent job changes. You’ll feel more confident saying yes to the new position now.

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9 Responses to How do I know if a job is right for me?

  1. I agree that it is helpful to talk to someone working at the company you are interested in. The difficult part is many companies have different programs or different departments who may have their own seperate culture. Sometimes you really don’t know what that is until you start working there.
    If you find you are having difficultly with the culture, don’t bail right away. It may be an opportunity to grow, learn and make a positive impact on others. Anywhere you go you will find someone or even a group of people who you may not agree with and having the abilty to work with all types of people is a valuable skill.
    Some situations you may find too difficult to confront the issues as they are long engrained. In those instances learn what you can and move on.

  2. Hi Julie,
    An interesting post that applies to many areas of life – as well as the time around the interview and starting a new job. Being adaptable and keeping your attitude in check is good advice for us all. Often we can research until we’re blue in the face but not really get the picture until we’re in there experiencing whatever it is we’ve chosen to do. Sometimes we make mistakes (I know I do!), but it’s what we do about it and the way we choose to handle it that makes the difference. From this standpoint, it’s never too late – it’s simply another opportunity to demonstrate just what we’re made of! We can deal with it and learn from it.
    Thanks, as always, Gee.

  3. So important to research a company to get a feel for the culture!

    Glassdoor is another resource that is available to get insider information from current and former employees of a company. Though, as it was pointed out to me one time during a discussion about Glassdoor, YMMV. People may have hidden agendas that motivate a positive or negative review of a company. I think it’s a resource worth using, but it’s good to keep a level head about what is being said.

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  5. [...] test applications to see what works best for me but I don’t want to use all of them. I tested Quora for a little while early this year because the question format seemed interesting but then [...]

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