Managers are challenged every day to make sure they have the right person in the right job. Job descriptions, position requirements, and requisition procedures are supposed to make the process easier, but they rarely ask the real question: Is this person the right fit for us – and are we the right fit for them?
Fit feels just right, in a job just like in a comfortable pair of shoes. And it goes both ways. Most organizations spend lots of time and money on figuring out their side of the equation. But what’s a job seeker to do? After all, you can’t commission a study on every opportunity that comes your way.
There are actually two effective strategies that you can use.
First, look at the actual job. (You’ll probably have to go by the job description, but you might be able to ask someone who’s held it.) If you can’t imagine yourself doing each aspect of it, with joy, at least most of the time, you can rule it out right now. And remember, smiling during your moments of fantasy still doesn’t guarantee it’s a great fit because many job descriptions are the HR equivalent of bait-and-switch.
Second, try to get a sense of the organization’s culture. Rating sites might provide some clues, but here’s my take of what’s important when you’re looking for fit that will last past the honeymoon stage:
- · Does the organizational culture give opportunities to people who want to move into a new position or try something they’ve never done before? If so, does it also give them the support they need to succeed?
- Does the organizational culture favor power players or cordial citizens? Does either type have a lock on seats at the table you want to sit at?
- Does the organizational culture expect people to be more than workers? For example, does the company value what people do outside the organization, whether what they do serves themselves as individuals, the company or society as a whole? Is personal growth supported and valued, or is it seen as a waste of time or a diversion from work?
- Is the company’s pace – the pressure to perform, the love (or hate) of ambiguity, the stress level – your preferred pace? Think of the difference between the pace of a well-established boutique, where customers make appointments weeks in advance and there’s never a rush, and the pace of the typical underfunded tech startup working 24/7 and subsisting on ramen and carbonated caffeine at odd hours. Somewhere on that spectrum is your happy fit point.
Get all of those right – for YOU – as you really are – and you’ll feel like you’re at your comfy best!