4 Steps To Finding Your Best Company Fit

With the Great Resignation well underway, it’s clear that many skilled professionals are re-evaluating what they value most in their careers. Whether you’re actively searching for new opportunities or just considering the future, here are four ways to easily determine whether a new company is a good “fit” for you!

Step #1: Determine what’s missing and prioritize

It can be hard to thrive when your personal values don’t align with a company’s culture, organizational structure, or compensation program. For example, some environments are heavily centered on collaboration, but you might find value in working more autonomously. Maybe at your last position, you became very comfortable moving quickly in a flat organizational structure and would prefer not to return to a more hierarchical structure.

When there’s a misalignment between your values and a company’s culture, it’s easy to experience burnout. You might feel like there’s no path forward. Ask yourself what is truly missing:

  • Are you looking for a different kind of company culture?
  • Do you feel like there isn’t enough opportunity to learn and grow?
  • Does the compensation and benefits package not align with your values and ideals?

Attempting to isolate what’s missing can be a path to resolving the issue with your current employer. However, if you’re unable to reach an acceptable resolution, begin taking steps to search for a new opportunity. Use what you’ve learned about yourself and your values to inform the way you approach your search.  

Step #2: Consider where you can compromise

Identify your priorities before you begin job searching; however, be realistic when evaluating an opportunity. Don’t rule out a potential fit because the company doesn’t check every single box on your list. Instead, examine what’s missing in your current role and determine what you consider to be nonnegotiable in a future opportunity.

If the company is able to meet all of your non-negotiable criteria, you might consider compromising in other areas. For example, having a flexible work schedule in a hybrid environment might be one of your nonnegotiables. You might decide you’re willing to entertain an opportunity that meets these criteria, even though it doesn’t offer a certain type of compensation that would be “nice to have”. Below are a few methods you can use to gain an inside perspective on the company:

  • Investigate a company’s culture by networking with current employees on LinkedIn, or exploring reviews on Glassdoor or Indeed. 
  • Check to see if the company has been featured in the news recently. Articles on the company’s philanthropic activities, for example, provide great insight into the company’s values.
  • Review the company’s website, especially the ‘About Us’ and ‘Our Mission’ pages. Pay close attention to how the company talks about itself and it’s employees. 

Also, keep in mind that the hiring process goes both ways! While in interviews, be prepared to ask a few questions that can shed light on what to expect as an employee.

Step #3: Watch for “red flags”

Even though a job may look good on paper, it’s important to keep an eye out for anything that raises alarm. When you arrive at an in-person interview, take a moment to observe your potential work environment. Does everyone seem relatively happy to be working? Is the atmosphere too noisy or distracting?

If you’re interviewing remotely, pay close attention to behavior. For example, if the person conducting the interview was more than just a few minutes late, how did they handle it? Did the interviewer send a courtesy email ahead of time as a heads-up? Did they acknowledge the situation once they joined the meeting? If not, this could be a sign of poor management, understaffing, or that they don’t value your time.

Be cautious of interviewers that insist on doing all the talking, especially if what they offer seems overly enticing. Don’t be afraid to tell them exactly what you need from this job and to ask directly how the company can provide that. If you’re given vague or unsatisfactory answers, it might not be the best company for you.

As you’re being interviewed, prove that you’ve done your research. Outline why you want to work there, what you like about the company, and why you see yourself as a good fit. See how your interviewer reacts – do they actually agree a work/life balance is important or is that just what it says on their website?

Step # 4: Clarify expectations before committing

Companies understand that as much as they are not perfect; however, there’s no such thing as a perfect candidate either. It’s important to understand exactly what will be expected of you, how the company prioritizes those expectations, and where they have patience when it comes to acquiring new skills. A great way to do this is by asking what they hope you will accomplish after one month, six months, and one year at the company. This allows you to understand their ideal timeline for your onboarding and growth. 

Feeling like you and the hiring manager are on the same page is a great sign that you’ve found a good match. However, working with an external recruiter that specializes in executive search placements is one of the best ways to ensure the best company “fit” for you. If you haven’t already, read our tips on How to Select the Right Recruiter for Your Next Job Search!