There’s plenty of advice out there on what to look for in a job, but it all boils down to two aspects: the company fit and the job role fit.
- Job fit is about having what it takes to do a job long-term. Regardless of the working environment or the management style, do you have the skills, knowledge & abilities to handle the position?
- Company fit is about the organization and the work environment. Do you feel supported? Can you see your growth at the company? Do you have what you need to succeed in that company?
Both company and job fit are equally important, but in today’s world, most professionals tend to place an emphasis on one or the other when they start looking for jobs.
Some just want to work for a popular company regardless of the role. But 12 months in at an amazing organization, they’re struggling with their actual job because before joining the company they didn’t consider whether they were a good fit for the job role.
You can also find plenty of professionals who do just the opposite. In my last company, I was working with a candidate who’d taken a position because she was confident she could crush it in the role. Unfortunately, the company’s work environment didn’t fit her working style and ended up being a nightmare for her. She came to our team for help, and we found her a similar role with a much better company fit. She loves her new job and recently had the highest-performing month of her entire marketing career.
The truth is, it’s very rare for someone to thrive in a position if either the organization or the job role itself isn’t the right fit. And while it can be difficult to find an opportunity that’s a good balance between the two. You just have to approach the job search with a certain mindset & tactics.
First, figure out & understand your profile & persona
If you want to find the right-fit opportunity, first you need to discover what your persona & profile is; start by answering these questions about yourself:
- Who you are? – Your Identity
- What you have done? – Your Skills, Knowledge, Experience
- How you do things? – Your Virtues
- What do you care about? – Your Values
Once you discovered the above things, next is, you have to determine what you need out of a job and an organization based on your profile & persona. For example, you may require an environment that is collaborative rather than a “lone wolf” culture.
In the process, identify your core, non-negotiable needs. Think about the team projects that you had worked on, part-time jobs, or internships you’ve enjoyed. Did you have professors/managers you appreciated? What about them made those relationships so worthwhile that you enjoyed it?
On the other hand, you should also consider things that you haven’t liked doing. What things annoyed you? Which jobs or group projects were a nightmare for you, and why? What types of working environments have you done well in, and which ones have you struggled in?
Once you are clear about your profile & persona, it’s always better to cross verify the same with your colleagues, professor, friends, etc with whom you had worked and who knows about you & your work style. They are the right person to recommend on your abilities, strengths & areas of improvement.
Once you know your basic requirements, you can figure out if the job & the company is right for you
There are 3 simple guidelines for figuring out whether a job & an organization will be the right fit for you.
1. Research the role you want.
Search for professionals in your network who are currently in the role you’re considering. Reach out to them to seek advice.
Most professionals love to talk about themselves and give advice. If you’re genuine and respectful of others’ time, you can find out a lot about a role by reaching out to those who’re already doing it.
Then the next thing is to look for the openings with the desired role. You will find 100’s of openings on the internet. Great! But don’t again commit a crime by hitting each and every “Apply” button.
Before applying to 100’s of random jobs, check if it is the right job for you. Learn what are the chances of landing the job.
2. Talk with professionals at the company you’re interested in.
You can use the same technique to check for company fit, as well. Reach out to someone at the company you want to work for, and ask them about their managers, the company & the environment. Learn how they got to their position, what their manager’s style is like, and how the company has enabled them to grow.
ALERT: Just keep in mind, this shouldn’t come off as an attempt to get a job right then and there. You’re exploring a new career path and looking for insights from them to help you in the process.
Always keep in mind that a popular company does not mean the right company for you. So once you have a company that you think is right for you, check how aligned the company’s persona is with your aspirations.
3. Don’t forget about the product fit.
Depending on the role you want, you should also research the product/service you’ll be working with if you get the job. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you’re completely disinterested about the product—or worse, feel uncomfortable working on it. For example, certain positions, like sales or marketing, have to constantly advocate for the product and sell it. If you are completely apathetic about the product and uncomfortable in selling it, there is no long term relationship of yours with the job.
After finding your right fit opportunity, enjoy the long-term career benefits
Everything changes when you find an opportunity that’s a great job and company fit.
Your confidence, productivity, career development all skyrocket when you’ve found a position that matches your profile & persona. You’ll be happier, which means you’ll be more engaged at work & you will feel like doing work not a job. And when you’re feeling happy and doing your best work, that’s typically when your professional life begins to take off.
Finding the right job in an ideal company can take a lot of work, but it’s well worth the energy—and will ultimately lead to long-term job satisfaction and a promising career.