When you’re on the job hunt, there are typically a whole galaxy of thoughts and concerns spinning around your head. You want to make sure that you’re targeting companies that match your interests, background, and skillset; positions that will help you hit the target goals you’ve envisioned for yourself; and jobs that seem as if they’ll be rewarding and fulfilling career moves.
Hopefully—and with a little luck—you’ll grab the interest of a company that fits all of your criteria, ace the hiring and interview process, and land your next great job. That said, life doesn’t always align perfectly with all of our grand plans. Sometimes, great jobs at dream companies turn out to be less than perfect once reality sets in.
You can often live with this less than ideal arrangement—after all, part of adulthood is accepting that nothing is ever perfect and that making the best of a situation is often the quickest path to contentment. That said when you’re in the middle of the job hunt, why not take the extra time to figure out if the company you’re talking to will be a place you don’t mind spending your workdays? Of course, it’s hard to get a sense of the day-to-day after only one or two interactions, but it’s important to do everything you can to determine if you’ll actually like working for the company you’re seriously considering. Consider the following strategies to help you figure out if a company will be the right fit for you.
Look for positive signs
When you’re evaluating a company for potential employment, there are signs that you’ll encounter as you make your way through the hiring pipeline that can help you make a smart decision. Was the HR experience pain-free, professional, and easy to follow? Were the people you encountered along the way—this means everyone you had contact with and in everything from initial emails, to phone calls, to face-to-face conversations—pleasant, professional, and fully engaged with their work tasks? Did you get positive feelings about the company and its team members? Make note of these positive signs, and if you make it to the end of the interview process and have been given an offer of employment, revisit them and factor them into your decision about whether or not to accept the offer.
Look for red flags
While engaging with a company during your job hunt, also be on the lookout for any possible red flags. Is there something that doesn’t seem quite right? Does it feel like folks are being avoidant about certain things involving the company or evasive when providing answers to your questions? Is the mood and energy of the office and/or the level of engagement and professionalism of its employees less than stellar? These and any other potential red flags should also factor into your decision-making process if you’re presented with the opportunity to work for a company. Don’t discount or undervalue your instincts when it comes to evaluating a company—these carefully-honed senses have served you well in other aspects of your life, and they’ll help steer you in the right direction here as well.
Do your homework
There are tools available to help you determine if you’ll enjoy working for a company. Scour the company website and its social media to help you determine if its mission and messaging align with your values and beliefs. Visit sites that aggregate insider feelings, opinions, and comments from current and former employees about the companies they’ve worked for. Just Google the company name and see what interesting information comes up. If any questions arise while doing your research, be sure to have them answered during the interview process (provided that your questions are professional and appropriate). Consider this time researching the company as an investment in your future happiness and success.
Part of the job hunt process is doing whatever you can to determine if you’ll like working for the companies on your radar, which will help you make an intelligent and informed decision regarding your next career move. With some careful research and preparation using the strategies and advice presented here—and, once again, along with a little luck—hopefully, you’ll land at a company that aligns with your personality and work style.