Whether it’s your first job fresh from college or making a company change, it’s important to make sure where you land is where you want to be. Finding the right fit with a company is as important as finding the right fit with the work. The best job in the world, in the worst company in the world, won’t be rewarding. So along with finding the right position, make sure it’s in the right company.
Some ‘must-haves’ for job seekers are easily identified: salary, benefits, and hours are typically the first items that make a good match. Job seekers often look at geography, as well. Is the commute too much to deal with on a daily basis, or does a higher starting salary make it worthwhile? Once these are checked off your list, dig deeper. The basics get you on the payroll today. What will your future look like, and what will the day-to-day consist of?
Professional development should be part of your plan for the future. You’ll want to assure it’s part of your new company’s plan for your future, as well. No one intends to spend his/her life in a dead-end job, but understand career growth isn’t a passive sport. Ask the hiring authority what growth opportunities the company offers. Do they have tuition reimbursement or continuing education programs? When are they offered? If you have to wait years to be eligible, consider whether or not that will work for you. Does the company have mentor or job shadowing programs? Are stretch projects or networking opportunities available?
While recruiters may not have specifics on every department’s options, they should be able to give you an overview of the company’s attitude toward professional growth. If they’re enthusiastic about touting the opportunities available, you’re on the right path to growing your career.
Culture fit – from the candidate’s perspective
The term ‘culture fit’ has been criticized as more exclusionary than inclusive when it comes to hiring. But for job seekers, fitting into a company’s culture is as important as fitting into the role. Does their culture align with your personal values? You’ll want to be as proud of the company you represent as you are of the work you perform. Does the company value inclusion, social responsibility, and diversity? If these are important to you (and they should be), you’ll want to assure they’re important to the organization as well.
Ask about the mission and vision of the organization, certainly, but go further. Ask for examples or initiatives they engage in that further those goals and aspirations. While they might not be ready with a laundry list of line-items, they should be able to provide an overview of what the company stands for, and the efforts they make to get there.
Independence and challenges
Few candidates think to ask what probationary period there is for their new role, but it’s an important consideration. Most companies require one, typically no more than 90 days. You’ll want to ask if this time period correlates with the training period, as well. Can you anticipate a level of autonomy and independence once it’s completed?
A manager shadowing your every move for 90 days in a position that requires minimal skills may not align with your need for independence, but 30 days of training for a complex position may not be enough. Look for a probation/training period that fits your needs for learning and autonomy.
In addition to asking when you’re anticipated to work independently, ask when you can expect new challenges on the job. Again, the recruiter might not have specifics, but make sure to ask hiring authorities as you move along the recruitment process.
Read the fine print
A best practice, even before you meet for the first interview, is to ask for a copy of the job description. Many companies post them with vacancies, so make sure to look. Ask if it’s current or if it’s been recently updated. Forbes reports more than a quarter of new hires quit a position within the first 90 days; nearly half of those do so because the job didn’t meet their expectations.
An accurate job description gives you a look at the day-to-day tasks required, additional duties that may be expected, as well as the longer view of the position. At every stage of the hiring process, affirm the job description is truly representative of the position you seek to assure a great fit for you and the company.
A new job holds the potential for personal and professional success. Make sure you’ve considered more than just the basics so the move you make is in the