Gauge The Fit Before You Commit

By Kristen Harris

"Fit" seems to be something we're always looking for--whether we're seeking a love interest, career options, or a new pair of jeans. Cinderella's glass slipper fit only her dainty foot. When Goldilocks checked out the dwelling of the three bears, one bed was too big, one too small, and one was just right.

Not only found in fairytales, "just right" is an important factor in finding the right kind of work as well. But what exactly does "find the right fit" mean when it comes to job opportunities?

Ten Ways to Test Job Fit:

1. Values Match. Do the company values align with yours? Do you agree with what they believe is important and critical to success? Is what the company believes similar to the way you live your life? If yes, you should feel comfortable and succeed within the culture.

2. Like the Company. Do you like and believe in what the company does? Is the product or service provided interesting or important to you? Are you already a use or admirer? A passionate employee truly believes in what the company is producing. At a minimum you can't disagree with it, no matter how badly you want the job.

3. Interesting Work. Is the role interesting and challenging to you? Do you enjoy (at least most of) the tasks you'll be performing every day? Will you wake up excited to do this job? Even when you think the company is great, if you're not enthusiastic about your part it's hard to remain engaged.

4. Role Matches Skills. Does the position match your skill set fairly closely? Is the role one where you can utilize many of your skills? Can you be excellent at this job? Additional skills can be learned, but make sure you have the basics required to be successful.

5. Room to Grow. Does the role offer opportunity for growth? Is it challenging enough that you'll keep learning and stay engaged? Are there growth opportunities within the company? Don't ask for more until you've mastered your current responsibilities, but always be looking for ways to grow and improve.

6. Connect with the Team. Do you seem to fit in well with the team you'll be a part of? Do you like these people? Will you get along with them on a daily basis? You'll probably see your co-workers more waking hours than anyone else in your life, make sure you enjoy spending time together.

7. Get Along with the Manager. Do you seem to connect well with your manager or supervisor? Can you learn from this person? Will you work well together? The saying "people don't quit companies, they quit managers" applies here. A good relationship with you manager can make a big difference in your engagement and success at the company.

8. Pace of Work. Is the company in a fast-moving, reactionary type of industry? Or a slower, more deliberate business burdened with regulation? Is the work pace, and expectation, faster or slower? And how well does that match your own work style? There's no wrong answer here, but there are wrong matches; find a pace that matches yours.

9. Schedule that Fits. Is the schedule one that you can commit to? Are there a lot of late nights and overtime? Or are the office hours pretty set and predictable? Are you clear on the expectations for availability and can you meet them? Again. Not necessarily any wrong answers here, but definitely wrong fits. Make sure you can commit to what is expected.

10. Acceptable Pay Range. Does the position come with a pay range that works for you? Do you think the pay is fair for the work expected? Can the company afford your level of skills and expertise? Don't get too stuck on a number, consider all facets including future opportunities for growth and promotion, or getting your foot in the door with a company you really like. Everyone has a bottom-line; know what yours is and then consider all the factors.

Consider these areas for your current job or any future position you may be considering, and be completely honest with yourself. A great fit can lead to happily ever after.