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Where Do I Fit?

The perfect match of employee and employer. In today’s job market there are ways to do varying types of jobs within varying types of industries. When determining the best place to work, you should do a lot of research into hitting your mark. Targeting the companies that contain your ideal work environment is a big job.

As we all know, not every company works the same, and each company has a distinct organizational culture based on employee personalities, their customer base, established policies and hidden agendas, and varying company missions and visions.

One of the major roles of the interview is to determine how well your impressions reflect your ability to fit into the organizational culture. During the interview, whether the initial, final, or a single interview, recruiters are generally considering either the fit between the candidate and the job or the candidate and the organization. In fact, many hiring managers believe the focus of the interview should focus on the attitude of the applicant as it fits with the organization’s culture, and on training for skills after the candidate has been hired.

During the interview, job candidates are more likely to try to fit into their perception of what the organization wants in a new hire–much more so than employers are willing to modify their behaviors to fit in with the impressions of the candidate.

Even though fit gets determined by the employer during the interview, you can determine the best fit for yourself before this important part of the job search process. You can control this factor before the interview because you have taken the time to determine what best fit looks like to you.

So when targeting companies, what should you do when looking for a place to work, that will allow you to grow both personally and professionally?

* Know Thyself : First and foremost, you must be knowledgeable about your own values and interests. Sometimes working with a professional career counselor or coach can help you determine these. I have worked with clients who have worked in one particular industry for several years, but are now ready to make a career change. They work with me to help them determine their values, goals, and interests before even thinking about companies to target in their job search.

* Research, Research, Research : When determining the best place to work, go to the library. Look in company annual reviews, look for current news related to the company of your choice to determine what they stand for, and see if the information you find matches your own values. For example, working parents who value time spent with family may be interested in researching the companies located on last year’s Working Mother 100 Best Companies list.

* Talk to Others : If you know of others who work or have worked in a company that you are interested in, ask them about their experience. Keep in mind that if it was a bad experience that does not mean that that company will not work for you, but it may have not been a good fit for that individual.

* Determine Your Search Criteria : Are you interested in companies within a particular industry? Do you want to work with a particular type of customer base? Are you interested in working in small or midsize companies, or do you want to work in a large, global organization? Are you willing to travel long distances to work, or do you want your job located close to home? If your job requires travel, how much traveling are you realistically willing to do?

The process may seem daunting at first, but when you think about waking up in the morning and driving to a place where you enjoy working, and where you can best be productive, then all the effort is worth it.

Felicia H. Vaughn, M.Ed. ([email protected]), is a certified career management coach. She works as a career consultant for REA Career Services Inc. and is COO of VaughnElite Corp.

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