Dawn Shaw, career consultant, MPA Career Services, McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin
I had a student come in the other day and ask me “What is a good fit anyway?” I thought, that is a good question. Many times living and breathing in career services, I take for granted what this means. Especially to a student who has recently been unsuccessful in the job search. So, how do you know if you’re a good fit for a company or if the company is a good fit for you? Here are a couple of ideas I shared with this student:
- Culture: Think back to all the encounters you have had with a potential employer. Think about the e-mail correspondence. Think about how you felt at the interview; not how you did, not how your performance was evaluated. Also think about how everyone else was acting during the social events. Did you like the recruiters’ responses? Did you feel uncomfortable? If you judged them on their performance, what grade would they get? Also, keep in mind that office visits can give you further information if the company is a good fit or not; so we encourage you to go to office visits to help you decide.
- Priorities: Part of finding the ‘right fit’ is knowing your own priorities. Often times I will ask students to create a priority list before the recruiting process even begins. Many times when recruiting is in full speed, others’ opinions can influence in ways that were not anticipated. Therefore, having a list of your priorities can help keep you focused. So, write down what matters to you. Flexible schedule? Location? Team Culture? Open to Ideas? Future Career Opportunities? Rank them. Match the ranking against what you think the job can offer you. Also, be mindful of what you are doing now that affects your future career transitions.
- Take an Inventory: A right attitude can be the first step in being part of the ‘good fit’. Do you have a habit of talking about what irks you to whomever will listen? If so, this could easily disrupt a team dynamic and distract from the work you do. Consider what you can give before you judge what you get.
- Ask Real Questions: You have an opportunity in office visits to get as much information as you can before having to make a decision. Do you care about the management style of your direct supervisor? Do you want to know how work is evaluated in the company? Ask! Many times your authentic questions show your sincerity and real commitment to the potential employer. And guess what? That is what the employer looking for!
Perhaps this is refreshing and encouraging to motivate your students too!
(A student version of this article is available to NACE members from NACEweb’s Grab & Go section.)