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Most companies are looking for quality talent that could be the “right fit” for their organization because they do not want to waste time hiring employees that might end up being unhappy and ineffective at their jobs. On the other hand, most candidates are looking for organizations where they will thrive and companies that they actually want to work for. No one wins if the new hire ends up being a bad fit. So, how do you, as a candidate, identify the right organization for you? There are two simple questions you will need to ask yourself.

What Are You Looking For?

Typically speaking, an experienced job seeker looks for jobs with companies that are similar to companies they have already worked for. For example, if you have previously worked for a big computer company where everyone wears suits, you might continue to look for job openings with other big computer companies where everyone is still wearing suits. But what if you want or need to find something new? Knowing what your needs are is crucial to finding the job that could be the best fit for you.

First, think about your current lifestyle and your work environment. What you like the best about it?  What did you like the least about it? Do you feel like you never get to engage in your hobbies and spend time with your family? Do you love that your work needs you there all the time? Do you need a routine set of tasks, or are you more interested in more of a variety? Do you thrive on feedback and coaching, or would you rather be left alone to take care of things your own way? Are you motivated by a very competitive environment, or would you prefer less pressure? Can you handle being one of a thousand people who do the exact same thing you do, or do you need the CEO to know your name?

Second, decide what you are needing the most out of this job. Can you tolerate wearing a suit every day if you know that you’ll only be at work during normal business hours? Is overtime pay more important to you than having the weekends off? Is working on many different projects a priority to you, or does data entry everyday sound like more of your style? Can you accept fewer opportunities for advancement if it means that you have outstanding  benefits? Once you’ve identified your needs and then your wants, you are ready to start analyzing potential companies to apply to.

What Do Companies Have To Offer?

This part of the process might take more work because often times companies do not simply describe their work culture on their websites. You can look for specific rankings based on what your needs are, such as the Disability Equality Index and LinkedIn’s Top Companies list. You can also look at review websites, such as Glassdoor, the Better Business Bureau, or even Yelp. What customers and previous employees say can tell you a lot about the culture and work environment of a given company and can help you identify other traits that are important to you.

Ultimately, when searching for a  job you need to be a detective. You are gathering clues every step of the way – what’s emphasized in a job listing can give you an idea of what kind of employee the company thinks will fit in. Pay close attention throughout the hiring process, and remember that applying for a job doesn’t mean you have to accept an offer. If you learn that this employer is not the best fit for you, be prepared to walk away. But on the other hand if you think the job could be the job of your dreams, do your best and keep pushing on. Finding the job that is the best fit for you is worth the effort.

For more job-hunting tips, check out the Nextaff Talent Blog.

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