You are smart, creative, and motivated to do well. You have what appears from afar to be the perfect job. But perhaps you feel frustrated, stunted, or just a little adrift. An important factor in employee satisfaction is job fit, a concept that can be somewhat hard to pin down. It includes everything from how well you work with your direct supervisor to the scope of your individual job responsibilities. Another major factor to consider is the culture of the company that you work for. Every employee adjusts to his or her company culture to some extent. But a company that doesn’t value work-life balance or encourage long-term growth may not provide the same employee satisfaction, no matter how long you work there.
How to Ensure Better Job Fit
1. Know What You Want
Before you go into a new job interview or a yearly performance review for your current job, brainstorm about your most important wants and needs as an employee. One expert names “independence, creativity, power, money, adventure, working for a cause, or having time for a personal life” as commonly desirable job characteristics. Focus on the areas that are most important to you when you ask questions and begin negotiations.
2. Ask Lots of Questions
Asking generic questions in a job interview setting will probably result in generic answers. If you really want an insight into the culture of a company you hope to work for, one of the best methods is to pose real questions to real people who work there. According to a recent Fortune article, “The more specific your questions, the more useful the answers are likely to be.” Instead of asking whether there are any opportunities for advancement, for example, ask some actual employees about classes they have taken, training sessions or conferences they have attended, or promotions they have received.
3. Make a Game Plan
Before you accept a new job or finish having an in-depth conversation about your current job, have a solid idea about your own wants and needs, your own strengths and weaknesses. Find out more about the experience of other employees. And make a plan to better shape the kind of job that will be truly rewarding to you. Consider using a book such as “Targeting a Great Career” by Kate Wendleton as a guide.