Eight Areas to Examine When Deciding If a Workplace Provides the Right Fit

If you are planning a career change, then you must be careful when selecting a new place to work. It is important to assess the working environment at the company where you are applying in order to make sure you will be happy in your new work situation. In fact, establishing the best cultural fit in the work environment may be a top priority for your potential employer as well. No matter how good you are at performing your job, you are likely to be less productive if you are unhappy. Therefore, it will be in the best interest of your employer to hire you only if the work environment provided is one in which you will be comfortable. It is also in your best interest to only accept a job offer from a company which provides such a work environment. Below are eight areas to examine when deciding if a workplace provides the right fit for you or not.

Consider the Reputation of the Company

Any company which has been in business for at least a year or two is likely to have an established reputation. Use online records and local connections to determine what kind of reputation the company for which you intend to work currently has. Look into the company's financial and philanthropic histories as well as any reviews which may indicate how employees or clients of the company have been treated. Such data will help you to determine if you want to work for the company or not.

Research the Financial Stability of the Company

The current financial stability of the company for which you may work will give you an indication of how secure your job is likely to be. A company with financial problems may have to institute layoffs eventually, leaving you out of work again. If a company is fairly new it may not have much of a financial profile yet, which does not automatically mean it will be a bad fit for you. However, you must stay informed about its financial stability or lack thereof in order to limit the possibility of being laid off unexpectedly.

Examine Relationships within the Company if Possible

The relationships between people who currently work at the company will help you to determine what your work environment will be like if you accept a position when it is offered to you. For example, if the managers of the company frequently socialize with lower-level workers it may be an indication of an environment where worker opinions are valued, which is likely to be a good working environment for you. However, a working environment where workers and management team members rarely communicate well may indicate potential problems within the company.

Decide if the Work is Challenging or Interesting Enough for You

If you want to be challenged at work, then you must also consider the work itself when determining if a workplace is a good fit. A mentally stimulating work environment is more likely to keep you engaged and productive. When assessing a work environment you must be willing to decline a job offer if you think the position will be too boring.

Assess Opportunities to Learn or Advance Within the Company

Even if the work you are being offered appears challenging now it may become boring and repetitive at some point unless the position has room for growth. During the interview process ask about advancement opportunities within the company. Also, check to see if free or reduced rate classes are available through the company in order for you to expand your skills for your own personal gain as well as to benefit the company itself.

Consider How Much Personal Time Your New Work Position Will Allow

The new job you choose must be one which still allows you the level of personal time you require or desire. If you do not care about having much personal time then you can accept a position where long hours or overtime are common. A position where you are required to be on call may also be perfectly fine for you. However, if you have an active personal life then you may prefer a position with set hours and no overtime or with a flexible schedule. If necessary, you may be able to find a position which offers you the ability to work from home occasionally as well.

Determine What the Prevailing Work Atmosphere is Within the Company

One of the most important factors in deciding if a workplace will provide the right fit for you is the prevailing work atmosphere. For example, if you prefer casual dress and a company requires its employees to wear formal attire then it may not be the right company for you. Ask questions about such things as whether the company frequently has office parties or cookouts. See if you would be allowed to personalize your work space in any way as well. If you prefer to work in a casual, friendly atmosphere the answers to such questions will allow you to make sure you will be happy in your new position.

Examine Your Overall Feelings Regarding the Company

After you have assessed the work environment and background of the company you must consider all of the results. You may not find a company which meets every single one of your preferences. However, your overall feelings regarding the company for which you choose to work should be positive. No matter how good the company looks on paper you should not work there if you have any misgivings at all about the situation. You must trust your instincts in order to select the company that will actually be the best fit for you, as opposed to the company which sounds like the best fit at first.