Landing the perfect job – are you the right employee? And are they the right company?

Meg Burton


There’s a science to securing the perfect job that you shouldn’t underestimate. Because while you’re focusing on the title, job description, and salary, you’re missing a hugely important part of whether or not it’s the right job for you – the company itself.

It could be the perfect role, but if you don’t like the culture of the organisation, you will quickly be miserable. There’s no getting away from it, the organisation you choose to work for matters as much as the job you do.

So how do you know whether it’s the right company? The process of figuring that out starts with you.

What won’t you compromise on?

When thinking about the kind of organisation you’d love to work for, consider what you won’t compromise on. This is linked to your values.

So if it’s important to you to be able to drop the kids off at school one day a week, you’ll need an organisation with a flexible, family friendly culture. If you love to develop yourself and want to continue to progress in your career, you’ll be looking for an organisation that’s willing to invest in its employees. Make a wish list of the things you’d like to see at your new company, and then highlight the ones you’re not willing to compromise on.

Doing your research

Researching a company should go beyond its glossy website – although there will be some information on there that’s useful, independent awards it’s won for example. But dig below the surface, you want real information and insight, not the corporate story it chooses to tell you. And there’s lots you can do to find out more about a company.

Tap your network. Do any of your friends and family know someone who works there? Ask what they say about the company, whether they are happy at work, how long they’ve been there. Would they be willing to have a chat with you?

Check out the company’s social media accounts to get a feel for what it thinks is important, and what its employees and customers say about it. If you can see lots of unhappy customers and no appropriate responses, this could be something you might want to explore further, perhaps by asking a question if you get an interview

Use independent sites such as Glassdoor, or The Job Crowd which allow employees to provide reviews of the companies they work for. It’s like TripAdvisor, but for companies

Make the most of an opportunity

If you get an interview, use it as a chance to get a feel for the company. Once you’ve identified the things that are important to you, craft some questions to uncover information that will help you make a decision.

After the interview, ask if you can see the office where you might be working. What’s the atmosphere? Are people talking or sitting alone in individual cubicles? And what would you prefer as a working environment? There’s no right or wrong as such but what best suits your preferences.

Share what you’ve learned

Once you’ve decided the criteria for the kind of company you want to work for, share it with your recruiter. While they are great, they aren’t mind-readers so this is really useful information to help stop them wasting their time, and yours, suggesting roles at companies you’d hate to work at.

Meg Burton is a career coach and mentor specialising in helping people land their dream job. Find out more about Meg here

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