Figuring Out Whether It’s a Good Fit

August 2, 2010 at 2:08 am Leave a comment

When people leave a job, often pay or a personality mismatch with a supervisor aren’t the only reasons. There’s often an issue of “fit” — when you don’t feel that you fit in with an organization or a team, every work day can seem interminable and the thought of staying years with this company may be unbearable.

Yet fit is, by its very nature, difficult to determine before you join an organization. You can do plenty of research on the company and your supervisor and you can ask around about the pros and cons of this workplace. Yet seeing how your individual personality and work style would mesh with this place is a whole other question — until you work there, how can you know?

Because of this question mark, and because fit is such an important ingredient to job satisfaction, hiring managers suggest that you try to take the temperature of the actual workplace — not just what it’s like talking to a few bosses in an interview or two — before you accept a job. Here are some tips for figuring out beforehand whether or not an organization is a good fit for you:

*Work there on a trial basis. Temporary stints, tryouts and free-lance or consulting projects (and internships for new graduates!) are good ways to get to know an organization and see if it’s for you before you show up there for a full-time job. Not only can you impress those in charge by your work on a temporary job or project, but you can see what this organization is all about. You may find that the things you thought that they emphasized are less important than other goals and that may make the place more or less attractive to you. It would be particularly useful to work on a project in the specific area you’re interested in, and especially with someone who would be your prospective boss in a full-time job. That way you can determine what’s important to them and how your personalities mesh — things that can be difficult to determine until you work together on a real project, with real deadlines.

*Try to get to know people whose company is on your list to check out. If there is an organization you think you’d be interested in joining — even if it may be years off — try to seek out staffers there and get to know them. Not only would this targeted networking aid your chances of being considered for a position there, but you could tell whether you might enjoy it by what they tell you. As you get to know them better, ask about details that you know are important to you, such as: hours, flexible scheduling or not?, the leaders’ management style, whether there are tons of deadlines or not, whether it’s a laid-back or intense place, and how people in the place get along (and how important that is to those running the organization). By figuring out what it’s really like there from people on the front lines, you can much better determine how you would fit in to this place — and whether what’s important to you is important there as well.

*Ask pointed questions of the hiring manager and rank-and-file workers. Once you have moved along in the hiring process, it’s important not to ignore the issue of fit when focusing on other concerns. Of course, salary, benefits and job duties will be at the top of your list — but if you end up in a place where you feel uncomfortable, you’re likely not going to last long enough for those other priorities to matter much. So, though some of these questions may feel awkward, find a way — in your own words — to ask about these things: How is this team viewed in the overall scheme of things? Where does it fit (it’s great to see an “org. chart” if you can — that will tell you a lot)? Where does this particular job fit in this team and in this organization? Why did the person who had this job before leave? How were they viewed? How do you like to communicate? What are your pet peeves in employees — and what makes you feel like someone is doing their job well? Why do people leave here? What skills are most important here? And then do some research on your own — try to spend time in the place, figuring out how quiet or noisy it is, who makes the important decisions, what the key meetings are like, whether people talk to each other or communicate mainly via email, whether it seems like a friendly or stiff place, and other kinds of atmospheric elements that may make you feel comfortable — or not. Though it may be difficult to determine all these things going into a job, you should at least try, or you may find yourself looking all too soon for another job that is a better fit.

*An interesting article — from a career coach — on washpost.com looks at the “millennial” generation (or Gen Y) and what they want from the workplace and their careers:

Career coach: The care and nurturing of ‘millennials’

To kick off the work week, here are some fresh job and free-lance leads to consider:

*SOS International in Reston is looking for a proposal coordinator/editor:

Proposal Coordinator/Editor
SOS International, Ltd. – Reston, VA
Proposal Coordinator/Editor Job Category Business… seeking a Proposal Coordinator/Editor to effectively manage communications, document management and…
From AutomotiveJobFinder.com

*TechnoServe in D.C. is filling an opening for a marketing and communication director:

Marketing & Communication Director
TechnoServe – Washington, DC
and external communications • Partner with the Senior Director of Development and Communications on developing the marketing and communications portions of our…
From idealist.org

*ProFund Advisors in Bethesda has an opening for a director of public relations and corporate communications:

Public Relations and Corporate Communications Director-ProFunds Group
ProFund Advisors – Bethesda, MD
and corporate communications efforts for ProFunds… production of effective internal corporate communications, including e-mails, intranet content, talking…
From Monster

*The Association of American Publishers in D.C. is looking for a deputy director of communications:

http://jobs.prsa.org/c/job.cfm?site_id=2170&jb=7051260

*Brainstorm Creative Resources in Arlington has a temporary (five-month) opening for an annual report editor:

http://www.businessworkforce.com/job.asp?id=25731887&aff=925A0F9A-7C85-4AAD-A3D2-5E5C81892E2F&utm_source=Indeed&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=Indeed

*Moment Magazine in D.C.  is looking for an assistant editor:

Moment Magazine

Assistant Editor
Location: Washington, D.C.

Moment Magazine seeks an assistant editor. This editor works closely and collaboratively with other editors and writers to steer Moment’s inventive, well-researched and descriptive articles from story ideas to print. Past articles include a profile of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, the first in a ground-breaking series on Israel’s Arab citizens, a letter from Burma and the 2010 Symposium featuring Mel Brooks, Leonard Nimoy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and many more. The perfect candidate will be a well-rounded, inquisitive, patient, friendly individual who will work tirelessly to turn good ideas into great stories and do much more in our small office. Critical thinking and two years of editorial/reporting experience, especially an ability to organize stories, are required. Knowledge of Jewish/Middle East politics, culture, history and religion is helpful. The assistant editor will also help oversee Moment’s thriving internship program. Moment Magazine is a national independent publication of Jewish politics, religion and culture co-founded in 1975 by Elie Wiesel and Leonard Fein. This is a wonderful opportunity to join the team of a magazine Slate calls a “must read.” Salary is competitive with other nonprofit publications and commensurate with experience. Please send a cover letter, resume, two writing samples and two stories you’ve edited to Nonna Gorilovskaya ngorilovskaya@momentmag.com.

*U.S. News & World Report magazine in D.C. has a temporary opening for an editor to oversee its online politics and policy coverage:

U.S. News & World Report

Editor (temporary/FT)

Location: Washington, D.C.

U.S. News & World Report is seeking a motivated editor to direct its online Politics & Policy coverage (on a short-term basis). The editor’s primary focus is to work with reporters and web producers to plan, assign, edit, and execute stories, research and data projects, and multimedia reports for the Politics & Policy channel of usnews.com. Familiarity with Congress, the White House, federal agencies, campaigns and elections, lobbying, and legislation is a must. (Knowledge of foreign policy and other national issues a plus.) The editor will also assist in the production of the U.S. News Weekly digital magazine.

The ideal candidate has several years’ experience with a national publication or online news site, is well-versed in SEO and web metrics, and has some experience in developing and maintaining relationships with key portals, websites, and other potential partners. The position is based in Washington, D.C.

To apply, please send résumé and cover letter to editorialjobs@usnews.com

*Water Street Partners in D.C. has several openings, including for a practice manager:

Water Street Partners LLC
Practice Manager
Location: Washington, D.C.

Water Street Partners LLC is an information services and advisory firm based in Washington, D.C. Founded by former partners of McKinsey & Co. and executives from the Corporate Executive Board, the company provides subscription-based information services and consulting support at major international companies related to their joint ventures and other partnerships. Started in early 2008, Water Street Partners serves over 100 clients across the world, with a concentration in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Our offices are located in Washington DC on the Georgetown waterfront.

As Practice Manager, you will help us build, run, and grow our subscription business. You work closely with our internal team to develop and deliver a set of resources e.g., issue briefs, practitioner opinion memos, benchmarking reports) focused on issues facing some of the largest joint ventures and partnerships in the world to our large and growing base of subscribers.

The role of practice manager has two main responsibilities:

Client Service

– Support our existing subscribers, both on phone and in-person, on their current issues. The typical scope of our work includes joint venture performance, strategy and scope, governance, financial arrangements, organization, and HR/talent attraction and retention. Client service will involve significant interaction with senior executives at major global companies – including JV CEOs, business unit Presidents, CFOs, and Heads of Strategy and M&A.

– Support client engagements that focus on transaction, governance, and organizational issues.

– In addition to serving individual basis, help manage our overall retainer-services portfolio of clients, identifying ways to upgrade our service levels and drive client attraction and retention.

– Content Development and Management

– Run multi-client research initiatives on topics relating to joint ventures – process management, CEO/Board member interviews, document preparation

– Identify “hot topics” that we should pursue, based on client needs and assessment of our current knowledge library

– Develop new content with primary research, and by synthesizing findings from benchmarking work, client interviews, and other sources

– Develop collateral to support business development efforts

We are looking for hard-charging, organized, and smart individuals with the following experiences and skills:

– Masters degree or equivalent work experience. Masters degree most likely to be in business, corporate finance, economics, or related fields (e.g., statistics, international affairs). Work experience most likely to be 2-5 years+ with a high-caliber professional services firm (e.g., top-tier consultancy, law firm, investment bank)

– Highly analytic (fluency with numbers, very structured thinker, etc.) with a very strong general business aptitude and interest

– Good written skills:  short, practical memoranda and Board-level Powerpoint presentations

– Extroverted personality with strong interpersonal, oral communication and influencing skills (interviewing, etc.) – able to interact with, and influence the thinking of, senior executives

– Project management intrinsics (consultant’s role will evolve into managing the day-to-day work of a given client engagement)

– Entrepreneurial – and energized by a huge opportunity to think differently about the information services business

– Ability to work on multiple projects in a fast-paced, deadline driven – but highly team-oriented – environment.

– Water Street Partners is a fast-growth, entrepreneurial company – and we will do what it takes to ensure that we attract and retain exceptional talent

– Our compensation philosophy is to offer new employees competitive base salaries (based on experience), with the opportunity for significant increase and upside based on individual and company performance

– Benefits: New employees receive 2 weeks paid vacation per year, plus regular business holidays, plus full healthcare benefits

Interested candidates should submit a resume to inquiry@waterstreetpartners.net

*FT Tilt is looking for staff editors:

FT Tilt

Staff Editors

Location: TBC

FT Tilt, a new online service from the Financial Times launching later this year, is looking for a number of full time staff editors and writers to work in locations across the emerging world.

Successful candidates will be natural writers with a strong leaning towards finance. Ideally they will also have good language skills, along with excellent keyboard and web skills. We are especially interested in candidates with the following languages: Russian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish, and Arabic.

FT Tilt is led by the same team that developed FT Alphaville, the multi-award winning financial blog, and promises a similar blend of lively news and analysis for a specialist audience of finance professionals. This is a start-up venture under the FT’s umbrella. As such it offers frontline experience in developing a new digital media service from scratch.

Please send your CV along with four examples of your written work to jobs@fttilt.com

*And to wrap up today’s leads, here’s an intriguing free-lance opportunity — The New York Times needs bloggers for its Gadgetwise blog:

The New York Times

Bloggers for Gadgetwise
Location: N/A

The New York Times is looking for bloggers for its Gadgetwise blog. It is part-time work, but it can be high visibility for someone with some energy and creativity. The ideal candidate likes gadgets, social networks, apps, other Web or cellphone services and can quickly and cleverly write about them from the point of view of the consumer. We’re interested in how to get the most out of technology and how and when to buy things to get the best value. Think Gizmodo meets Lifehacker meets Consumerist. Contact Damon Darlin by e-mail darlin@nytimes.com. (Put GW Job in the subject line).

Happy hunting!

Jodi

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