How to find the best company for you

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When you’re thinking about your career and considering your next move how do you go about finding the best company for you – and what do you base that decision on?

If you’re one of those people that get easily carried away by the excitement of a new opportunity (especially when there’s more money involved) then maybe take a moment to reflect before making a snap decision.

Weighing up the pros and cons of a role, the resources available for you to do it, the management team, location, and rewards are most likely top of your list. But you'll need to dig a lot deeper than that to know if the company’s a good fit.

You may think that you've got plenty of time to work it out knowing how long the recruitment process can take. But the reality is you get very little face-to-face time with the company before you’re offered a role.

It's particularly tricky for businesses with senior hires, as they've got to make risky decisions based on a few hours of meetings, psychometrics and referencing.

It's a big problem for you too because you only have a few hours of meetings to base a life-changing decision on and if doesn't work out you'll have to start the process all over again.

So you're going to need a finely tuned antenna, and be very clear about what it is that you want.

Why finding the right fit at work is more important than anything else:

If you fit then it’s going to be easier for you to do your work well.

If you do your work well then the company is going to benefit from hiring you.

If you are contributing to the business you are going to be appreciated.

If you are appreciated you are going to feel better about your work and the company.

Which means that you’ll do better work.

Which means that you’ll feel happier.

Which means that other people will enjoy working with you more.

Which means that they’ll also feel better about the work and perform better too.

This way you have the potential to impact on the organisation way beyond just doing your job.

And you’ll be recognised within the business for your work and personal impact.

Then your public image and reputation for doing good work will flourish.

And you'll become more visible, not just in your company but also within the wider industry sector.

You get the picture.

The right fit is much more than going for drinks or joining the running club with your colleagues.

So how do you work out what a good fit is?

The most powerful tool you have – if you’re brave enough to use it – is your intuition or 'gut feeling'. Trouble is that’s easy to ignore when you’re being courted for a role and your head is already planning how it will spend the extra money you're going to earn.

So your backup plan is finding out more about the company through people. Start by tapping into your own network and do a bit of ‘behind the scenes’ referencing. An insider’s perspective may trigger some ‘watch outs’ for you. Then, when you’re at the final stages ask to meet more people informally. Unless you’re interviewing for something strictly confidential this shouldn’t be a problem. The more people you meet the better and it will give you more of a ‘feel’.

When you visit the office what does the front of house tell you about the company? Do you feel welcomed? What’s the atmosphere like?

If your personal values are compromised you're not going to be happy in your new home for long and we know what that means. So you need to be clear on those values and find like-minded businesses.

Then there's the work style, the staff turnover and retention to consider. Do people love working there? Is there good camaraderie? What’s important to you during your working day? I like going out at lunchtime. First thing I do once I’m outside is look up at the sky – it puts things into perspective. You can imagine my horror when I found myself in an office where leaving the office at lunchtime was frowned on.

When the BoF released their mega-report on the best companies to work for in the fashion industry. It was an inside job – they got 2,600 employees from over 190 companies to give feedback on their workplace specifically looking at rewards & benefits, leadership & development opportunities, and culture & working environment.

If you take a look at the methodology you’ll see the criteria they used which you could also apply when you’re checking out a company.

As a result of the study, the BoF identified the top 16 companies showcasing the latest jobs advertised by them on BoF Careers. But don’t get overexcited…

Only you know the best type of company for you.