Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Do You Fit This Company?


The biggest problem companies have now is that even when the hire the person they think is right for the job-that person often quits.
And that's not fun for the employee either.


According to Kathy Harris managing director at Harris Allied, executive search services,
 "The short answer is that people join companies but leave managers. Onsite gyms and free lunches don't replace a manager who isn't engaged or supportive of his or her people. Contrary to popular belief, money is not a primary motivator when people leave jobs. They leave because they feel overlooked, underutilized and unappreciated and move for the opportunity of a brighter future where they can develop professionally and make an impact on the firm."

Harris suggests that you, the job seeker, play an important part in this situation. To avoid being part of it, Harris believes candidates should consider the following to determine whether the opportunity they're interviewing for offers the right "fit":

1.     Find out if the role is open due to expansion or replacement. If it's vacant due to attrition ask what insight the hiring manager can give as to why the person in the role previously didn't work out. If they offer this kind of information to you, be careful to respond diplomatically. Steer clear of commentary about the employee or whether there was a fit issue.

2.     At an appropriate point in the conversation ask your potential boss to tell you about their background. Listen for experiences that match yours, e.g. did the person come up through the ranks in a hands on role? How long has it been since they worked as an individual contributor? Having a similar background to your boss can help you to communicate effectively when making decisions.

3.     Ask yourself some critical questions about the person you'll be working for: "What do I hope to learn from this person? Can I see them as a coach or mentor?" It's often difficult to work for a manager who has little professional value to bring to the relationship.

4.     Ask about the key attributes they're looking for to be successful in the role and make sure you map to these characteristics. Words like "flexibility," "thick skinned," and "able to push back" may mean the boss is difficult to work with. But keep in mind that "difficult" is a subjective term. Challenging bosses have been known to bring out the best in their people if their personality styles mesh well.

5.     Do your homework. Look through the company profile on LinkedIn to see if the company has high turnover. If someone in your network is a current or past employee think about reaching out to them unless your search is confidential.

"Great managers have employees' best interest at heart. They support them publicly and privately and communicate both praise and criticism constructively. A great culture is open and allows people to take on new challenges even if it means failing occasionally. When managers and cultures align to support their people, it's difficult to entice them to leave," Harris added.

 
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