How to Know When You’ve Found a Great Job and a Great Place to Work
Tom Washington

Everyone wants to work for a great organization, but how will you know an organization is right for you? First, you know it objectively and secondly you know it intuitively. Before you can really evaluate a job offer, however, you need to know what you’re looking for in a job and an organization. Few people do that. Some of the best decisions I’ve seen came from people who knew themselves well and developed a list of what was important to them.

To evaluate the duties or tasks of a job, you need to know your motivated skills – those activities that you are good at and enjoy doing. You also need to know your personality. The question then becomes, will the job allow you to spend most of your time doing activities that you are excellent at and enjoy. A person who likes to research and write, will be frustrated if most of the time is spent editing other people’s writing.

You also need to know your personality. If you like variety in a job, you have to determine whether the job you’re being offered would provide enough variety. Other qualities to consider are do you want lots or little people contact; lots or little independence. Ask yourself whether you work well under stress and whether you prefer working with details or are more of a big picture person.

Working for the right organization is just as important as having the right tasks. The organization, your boss, and your coworkers can make or break a job. Examine past jobs and list those things that you liked and disliked about each one.

Some job seekers have listed their desired items in order of importance and then made columns to include definitely meets my needs, somewhat meets my needs, does not meet my needs, and unsure at this time. Such a checklist can be immensely helpful. Once you’ve filled out the checklist, then the intuitive side must be used to determine if the job feels right. A job may have nearly all positives on the checklist yet it just doesn’t feel right. At the very least it implies you should ask further questions of the prospective boss and the human resources manager.

If you detect some negative factors, and you almost always will, the final step is to determine how serious these deficiencies are. It’s also important to determine if you can change them. A job can often be altered over time to make it more desirable. If you know what brings you satisfaction, you’ll probably be able to modify your job and make it more appealing.

Keep in mind that money should never be the sole determiner. When given two job offers, people will frequently choose the one with less money, because over the long run, it offers more opportunity and enjoyment.

In the end there are no easy answers. While a checklist will help make a decision, ultimately it is a matter of the heart. See the checklist created by Debbie ( to assess each organization she interviewed with. You will find it close to the beginning of the chapter on salary negotiations. 

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