Culture & Society

Finding The Right Fit

It’s up to employees to take control of their professional futures by identifying their needs and assessing whether a job is right for them, according to a Texas A&M assistant adjunct professor.
By Caitlin Clark, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications October 8, 2019

Executive reading a resume during a job interview and businessman Completing Application Form.
Determining needs and priorities and asking the right questions can give employees more control over their professional futures, according to a Texas A&M professor.

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It’s critical in a job search to find the right position and company – and it’s in the hands of workers to determine if their career suits their skills, interests and values. According to a Texas A&M University assistant adjunct professor and expert in human resources, determining needs and priorities and asking the right questions can give employees more control over their professional futures.

Rose Opengart, who teaches change theory at Texas A&M and has a background in human resource management, said that U.S. workers will on average have seven different careers in their lifetime. A low unemployment rate and labor shortage means that employees have more choices, “and now is the time to be choosy” when looking for a job, she said.

Opengart offers the following advice for finding a job that’s the right fit:

Why is it important for people to find the job and organization that’s right for them?

“You spend more time at your workplace than at home. It is critical for health and happiness to find the right fit — to ‘find your where.’ It is also a win-win for both the employee and the employer, as a content employee tends to be a productive employee, and one that is more likely to remain invested. Companies do not want high turnover. Research from Great Place to Work on ‘Fortune 100 Best Companies’ indicates that the 2017 list winners outperformed in the stock market, beating industry rivals when it comes to talent retention and levels of productivity. This means that companies want happy employees just as much as employees want to be happy.”

What are some signs that someone isn’t in the right job for them, and when is the right time to leave a job?

“When they dread Monday, when skills are not being utilized to their greatest potential and when their needs, values and goals cannot be met in that context. I think people stay long after they should because they are comfortable. Change is stressful. But if job satisfaction is low and there is no way to improve upon the situation, then it’s time to think about change.”

How does someone determine if a job is right for them?

Opengart recommends job hunters determine what characteristics are most important to them in a prospective position and organization by ranking the following categories, and then asking questions about the topics they deem most important:

  • Work environment and relationships
  • Culture and values
  • Work-life balance
  • Diversity
  • Mission/vision/organizational health
  • Future job and career opportunities
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Learning and development opportunities

Asking questions during an interview is critical for determining if it’s the right opportunity, she said. Opengart recommends asking questions related to the above categories, such as how the organization defines an excellent worker, if there are certain qualities that are important for a person to be successful in the position, the organization’s leadership style and opportunities for career development.

Are there common mistakes people make during the interview process?

“The biggest mistake is not having the knowledge of their own needs and values, and subsequently not matching them to the job/organization, as well as not asking questions during the interview to learn as much as they can.”

When should someone consider entering a new field?

“It’s important to determine if your job dissatisfaction is due to the job location/environment or the field. The same job function may differ tremendously from one industry and environment to another. If you decide on a change, you may want to contact a career coach for help determining which field to change to in order to best utilize skills, knowledge, experience and interest.”

Opengart, who is also an author and career coach, has both a corporate and academic background in human resource management. She has written about how workers can find the right job and organization in her book, Finding Your Where: Turn the Tables, Negotiate Your Success and Do Work and Life Your Own Terms.

Media contact: Caitlin Clark, 979-458-8412,

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