Vetting Organizations for Fit

What steps can be taken during the scouting and recruitment process to identify the best professional environments for you?

By Jared Smith and Hal Matthews

Finding the right organizational or positional fit isn’t only about identifying an ideal role at a company. In this guide we will cover:  

  1. Analyzing Job Descriptions 
  2. Researching Organizations
  3. Keeping yourself safe online  

Consider this article as a great starting point if you’re seeking information to make the best career choice for you. We recommend that you dive in and consider what will make you successful in the role. 

Analyzing Job Descriptions 

Examining job descriptions is an initial step to prepare for a job opportunity. Utilizing this insight and researching the company can position you for success during your interview. 

  1. Identify Competencies 
    • Identify what you need to know about generally and specifically listed in the role. If you have experiences related to these themes you want to highlight those during the interview. If you don’t have the experience, you want to be prepared to address your responses for this through similar experiences.  
  2. Identify Themes 
    • What’s most important to the hiring manager? Explore the Responsibility section and identify consistent themes listed above. Pay particular attention to themes listed prominently and/or multiple times.  
  3. Identify Your Selling Points
    • The job description helps you identify which strengths and experiences to prioritize throughout your professional experience.  
  4. Identify Gaps or Issues 
    • What weaknesses do you want to frame for the interview? Yes, highlight the positive but what could they potentially perceive as a weakness for you or something that another candidate could do stronger? You want to consider what could be perceived as weaknesses by others. 
    • For example, You may not agree with the years of experience listed but think from the perspective of the interviewer and reframe your response for what they might consider to be an issue. 
  5.  Anticipate Questions
    • Consider what types of questions one might ask you be reviewing and practicing common behavioral questions. Strategies like the STAR Method are great templates to get you started too.  

Research Companies 

Researching companies for personal and professional alignment is essential to making informed career decisions. Conduct your research by:

  1. Company Website: Look at their mission, values, and culture.  
  2. Social Media: Explore their social media profiles to see how they engage with their audience, share news, and highlight company culture.  
  3. News and Press Releases: Research recent articles, earning reports to identity where the company wants to go, and press releases related to the company.  
  4. Networking: Connect with current or former employees of the company.  
  5. Company Events and Initiatives: Check if the company hosts events, webinars, or other initiatives related to their industry or culture.  
  6. Employee Benefits: Research Company benefits, policies, and work-life balance practices.  

Keeping yourself safe online 

Beyond finding the right fit, it is also important to make sure that an employer is legitimate. As you search for jobs and internships, you may encounter employment scams. A scam is an attempt to trick you into giving away money or personal information under false pretenses. In employment scams, scammers often pretend to be employers, asking you for a payment or personal information in exchange for a job. Many popular online job boards and websites do not verify whether job postings and employers are legitimate. 

If you encounter a message or job offer that includes the following, it might be a scam: 

  • Job or internship offers that require you to make a payment before you can start working 
  • Job offers for positions you didn’t apply for 
  • Job postings that seem too good to be true, such as part-time remote jobs with high salaries (for example: “make $1,500/week for two hours of remote work”) 
  • Requests to provide your personal or banking information online or over the phone 

If you receive a message or job offer that seems unusual, take the following steps: 

  • Do not respond to the message or job offer 
  • Do not click on any links in the message or job offer 
  • Protect your personal or banking information – do not send any personal information to someone you don’t know 
  • Reach out to a Career Advisor or other campus contact for help. Duke Career Advisors can help you verify job postings and employers 
  • If you encounter a job posting or message from an employer you aren’t familiar with, conduct thorough research on them. Review the employer’s website, read news articles about them, check employer review sites such as Glassdoor, and review any other external sources of information you can find about the employer. 
  • Never make a payment in exchange for a job or internship opportunity 

If you suspect that you have received a fraudulent job offer, do not respond! Report it to a Career Advisor or another trusted contact 

By Jared Smith (He/Him)
Jared Smith (He/Him) Associate Director, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging