We use fits everywhere. You might say your pants fit you well or your two friends who are dating/married are a good fit for each other. Fit is also important in the startup and product development world where you have to figure out the Problem/Solution Fit and Product/Market Fit before even thinking about scaling, otherwise you risk wasting valuable resources (time and money).
Employers also look at fit. Sometimes they judge a bit too prematurely based on your resume, or perhaps rightly. They even use the word “fit” when rejecting you through their automated messages:
…we don’t think you are the right fit for this position at the present time.
It is just as crucial for you to look at fit when looking for your next move, especially in Product Management and UX where there are a lot of factors that you must take into account to increase your job satisfaction.
Here are the Fits you should consider:
1. You-Role Fit
You-Role Fit is about understanding what you are going to be doing on a day-to-day basis. Hopefully you’re applying to a job that fit’s your perfectly or in your zone if not the exact fit. Here are some questions to ask to help understand if the role if your fit:
- Is this what I want to do?
- Do I have the necessary skill+knowledge to be competent in this role?
- Will I be able to enhance or learn new skills+knowledge in this role?
- Is this role a step up and/or part of my career path?
Finding the right You-Role fit will not bring you enlightenment, but it will hopefully provide you fulfilling work.
You should only consider the other Fits if you have achieved a good You-Role Fit.
2. You-Manager Fit
You-Manager Fit may not seem important, but your manager is key to your success as they’ll either uplift you or bring you down. Still not convinced? I bet you’ve said at least one of the following about your boss: “they don’t get it,” “I hate my boss,” “we never agree,” and/or “arrgghhh they’re such a micromanager!”
As you can see, figuring out if there is a You-Manager Fit during the interview process can save you a lot of aggravation and sometimes hair! So let’s be proactive by asking the following questions about your potential manager:
- What are their expectations of you on the job (what are they looking for in their potential hire in terms of personality, skills, and work ethic)?
- What is their managerial style? Do they like to be involved or step back?
- How do they provide feedback (if they do) and evaluate their team?
- Is this the type of person who will help me grow or are they more motivated by their agenda and politics?
Some of these questions might not be answered when you interview with your potential manager, but might be revealed when you interview potential teammates, which I recommend in order to get a 360° view.
Before you sign that job offer, hopefully you can answer one not so simple question: do I respect my potential manager?
3. You-Team Fit
What I mean by team here are the people who will work closely with you on a project/cause/outcome and in most cases they have different skills than you. Sometimes you might jump from team to team based on the project, other times you don’t. No matter the situation, you should ensure that your potential team members are up to the task by thinking about the following:
- Do they have passion or a drive for what they do? Do they seem dedicated/committed?
- Do they seem competent in their skills and roles?
- Did we get along during the interview? Did I like their personalities?
If you take the job, you’ll be working with your team members for an extended amount of time so take the time to understand if they are people you are going to enjoy working hard for.
4. You-Management Fit
The You-Management Fit doesn’t apply to every position, but it does apply to almost all Product Manager and UX positions.
Senior management (whether VPs or C-Level execs) do hold the future of what you can and will do at the prospective company and the future (they know people), which it’s important to take the time during the interview stage to find out if they are level-headed, are a straight-shooter and share similar thoughts, feelings and vision.
Exposing yourself to them shows how interested you are in the position (bonus points!) and may save you from choosing a bad company.
5. You-Culture Fit
Luckily, You-Culture Fit is the simplest out of the group. Here are some quick questions to consider:
- Do I like the office environment look and feel?
- Do people seem happy here?
- Do people dress similar to how I do or how I want to dress?
- Do people have a similar work timings like I do? (If you are a 9-5 person, don’t go to a 8-8 job if you know you can’t handle it)
6. You-Product+Company Fit
What the company does should be very important to you. The product or service they provide you should excite you if your position that gets to interact with it, as that excitement is what’s going to push you every day so that you can go that extra mile. For example, I have no interest in advertising, trading, and finance platforms, so I know to stay away from potential jobs in those realms.
If you don’t get to interact directly with making the product or service, still take time to consider whether the company does what you like. You’ll probably be in a position where other people rely on you in a supporting role, so having that excitement will also help you keep pushing.
The mission is equally important as it depicts how the company acts as a whole, and hopefully it will align with your ethics and morals. You don’t want to end up in a situation where the company takes care of business in a way that doesn’t agree with you.
My hope is that these Fits help you decide whether to take that job offer or not by helping you consider all the different factors that can either make or break a potential dream job.
Did I miss a Fit or do you think one these Fits are not needed? Let me know!
Like this article? Here are other related articles I think you’d like:
The questions you should ask when interviewing for Product Manager role
Interview Questions for Product Managers interviewing with Startups
Great job at describing those 6 fits !!! I think we often just consider the first fit ( You- Role Fit) without considering the rest and what happens is that after couple of weeks in a new job we get demotivated. I found number 2 ,3 and 5 very important in non managerial positions.
Thanks Behi! It’s really important to understand the job before you get the job – it will save you a lot of heartache and and headaches. Although it’s not possible to figure out each fit in detail, anything you do find out will help you make a better, more informed decision!