Essential Job Skill – Working Well With Others
When you think about dating someone, compatibility is an essential consideration. So much so in fact, it’s often first – and sometimes the last – form of attraction between two people. Yet, compatibility rarely is a subject of discussion with potential employers.
The chief sales officer and president of the Atlantic region of Kforce Professional Staffing based in Tampa, Florida, Steve McMahan, says job compatibility should be given as much emphasis as salary or job function.
“It’s really an area where the typical job seeker really doesn’t focus enough on the issue,” he explains. “More often than not they focus on the immediate things – the job, the salary, the title.” Compatibility is equally important.
Clients of McMahan often ask for his advice in deciding between two similar candidates. One has the skills but is not a good mesh in the company culture. The other, however, is a perfect fit in the culture of the company but lacks a few skills. The candidate who fits in with the culture is the best choice, says McMahan. Skills can be taught, but personality cannot.
When going for a job interview, McMahan advises job seekers to arrive early and simply take in the environment. The conversations and the manner in which everyone acts are little clues into the big picture of the company.
McMahan councils, “Listen to your gut. You have all the information you need. If there is a reputation out there, do some networking and pay attention to what you see in the press. You can tell a lot about a company by what they emphasize on their Web site.”
When talking with others about a company of interest to you, keep an open mind. Often, what you hear may be skewed based on an individual’s personal experience. A spokesperson for the company can paint a completely different picture from a former employee who had a bad relationship with the company.
“Look at the gender bias and the age of the workers,” McMahan adds. “Really, you’re not picking your spouse, but you have to ask, ‘Am I going to fit in here? Do I need to pretend to be someone else to work here?’”