You walk into your internship and as you approach the elevator, you get a pit in your stomach. After you let out a sigh and press the button, the elevator ascends to another dreary day. The familiar sound of the elevator ding makes your heart skip. As you exit to your floor you mutter to yourself, “Another day…”.
Sometimes things do not work out the way you envisioned. When applying to internships and even jobs, we often focus on getting our foot in the door. Nabbing that position is of the utmost importance in the moment. What we usually do not think about is the outcome of the interview process. While obtaining work experience and earning a living are important, being happy and productive at your jobs are also significant. One important concept we have to think about is person-organization fit.
What is person-organization fit?
Person-organization fit occurs when an employee and an organization are compatible with each other (Kristof, 1996). This occurs when either the person or organization provides what the other needs. This can also occur if the person and organization share the same attributes. According to Kristof, both of the previous two conditions can occur when there is person-organization fit. Put simply, if there is compatibility between you and the place that you work in, then there will be person-organization fit.
Why should this matter to me?
Person-organization fit is related to an increase in trust between employees (Boon & Hartog, 2011). Additionally, it is argued that good person-organization fit can positively affect an employee’s private life (Merecz & Andysz, 2014). What this means is that working in a company that you are compatible with can not only increase your trust and possibly happiness at work, it can also lead to a positive life outside of work.
When you think about it, how many times have you talked about how disappointed you are with your job? What if, instead, you felt good at your job to the point where you didn’t have to dwell on how much you hate it? Next time you interview for an internship or job, be observant. Look at the other employees and the work environment. Ask yourself whether you would be comfortable working there. During the interview, if you are being interviewed by your future boss, think about whether you would like to work for them or not.
You may find that these strategies empower you. Not only are the employers interviewing you—you are interviewing them. Finding the right organization for you is the first step in a mutually beneficial partnership and should come second to none.
Boon, C., & Den Hartog, D. N. (2011). Human resource management, person–environment fit, and trust. Trust and human resource management, 109-121.
Kristof, A.L. (1996). Person–organization fit: An integrative review of its conceptualizations, measurement, and implications. Personnel Psychology, 49, 1–49.
Merecz, D., & Andysz, A. (2014). Person-organization fit and organizational identification as predictors of positive and negative work-home interactions. International Journal of Occupational Medicine & Environmental Health, 27(1), 16-27. doi:10.2478/s13382-014-0221-8