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The number one reason employees change jobs varies depending on the source you’re reading. One list includes “appreciation and recognition” while another says, “unsatisfied with upper management.” Whatever the reason given, one thing’s for sure. These answers can all be grouped under one important category – cultural fit.

When we talk about cultural fit in a business setting, we’re talking about a common understanding of expectations. These expectations may be around the time employees arrive at work. They may be a standard of dress required during business hours, the office setup, or how formal or casual conversations should be. They include expectations around how quickly employees should respond to e-mails or phone calls.

Often, we want to assume that as a professional, we can work in any environment. Or, we may feel that if there’s a problem with the environment, we’ll be able to help fix it. Alternatively, it may never cross our mind that different offices operate with a different set of norms than we’re used to.

In reality, these office details that seem insignificant at first can greatly influence our level of happiness at work.

When I meet with a job seeker, they outline their future employer wish list. But, it’s often a list of what they want to avoid rather than what they want. At the top of the list is something like, “I want to work in a respectful environment.” This is the sort of requirement that seems incredibly basic until it’s not.

Unfortunately, many office environments turn out to be unhealthy places to spend our time. We often don’t learn this until it’s much too late. But, we’ve already quit our job and have started at the new one before we find out.

This is a lesson we should all keep in mind when we interview. Interviewing is a two way street. Rather than get caught up in whether or not a company chooses us, we should spend more time thinking about whether we choose the company.

There are a number of ways to answer this question. First, what are our priorities and how do they stack up against what the company has to offer? Is this a promotion over our last position? Does it offer more money, or better benefits?

Then, we can look at sites like Employees are encouraged to rate their companies, much like customers rate hotels and restaurants.

Some of the information gathered is very direct and straightforward. Other information must be gathered through thoughtful observation and research.

At the end of the day, it’s far less important that we receive an offer for every job we interview for. It’s more important to find a job that fits us. This will ultimately lead us to fewer jobs, but the ones that do surface will be much more closely matched to our skills, background, and preferred company culture. This will increase our chances of happiness and therefore, success. After all, you aren’t made for every job. Wait for the best fit.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

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