First, know thyself: What kind of work and workplaces have I loved in the past and why? Was it the people? The close-knit feeling of a small firm? The opportunity for creative thinking? The great benefits? The fantastic mentorship or exciting clients? Once you get that crystal clear in your mind, dedicate yourself to asking for it - and don't compromise.
Next, consider your future. You might love working with a room full of 20-somethings, but how many of them are moving up? How many of them are truly becoming great PR pros, or getting the chance to get closer to their clients?
Once you find the ideal environment, consider where you want to be in the next few years. Again, ask for examples of where other employees who enter at your title are in that time frame, and what it takes to get there. Your job is to reach for your own career goals. When I have a candidate whose abilities, culture, and goals match our own, I know we've both found the best fit possible.
Susan Lindner is president and chief people officer at Lotus Public Relations.
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