Land Your Dream Job
Careers that help you move from intention to action

Think You’ve Found Your Dream Job? Try This Test

Close up of a piece of paper with a pencil on it.

If you’re looking to make a career out of doing good, a position in which you “thrive and drive” is ideal: In addition to making a difference, you want to feel that your needs are being nurtured and that the position allows you to steer your career and mission in the direction you desire. But how do you identify whether the job you found fits the bill?

Consider the “Confidence Factor” (CF), a mathematical yet simple way to evaluate that job opportunity you’ve been eyeing.

CF = .2x(Compensation) + .15x(Satisfaction) + .15x(Opportunity) + .1x(Commitment) + .1x(Culture) + .1x(Health) + .05x(Locat3ion) + .05x(Teamwork) + .05x(Number of hats) + .05x(Business or retail)

Note: “Business or retail” is a variable you would see in a for-profit organization, so let’s rename it to “Internal or external” when using the formula.

I discovered this formula via a Forbes article by Brett Nelson. Like many nonprofit job seekers, I’ve found it pretty easy to get caught up in the cause without thinking about organizational fit and the core aspects of the job functions. The formula is a great reminder to evaluate important factors to job satisfaction and gain clarity for identifying how well any job in question measures up.

According to Nelson, the variables listed (compensation, satisfaction, etc) were selected because they exist in almost any type of work. The decimal figures before each “x” in the equation indicate that particular variable’s importance in the career search. In his equation, he gives compensation the highest value (.2), with lower values given to teamwork (.05) and number of hats (.05).

Each “x” in the equation is a satisfaction level that you assign the variable (you will be doing this for each of the 10 variables). You may assign a level from 0 to 100 for each. This value should be reflective of your satisfaction level regarding the organization’s performance on that particular variable. For example, if there is little opportunity for teamwork at an organization but you prefer to work solo, you might assign a value of 90 for that variable.

The variables address the following:

  • Compensation: Is the compensation and benefits package enough to meet your needs?
  • Satisfaction: What is your satisfaction level with the work (respecting/enjoying it taking priority over your ability to do it)?
  • Opportunity: If you are not as satisfied with the job functions, how likely will it lead to where you want to go next?
  • Commitment: does the opportunity allow you enough time to pursue outside interests?
  • Culture: Is the organizational culture in line with your own values and viewpoints?
  • Health: Does the health (of the organization and its industry) allow it to thrive or cause it to stagnate? What is your comfort level with the organization’s health?
  • Location: do you like the location of the job? (consider travel times, urban/suburban/rural environment, etc)
  • Teamwork: how much work is done in teams vs independently, and how comfortable are you with that level?
  • Number of hats: will your responsibilities be varied and if so, how comfortable are you with that as opposed to clearly delineated and specific responsibilities?
  • Internal/external (formerly Business or retail): will your job involve interaction with the public, or mainly other employees (or both)? how comfortable are you with that type of interaction?
  • For a complete description of all 10 variables, please review the original article.

Using the formula

Take note that by adding the decimal values, they add up to 1. You might decide that the variables carry different weights of importance for you. You might value location at higher than .05 if you are looking for work only in a specific city, and lower the importance of commitment or teamwork. That being the case, change the values to better reflect your priorities, just be sure that the values for those variables still add up to 1.

For example, using this equation to evaluate a job opportunity, I wanted to increase the “commitment” value and decrease the “compensation” to better reflect my priorities:

CF = .15x(Compensation) + .15x(Satisfaction) + .15x(Opportunity) + .15x(Commitment) + .1x(Culture) + .1x(Health) + .05x(Location) + .05x(Teamwork) + .05x(Number of hats) + .05x(Internal/External)

Notice that if we add up the decimal figures I assigned to each variable, (.15+.15+.15+.15+.1+.1+.05+.05+.05+.05), they still add up to 1.

Next, equip yourself with the following:

  • a listing for a specific job opportunity
  • your research on the organization
  • any mental notes taken during your interview (if applicable – this exercise is best completed when you have a fair amount of information about the organization)

This information will help you assign your satisfaction level with the organization’s performance on each variable.

For the opportunity I was evaluating, I assigned the values in the following manner (based on how satisfied I was on the organization’s performance on each variable):

Compensation: 90

Satisfaction: 92

Opportunity: 85

Commitment: 90

Culture: 95

Health: 90

Location: 80

Teamwork: 80

Number of hats: 70

Internal/External: 75

I plugged those numbers into the equation:

which resulted in CF= 83.3%.

When your CF is 75% or higher, you’re on the right track to a great fit. I find that assigning numerical values to opportunities allows you to make more logical decisions in selecting a “good fit” job. Once you’ve computed the CF of several jobs, you can evaluate them based on concrete figures.

If you’re still unsure about using the Confidence Factor, consider this: When you are confident the job you are pursuing meets these important variables, you will be more confident during your interview. You will be able to make better informed decisions about accepting an offer once you’ve assessed the variables and your satisfaction level with each.

Did you enjoy this post? There's plenty more where this came from! Subscribe here for updates. 

by Victoria Crispo

Explore Jobs on Idealist