The hiring process can be arduous—to say the least. You have to update your resume, fill out applications, write cover letters, and call potential references. The worst feeling is to put yourself through the wringer to get a job only to find out that the work environment isn’t the right fit for you.

People spend so much energy trying to be the right fit for the next job or company, but they rarely take time to think of themselves. Before offering you a position, a hiring manager is going to pour over every piece of available data about you and compare you to other applicants. You owe it to yourself to scrutinize the company you’re going to work for, too. Keep reading to learn what to look for in the next company where you take your talents.

Become the Ideal Candidate

While you must find the company that best suits your personality and career goals, you need to be the best possible candidate. Realistically speaking, if you aren’t the type of candidate that companies are looking for, then it won’t matter what you think of the work environment.

The first thing that you need to do is make sure that you meet the qualifications for any positions you consider. When you’re in between jobs, it’s a good time to take steps that could further your career.

For instance, if you were a garbage collector at your last job, but you’re really into computer networking, then put your time into learning the trade. Take the CCNA practice test until you’re confident that you can pass it with flying colors. When you return to the workforce, you won’t be returning as a trash collector—you’ll be returning as an IT specialist.

Talk To Former and Current Employees

When you’re looking for the company that will be the right fit for you, you should take many of the same steps that employers do. Good hiring managers are selective about who they bring on board because their job depends on finding the right people for the job. For corporate-level positions, they’ll run your name through a public records database like GoLookUp to get an idea of who you are before even calling you.

When you’re looking for a company that’s a good fit for your personality and ambitions, you need to think like a business owner or hiring manager. Look the company up on Google and see if any red flags pop up. You should be able to find former employees of the company on social media platforms like Linkedin or Facebook. Politely contact them and ask them for any insight they can give you about the company’s culture. After all, why do you think hiring managers ask you for a list of references?

Ask About Advancement Opportunities

Asking former employees about a company’s culture will help you see where you fit in personality-wise, but what about your long-term success? You don’t want to spend a lot of time working for a company that’s not going to allow you to reach your full potential.

When you’re shopping around for a company, one thing you want to be on the lookout for is opportunities to advance. Many companies will post about opportunities to take your career to the next level within the job posting. Companies that don’t advertise that they have room for growth in their job-listings tend not to be companies with high ceilings for their employees. No matter how great the work environment is, you shouldn’t accept a job offer from a company that doesn’t encourage growth.

When looking for a company to go to work for, remember the value that you bring to the table. As long as you’re the ideal candidate, then you have the right to expect the perfect company.