Ideally, your job gives you the opportunity to use your skills and talents while allowing you to thrive professionally in an inspiring, healthy environment. If that’s not the case or you’re feeling stagnant, it might be time to consider making a career move. But how to start, and what to look for in your next role? We consulted with former recruiter (who’s worked for top companies such as Burberry and Tiffany & Co) turned career coach Tiffany Dyba to get the scoop.

Woman waiting for interview

“It can be difficult to know where to begin a job search,” Dyba says. “You can spend countless hours looking aimlessly online and not even be sure exactly what you’re looking for. There’s something to be said for actually preparing for your job search to ensure it’s as productive as possible.”

She tells us that one of the toughest aspects of the search, once you’ve started, is the waiting game. “We all want to walk into an amazing job after applying to it the day before, but unfortunately, to really get the job you want, you need to be patient and persistent in order to make the right things happen,” says Dyba. This often means not settling for something that won’t be the right fit — even if some aspects are truly tempting. “My clients often come to me frustrated and ready to take the first offer that comes their way, even if it’ s a job they don’t entirely want. I always advise against this, because you’ll quickly find yourself right back in the same situation in which you started,” she says.

So how do you know when a job offer isn’t right for you? Dyba gave us a list of things you should never, ever settle for.

1. Not a Culture Fit: Dyba tells us that her clients talk about the importance of “culture” all the time. “However, culture means different things to different people,” she points out. “So I say if you go to an interview and the environment or communication doesn’t feel like you, don’t pursue it. You need to feel comfortable with your work environment, simple as that.”

2. Mismatched Values: “What does the company stand for?” Dyba asks. “Every company, big or small, should have a mission statement and core values to communicate their goals and overall strategy. And, it should jive with what you believe in.” If you settle for a role at a company with values that are misaligned with your own, you risk not loving what you do or for whom you do it.

3. Unfair Pay: Dyba reassures that money isn’t everything and shouldn’t rule your job search — but you should take compensation seriously and ensure that the salary fairly suits your skills. “Ahead of your job search, spend time crunching the numbers to figure out what you need to be happy and comfortable in your lifestyle,” she recommends. “I also advise my clients to understand what the market rates are for similar roles, which you can research on a site like salary.com.”

4. Bad Interview Vibes: Have you ever been in an interview and wished that the floor would open up so you could quickly escape? Dyba says to consider the serious red flags when you have a poor candidate experience. “You’re vulnerable when you’re interviewing for a new job, and this has the potential to put many people on edge,” she explains. “When you go in for an interview, you should feel a bit like you are being courted; after all, they need you just as much as you need them.”

So pay attention to the interview process, Dyba says. “Was the communication about the process smooth? Do you feel they explained the job well? Did you feel welcomed and comfortable when you got to the office?” she asks. “All of these factors play into how organized the team and company are while showing how much they value people.”

5. Concerns About Leadership: Dyba tells her clients that leadership is one of the most important factors to consider when evaluating a potential job. “Who will be your manager? Remember that this person potentially holds the keys to your development,” she notes. ”If you feel uneasy about your interactions with the hiring manager, then trust your gut because it will never fail you.” Outside of considering your future boss, do your research about the leadership team, their backgrounds, and track records. You should never settle for a professional environment that won’t help you develop, grow, or succeed.

What other factors are important to you when looking for a new job? Tell us on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Photo via Getty)