Do you want that job?
There are many reasons to look for a new job and the world is, as always, changing rapidly. You can network and apply for jobs in more ways than ever. As a consequence, the temptation to explore your options is constant and employers have become more adept at highlighting their selling points. So in a market where you might have options and every job is presented as a game changing opportunity, how do you know if the one in front of you is the right one? how do you know if you are making the right decision?
When interviewing candidates, regardless of whether they have 6 month’s or 30 years’ experience; one of the questions to which I am most eager to hear an answer is; “what is your reason for leaving?”
As a recruitment consultant, this question has all kinds of utility. If the answer is too weak or revolves around money it can predict a possibility that the candidate is open to being counter offered. If they have an angry or emotional response this needs to be discussed further before we can put them in front of a client. However, sometimes the candidate doesn’t know why they want to leave and in this situation, it is advisable to spend some time really giving this some thought. Like the dog that chases the car, be careful, as you might catch it… And then what?
Know Your Worth
One of the more common reasons for leaving a job is to improve your salary and/or benefits. If this is your only reason for leaving, it might not come to that. Do some research, have a look at some salary surveys, making sure to take in to account the size of your company and your level of responsibility (The relative responsibility you have compared to someone with a similar title at a larger company will be reflected in the pay scale) Come to a decision on what you think your salary should be and compare it to what you are receiving. If after doing your research you still think you are underpaid, schedule a conversation with your supervisor. In this meeting, explain that you have done your research and you feel you should be earning X amount of money. You could get what you want without even applying for one job. If on the other hand, you want to try “get as much as you can” then you might want to consider other factors that create an overall sense of job satisfaction.
Decide What's Important
Everyone is different, what is important to one person might even be on another’s radar! In addition to this, not all factors deserve equal weight. What is important to you? Work/Life balance, flexibility with your schedule, salary/benefits, career progression, the kind of work you are doing, the technology you will be working with, a chance to learn and develop your skillset, commute time, moving to a larger/smaller company. There are many things to consider and you need to decide what are your “must haves” and “nice to haves”. Of course, it can be the case that you are just "looking around" and unless you get exactly what you want then you are not going to move. That is a great situation to be in but once you are applying for jobs and getting caught up in the lure of something fresh and new your motivations can get clouded. It doesn't matter which of these categories you fall in to, the process of thinking it through will help crystalise what's important in your mind and perhaps prevent you from making a “grass is always greener” type decision.
Be Honest With Yourself
Let’s assume you have established your worth and what is important to you from a new job. You begin your search, find a job description that fits and upon applying, you are invited for interview. It is in our nature once we are in a competition to want to win the prize and this can be an overwhelming urge. You can be charmed by the interviewer and they can say all the right things when trying to bring you in to their company but you need to ask yourself, what did I learn? A “good feeling” about the company is a great bonus to have but where do you rank that on your list of priorities? The interview process can be flawed for candidates as they go in to an interview attempting to please the interviewer but it is important to listen carefully to what they actually say. What was the reason for the vacancy? When I asked about chances of promotion did they provide detail or did we move swiftly on to the next question? Were there promises made that couldn’t possibly be kept? A useful exercise at the end of every interview would be to flip the dynamic and try to recap the interview from the point of view of an interviewer. Try to figure out what you learned for sure and what needs clarity, once the interview is over it is essential to move away from the mindset of wanting to win and to try analyse the interview in a more calculated manner.
Everything has gone well and you are invited back for another interview. Your preparation will be mostly centred around what information you need to give the interviewer to highlight your strenghts. It is essential however that you make a plan to get answers to your outstanding questions. A piece of advice you will get from most recruitment consultants will be regarding the end of an interview when you are asked if you have any questions. While that is a set piece of most interviews and you will need to prepare some engaging, relevant questions, if possible try to ask questions throughout the interview, ideally in as organic a manner as possible. It is tricky as you don’t want the interviewer to think you are only concerned with petty motivations like holidays or leaving work on time but if you are approaching the process seriously you will need to figure a way to find out what you need, so that you make an informed decision. Interviewers are more impressed by an engaged candidate who wants to have a back and forth about the job, the company, the opportunity and what they can bring to the role. You can do a simple thing like ask them to talk you through a typical day or what it is like there when the team has a deadline. These are examples of how you can steer the conversation towards a subject or ask the question in an indirect manner but be aware; the interview process is a two-way street and as much as they are assessing you, you need to be assessing them.
Take Your Time
A new job is exciting and the feeling of being wanted is powerful. When you are offered a job, it is a blank canvas for you to paint the future. This feeling does fade however and you will eventually be back to the day to day. Once offered, the best and most common advice would be to take your time and think it through. This is good, if non-specific advice. I would take it even further and think through what the day will look like in this job. I start at 8.30 instead of 9, how does that affect my routine? I have to travel further in the car, how much extra will that cost me? I will be working in a reporting structure that won’t allow me as much autonomy as I am used to, will I be ok with that? As discussed earlier you have been gathering information to be able to make the most informed choice possible and you have decided what is important and what isn’t, it is now time to use all this raw data! Ultimately you cannot guarantee that you will make the right decision but by preparing before applying, by being focused and honest during the process and by mapping out what you think the job will look like before saying yes, you can at least be confident you gave a potentially life changing decision the diligence it deserves.
Principle specialises in Technology, Finance, Media & Marketing and Human Resources recruitment for permanent and contract positions.
We have developed strong relationships with a large array of clients around the country and overseas ranging from large multinational corporations to new start-ups.
Head quartered in Dublin, Ireland we recruit across a wide and varied range of industry sectors, from board level to senior and mid-management.