That moment has finally come – they want to offer you the position. Get in there! You are truly awesome. All that hard work in creating and marketing ‘Brand You’ has paid off. All that research and preparation was really worth it.
Before you reach for that bottle of champagne and pop the cork it is very important that you STOP AND THINK.
Yes, you have an offer for a new role with another company. That is all very well, but is it actually the right role and the right organisation for you?
Many of us have been in the situation before – it seemed like we had been looking for an age. All of a sudden a new job opportunity came up. On paper it looked spot on. The employer painted an excellent impression of the organisation and the opportunity. They told us how perfect we were for them. They offered us a role. We were swept up in the emotion of the moment. We accepted the role without hesitation!
But…..shortly after starting this new position, ever so slowly the veil lifted. A few weeks later we are kicking ourselves, asking “Why did I take this role? The role is nothing like what they described it would be”. And so we had to dust off the old resume and start the whole process again. In the meantime however we have wasted considerable time and effort and achieved nothing other than a black mark on our resume and a lot of angst.
Spare yourself that pain and frustration. Simply by asking yourself some searching questions you should be able to much more accurately assess whether this job is “The One” or simply “The One To Avoid”.
So what are the questions to ask when considering a job offer?
1. Is this in line with your stated career goals? Will this role provide you with the opportunities and experiences that you require in order to achieve your longer term career goals?
2. Is the culture right for you? All companies have different corporate cultures. Does this company culture resemble, at least roughly, what is right for you based on what has, and hasn’t, worked for you in the past?
3. Is the company going in the right direction? From what you have discovered about the company in your research – news items, financial reports, stock exchange announcements – is the company well placed in its market place to expand and develop?
4. Can you envisage working closely with this new boss? Remember, most people leave bad bosses, not bad companies. You are going to be working with this person for more hours each day than you see your own family. If they are an inspirational and empowering leader then that is great, if however they are effectively a caricature straight from the TV show The Office then it’s probably best to say “No!” now.
5. Can you envisage working with these prospective team members? They don’t need to have the potential to become your new BFF, but if your prospective colleagues make you feel a tad awkward when you are around them, and you get goose bumps at the thought of being stuck at a desk next to them for 8+ hours a day, then go with your gut feeling and steer a wide path away from here.
6. Will this new role surround you with passionate people? What did people look like when you were shown around the company premises at interview? Were they smiling? Did everyone you meet seem really positive and helpful? Or did they look like extras from The Walking Dead who were only there to collect a pay cheque? You know the sort, the mood killing energy vampires who over the course of the years you may work with them will slowly suck the joy of the world out of you.
7. Will you learn something new from this role and be taken out of your comfort zone? If not, then why on earth do it? We learn and develop best when we are challenged. Bar paying the bills if this role will do nothing at all to add to your career trajectory or challenges, then it certainly won’t stimulate you enough to make you want to get out of bed on a cold and wet Monday morning. If this is the case then avoid avoid it like a crazy ex.
8. Does this new role scare you a little? If it does, if there is a small element of risk, then that is good as it will be ticking the ‘taking you out of comfort zone’ box. If however it scares you a lot, then you must ask yourself is this a risk worth taking? Never underestimate ‘gut feeling’. If it feels wrong now, then it probably is wrong. Let your brain make the decision not the emotional adrenalin rush that “someone wants to offer me a job!”
9. Do your mentors think that this role is both a good move for you, and agree that it will stretch you? Don’t be fearful of taking advice on this from the people who know the work do you the best, and who understand your career aspirations. Chances are they will be much more experienced than you, and they will have probably made wrong turns at points in their career. You may not necessarily agree with all their advice and opinions on this matter, but at least it will give you extra food for thought.
10. Is the remuneration offered acceptable? Making a move primarily for just money is always a very dangerous reason (and frankly a hollow one too) for changing jobs. Hopefully your reasoning is much more strategic and logical in regards to your long term career path and your job satisfaction. However we all have bills to pay so the package on offer must be carefully considered and it must be right for you. Obviously we never get offered ‘enough’ – we’re all worth $1 million a year in our own minds – but is what they are offering acceptable? Is the package appropriate to current market conditions? Is it demonstrably more than you are on currently? Alternatively if you are looking at this role for career development reasons and you are prepared to take a small pay cut so to achieve that, can you survive financially on what is being offered?
11. Are you being put under undue pressure to make a decision very quickly? In many situations the potential employer may well have a reserve candidate in the wings should you turn down their offer, and obviously they don’t want to lose that person too by keeping them hanging. Likewise however they should understand that this is a very important career decision that you are making. A reasonable employer should be at least be prepared for you to want to take two or three days to consider their offer before expecting to receive an answer. If however an employer tries to strong arm you into making a decision there and then, then alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear. Nobody wants to work for a bully, and such actions should be seen as a clear warning sign of what may be to come should you end up working for them.
12. Are you so excited about the opportunity that you want to stand up and shout about it? Accepting a new role should feel like moving in with someone that you are passionately in love with. Your heart should miss a beat. You should have a smile wider than the Joker’s. You should want to stand up and shout about how excited you are about the opportunity.
There you have it. If after asking yourself all those questions the answer is “Yes” then sign on the dotted line, take a deep breath, and take that next big step towards attaining your career goals. However, just like with relationships, if it doesn’t feel right now and you’re not prepared tell everyone about how great it is, and then the chances are that it is not right for you. Say “No” and keep on looking, there always other fish in the sea.
Author: James Fairburn. James has been employed in recruitment sector for the last 20 years. Over his career James has advised and acted on behalf of a broad portfolio of organisations, ranging from leading corporations through to privately owned family businesses and not-for profits.