Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. ~ Confucius
Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity. ~ Oprah Winfrey
When you want to test the depths of a stream, don’t use both feet. ~ Chinese Proverb
Choosing your next job is a serious business. The time and effort you spend on deciding what is the right move for you will pay off.
How clear are you about your criteria and the evidence you will need to see, hear or feel in interactions with your prospective employer to ensure the fit is right? Just like buying a new pair of shoes, they might look wonderful and feel OK after a quick try on, but if you experience a lot of discomfort in them, you will regret your decision.
Knowing what your work values are – those things that are important to you about your work – is essential.
People spend too much time selling themselves, when you should be asking: is this an organisation that will make me excited and happy?
As a candidate, you often do not pay enough attention to what it is that makes a job, and an organisation a good fit for you. You can get trapped into pursuing the new job title, bigger salary or succumbing to the sales pitch, like being on the crest of a wave.
It really helps to give thought in advance to what makes an organisation and a job fit well with who you are. The better the fit with your criteria, the more likely you are to make a success of the job or a career in a particular organisation and most importantly, to enjoy what you are doing.
Recruitment is, after all, a two-way process.
Think about contexts in which you have flourished and what made it so. It could be that you enjoyed the opportunity to generate your own ideas or had the freedom to manage your own workload. Or maybe you had lots of social gatherings with your colleagues which forged good working relationships. Or you were working on a product that really made a difference to people’s lives. Use whatever criteria you identify to assess your prospective employer.
One of my criteria has always been environment – I’ve known immediately when I’ve set foot in the building whether it is somewhere where I could flourish and do my best. But environment is so much more than that – use the time you spend in the organisation wisely. How friendly was the receptionist? How happy (or otherwise!) do the people look when they are walking around the building?
If you were asked some of these ‘extreme’ questions, how would you respond? And more importantly, what effect would they have on you – turn on or turn off?
Ask lots of questions – of those interviewing you as well as other people you meet – the receptionist, for example. What do they like about working for the organisation?
If offered the job, be enthusiastic and ask to spend some time in the organisation before making up your mind. Like the old adage ‘marry in haste, repent at leisure’ it’s crucial to make a considered decision about a career move. Your prospective employer might want a quick response, but they want a return on their investment too.
You spend a lot of time at work. It’s so much more rewarding when it’s fun.