Too often we hear people speak about their regret after having started a new role. Some years ago a friend arrived on day one to find no-one knew about him starting. His manager had departed the week prior due to a restructure and there was no record of his appointment. This is true. He was actually asked to go home and bring back his offer letter as proof! Needless to say, he didn’t last long.
Yes, this is an extreme example, but way too often the realisation that an offer should not have been accepted occurs within 6 months of starting in a new position.
There are many reasons for people finding themselves in such a situation, with any fault falling equally between the employer and employee. But what can you do to lessen the chances of this happening you?
There are two key steps we suggest be taken during any job search process. First it is ‘research’ which is crucial. With so many online forums and tools available, such as LinkedIn, this is made easy for you. In other words, you don’t rely only upon information gathered from the employer during the recruitment process. Take responsibility for your own research.
But the vital piece in the puzzle is what you do with the research and how you process this information. Our office compiled the following list of questions we suggest you carefully consider before accepting a job offer. They fall into seven categories:
Organisation and culture:
- What is the standing and reputation of the new employer?
- Does their culture and values align to what is important to me?
- How does their stability and longevity match to my needs?
- Given my career history and the risk profile of this opportunity, can I afford the risk?
- Is this role a part of their ‘mainstream’ operations; or a new venture? If non-mainstream, what are my risks?
- Would those whose views I value be proud of me if I told them about this opportunity?
- What happened to the previous position holder; or, why has this role been created?
- Did any internal people (particularly from within the team) apply for the role?
- What are the success criteria for the role; are they realistic; and can I achieve them?
- Is there sufficient authority in the role to match the responsibilities and expected outcomes?
- Will I have, or can I get, sufficient resources/budget to do what I’m expected to do?
- Will I be able to establish my credibility in a timeframe they require?
- What are the key challenges of managing the existing team?
- How does the job fit into my career plans?
- Do I have the career platform to be successful in this organisation and position?
- Will I be stretched and what are the prospects for my continuing career development?
- Does the organisation’s approach to continuing professional development match to my needs and expectations?
Remuneration & conditions:
- Is the role appropriately remunerated? If not, are there compensating benefits, such as the experience/expertise I’d gain.
- How do hours of work/flexibility, location, contract term/tenure and travel requirements match to my needs and expectations?
- Do I REALLY want this role? Why?
I’d strongly recommend you use this framework of questions even before you apply for a role. Then, as you move through any recruitment process, take time at each step to reflect and match what you’ve learned against these questions and/or your well-defined selection criteria.
Don’t leave this reflection until offer stage. We recently had a person apply for a very senior role which required moving her family interstate. Despite all our prompting we were stunned when she was offered the role and she then requested 1 week to consider – she explained she’d now need to discuss it with her family….
Generally an organization recovers from a wrong appointment more easily than you, the individual, will. So, do your research and systematically match your information against what is important to you.
Read related article ‘To accept or not accept that job offer‘