Choosing the right job for you

Written by Simon Roderick, Managing Director

I’ve been doing this job a long time, and, like all jobs, it teaches you a lot and there are some constants that keep coming up. The first of these is that good candidates often receive more than one offer.

Whilst nobody can decide what’s best for someone else, there are times when you wince when you here about peoples’ career choices. Sometimes they are just so leftfield, you can help but worry a bit, and you often know that you will be speaking again within 12 months.

The problem is often that job seeking is a highly emotional thing. Often candidates start looking for a new role when they can no longer bear their current position – clearly not the best time to look. They’ve mentally checked out, everything about their firm irritates them, and staying put is no longer and option. So the logical conclusion is to look elsewhere. This process is time consuming, can offer hope of happiness, promotion, or more money, and more often than not the decision on which firm to join is clouded by how much the interviewee likes the interviewer, and, of course, money (if you want to secure great candidates, always field your most charismatic and personable interview team and pay a bit more than your rivals).

However, I always recommend that throughout the interview process candidates try to find time to reflect on what they seek to achieve by making a move. How does this role fit into your plans now and how does it measure up to your 5 year plan? What you are trying to achieve will clearly affect your criteria. As an example, if someone’s aim is to improve their work/life balance, taking a role with additional travel probably won’t help. However, let’s assume for these purposes the aim is career advancement. These are some of the things I think you should consider:

1. Is the company growing?

It’s very hard, even for the most talented, to gain advancement in a shrinking or stagnant firm. It’s better to get onto a big wave early and enjoy the ride. As the firm grows, your responsibilities will normally grow too.

2. Is the firm, product, or service respected?

In sales, candidates will often join a firm that pays them a slightly higher basic salary, but if the firm has a poor reputation or inferior products, your sales figures won’t look great when you come to move roles again. Quite often your bonus won’t be as good, and you won’t be able to build as good a client base, as most buyers want to meet individuals from the better firms.

3. Does the firm and, more importantly, your potential boss have a track record of developing people?

Some firms are great at promoting from within; others quite often look externally for new ideas. Some managers are great at promoting talent, others keen to keep you where you are because you’d be hard to replace or you’d even be a threat to their role.

4. Lifestyle factors

Sometimes when you’re looking to advance you may need to make sacrifices, but you need to understand the impact this may have on your personal life, and speak to loved ones to understand their thoughts. Travel, working hours and commute are common factors.

5. Financial factors

Remuneration is key for most candidates, but high basics can be seductive. Equally important to consider is bonus potential, progression opportunities, and the long-term impact on your career and earnings. Is it better to take the higher basic now, or go for the role which leads to better career prospects down the line? What of pensions and other benefits? It is important to have a clear view of your own finances, and where your bottom line is.

6. What is the culture like?

A good cultural fit is hugely important when it comes to succeeding in a role. Getting on well with the interviewer is a good start, but do consider the wider company culture as well. Do you share the company values and does the environment suit you?

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