What To Consider When Choosing A New Employer
It sounds simple, right. After all, what is there that really needs to be deliberated when considering what employer to work for next?
The money, the hours, the holidays, the overtime, the day to day duties, training, progression, benefits and that the company treats you well. Ok. So maybe there are a few things to consider then and dependent on your profession and circumstances, there are possibly some other criteria to add. Never the less, most of us have been there and we’ve muddled our way through adequately enough. But is that really the best way to approach choosing a new employer?
The problem comes in that we always seem to have to compromise somewhere. There is never really the perfect job despite how much we’d all want that. As the old saying goes “If it seems too good to be true, it usually is”. Yet, that doesn’t appease our natural aspirations for craving something better though.
So if we have to compromise because there is never a perfect job whilst still yearning to improve our occupational outlook, how can we still become excited by our next career move? You almost want to convince yourself that this next job really is the dream one and, if need be, become blissfully ignorant of any of the drawbacks. More often than not the key benefits over your current role outshine any pitfalls that you can easily persuade yourself to overlook. For example if you’re unhappy about your salary and promotion prospects another role offering a better basic and talk of definite promotion opportunities inside 12 months can understandably turn your head. However, if you’ve become accustomed to a work life balance and a good understanding boss who gives you autonomy, what happens after a couple of weeks in a new job when you realise that the inflated salary means lots of pressure and stress, long and inconvenient hours and a tyrannical manager breathing down your neck every five minutes? Ok. Maybe that’s a worse case scenario, but we’ve all heard the horror stories and similar situations aren’t uncommon.
This article is a write up following a study that found 9 out of 10 people regret rushing career moves. Gone are the days when people stay in jobs for years. That in itself is a good thing I believe as people deserve to have the freedom of choice. Getting tied down to a bad employer when you have the skills and impact to deserve better mean that many other companies would embrace your services with open arms. That doesn’t mean, as the article identifies, that diving into a new career move is always a good thing. You need to consider a few factors first to ensure that you choose the right job:
1-Companies have become very effective at marketing when it comes to attracting employees. They know what picture to paint, what to say and how to say it. How many employers will admit that politics rule their offices, that managers shirk responsibilities and that their training programme consists of “get on with it then”? If we were led to believe companies employee attraction marketing campaigns nobody would ever want to leave these places. Remember, no company is perfect, so do your homework. That does require a balance though. Websites such as Glassdoor are beneficial but do bear in mind that 10 times as many people leave bad reviews as good reviews so it can be quite bias. Look at common patterns in the companies reviews to get to the real meat and bones. If every bad review says about politics and poor working conditions, there is no smoke without fire. Add to that employers themselves actively urging their staff to write positive reviews of their working experience to inflate the company’s profile and it negates some of the legitimacy of these sites. If for example you see that a company has suddenly received 10 positive reviews from current employees inside one week after not having posted any positive reviews for months something is very possibly amiss. And yes, this really does happen and isn’t uncommon.
2-Money. Ah, that old chestnut. It’s unlikely, unless you are volunteering of course, that money will not be a point of priority when considering a new venture. The obvious and natural desire is to seek more money. Most recruiters aren’t objecting that you should seek more money, with many actively encouraging this ideology, as we typically get paid on a percentage basis if we place you. The more your salary, the higher the fee your new employer needs to pay us. Add to that an immediate pay rise for you and it’s happy days right?
The real problem for me is in that in all honesty, and I may be alone here from a recruiter’s perspective, moving for more money isn’t necessarily a good tactic. This sounds strange right? A recruiter advising against trying to get more money? Seriously?
Don’t mistake me, if you are worth more, I’ll do my best to get you it. It’s business after all and I am in business. My point though, is that there is a trend for people simply moving for no other real reason than more money in the permanent recruitment world. It’s completely understandable if you are a contractor, but when I hear the term “new challenge” as a reason for leaving like it’s going out of fashion for someone seeking permanent work it does me think. What does “new challenge” even mean anyway? I can understand if you are going from a tea maker to an engineer as that is a step up and a challenge. But I am somewhat dubious to anyone who has had 10 jobs all doing the same thing and then who claims that they are “seeking a new challenge” by looking for the same job again for the 11th time. Just be honest, you want more money. We get it.
The problem for me is that I speak to many candidates who get a little too caught up spending their careers job hopping with the sole intention of getting more money each time when they do not have the skillset to either get promoted up the ranks or go contracting. If you have great skills aim for promotion or go contracting as companies will pay for talent, but if you have lots of competition with others holding the same skills as you, that doesn’t work too well. What happens after following a job-hopping routine? Typically, I find that if I interview someone who has followed this trend for 10 years they’d have been made redundant at least once or twice (taking minimal payoffs due to their brief tenures), they end up hating some of the jobs they’ve done and after all that time only have a minimal salary increase to show for it.
To conclude regarding money, if you really want to get substantial pay increases throughout your career you need to find a company that will either train and progress you up their career ladder or a company that will train you so that you can then go contracting. Either way, you need to get highly skilled. The danger with solely moving for more money is to ask yourself; why would a new company pay top dollar for your skills? The answer is that their money is going on your pay, not on your training. If you have average skills that can be found for two for a penny, you’re limited on your earning potential regardless of many how many companies you jump around with.
3-Reality Check – We all like to think we are god’s gift. Sometimes I even manage to convince myself that my baldness, double chin and generously nourished beer belly are attractive features. What do you mean they’re not? Yet our self-belief can sometimes be used against us.
I have been in sales for many years and one of the easiest, simplest and most effective ways to win rapport is to compliment and massage someone’s ego. For me, I simply attempt to pacify the invisible sales barrier so that we can talk normally, because as long as it’s sincere, it can break the ice. Then I can demonstrate how I can help them, the benefits of my services and that they discover I am actually a normal and genuine guy. Unfortunately, this technique isn’t always used this way.
It has been known for some unscrupulous employers to massage your ego and sell you the dream to get you on board. This is whilst the other honest and genuine employer, giving you the good and bad of what is actually a decent company, is subtly discredited. Therefore, it’s important to look for the substance and not make any kneejerk decisions. Sure you think you’ve got more sense than to fall for that, but it can easily be done. So take a reality check, have a think, talk to people with a neutral viewpoint and sleep on it. Do not rush into things.
4-Think ahead. This is linked in with the previous point but is worth noting separately. As human beings it is unnatural for us to automatically consider how our decisions today can impact our futures tomorrow. And by tomorrow that could hypothetically be 2, 3 or 10 years down the line.
Say you have two job offers on the table. Make the decision that will benefit you for the long term rather than the short term. For example, and for the sake argument, one of these job offers pays 5% more than the other and offers a BMW 3 series as a company car immediately. The other job offer pays 5% less and offers a mediocre make car. A short term decision would be to go with the higher pay and better car. It isn’t uncommon that when evaluating a candidates decision that these two elements have been the deciding factors. The irony can be discovered when taking a step back and asking yourself the question of why one job pays 5% less and offers an inferior car? The answer could quite simply be that the company is second-rate, financially worse off and is therefore an unsatisfactory option. But equally as common is that the money the company could have spent on your increased salary and executive car has instead gone on training, investment in your future and that of the company. Why is that important? More training for you will give you more skills and investment in you means long term career prospects. Both of these will see your earnings increase exponentially and if ever it didn’t work out with the firm, you have skills that the open market will pay much more than the 5% increase you would have been offered by the other firm had you have taken that option. If that is not enough, the company investing in its own future means growth, the career openings you’d want and long term security.
Too often we can get suckered into short term wins than long term gains and therefore it is important to always consider the long term when making career decisions.
5-What is it that you actually want? I mean that in the broader sense as in when considering the job, the company, your duties, the money, the future, your boss, the culture, the location, the hours etc. You’ll need to make compromises somewhere whether you like it or not. You can’t have it all. So before going on job boards and simply clicking every application that remotely sparks your interest, uploading your CV to various job board databases or changing your LinkedIn profile to indicate you are open to new opportunities take a few moments to answer the question to yourself. What is it that you really want when you get down to the nitty gritty. When you really think about it, this typically boils down to three different things dependent on the person. For me it’s progression, training and the job itself. But these can differ person to person and when choosing a career move you should ensure that what you apply for meets that criteria.
This can be a challenge if you are out of work. You need a job to pay the bills. You cannot afford to wait around for the right role. I guess under those circumstances your three key requirements are to get a job quickly, that pays enough to pay the bills and is bearable. Therefore, this post is probably better served for those already in employment and considering their next move.
To conclude this Post, presuming you are already in work and are considering your next move, you should:
Read between the lines when considering what company to work for by doing your homework on them. Don’t get suckered in by compliments, short term benefits and sales tactics. Take your time to understand what it is that you actually want and explore only the right options. Think for the long term and make decisions based on that and not just short term wins. And finally just because they are paying more money, don’t get blinded by the pound signs and instead look for the substance behind it.
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