Do these New Year resolutions sound familiar: I’m going to lose weight, start exercising and find a new job.
Based on past experience, I think finding a new job has the highest likelihood of success! If you’re really serious about making a job change in 2018, here are some things you need to look at before you make a change.
Are you running away from something or to something? People change jobs for many reasons, but the research suggests that a majority of people begin looking for a new job because they’re unhappy with their boss. Getting up every morning and dreading the thought of going to work with people you don’t respect is a demoralizing experience. When your primary motive is to escape a toxic environment, then you are vulnerable to making some poor career choices.
Consider that the “grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.” Trust me, your employer does not have a monopoly on terrible bosses. Not all employers are created equal. There are some great organizations that have earned an excellent reputation for treating their employees fairly. But, remember even those employers have a few managers who are far from perfect. Do your homework to ensure your new employer and especially your new boss will be a significant improvement over your current circumstances.
It has been my experience that a majority of job candidates do not come well prepared to interview their new employer. Whenever possible, ask the employer to send you a detailed job description before the formal job interview. This gives you time to develop a list of questions and clarify job responsibilities and performance expectations. Ask how and how often they conduct performance evaluations. Do they have a formal mentoring process or is it an informal on-the-job training process? Your objective is to engage your new employer in an open and honest dialogue. If you notice they are uncomfortable answering your questions, then I would be concerned this is how you might be treated once you’re on the payroll.
Several people have told me they don’t want to appear too aggressive or pushy during the job interview and that’s why they don’t ask many questions. If you don’t ask direct questions, then how will you know if your new employer is any better than what you’ve got?
Let’s look at the other side of this coin. If I’m conducting the interview and you don’t have well-thought-out questions, I’m concerned that you’re running away from something and you’ll accept any job offer. I want to hire people who take the initiative to ask questions and ensure this job is a step forward. To determine a mutual interest and good fit we need to engage in an authentic conversation. Of course, your objective is to get a job offer, but it’s an enormous mistake to move for the wrong reasons.
I’m not a big fan of the question “Where do you want to be in 10 years?” but it’s still important to have a general conversation about your perception of the future. Is the company growing and is there an expectation of relocation for promotions? Are you interested in managing people or is it your preference to excel as a technical expert? There is a delicate balance between showing an interest in advancement while convincing your future employer you are committed to excelling in your current position. My advice is to emphasize the “here and now” with a sincere interest to grow in the future.
So, is a new job in your immediate future? The right answer is yes, if the circumstances are a significant improvement over your current situation. And that improvement is more than just a bigger paycheck; you need to ensure you’re working with people you respect.