There are numerous reasons why you might be ready to enter the job market, each presenting their own unique pressures.
If you’re unfortunate enough to be faced with redundancy, you will likely be feeling a heightened sense of urgency to accept a role. If you’re feeling undervalued in your current organisation, you might question whether your contribution could be better appreciated elsewhere. You might also be feeling that there is scant opportunity for progression in your current company or the role is limiting you, and that a similar role in another organisation might be what you need.
When it comes to deciding whether to embark on a job search, whatever your reasons for seeking something new, you need to make sure that leaving your current role is the right decision, and that any new organisation you join will actually improve your sense of job satisfaction – after all, the grass is not always greener on the other side.
Here, we look at some of the factors that contribute firstly to making the decision to leave and secondly, whether the roles and organisations you are applying to will be right for you.
During your working years, you spend nearly a third of your time in the workplace. Therefore it’s important to know whether a role will allow you to progress your career in the way you envisage.
As well as impressing prospective employers with what you can bring to their organisation (this is of course priority number 1!), it’s important to bear in mind that eventually, your hard work, eagerness to learn and the results you achieve will need to translate into career progression for you to feel truly fulfilled.
During the interview process, try to find out how the employer invests in their people’s competency and skills, for example, courses that feed directly into improving your capabilities. Companies who recognise the need to constantly improve their employees’ skills are much more likely to recognise the need to also provide upwards progression.
Find out, also, whether there are any internal schemes designed to enhance your skills, and what the requirements to get involved might be (for example, fast-track management schemes or specific skills training). Showing prior interest in this kind of initiative will confirm to your interviewer that you are motivated to achieve, but don’t be too ruthless – it will be a turn-off for an employer if they think you are just looking for a ‘foot in the door’ of a company, and are more interested in moving up than doing a great job in the role being offered.
Few things contribute more to day-to-day happiness at work than the internal culture of your organisation. From the messages you receive from the top of the business to the way colleagues and peers support each other to the charitable work the company undertakes, culture contributes much to your sense of fulfilment in the workplace.
As well as showing how you can personally contribute to the culture of your prospective organisation, try to delve deeper into how the firm ensures a great culture. For this, doing your research is key. Try to speak to existing or past employees to gain a realistic view of the working environment. Take a look at the company’s online presence – do they speak with pride on their website about the values they hold, both for their people and their customers? Do these match with your own values?
Additionally, think about how you felt in your interview – of course, they are designed to separate the wheat from the chaff, so a challenging interview should be seen as a positive signifier of culture. However, consider how you felt in the interviews you’ve attended. Which companies made you feel most comfortable? In which interview did you best connect with the people you met? These factors can give an indication as to the firm whose culture you are most likely to fit with.
In a world where time is increasingly scarce, you need to ensure that you balance work and outside life. A prospective employee who has proven their dedication and expertise on paper (their CV) and face-to-face (in interview) should ensure a good work/life balance, both for the benefit of their performance and enjoyment of their role.
For example, that 30 mile commute may have seemed child’s play when you first looked at the job advert. However, as it becomes a reality, is it really going to be sustainable? What are your obligations with regards to overtime or even your contracted hours? It’s easy to focus on landing the role and forget the practical considerations outside of the job itself, so make sure you assess accurately how your new working situation will affect your day to day life, and whether these changes will be sustainable in the long-term.
Different organisations have very different remuneration packages and incentives, so make sure you compare and contrast them accurately to determine which work best for you – especially if you are lucky enough to have multiple job offers on the table.
There are many things to consider in this area, however, don’t underplay the ability of a good benefits package to make a real difference to everyday life – things like income protection, fair amounts of paid leave, interest free loans or gym memberships can all make you feel more secure and valued in your role, and can make work more rewarding.
If you’re considering an offer, depending on the type of role and the type of employment (part time, temporary, full time, contract etc.) you might find the benefits package is the competitive difference between one employer and the next.
That said, make sure a benefits package doesn’t obscure your thinking about the role itself – are you considering an unsuitable role due to the calibre of the benefits package?
Trying to leverage a better deal with your current employer off the back of a new job offer is a risky move. Some firms have a strict policy against counter offers, as an employee who has sought a new role is unlikely to be as committed as the firm requires them to be. Where this is the case, you should be extremely cautious as this can (and has) resulted in the loss of job offers and a deterioration in the relationship with the original employer.
However, if your organisation is one that considers counter offers as a means of retaining talent and a counter offer is made off the back of your job offer, this could equally be cause for concern. Did you suddenly become a more capable employee just because you were offered another role? If the organisation can afford (and are willing) to pay you more at this juncture, then did they value you sufficiently before?
It could of course be that you are great at your job and your employer really wants to retain your talent – if this is the case, simply operate with honesty and caution and you should get the result you want.
Even though the world of job hunting sometimes requires steely determination and tireless drive to get the result you want, when it comes to making sure your job is as fulfilling as possible, taking your time to consider all of the facts before making a decision will stand you in the best stead. It might feel – in the competitive world of seeking employment – like you need to accept a role promptly or risk losing it, however stepping back and weighing everything up will, in the long run, be of great benefit to your life both in and out of work.