Jerome Bull | 31 January 2019
Accepting a job with a new employer represents a significant and often daunting decision. Whilst employers tend to be increasingly thorough and scientific in the way they assess candidate suitability, how do you satisfy yourself that the job opportunity is right for you?
Recruiting companies use a range of techniques to assess job applicants for any given role. They often require candidates to go through a multistage process involving interviews with a variety of people and, increasingly, the completion of psychometric tests and/or simulation exercises. This extensive data-gathering enables organisations to make well-informed, high quality decisions about the individuals they recruit.
Having successfully reached the end of a challenging selection process, candidates understandably tend to be delighted to receive a job offer, particularly in a competitive marketplace. Relatively few, however, invest the same level of effort to research whether the opportunity is absolutely right for them. In undertaking their due diligence, we recommend that candidates address the following questions before making the leap:
1. Is the role clearly defined?
It is important to understand the background to any appointment, and to ensure that the role is well defined with a clear set of deliverables. If expectations are not set appropriately at an early stage in the relationship, it is difficult to measure your contribution and thereby satisfy your employer that you are delivering.
2. Is the company's strategy well thought-through, commonly understood and realistic?
Most companies will have a mission and vision including a set of clearly stated aims. It is worth discussing at interview how the strategy was formulated, who was involved and what measures are in place. You need to be satisfied that the strategy is robust and achievable, and that the required resources are available to deliver success.
3. Does the company have a successful track record?
Company accounts for PLCs tend to be readily available on their website, providing full details of their financial performance. Whilst it is less easy to research organisations not publicly listed, details are accessible via Companies House, and it is worth searching for on-line press releases. You should aim to identify and explore trends associated with company performance to understand the health of the business.
4. How will the move be interpreted by future employers?
This is particularly relevant when candidates are faced with the prospect of changing sector, moving from a large to a small company and/or shifting from a functional role to a generalist post (or vice versa). Under these circumstances you should consider your long-term career aims and reflect on any gaps in your CV before reconciling this with the skills and experience you will gain from making the move. Is there a match?
5. Can the organisation offer longer term career prospects?
It may be worthwhile exploring the organisation’s people development policies to establish whether or not future career prospects are likely. Candidates with aspirations beyond the role offered should seek evidence of people moving up through the organisation.
6. Is the chemistry/culture fit right?
It is critical to meet a representative sample of people including a range of prospective colleagues to ensure that there is fit from a cultural perspective. Many organisations will have a set of explicitly stated values and these are helpful, but a more realistic feel for the business can be gained by directly experiencing the working environment. Is it busy? How do people dress? Is it open plan? Do people appear enthusiastic and upbeat? Are ideas welcomed?
7. Was the selection process professionally managed?
The recruitment process, and the way it is managed, often tell you a lot about a company – speed, for example, tends to indicate a positive intention to fill the role. How long did the process take? Was it structured? Who was involved? Were you kept informed? Was it two-way? Were promises delivered on?
8. Is the remuneration fair?
In a competitive and ever-changing marketplace, it is sometimes difficult to gauge the value of a role in terms of salary and benefits package. Given the current economic climate, candidates are more inclined to make compromises in the belief that the dynamics of the market are against them. This is not necessarily true, however, as good people are always in demand. Make use of contacts and on-line resources to benchmark salaries and always believe in the value that you bring.