Sometimes I find that employees are so interested in leaving their current employer that they don’t stop to think about why they are leaving and to truly define what type of company they would like to join. Jumping from the oven to the frying pan is not a very good plan. I encourage candidates to describe the perfect employer if they could map out utopia. Most have no clue because their focus is to get the hell out of their current situation. Not a good plan. Nope.
I find that when I put my thoughts to paper it gives me the clarity I need to help me make the right decision. The same applies to candidates that are considering a new opportunity. I would strive to make sure you are making the right decision using the following factors (on paper please):
1. Do I know enough about the culture of the new company? Asking current employees will often tell you what you need to know. Ask the person you are interviewing with to speak to 2 or 3 current employees. It’s amazing how candid they will be with prospective new recruits. Based on what you learn – are you a good fit? Don’t wait to learn about the culture after the fact. Bad news early is usually good news.
2. Ask yourself “Am I going to grow and learn new skills in the new company or will I be doing exactly what I am doing right now?” To be happy and content most of us want to learn new skills and develop and grow as individuals. Make sure the new company has a career platform that will allow you to do that. What is the upward mobility or career track for the position? That’s a great question to ask during the interview.
3. Will I have fun at the new company? If you are not going to look forward to going to work – you should stay put until you find an employer that will energize you about getting out of bed each day. You should look forward to going to work each day! That matters. Life is entirely too short so make sure you will have fun at your new employer.
4. Is the compensation in line with the skills, experience and education you bring to the table? Make sure if you do make a move you are doing so for more cash compensation that you are earning today. It’s too risky to make a move unless you are going to have more earning power for you and your family.
5. Do employees seem passionate about what they do? This is very telling for me and a great way to gauge a new opportunity. I have to have passion for what I do or I might as well just pack up and leave. Passion is believing in what the company does and being excited to be a part of it. You can usually feel that when you are in the building by watching the behavior of the employees. Not always – but usually. Dig deep here and make sure you are on board with whatever the company delivers, manufactures, develops or sells. It’s important.
6. What will it be like to work for your new boss? Once again, by speaking to several employees they will usually give you the inside scoop on your new boss. Is he/she a mentor-coach or a micro-manager? If it’s the latter – RUN. And run fast. Hopefully you have had the chance to spend time with your new boss and have a pretty good idea what it will be like to work for them. How are they different from your old boss? Why do people like to work for them? Ask the question.
This is by no means a complete list – but for me it’s my non-negotiable list. What’s yours?