When most consider whether or not they should accept a new role the first thing that they look at is compensation. What is the salary? While I understand that, we all work for a paycheck, it isn’t the only thing you need to consider. In fact, in the long run, the other factors listed below will probably have a much greater impact on your day to day happiness and your career. So while yes, please make sure every move you make is a move that makes sense from a compensation standpoint, don’t make that move without considering the other factors listed in this post. Some of these will be pieces of information available to anyone with a computer and other factors will be things you can only know if you have had the chance to interview. Either way they are all crucial in your attempt to make sure you are making the right move.
Is this a resume builder?
So the first thing consider before applying for a job is how this job will impact the story I am able to tell with my resume. Imagine you are in your next big interview and you really want the job. The hiring manager is looking at your resume, looks up at you and asks “Why did you leave ABC Company to go to XYZ Company?”. Will you be able to articulate an answer that makes sense and positions you as the type of person this manager wants on their team? If no, then you might have a problem. Many of the other things I put on this list might be no brainers to many of you however this is often overlooked. If you go from a people manager to an individual contributor role, you had better be able to give a great reason as to why that made sense for you. Jumps like that can often be considered red flags and if someone considers it a red flag you can rest assured that they are going to ask you about it. If they ask you about it and you want to continue in the interview process then you better have a pretty good reason as to why you made the decision you made.
What are the duties of the job?
How many of you have looked at a posting with the title of the job you are interested in and applied without reading the entire description? I know I have. You figure, I know this is the type of role that I am interested in, I know what this type of person does in their role, what is the point of reading the description right? Wrong. What a Manufacturing Engineer does for one company can greatly differ from what they might do for another. What if a company you are interested in applying at has you responsible for a task you don’t do in your current role and absolutely hate? It might impact your interest in that new role right? You can get a lot of this information from the job description but a ton of this information can be obtained during the interviews as well. For example, when you are meeting with your potential new boss and it’s time for you to ask questions, you can say something like this “I have read over the job description and it sounds like something I would be a great fit for. However I wanted to ask you, what are the most important tasks that will be performed by the person who takes this role?” That right there will give you a great idea of your day to day but also the inflection, enthusiasm and order of the tasks can give you information on what will monopolize your time and in what arenas your performance will shape your boss’s view of you as an employee. Another great question to ask is “For the first six months, what projects or tasks are a priority for the person who ultimately takes this role?” This question will let you see what you are walking into more clearly than most job descriptions out there. Don’t like the answer to this question? Maybe you should consider pulling out of the process.
What kind of financial state is the company in?
If you do any kind of research I have to imagine you will come across this information. That being said, I simply could not leave it off this list. It is simply to important not to mention. A simple google search should give you everything you need in terms of information here. Look for headlines, perhaps check out their stock if they are public. What has their last 52 weeks looked like? If you are doing research and you see that the company is having a really tough time financially it is certainly something that needs to factor into your decision. I have spoken with many candidates who made a change just to find themselves looking for a job again when the company they recently joined had a layoff. What makes this even more important is that if you get hired by a company and they decide to do a layoff, who do you think they let go first, the new hire or someone who has been there for five years. While a lot of factors go into that, personally I don’t like my odds much in that situation. That being said, there are times when it makes sense to go to a company who doesn’t have the rosiest outlook financially. Maybe it is a huge promotion for you. Perhaps they have seen the worst of it and should soon be on the way up. Perhaps you are being hired into a role so niche and critical that by its very nature it affords you stability. So while yes, sometimes it is worth the gamble, it is something you should be very aware of either way before you decide to make a move.
What kind of expectations are you walking into?
Just as important as everything else we have already covered is the expectations you will be expected to meet. This is especially true in roles that are performance based like sales. That being said, almost every role in existence has measurables. It behooves you to know what these expectations are. It is important that you set yourself up for success. It is almost an ironclad rule in recruiting that it is far easier to find a job when you have one then when you don’t. So if you accept that as fact, which you should, it really helps illustrate why this point is so crucial. The last thing you want to do is leave a role you are comfortable in, only to find yourself in a situation where you are unable to meet the goals set forth or doing so makes you miserable. A good way to find this out is use the interview to ask your future boss “What are the expectations or goals this person is responsible for meeting?” This answer should give you a pretty clear understanding of what you need to do and the emphasis placed on meeting these goals. Changing your place of employment is stressful enough without walking into a situation you feel you aren’t capable in succeeding in.
What is the culture like?
It is has been said that culture eats strategy for breakfast. In my opinion that’s true, the best culture is going to attract the best talent and at the end of the day talent is king. The best talent gives you the best chance of winning at whatever it is that you are doing. In my opinion you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t so everything in your possibility to find out as much about the culture as you can before you accept a role. When you are onsite, how do the people look? Do they look happy? Ask the receptionist what their favorite part about working there is. You also want to ask the hiring manager about the culture on their team. They may not tell you 100% of the truth but their answer should shed some light on it. You also want to go to sites like Glassdoor. They have reviews from employees and former employees. If you do that make sure you look at several. You don’t want one disgruntled review to incorrectly shift your perspective of the company. Rather look at a bunch, are you noticing a trend? Is it a trend you are comfortable with? Lastly, check out LinkedIn. Are you connected with anyone who works there or has work there? You can do a search on LinkedIn using the Advanced tab. See the images below, click the advanced tab in pic one and it will take you to search screen in pic 2. Simply put in the company name and click 1st connections and search. You will be able to see every connection who works there or has in the past. Shoot them a message. Ask them how they like working there. That should help you get a clear picture of the culture.
What kind of career development is offered?
While all of these are important pieces of information for you to have, for me this is one I absolute must have a clear answer on. I am the type of person who has a need to constantly develop, get better and expand. Some companies will enable you to do and that some wont. Some companies will have the resources to help you develop, some wont. So companies are going to have the programs in place to facilitate this development and some wont. You need to know what kind of company you are joining when it comes to employee development if this is in any way valuable to you. For me its huge so I need to know. This is another one where you can research it in multiple ways. While you are on glassdoor researching culture, look for employees talking about the development being part of the company afforded them. Reach out to people via LinkedIn and see what if anything they took advantage of as employees. Lastly and most importantly, ask in your interview. Not only does it look good to most employers that you are interested in continuing to develop as a professional (if it doesn’t look good to them do you really want to work there anyway) it’s also a great way to get the answer you need. If the manager can tell you what is available to you and perhaps even gives you examples of the programs their staff has taken advantage of that is gold. If they struggle to give you examples it means one of three things. The first possibility is they don’t really have anything in terms of development. The second is that the boss isn’t aware because there staff hasn’t taken advantage of it, which probably means it isn’t that important to them. The third possibility is they have severe short term memory loss. All joking aside its either example one or example two and quite frankly neither would sit great with me.
What is your new boss like?
Of all the factors this is the one that carries the most weight. I have had bad bosses and have a couple bosses that were great. In my experience nothing impacts your day to day more than the quality of and your relationship with your boss. If you meet with the boss and it doesn’t go really well or you don’t particularly care for the boss, you need to very strongly consider your options. For me if I don’t like the boss, have some kind of chemistry and feel like they will invest in me, none of the rest of this matters. Google or Apple could call me tomorrow and if I don’t mesh with the person who will be my new boss they are going to get a thanks but no thanks. A boss who believes in you will invest in you. Think about career development. Do you think a boss you don’t get along with is likely to encourage you to take development opportunities? Speak highly regarding your potential to others in the organization? Get the best out of you? Push you forward when it comes time to potentially interviewing for advancement opportunities? I’ve heard the saying “Don’t choose a position or a company, choose a boss” and while I believe in pragmatically looking at every component and then making a decision, if you are looking for a criteria to assign a higher value, pick this one. A good boss can not only make your next job great but it can make your career. It can lead you to be promoted to the next role or perhaps you could even get taken to your next company if your boss leaves and is able to take staff with them. It can lead to you being given opportunity that diversifies your skillset to make you invaluable.
So there you have it, those are my 7 Crucial Factors That Are More Important Than Salary When Considering a New Role. Again, I don’t mean to downplay finances in the decision making process. That has always been important to me. However if you don’t take a look an examine these other factors as well you might end up regretting the move. So what did you think? Did I miss any factors that are just as important? Please feel free to comment on my blog or in the groups you find this in, whether it be Google+ or LinkedIn. If you like this post please feel free to use the icons to share with your social networks. If you have time, head on over to my most recent articles on automating your job search, 3 Essential Tactics to Automating Your Job Search. Thanks and have a great day!