You have just completed your interviews and managed to convince your prospective employer(s) that you have the right skills. What do you do when you have more than one option at hand? When you think that you have just sailed through the critical stage of obtaining an offer, think again. But first pat yourself on the back for the success of creating more demand for your skills in the marketplace.
Nonetheless, deciding on your next career move is the crucial point in crafting your future. At this stage, you are now in the position to evaluate the prospective employer after they have evaluated you. The following are the 7 criteria to guide you through what to consider before accepting a job offer.
What was the reason for leaving your past job?
Think hard through the reason why you left your job in the first place and began looking out. Were you looking for new skills or a different lateral industry where your skills can be put to better use? Were you just tired of the office politics and too much energy was expanded in everyone making themselves look good? If your push factor from the job you are intending to leave is office politics, ask yourself, “How do I judge that the next employer will not be the same?”. What is the evidence that you are referencing to come up with that conclusion?
The reason being is that if you are “escaping” from your current job, you might look at the new company in an overly optimistic perspective. This is exactly when the grass looks greener on the other side. The message is, you first have to decide that you are not overly pessimistic in evaluating your current employer and the work conditions that come with it. Once you have cleared that out of your mind, you can now really start to decide and not look back.
Many would argue that money is one of the most important factors in choosing a job, but as we are moving on with more millennials joining the workforce, money becomes less of a motivating factor as the focus is shifting to workplace engagement or as searching for meaningful work takes lead. Despite that, if salary is your primary objective to increase your standard of living with a career change, compare the offers you have on hand. How much have you negotiated? Are you being paid top of the range in the industry for the job that you are doing? Surely, you could check out salary surveys such as Robert Walter’s salary survey or on Glassdoor.
Typically, assuming that you are paid at median salary, you should look at a 15-20% increase for the risk of moving from one company to another and should expect more if you are promoted to a more senior role than your current job. Since salary is not the only factor at play, what else should you look for in the next prospective job?
If you are in your job for a few years and not progressing, you probably are looking for a fresh environment or a specific work experience. When in this situation, look at what new responsibilities that will come with the new job that will stretch your abilities. How could you contribute more and be of more value? If you want to get ahead in the long term, you would have to choose the job that would expand your job scope.
This could be being responsible for:
- more dollar transactions
- increasing number of direct reports
- having higher quality direct reports
- higher $ value customers
- a larger geographical area
- technical skills that has future demand
If you are responsible for higher dollar value customers/transactions, the profit you are making for the company is higher. Guess who gets paid higher? If your direct reports of a higher operating intellectual level, they get paid more, you will be paid more. It is just that simple. Only then you can decide whether the move will help or hurt your career. But what if the next job offers a higher salary but comes with less responsibility?
You have to ensure that that at least one element above is exceeded by your next job, otherwise you might be just accepting a job that is not adding value to yourself. You are just getting paid the higher range of your current job. You can read my other article on how you can systematically develop your career, here.
Decide with the knowledge that you would not be increasing the chances of your future advancement, but if you are happy doing what you do and happier to receive a higher salary, why not? Nevertheless, if you are thinking to advance your long term career prospect, accepting a job that pays less but with a higher set of responsibilities, you will still be making the right move.
Take an example of an IT specialist who works in a low margin textile factory, moving to a high end luxury company with a higher profit margin. By doing the exact same job function, he will be paid higher due to the higher dollar transactions he is responsible for as more complexity (or workload) is automatically introduced into the job.
Is there a position title that you are aiming for? In my opinion, interviewers would look beyond position titles as they differ from one company to another. Interviewers are trained to best understand the work experience of the interviewee and how it matches the job description. Therefore, the position title must reflect the actual function/responsibilities as stated above in work experience.
For example, between an option of the title of Vice President of Marketing that is responsible for a $1 million vs. a Marketing Manager who is responsible for $10 million division. Which is likely the higher paying job assuming both jobs are in similar industries? Therefore, the position title should not be an important factor when evaluating a prospective job.
Are you looking for more advancement opportunities in a larger company? A larger company with more employees does seem to have a higher chance of employee turnover in absolute numbers. You may come across more vacancies that occur more frequently than the smaller company that you are used to. In spite of that, be prepared that there will certainly be more competition in the form of more qualified colleagues and a larger talent pool that the company can select from.
You should definitely not discount smaller and more nimble companies, especially if they are moving to be market leaders in the future. Would you consider to work for a mid sized company that could pay off big time? Every dominant company including Google once started small. The key message here is while considering the company size today, consider the company’s future trajectory as well.
This is becoming one of the major decision factors as healthcare costs are increasing. Company benefits are pretty much straight forward as it can be evaluated in dollars and cents. However, a word of caution is to ensure that you have healthcare coverage during the job transition when you might want to take a holiday before transitioning to the new job.
Consider this, although you might be fit and seemingly in the pink of health, you are dealing with the element of pooled risk or “chance”. You must be covered during the period of the transition a (and even during the probation period) as you are not covered by any employer’s insurance scheme during your break.
In an unfortunate case, and as the story goes, the employee just accepted a promotion in the new company and is still an unconfirmed employee. One fine morning, she noticed unusual body pain and to sum up, she was diagnosed with cancer.
Although she was fully dedicated to her work and on a bright path, ultimately the illness prevented her from performing her day to day responsibilities which affected her job confirmation. What a testing time it was. There was no income, dealing with uncertainty of the illness and to top it off, with no health insurance coverage once she was finally let off her job. The message is that basic healthcare coverage is a must while transitioning from one company to another.
What is it like working the new company? Be sure to ask what is the work culture like during the interview and try to notice whether the office is bubbly or only buttoned up formal conversation is taking place during the interview. These days, you can find online reviews of the prospective employer, although you would have to take it with a pinch of salt as most reviews would be coming from disgruntled employees.
Work life balance
Since not everything is about advancing your career, you might be at a stage in life where your family comes first and you can squeeze work into your life while staying super productive. So consider this as well when picking from the options that you have in hand. How family oriented is each company?
Is the company supportive of woman in the workplace and understanding family issues? There are more companies that are shifting towards having more work life balance. You can glance through 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers.
Guys feeling left out? Fret not, check out the 50 Best Places to Work for New Dads.
There is no best job, just the best fit for yourself and situation. I hope the 7 perspectives above would have guided you in deciding your next journey. Having said all of that, you would have to be very lucky to have all 7 criteria being in your favor.
Since we do not live in an ideal world, improving even one criteria for the next job would be sufficient. You would have to consider your push factors from your current job if any, meaning how eager are you to change job and how long have you been job hunting.
Share this link with those who might benefit from this or are considering the next job option, you might just have helped them on how to decide whether to take a job offer.
Are you happy with your salary increase? Read this article on Average salary increase per year & inflation
Thinking of career progression? Read this article on Career progression: how long to wait for a promotion before looking out
Thinking of attending the next interview? Read this article on How to stand out in an interview? 5 ideas to make a good impression
Afraid to make mistakes in the next interview? Read this article on 5 common mistakes to avoid during an interview
Feeling dissatisfied with work lately? Read this article on Are you feeling disengaged from work? 4 simple ways to know
Thinking of career development? Read this article on How to develop your career and 4 steps to achieve what you want