A few days ago, I began a series of blog entries focused on the process of evaluating a job offer. My first installment dealt with salary as this is often the first item a candidate focuses on when considering an offer of employment. Yesterday, the focus shifted to evaluating the actual role (what you will be required to do) and how one could approach evaluating if the job was a good fit or not. Today we look to your chances of being successful in the position.
In America there has always been the belief that with hard work, anything is attainable. While I do agree with this statement in most situations, when evaluating a job offer, I would not blindly accept this belief as fact. When evaluating whether an offer of employment is a good career move, one should ask:
Can You Be Successful In This Role?
This may seem like a strange question to ask oneself. We are hard workers who are quick to learn new skills or technology – of course, we can be successful in any role. In the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friends.” When evaluating an offer of employment, one has to consider if there are resources and people in place at the organization, or are the firm written commitments about supplying the needed resources, in order for one to be successful.
Resources: Hopefully you and your supervisor have discussed the metrics on which you will be evaluated for success in this role. In this conversation, it should be clear to both sides as to what is expected, timing, format, numbers, etc. Be sure to lay out all the factors that will determine your ‘success’ in the role. Now, step back and evaluate if you have the resources at your disposal (or has the employer made a firm commitment to supply you with the resources) to meet those ‘success’ metrics?
For example, some entry-level sales programs will recruit candidates and put them in a sink-or-swim scenario. Little training, no leads or existing clients, and minimal support – for someone new to the work force, there is a high likelihood of failure in this type of environment. For seasoned professionals, you may be expected to perform miracles under near-impossible conditions: trim expenses in a manufacturing firm by 15% and raise production 15% with no loss of headcount. If you are given these parameters for success, you may need to ask yourself if management has unrealistic expectations.
Job Function: Just because you are a superstar in your current role does not mean you will meet with the same success at the next level. I know several outstanding teachers who would not make a good principal, solid salespeople who would be lousy sales managers, local/state politicians who would fail on the national level – success at one level does not automatically translate to the next level. When evaluating an employment offer, you should consider, and be honest with yourself, if your skills are a good match for the demands of the future job.
Management and Co-Workers: Many studies have shown that the relationship one has with co-workers and direct managers weighs heavily in to one’s job satisfaction. When interviewing, consider if you would like to spend 8-10 hours a day around these people? Do you have some common interests that would allow you to forge a relationship? To think your co-workers do not play a large role in your job satisfaction is shortsighted – these are the people you will be working with on a pitch to a new client, the people you will be interacting with in staff meetings, and the people you will be depending upon to give you information in order for you to complete a project. They matter.
Possibly even more influential is your immediate manager. When evaluating an employment situation, one has to consider if he/she can work with and for the manager. If you do not respect or approve of the direct manager, your employment situation will be difficult. Micromanaging (or just as bad – being given no direction), inappropriate communication, ineptitude, and more are reasons for passing on a job offer. Don’t sign up to work for Bill Lumbergh.
Salary, job function, and opportunities for success are all factors when considering an offer of employment. In the end, you have to decide what opportunities are right for you and your situation. No two people will enter into a job offer decision with the same set of criteria for accepting or declining an opportunity.
What are other criteria that should be considered in evaluating job offers? Share away!