The world and beyond – Surviving in the economic jungle

Advice, tips and tricks on how to engage with the UK jobs market and commercial environment, from a female executive's perspective

Archive for February 2012

Guide to Job Hunting: 6 things to consider before accepting a job offer

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Scoring an offer means you’ve made it through the toughest part of the job hunt. All the applications, research, and hard work has paid off—congrats!

But not all the stress is over just yet. Now comes an important decision: whether or not to accept the position. How do you know if it’s the right job for you? Or, what if you have to choose between two appealing offers?

I have heard candidates say; ” I will accept but I still have a second interview pending. I can always turn it down again later, if I get a better offer elsewhere.”

Actually, no you can’t. Because accepting a job offer, according to British employment law, is entering into a contract and this is equally binding on both employer and employee. There is of course the small issue of trust – How would it affect you if someone did this to you, for example if they had agreed to buy your old car or house and then pulled out at the last minute?

Weighing the dozens of pros and cons can easily be overwhelming, so here are the most important factors to keep in mind when you’re making that important decision.

1. The People

No, my number one consideration is not the money—it’s the people. Your boss, your team, and the co-workers that will surround you everyday are crucial for your happiness and success at a job. Sure, it’s hard to judge people after only meeting them briefly, but think about how they treated you during the interview process. Were they friendly? Did they ask personal questions as well as professional ones? Did they call you back in a timely manner?

The answers to these questions may reflect how your co-workers and superiors will treat you as an employee.

2. The Environment

Weigh the pros and cons of working for a corporation, an agency, a charity, or a start-up. They’re very, very different environments, and it’s important to decide which you’d thrive in. If you’re more of an individual worker who likes structure and competition, the corporate path may be for you. If you want a fast-paced environment that’s new every day, an agency or start-up may be a good choice.

The physical location is also important to consider. For example, a long commute  may pull down your everyday attitude. Nothing is worse than going to a miserable work environment every morning—and even worse, taking that unhappiness home with you, too.

3. The Benefits

If a company offers its employees perks like health, dental, retirement, and flexible spending plans, it could mean they’re competitive and doing well financially. If they don’t offer benefits package, it might just be because they’re small, but it could also imply that they’re struggling as a company.

Even if benefits aren’t overly important to you, consider how this compares to your current package and ask yourself whether you can do without the benefits in return for the other perks you can see in the job.

4. The Stability

A lot of organizations are able to impress with their past work or current profits, but take some time to do research on the company’s recent success and hiring activities. Has it been operating steadily during this crazy economic climate? If so, you’re likely looking at a pretty stable job. If not, be careful: you could be walking into a hazardous environment and a job that could be gone within a year. Companies with track records of hiring and firing are likely to do so again in future.

5. The Money

When looking at a job offer, or comparing two, often the most tempting thing to do is to go for the money, but that’s not necessarily the right approach. Salary is only a small part of my happiness at work.

Consider what salary you could live with, as well as the amount that would make a job offer irresistible, and keep those numbers in mind (and of course, negotiate!). Think more about potential of the whole package and less about the numbers on your monthly paycheck.

6. Your Gut

Finally, after you’ve weighed the important factors, take time to listen to what your gut is telling you. People often say when they’re buying a house, “when you walk into the one, you’ll feel it.” Same advice here: if you walk out of  an interview and everything feels right (or wrong),  pay attention to that feeling. The money might not be perfect, but if you feel good about the people, the role, the environment, then that is a good sign. Go for it!

Guide to Job Hunting: Beware the Web! Manage your presence

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In a fierce jobs market, you should think carefully about your online footprint before posting about negative out-of-work experiences online.

People are more likely than ever before to take to the Web to complain, according to new research from Computer People. The IT recruitment specialists polled 1000 workers on their attitudes to complaining online and 51% admit to posting comments about a negative experience on Internet sites.

An online complaint or negative post (for example after receiving poor customer service from an online retailer) may seem an effective way of making a point, but career changers could be unintentionally damaging their online image.

With that in mind, a reactive online rant after an incredibly frustrating ‘please hold, your call is valuable to us’ experience, may help to get grievances off the chest, but could prove career-limiting in the long run. Complaining online can be an effective way of conveying a point, but doing so in a polite and measured fashion will prevent those spur-of-the-moment comments being misconstrued.

Just as candidates are developing increased awareness of what’s on their social media profiles, it is now becoming routine for employers to vet potential candidates more widely online. Applying for a job is now about so much more than just the CV and a reference. Businesses want to absorb as much information as they can from potential hires and therefore they research candidates’ Web activities in depth.

As the most active group of online complainers, young professionals run the highest risk of a previous comment landing them in hot water. Over four in five (83%) 16-24 year olds have taken to the keyboard to air their grievances online.

Men narrowly edge out women in the complaints stakes, with 10% and 9%, respectively describing themselves as ‘regularly’ taking issue with a company or experience online. Meanwhile, Welsh workers are the most likely to vent online, with 17% ‘regularly’ complaining, whilst a mere 5% of employees in the South East do the same.

It’s a well known fact that it’s incredibly difficult to cover online tracks once they’re made. The last thing a candidate wants is an off-the-cuff complaint to affect their professional reputation in an interview with a potential employer. While employees are becoming increasingly social-media savvy and utilizing privacy settings, rude complaints on other sites could just slip though the net.

It is always wise to think carefully before making a negative comment about an organization or complaining in a space that it viewable to all. That’s not to say you can’t complain online – it can be a highly effective medium – but it is worth ensuring any comments are polite and reasonable.

(Information obtained from IT News Online)

Written by Cathy Richardson

February 6, 2012 at 9:37 am

Posted in Recruitment

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