The motivations behind people’s decision to look for a new job are often pretty straightforward: more money, better hours, shorter commute, more flexibility, etc. These are all proactive reasons that afford plenty of time for the job search and evaluation, which is very important as there is much to consider.
A few suggestions for proactive job seekers looking to improve their lives:
- If possible, look for your next job while you have one. Doing so will put YOU in the driver’s seat once the conversation shifts from job fit to compensation requirements. Going to an interview as a firmly employed candidate versus a desperate, unemployed jobseeker makes a big difference. It is not always possible, but you are in a much better position if you enter a compensation discussion from a position of strength (employed) as opposed to from a position of weakness (unemployed).
- Stay committed to your current job up until the day you leave. It is very easy for someone to become negative, lazy, or apathetic toward their current job the minute they decide to start looking for a new one. Fight this urge. After all, you may NOT find a better job and you may need to settle back in. Don’t risk doing irreparable harm to your current job or put it at risk until the day you receive a formal offer letter from your new employer.
- Once you find an opportunity that looks interesting, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. The more intelligent you are about the company you are interested in, the better your chances of securing an interview and getting that job. Look at their online reviews on GlassDoor, Indeed, etc. and thoroughly review their website, marketing presence, etc.
- Check for any mutual connections on LinkedIn: If you do have any, reach out to them and ask what are the pros and cons of working at this company. You may get an earful that will help you avoid a costly mistake
- Ask if it would be ok for you to take a half day and shadow someone who is currently in the role you are considering. If they say no, they very well may have something to hide. If they say yes, take advantage. This will give you an inside out perspective that is hard to get otherwise.
What you might find through the above process is a renewed appreciation for your current job. Or, it could fully validate and finalize your decision to proceed with this new job, eliminating any reservations you may have had.
Remember that you spend more time with your work colleagues than anyone, perhaps even your family so you better get it right. These are the people you’ll be doing life with. Be sure you aren’t going from a mildly frustrating environment to a downright detestable environment just to collect a few extra nickels a month or to reduce your commute a bit.
On the flip side of this discussion is the employer. Employers, BE TRANSPARENT with potential new employees once they get to the interview stage. It’s ok to focus on all the positives when you are in the job advertising and recruiting phase as your first step is to secure the interview. That said, once you get to the interview stage, you need to tell the applicant about every challenge, frustration, and growing pain that they will soon run into if they take the job. Be tactful of course, weaving in the positives and sharing what is being done to address the known issues and challenges. The applicant will appreciate the transparency and it will go along way to help secure their trust and hopefully, the hire.
The last thing you want to become is a future mulligan for this new hire, and the last thing the candidate wants is to start the stressful job search process over again in 3, 6, or 12 months. If they don’t stick around, it will have all been a waste of time, energy, and resources for both parties.
Changing jobs is a big deal. Be diligent, resist the urge to run from a job. Instead, run to a job, but only after careful consideration, thorough vetting, and much research!