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6 things you must be clear about before accepting a new role

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High Performance candidates like you seek a work environment where they can develop their career and climb the corporate ladder. 

Before reaching the top, they are likely to encounter difficult situations.  One dilemma that is surprisingly common is whether to leave a new job within a couple months of joining having discovered it was not the right role for you.

A recent survey of 300 HR managers conducted by the international staffing company, Robert Half, revealed that, in the US, someone having 5 jobs in 10 years would be considered a job-hopper. This sentiment is supported by recruiters in the UK.

Some recruiters perceive this as a lack of commitment, or an inability to integrate into company culture and assess this as a general decrease in employability. According to research (by the Centre of American Progress) every time a candidate leaves, approximately 21% of their salary is needed to find a replacement, and the percentage increases with seniority. Gallup identified that over 60% of people are in the wrong job.

There are many reasons that can lead to this situation.  

Here are six things you can do to reduce the chances of it happening to you.

1. Assess your boss 

“Businesses don’t fail, products don’t fail, projects don’t fail, and teams don’t fail – leaders fail. The best testament to the value of leadership is what happens in its absence – very little. If your boss fails to lead, his/her talent will seek leadership elsewhere.” (This is from an article by Mike Myatt). The article also stated that “More than 40% don’t respect the person they report to.” Leaving because you could not get on with your boss is the No. 1 ranked reason in research around the world.

ACTION: Diligently research your new boss; is s/he going to inspire you to great things and develop you or is s/he a self-centered bully who will care little for you

2. Will your skills be used fully? 

Around 35% of the employees in the US think their skills are not being fully used (according to a study by Florida International University). Eventually they become unhappy, less productive and leave the company.  If management fails to recognise and acknowledge what their staff could contribute then their effectiveness is not being fully optimised.  For example, a candidate is hired as a Project Manager, the project is discontinued and s/he ends up working in a daily operation support role. This is a clear waste of talent. 

ACTION: Check to what extent are your current skills going to be fully used? What will you learn in the role? Will you gain more qualifications and skills? 

3. Does the company culture match your motivations? 

Culture has two forms: organisational and country. Two firms in the same country may have very different cultures, one that would motivate and inspire you and the other would be a turn off. International cultures also have an impact. ‘Asian cultures prefer to build consensus, achieve harmony and avoid embarrassing others by direct criticism, and are especially disinclined to criticize employees in front of a group. Anglo-Saxon culture's tendency toward directness and straight talk can be seen as rude and abrupt by people from other cultures.’ (John Hooker of Carnegie Mellon University).

ACTION: Research the culture of the company you plan to join in great detail. Visit Glassdoor.com and speak to other employees. Discover what common attitudinal characteristics in the company will drive high performance and will drive low performance. Discover what gets rewarded and what gets punished. 

4. Does the role support your life goals?

It is becoming more common for candidates, especially graduates (born between 1977-1997) to have switched jobs several times from the time they graduate till they reach their 30s. According to a survey by Net Impact, candidates place increasing value in company culture, and personal development of a broad skill-set for career progression. A proportion of this new generation of candidates are willing to challenge themselves constantly in various environments to acquire new skills in exchange for job security, and perceived stability.

ACTION: Have you listed your life goals and will this role fit well with them? If not, reconsider if you actually can afford to take the job.

5. Do you know what is expected of you? 

The second ranked reason why people resign from a job is because they do not know what is expected of them. At the stage of being made a formal offer, it is sensible that you ask for a succinct list of the Key Performance Goals associated with success in the role you are being offered. The best companies will answer this easily, and will give you measures, metrics and targets to attain.

ACTION: Make sure, before you sign that offer letter that you have got a written response to your question about what the goals are, how your performance will be measured and what the targets are. 

6. What learning and development will you be given? 

If you were born after 1977 this is a critical question. It is too for older people, but the Gen Y people put more emphasis on it. Your long term career will depend on what and how you learn new skills and how you apply them.

ACTION: Ask the firm to elaborate details of your development plan. For example does the firm offer you a 90-day Fast Start plan designed to get you effective fast? If so what is in the plan? Look for real substance, and be wary of a superficial reply to this question. The above factors will help you to avoid making a “career foul”, signing up for a role that does not suit you.

We should always remind ourselves what we seek to achieve when we first decide to move to a new position, what  are the objectives for us to be satisfied and what are the goals that will make your role a success

Kind regards

Sandy Lee