As part of our series on accepting a job offer, we recently talked with Chris Lee, an IT consultant who accepted a job to later find out that it was not a good fit. Today, we welcome a guest blog from Andrew Greenberg, managing partner of The Recruiting Division as he offers insight into some factors to consider before saying ‘yes’ to a job offer. To accompany this blog, be sure to check out this YouTube clip on the topic. Here’s his blog…
When you’re in the job market, carefully evaluating job offers is as important as receiving them. What do you think of when evaluating a job offer? Salary? Benefits and perks? The job description? While these are obviously important factors, your two most critical considerations should be Culture Fit and Career Growth.
Culture fit is a significant factor in the modern recruiting process. Employers are assessing culture fit in candidates and giving it as much or more weight than technical or functional qualifications in hiring decisions. With an emphasis on teamwork in the modern workplace, culture fit is an increasingly important criterion for hiring, and it should be equally important to you when assessing a job offer.
Your performance, achievements, job satisfaction and career development are all enhanced by good culture fit when you work in a company with people who have the same work ethos and abilities as you do. Culture fit is more than dress codes and work schedules. For instance, if you are an eccentric creative type who treasures flexibility, a button-down corporate environment may not be a culture fit for you, even if you have a master’s degree in IT management. As a candidate with a job offer, you need to assess culture fit every bit as much as the hiring manager does.
Different Ways to Assess Company Culture
The ideal way to get the “inside scoop” on company culture is to learn from the employees who work there. You can research employee opinions and assessment of employers at www.vault.com and www.glassdoor.com. A good way to connect directly with current or former employees is by connecting through www.linkedin.com and talking with or emailing them directly, asking for honest input about the company culture. You also can get some good information about culture during the recruiting and interview process with culture fit questions such as: “How would you describe the leadership style here?” and “What are your most successful employees like in terms of attitude, work ethic and achievements?”. You should also assess how you feel about those you meet during recruiting and interviewing. Do you like them and feel comfortable around them, interview nervousness aside? Annual reports and “Googling” the company for public relations articles, news releases, blog posts and tweets can also provide good information about company culture.
Once you have made your observations about Culture Fit, turn your attention now toward Career Growth. A focus of your research of and questions for prospective employers should be on how the position you are considering can provide career growth. More than just opportunity for advancement up the corporate ladder, career growth encompasses opportunities to work on interesting and meaningful projects, access to work with key clients or business units, and job “stretch,” new responsibilities and projects. Many employers discuss their orientation process during recruiting and selection. If top performers and managers participate in orientations so new hires are introduced, welcomed and mentored, that’s an indication of career growth built in to the company’s workforce development. Asking directly about how the company provides career growth is also a good way to find out how much career growth opportunity to expect. Many candidates and recruiters negotiate specific career growth milestones when the job offer is made.
Understanding Mission, Goals, Objectives and Direction
Pay particular attention to the mission, goals, objectives and direction (or lack thereof) of the company and division you are interviewing for to get a feel for a match or mismatch with your own career growth goals. If you are an accounting manager with a master’s degree in accounting and your goal is to become controller and then CFO, a position with a mid-sized company with a modest mission and no expansion plans will probably not be the best fit for you. If you are an ambitious salesperson with achievements and awards in your background, a highly competitive sales organization with a clear mission tied to sales and measurable sales objectives is going to be a better fit than a large corporation with a quota requirement and modest incentive program for their sales force.
Culture Fit and Career Growth are arguably two of the most important predictors of your ultimate success and happiness in a new organization. Do your due diligence, assess wisely, and enjoy the fruits of your job search!
Andrew Greenberg is the Managing Partner of The Recruiting Division – an on-demand Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) company based in the U.S. The Recruiting Division posts a daily blog, which you can access here. You can also join them online via their Facebook page, LinkedIn Company Profile, and Twitter account.