Whether it’s your first or last job there are a lot of things to consider when making that all important decision about accepting or rejecting an offer of employment. However there are 3 things which are more important than anything else, even money. Even money? Yes even money and don’t go giving me but what if they want to pay me a billion dollars scenario, because this is planet earth and rarely are we offered any form of employment where our compensation is several multiples of the going rate for the same work.
So what’s more important than money when it comes to evaluating the opportunity?
1. The role
2. The company
3. The hiring manager
The role must be interesting, challenging, an opportunity to learn new skills, gain more industry knowledge and a stretch in some way from your previous role. You will also need to look beyond year one and understand that once you have come up to speed and can do the work what will the challenges be in year two and I am not talking about whether you will get a promotion I am talking about the level of responsibility, the increasing challenge, the continuous learning opportunities that the role will present. You must understand the size and scope of the role but most important of all you must understand what measurable, tangible results will you be expected to deliver in order to be successful. All roles have measurable, tangible results that you will be assessed against. Be sure you understand that during the interview process. If those results are impossible then the role is not for you. If they are too easy to accomplish you run the risk of being bored and failing too.
Rats always leave a sinking ship. Now I am not saying you are a rat but if you were my advice would be to get in the rat race to leave the ship because who needs a drowned rat. In general it is a bad idea to join any firm that is on a downward trend because usually there are some very good reasons why it is failing. This could be due to poor management, loss of market share because their products and services are no longer in demand and the competition is eating them alive (think Blackberry), the good, gone to bad and now very ugly reputation they have due to some scandal and so on. These issues make it difficult for you to be successful because there is usually a lack of resources, the best performers are leaving, the strategy and your tasks keep changing faster than you can make a to do list. The mood, sense of anxiety, fear, apathy etc. can affect your own level of motivation.
In general avoid the sinking ship and instead look for firms that have an upward trend and these do not have to be the Google, Amazon, BeatsMusic or Manchester United (joke) but can be any firm that is growing in size or reputation as a great place to work. Size does matter but reputation is equally as important. Some hedge funds may have only 5 people and may never add many more people but they can be still be a great place to work because of other factors.
The Hiring Manager
So great role, great company and now it is all ruined because the manager that hired you turns out to have a management style that closely resembles a cross between David Brent (The Office) and Freddy Kruger having a bad Good Friday the 13th.
What you see in the interview room when the hiring manager is on her best behavior is not what you usually get when things go wrong on the job. If the manager does not know how to build, develop and manage teams of people you could end up hating your job.
Now tell me if you had a combination of all of the worst of these three factors, boring or stressful job, a company whose reputation was worse than Ed Milibands' ability to look like he knows what he is doing and a psycho manager on drugs for depression, obsession, demonic possession and other nasty habits, would you seriously work there because the money was better than your old job or even if you had no job?
If however you loved your work, the company was a great place to work and the hiring manager brought out the best in you and genuinely cared about you would you be even willing to work there for less money?
You may not have to face such extreme choices but unless you make sure that these three factors are carefully considered you will fail to move your career forward, have a great work experience and earn more money in the long term.