The double-edged sword of career change


Courtney McNish

Remember the phrase "out of the frying pan and into the fire"? Well, today my article is intended to be more of a note of caution to employee candidates who are attempting to make that all-important job or career change. I will lay out how you can proceed when attempting to ensure that during your job searches, that you also conduct your own in-depth scrutiny, due diligence and proper research before you say “yes’” to your next job offer.

It is important that before you move and make a major life decision that you take note that general job opportunities are contracting in existing market conditions. It might be very challenging to quickly find another job, should you end up in the wrong place.

People very often underestimate their particular value, so let me urge you to carefully reassess your individual worth.

Everyone is unique, and it is most unfortunate that prospective job candidates may have a single-sided view, especially when job searching and making career-changing decisions. They worry more about whether the company will find them suitable, and much less about if the company will truly meet their needs.

But this is your life and you must determine if the company is suitable for you, your value, your skills, or else you could end up in an environment that does not suit you. You must ask yourself whether the monetary reward will truly compensate for the possible breakdown of your mental and emotional health. Sometimes you may be pressed to determine that the devil you know is simply better than the devil you do not.

You can therefore perform your due diligence and ensure that you take your valuable skill to the right place.

My first suggestion is that, if you are serious about considering an organisation, then you should try to find someone working there and embark on your own reconnaissance by talking to them about the work culture and personalities. You can also search out several employees' Facebook pages and look at any comments, interactions. Note: the company will most likely do a background check on you.

I would also suggest that you look for any recent Industrial Court and EOC judgments that the company was involved in and identify the issues that led to the trade dispute or complaint.

You may wish to find out about your potential line managers. Search for any complaints of sexual harassment or other charges, especially if the employee still works there. This should be done before any interview so that you can be properly prepared with questions to put your own mind at ease.

On the day of your interview, there are some tell-tale red flags that you should look out for that may confirm your suspicion.

1. You should be aware of the composition of the panel. Determine where the power lies and whether there is one overly domineering personality not allowing others to participate.

2. The interviewer’s grasp on the company, your role, his/her ability to communicate the company’s values/culture etc. What levels of care and professionalism were offered to you before, during and even after the interview?

3. Whether the interviewer is genuinely interested in finding out about you. Whether they are allowing you to ask questions, or properly respond. Look for signs of inappropriate comments, sexism, ageism etc.

4. An early offer may make you think that your future employer considers you a valuable asset and is excited to have you on board.

Be patient, take a moment and consider if the offer was made because they do not want you to do more research about the company, or change your mind, or whether they have such a high rate of turnover they are just desperate to fill the position.

I am not trying to bust any egos, but to lay out everything in context for your consideration beforehand.

5. If the interviewer wants to offer you the job with little rewards during your probationary period, or wants to call your current supervisor for reference, check before you accept their offer, or expect you to start immediately without consideration that you have to give notice to your current employer, these should raise red flags.

You would probably want to ask about why the previous holder of the position left, what is the weakness within the team you would be joining, what are the challenges, would your particular skill and personality fit and add value to the team.

I remember a female friend reliving her experience when she went for an interview that was hosted on a very large compound, and required a shuttle service to get to the office because of the distance from the carpark, and outside vehicles were not allowed on the compound. When she got there, all suitably dressed, she was asked to walk, because the shuttle was unavailable.

She quite rightly declined to participate in the interview on the basis of that experience. Her pre-interview research informed her that she would have been in violation of the company’s safety rules had she walked across the compound in her business attire. The company, in her mind, demonstrated that it did not consistently walk its talk.

My advice is to take your time, be patient and conduct your own due diligence before you say, “yes, I do.”


"The double-edged sword of career change"

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