Job-hunting is a two-way process, and the power doesn’t solely lie with the employer.
We all know it is a competitive market and no doubt if you are looking to change jobs will be bombarded with advise ‘is now a good time as people are losing jobs’ or ‘take what you can’ or ‘don’t change now as last in first out’ or ‘you’re lucky to have flexible working’ or ‘you’re over 50 so not many people with hire you’. Amongst many other negative comments that will make you feel worthless in your job search and likely to question if it’s even worth considering a change.
If you’re at a point in your career that you want to make a change, then follow these points to make sure you do it with ease and confidence.
The number one rule – You can walk away from a recruitment process
Just because you applied for a job, doesn’t mean you are forced to be in the recruitment process until the end. If at any point the company or people don’t feel right, then walk away. Trust your gut instinct, if it’s not right before you have even started, it won’t be right when you’re working there.
If they’re leaving you hanging after the final interview process taking longer than a week to get back to you or they are re-commencing other interviews and asking you to wait, then walk away. If the company is unsure about you at the interview process, and if they’re not engaging you and moving swiftly to get you onboard, then you need to question if they are the best fit for you. If the company has doubts, then so should you.
Don’t be afraid to discuss at interview your requirements if these are non-negotiable factors that they need to be aware of. Such as you need to leave at 4pm every Thursday to pick up your kids. Do bring it at the end of the first interview, so you have given yourself the chance to shine and for them to have bought into you. But if these factors are non-negotiable, don’t waste their time (or yours) going through a whole process to offer stage and then discover this is untenable for them. If they balk at the idea then at least you know you can walk away knowing it was never going to work. Plus, you never know, they might not find the “perfect” candidate and could end up calling you back with revised flexible working options.
Money is a very emotive subject and women in particular are generally awful at negotiating and asking for pay rises. Be clear on your value and what you want to make the move. Don’t think you have to negotiate or offer a reduction in annual salary in return for flexible working hours, for example. Offer stage is the time to negotiate what you want.
The market might be competitive, but there is only one you – so be confident in your value, time, experience, personal priorities and your worth, and if the employer doesn’t recognize it, then vote with your feet and wait to find someone who does. The sooner you are clear on what you want the sooner the right role will arise. Don’t forget, there is always another job and another company you can work for. So don’t settle.
The company needs to sell to you as much as you need to sell to them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their culture; career development opportunities; internal training; where the company is heading; whom you report to and what you can expect to learn from your line manager. These are all critical for your future career development and fulfillment. If they don’t match up or are unwilling to answer your concerns, walk away.
Be yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. This is possibly the most important piece of advice you can take to any interview. If they buy into you and like you and want to hire you, then you know you will fit the company culture and team, and are more likely to enjoy your time there. Remember, skills can be learnt, so even if you don’t tick every box in terms of your experience most companies hire on ‘fit’ because the rest can be taught.
Now go on out there and shine your light!
Rebecca Grainger is a well-respected career mentor, known for her integrity, positive attitude and straight talking approach. Combining 12 years of international recruitment experience with formal coaching methodologies, mindset principles and strategic career consulting, Rebecca is passionate about empowering women to transition careers and change jobs, with confidence, clarity and ease.