Saturday 19 January 2019

'I've been offered a new job - but how can I be sure I'm going to the right company?'

Changing employers is a big decision for any employee Stock image
Changing employers is a big decision for any employee Stock image

David O'Reilly

Q: I have been offered a new job. On the face of it the company look like a great employer but how can I be sure I am making the right choice?

A: Changing employers is a big decision for any employee. It is a step into the unknown and not one to be taken lightly. I would advise you to investigate the culture of the new organisation.

Don't be afraid to ask questions of your interviewer or even suggest a meeting with some employees to get their view on how the company operates. The interview process goes two ways, so don't be afraid to ask the hard questions. If the employer is not willing to allow this meeting, it will probably set off alarm bells for you.

When asking questions try to keep away from general queries like "What's the culture like?" to "What does the company do to encourage teamwork?".

Each organisation has a framework, sometimes referred to as their cultural web, combining stories, rituals and routines intertwined with controls, structure and power within the organisation.

Getting this insight into "how we do things around here" will help form your own opinions and expectations and better inform you of where you will fit within the operation.

Also, look around the office while you're there. The space itself may give you some clues about the culture. Is it orderly or disorderly? Is it a quiet atmosphere or a more jovial one? There are no right answers, of course. You're just looking for a culture that will fit what you want.

Check out the company's online presence, not just their website but also their social media, what are they in the news about and what published plans do they have for the future. While interviews can tell both parties quite a lot about each other, it is only when people work together that the reality of each other's position becomes apparent. If possible, ask the employer would they be willing to let you attend work for a day at their business. There are huge benefits here for the employer also, as recruiting someone who is not a good fit can be quite costly to the business and to the reputation of the interviewers.

Q: I am starting a new job next month and am getting stressed as it is a big step for me. What can I do to reduce this stress?

A: Starting a new job will always be stressful, even for the most confident of individuals. It is a step into the unknown and not one to be taken lightly.

Start planning your onboarding process. Communicating regularly with your new employer on the lead up to your start date will ensure you are both in tune with each other's expectations. Take responsibility for learning what you need to.

Work with your new manager to identify people you should get to know, locations you should visit, and products and services you should be familiar with once you have begun.

Once onboard, do not be afraid to give your input and offer your perspective, as a recent starter, on how the business is run and the key challenges -in a humble way so as not to offend.

Set yourself one or two short-term goals that you can achieve early on. These should stem from your unique perspective and experience and act as confidence-builders for you.

Be a listener. Your new colleagues have their own insights and opinions on how the business operates. In general, colleagues tend to be supportive of new starters, and you should ask plenty of questions so that you can familiarise yourself with the people and the business as soon as possible.

Maintain a focus on your own performance and don't be distracted by others. As a new starter, you may not always be aware of colleague's motives. Be hungry to learn new skills and impart your own knowledge when the opportunity arises.

Most importantly, be on time and work to the employers' expectations. Maintaining structure relieves stress. Take your time to adapt to your new surroundings and give the people and the business time to learn how to work with you.


David O'Reilly is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development with a MSc in business from TCD and employment law from UCD. O'Reilly Digney & Associates are leaders in the recruitment of professionals for industry and finance.

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