In this series we look at all the aspects you should consider in depth before searching for a new job. My aim is to help you better understand your career options and how you can give yourself the best chance of achieving them, whilst avoiding the pitfalls some people fall into every day.
The interview process is now complete, so the waiting game for the result has started. You love the job and all it offers, you hope you get it, but know the competition was strong. Finally, you get the call and it’s the news you want to hear. Congratulations – The job is yours! The process isn’t over yet, a lot can still go wrong – even at this stage. Let’s take a look at where mistakes can still be made.
Receiving an offer
You will most likely receive the initial offer verbally in a phone call, and be asked for your ‘verbal’ acceptance. At this point, check the salary and basic details. If you have done your homework during the interview process, you should be 100% aware of the benefits and conditions that the company offers, if not, now is the time to double-check. If the salary and benefits match what you were expecting, and you are happy, that’s great – but it isn’t contractually binding yet. Give a verbal acceptance of the offer and ask for the contract to be sent to you. If there is a mismatch with your expectations, you need to deal with the issues head on and negotiate an acceptable package.
If you were unsuccessful on this occasion and didn’t get offered the job, find out why not? It may simply be the company thought another candidate would be a better fit with the existing team. On the other hand, if you receive some constructive feedback that points to an area of weakness in your CV, you may be able to do something about it that will improve your chances of being offered the next job you really want.
Asking for more
Negotiation is one area where the offer can fall apart. People can think that, now they have impressed a company, that this is a great opportunity to ask for more money. Now, if the offer is under what was talked about when you applied for the position and is below your expectations and no real reason has been given to you as to why, this is the time to put a properly constructed case forward as to why you think what is being currently offered is low and why you should receive a higher one. Don’t make the mistake of asking for more money just because you can, this is seen as very cynical by companies, HR and recruiters alike and can result in a negative impression of you by the company and a withdrawal of the offer. If you can’t back up a higher offer with fact, or come up with a valid case of why you should have a particular increase – don’t ask for one.
Read the contract
It is vital you read the employment contract properly as your understanding of how benefits and conditions work may be different to how the company puts them in legal contract.
How does that bonus work?
What is the maternity/paternity policy?
What is my probation period and what rights do I have during it?
What are the core work hours?
Is there paid overtime?
Can I work from home?
Don’t get caught out a couple of years down the road if you want to resign and find that you have certain restrictions you weren’t expecting.
As we are talking about contracts, when it comes to resigning, are you aware of the conditions you signed up to when you first started. The best time to familiarise yourself with your current terms is during the interview process, not at the offer stage. Recently, a bank employee had to delay their start date with a new employer as they were unaware of restrictions placed against them for a share save scheme they were part of. She could have lost £10,000 worth of shares had she not been aware of the terms of the scheme and had just resigned. But she also could have lost the job offer as well as a verbal start date had already been agreed with the new employer at the verbal acceptance stage.
It was only after her new contract was sent and she started looking into the resignation process that this situation was discovered. The moral of this story is, don’t allow yourself to get caught out.
Tendering your resignation
The least liked task in the job hunting process. Most people like their jobs and the people they work with, so it is always with mixed feelings people resign. When writing a resignation letter, you don’t have to say why you are leaving and its best not to put that in writing anyway. Keep to the simple facts and don’t use this as your long awaited opportunity to get off your chest the years of frustrations you have had at the company. It’s a small world and you never know when you will come to rely on a reference or recommendation from someone at the company, so don’t burn your bridges. In fact, do the opposite. Let them know you enjoyed your time at the company, your career has developed and you are thankful for the opportunities you had while there and to have worked with such great people.
Receiving a counter offer
Once you have resigned, there is always the possibility of a counter offer – your company may not want to lose you and try talk you in to staying. Money is the classic tool of negotiation here. But is throwing more money at you the answer? You may even be offered a change in working conditions, a promotion, or even changing the structure of a department to accommodate you. If this happens to you, you need to remember why you wanted to leave in the first place and the opportunities that lie ahead. It’s possible that your reasons for leaving weren’t that valid in the first place and a bit more money or slightly different role in the company is enough to make you happy to stay. If this is the case, you should have probably spoken to management first, before going through an interview process? For most people, their reasons to move on are valid and the freshness of a new challenge and developing your career are not worth sticking with the status quo in exchange for a couple of thousand pounds extra a year.
Your new contract and paperwork all check out and the offer is just what you want. You have resigned and have confirmed your leaving and new start date – now you have to see out the last few weeks before moving on. Enjoy this time, the pressure is off for the time being, enjoy the work you are finishing off and leave behind a positive legacy by doing that work to the best of your abilities. At the same time, make sure you keep in touch with your new company (everyone loves someone who is keen), see if there’s any preparation you can do before starting, like reading up on documentation etc.
By Roger Mills, Co-founder of Think IT Recruitment.
As always, if there’s anything in this article you would like to discuss, please start a conversation or get in touch with me.