New Job: Is the Grass Really Greener? (Part 2)

In part one, we talked about a number of potential pitfalls when thinking of making a job change. This time, let’s look at some actionable steps you can take to help you determine if it’s worth making that change.

How do you know if the grass really is greener?

Nothing is ever a guarantee, but there are a few things you have within your power that could help.

During your interview

Let’s look at a scenario where someone is seeking work/life balance, trying to reduce hours close to a true 40-hour work week. The job description mentions some evening and weekend hours. This could be a red flag, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t apply. Instead, you can apply but make a note to yourself that you’ll need more information on that detail should you get an interview.

In the interview, ask some probing questions. Maybe it’s just the end of each quarter where you have to work an extra hour or so each day that week. Or perhaps it’s a general statement they put in the ad because it’s sometimes true but there’s no real frequency to it. You could even ask how many hours per week folks on the team typically put in. Asking these questions can really help you wrap your mind around the reality. And then, it’s up to you to be honest with yourself about whether or not that will work for you.

Another example

For those seeking employers with room to grow, this is also something you can typically achieve through interview questions. Quite possibly, the website gives you all you need to know about this topic.

However, even when that seems to be the case, it still isn’t a bad idea to ask questions about opportunities to grow within the company. After all, sometimes even a large company will have specific niche departments that don’t really offer room to grow. For example, you could have your eye on a marketing department that in reality only has a marketing coordinator administrative role and a marketing manager.

If growth is of value for you, it can’t hurt to dig a little deeper just to ensure you’re not about to land in the very situation you’re hoping to escape.

Online reviews

Whether you’re looking for a new job or a new can opener, you can almost certainly find reviews. For prospective employers, you can look at places like Indeed, Google, Facebook, or Glassdoor (just to name a few). Now, if you’re new to looking at reviews, remember to take them with a grain of salt. There are a number of reasons for a negative review. It could be legitimate, or it could be someone who’s feeling disgruntled about something and is venting through reviews. One way to confirm if something is true is to see how many times this concern or complaint comes up.  Going back to our work/life example, you may see several individuals who cite long work hours or trouble getting time off.

Of course, some organizations have more reviews than others. And with very large companies, keep in mind that the experience could vary quite a bit from one department or geographic location to the next. So, if you’re looking at a large employer, see if you can find reviews from employees doing work similar to what you would be doing. It’s key to get as close as possible to an apples-to-apples comparison.

Word of mouth

If you’re staying within the same industry, you likely have contacts and/or coworkers who may have heard feedback on some of the companies you’re vetting out. This tip is likely only helpful if you’re open about your search. Otherwise, it would alert others to the fact you’re looking around for something new. But if it’s an option, this feedback can be very helpful.

In conclusion

The real nugget here is simply to focus on asking questions and pulling information that will give you a true vision of the role and the organization. When one is really eager to find a new role, for whatever reason, it can be tempting to just skim the surface and land the job. But later on, one often finds out they really just put themselves in another version of the same problems they tried to leave behind.

While vetting out a job, it’s ok to say the pay doesn’t work for you or that the extra hours are the exact thing you’re trying to get away from. It’s perfectly acceptable if your honest answers about what you’re seeking result in that recruiter or manager screening you out. Sometimes, it’s ok not to win.