Changing company is a big decision nowadays for a number of reasons; not least because of the ‘last in, first out’ syndrome.
In many circumstances, trying to get to a point where you can discuss and resolve your issues around department structures, personal development, culture or money with good management is always preferable to moving on.
Nevertheless, if you simply cannot convince yourself to stay where you are, here are my 'Top 5 Tips' for making a good career move which can be the difference between career progression and financial advancement or your unplanned unemployment.
Tip 1: Don’t believe everything your recruitment consultant tells you
All recruitment consultants get paid to convince you to move company and thereby get their recruitment agency a placement fee when you join a new company. Recruiters get commission on their placements and as a result, they may not direct you to the right company for you, but promote the right company for them.
Tip 2: Write out a specification for your next company
Be honest with yourself about what you don’t like about your current company, its management and your role, then spell out what is your ideal new outfit, its culture and how you would like to be managed to get the best out of you.
Tip 3: Find an honest recruitment consultant
Easier said than done unfortunately but of course not impossible. If a recruiter seems to work for all the companies in a sector, the chances are that they do not differentiate or discriminate who they get paid by. This can be a sign of who to avoid.
It is essential to find a recruiter who is not going to send you to a company who has issues or problems.
If you can find a recruiter who has been on your side of the desk at a senior level and has spent a good few years recruiting, then you are probably linking up with someone more likely to give you impartial advice instead of someone who is just looking for their payday.
Tip 4: Craft a great CV
By now you would have found a good recruiter. They will tell you bluntly how your CV rates. If it isn’t up to scratch or just needs minor tweaking they will advise you on what to do. The best recruiters know the difference between a good CV and a great CV. And let’s face it, the best hiring companies filter out the poor and average candidates by what’s on the paper - they don’t do it at interview stage.
Tip 5: Undertake Due Diligence
If you are going to make a successful move, you must undertake your own Due Diligence on any prospective employer at the same time as you are interviewing with them. This applies whether you are going through your recruiter or taking the direct route.
Ask colleagues about the company you are meeting with early on in the process. I realise many of you won’t like revealing that you are thinking of moving job but it will take time to get a decent view of the company together.
You must also find out about the senior management of the company, the team you might be working for and most importantly about the person you could be reporting in to.
You cannot simply form an opinion on the smiles and nice words that you get at interview. Bullies, slave drivers and poor managers can make you feel as comfortable at interview as a great manager.
If you get near an offer, you must also identify people who have left the company in the previous six months and interview them yourself to find out their perceptions and reasons for moving on.
This tip along with finding the right recruitment consultant (Tip 3) is imperative for a successful move.
Treat the whole process of changing company with the same care and attention as you do when choosing a new home. You are going to spend even more time in the office than any new property, so do put the work in. If you buy a new home without a full survey, you are buying blind and could have a lot of trouble sorting out large, unforeseen problems. If you try and cut corners when you prepare to change jobs, you could end up having to deal with issues that could cost you your sanity and your salary.
David Barratt is co-founder of Austin Lee Resourcing Limited.