I named my business Best Fit Forward for a reason: I believe that the key to career success is being able to align what you offer with employer needs. Even in a tight market, the hiring process is one of mutual selection: You pick your potential employer, and your potential employer picks you.
Taking a job is like jumping off solid ground on a rope swing: Once you've made a decision to move forward, you need to ensure a safe landing. You have to hang on with all your might and pay attention. It's okay to be selective in deciding when to jump. You should be. After all, when youaccept an offer you are frequently signing up to spend a significant percentage of your waking hours with individuals who you've only met once or twice. Would you choose to spend over 40 hours every week with a potential partner after two dates? Probably not.
Recently, I asked an ethicist--for suggestions on how weigh a difficult decision. Here are some of the suggestions I received:
- Take the time to write your thoughts down. What are the specifics. Do you have all the information you need to make a decision? Will the position allow you to leverage your natural strengths? Are there aspects of the job that will challenge you to work in ways that don't play to your strengths? (If yes, how will you accommodate for this.)
- If you anticipate a gap in your job function or potential problems with organizational dynamics--how will you "mind the gap"? Are there people in your current network or in the new organization who can help you? Determine the best way to approach the problem.
- Assess the opportunity and figure out where it fits into your overall career "life cycle." It's easy to think about year one, but what are your goals for the next 3-5 years? 5-15? How will this opportunity help you prepare for others? How will your decision affect others in your life--your friends, your family, your community?
- Is your opportunity aligned with your values and ideals? Do your potential co-workers appear to be on the "same page" as you are in terms of organizational mission, goals, and style?
- How can you best manage uncertainty? If you find that the opportunity you've been offered is not the right one for you long term, how will you proceed? What's your game plan for future success as you seek out an opportunity that does fit?
Once you've got your "list," mull it over with trusted friends and advisers who know you well and can support you in following through on whatever decision you make.
After you've weighed all your options, you can lean forward into the decision you've made. You should now have full confidence that you've put your best fit forward.
Do you have any additional criteria you also recommend? If yes, please share!