Looking for a new position is one of the most stressful, life changing decisions we embark upon. Some people have jobs longer than they have marriages and it ranks as one of the most pivotal decisions we make due to the stress, opportunity and risk involved.
Before you embark on a job search- ask yourself 5 Questions.
- Are you a Serious Man? (or Woman?)
To whom much is given much shall be required. And, for executives or new grads seeking a Serious Life; a life well lived, a career of relevance, worthy compensation and contribution- You need to be a Serious Man. As your career should be planned with the same intent, strategy and desire to add value as you approach your relationships, finances and fitness- Your career needs to be approached from the same level of mindfulness.
So often we encounter candidates who are approaching their job search and their careers with less planning than they would give a holiday weekend. If you desire a Serious Life- Be a Serious Man before starting the pivot to a new position.
This requires having your Life in Order. Can you afford to relocate, can you sell / rent your house with ease, are you mentally, physically and emotionally ready to throw yourself into professional limbo and rejection? Is your social media and online presence private and pristine? Have you cultivated your references and are you wardrobe ready? Hopefully if you’re a Serious Man leading a Serious Life; all these boxes have been checked. If not, take 30-90 days to get Interview Ready before starting the job search.
- Who are your Stakeholders and Who is Driving the Train?
Every candidate has Stakeholders. Often, they’re a spouse, children in high school, elderly parents, the significant other who won’t move, a disabled child who is receiving great care locally or just the company we keep acting as over-reaching influencers in our lives. Know your stakeholders before starting a job search and only start the job search if you’re driving the train. Do you have the full support of your stakeholders even if it requires your stakeholders to sacrifice? Will your spouse joyfully pack the house up, find a new job and put your career first for the next 12 months to support you through the transition of a new position? Have you considered the contingency plans required for the family members you’re responsible for? Schools, medical care, daycare, rebuilding a social network?
Are you prepared for the probing questions your influencers ask to create doubt or reaffirm your intent during a job search? If you aren’t driving your own train and neither have the support of your stakeholders or can set firm boundaries with your stakeholders- Don’t even start the process.
Launching a job search requires you to be driving your own train and with the support of your stakeholders.
And, if your stakeholders won’t support your job search, take the time to clean up your side of the street, set firm boundaries or find new stakeholders.
- Money, Location or Opportunity?
Now that you’re a Serious Man with your Stakeholders fully supporting your job search- It’s time to ask the fun question- What’s really motivating you?
A job search needs to be prioritized by what you’re after. Is it the money, do you want to live in a certain location or is it the opportunity?
One factor will rise to the top of the decision-making process. For candidates who have been working at a struggling non-profit or have owned their own business for a decade- Quite often they’re ready for a jump in compensation and the money will be the primary factor.
We’ve had candidates who have met the love of their life online and the candidate’s “new friend” lives in Tampa, Florida with aging parents (unmovable stakeholders) and he/she needs to find a job in that city.
And, then there is opportunity. The most desirable candidate for any position is the one seeking a position based on opportunity. The candidate has managed their money and can take a cut in pay if needed. They’ll live anywhere because they are driving the train and their stakeholders are packing up the house, running the relocation and supporting the candidate. The candidate seeking a position based on opportunity is a strategic professional looking for a position, an organization and a team to lead (or contribute to), to add value, to learn from and to ultimately to achieve.
Candidates seeking Opportunity over Money and Location may only stay in a position for 2 years- However, they will consistently be the top performers, most trusted and most valued team members of an organization.
- Do you know what you don’t know?
Even a lateral move in your career should expand our intellectual and professional horizons. We should consider new positions which will challenge us in new ways to grow, contribute and add value. However, too often candidates through arrogance, low self-esteem and lack of self-reflection interview for positions thinking “they know it all.”
And, even if they’re overqualified for a position the attitude is not lost on the decision makers the during the interview process. For candidates who think they’re overqualified for a position or have the attitude of, “That’s a perfect position for me.” I offer the following scenario. You get the job. It’s the first week. Through a series of unforeseen yet probable events, (government regulations, the loss of top clients, embezzlement, a strike or loss of your executive team, etc.), what would you do in crisis mode and what would do you 6 months out to ensure the rebuilding/ re-branding/ longevity of the organization?
Candidates who think they’re overqualified for a position need to do the homework required, (often a SWOT analysis of the organization) to have a self-aware moment and create questions to ask during the interview process to better evaluate if they are the right candidate for the position, what will they require from their team to fill in the gaps and what skills will they need to acquire for success.
- Do you have the Grit to say Yes?
I need the weekend to think about it. I need to talk to my lawyer. I want to pray about it for the next week. I want to talk to my spouse about it. These are the phrases I’ve heard a thousand times from candidates who will never have the grit to say yes to the opportunity they’ve finally received after making all the right choices.
Candidates who have successfully worked through 1-4 say yes within the hour. Candidates who are ready to sign when the offer letter is received are the candidates who are our best leaders, best team members and the people I’ll always prefer to work with.
Candidates who make excuses and create barriers and self-doubt after getting exactly what they asked for are the candidates who will refuse to make imperfect decisions in business. They will seek perfection to the determinant of their achievement and overall happiness. And while they may enjoy the process of being courted in a job search, ultimately, they will never commit.
So, when you get the offer, even if it’s not perfect (because it never is)-
Just say Yes. Have the Grit and the courage to say yes to the opportunities that are presented and the opportunities that will provide you with a seat at the table of a Serious Life.