Ask the Recruiter: How to find the RIGHT job in a hot job market
As you’ve probably heard, the job market is hot right now and jobs are plentiful. Whether you have multiple job offers in hand or are just starting your search, it’s important to think about a range of factors from salary and title to work culture, management style and others.
Our CEO and Founder Heidi Parsont has nearly 20 years of experience working with job candidates to match them with positions that fit their skillsets, work styles and goals. In this segment of “Ask the Recruiter” she will talk about what to consider to make sure your next career step is the right one.
TorchLight: Hot job markets like what we’re experiencing today are great for professionals looking for new opportunities with higher pay, bigger titles and other attractive perks. Many are even choosing between multiple offers right now. What factors should a candidate consider to make sure they select the “right” job for them—one that will set them up for success and be a good fit?
Heidi: I think probably the most important thing is to consider the things that are most important to them. Is it money? Is it PTO? Is it culture? Is it the job itself? The organization? Only YOU can decide which pieces of the puzzle are most important and start there when you are looking at multiple job offers.
For example, if flexibility and PTO are key then maybe the job with 25 days of PTO is more important than the job that pays $5,000 more. It really depends on the individual but those are all things to look at. It’s not just about money. It’s also about the benefits, the location, if it’s in person—and the job itself.
I’ve had plenty of jobs where I’ve loved the organization, but the job was completely boring. I worked for a company that had a great culture, a lot of flexibility and the benefits were wonderful. Then my boss left, and I didn’t like my job anymore. There was seemingly no path for me there, so I realized it wasn’t for me.
When I took my next job, I wanted to make sure that my new role had some intellectual stimulation—but those drivers will be different for everyone.
TorchLight: You’ve mentioned several important items candidates should consider when deciding between multiple offers. Can you expand a bit more on cultural fit and what to look for/how to determine if a company is a cultural fit?
Heidi: “Culture” as a word is thrown around a lot and it can mean a lot of different things. I think it’s important that you feel comfortable in the organization. I think it’s less important that you find a company where everyone looks or acts like you. Many organizations function better when they have a diversity of thought, so it’s important to look at that organization and imagine yourself there.
Do you like the components of the organization given that bosses and colleagues might leave one day soon? At the end of the day, the culture of the organization probably isn’t going to change that much if they do. So, what are the things that are important to you?
Do you want the benefits, good flexibility, the opportunity to grow and be mentored in an organization? Are people happy there? Do they seem engaged? Look at the Glassdoor ratings and reviews. Do they talk about culture? Do they talk about the org in a good or bad light? Do they seem to like the leadership? If you are interviewing at a particular organization, ask to talk to peers who work there.
Those are all good data points that can help you see if it’s the right fit.
TorchLight: How would you go about asking for an opportunity to talk to potential colleagues if you are interviewing for a job?
Heidi: If they’ve expressed interest by asking you back for a second interview, I think you can bring that up when you meet and say, “This position is very interesting and I’m enjoying our conversations—what are the next steps?” If they say the next steps are XYZ, and it doesn’t include an opportunity to talk to other department members, then say “I would really appreciate the opportunity to talk to someone who would be my peer or someone who is managed by that person.” Also take note of how resistant they are to this request because if they are very opposed to it, I would hesitate.
TorchLight: Great advice. On a related topic, your relationship with your manager can make or break your performance and job satisfaction. What kinds of questions can you ask in the interview (or at other points in the hiring process) to determine if you’ll gel with your potential hiring manager?
Heidi: As I said before, I think looking at Glassdoor and getting a sense of ratings is always a good place to start. Try to find people who may have worked there at some point in time and talk to them.
Generally, talk to your potential boss about what their management style is like and politely ask for examples. Also, ask how they measure success. What does it look like? Is it quantifiable or is it more qualitative? I think those are important things to get an idea of how your manager would lead. You also can talk to them about how long they’ve been there and where do they see their path and your path going. Do they even intend to be there long? Do they talk about the organization in a positive way?
I’d be mindful that someone who is new to the organization can’t really know it well yet, so while you may get a good sense of them as a manager, they may have unknown restrictions or potential obstacles within the org that could change their leadership or management style over time.
TorchLight: Whether a potential new employer offers the opportunity for growth is a really important factor for most job seekers. How can you tell if you will have opportunities for growth or a career path with a potential new employer?
This is a really important one. Ask about the people on their team. Have a few people been in the same roles for a long time? Have they moved on within the organization? What is the career path? Is this role open because someone got promoted or because somebody left?
Assuming you are able to talk with your potential colleagues, ask them what they see as their growth paths. And definitely ask the hiring manager to spell out what your growth opportunities could be. It’s important to understand if the growth path is only within their group or division or if there’s some cross-functional opportunity.
TorchLight: Let’s turn to the topic of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. How can you determine and assess a company’s commitment to DEI?
There are lots of ways. The first thing I would do is look at who’s on their leadership team by looking at their website. While you can’t tell everything from the site, if it appears to be four or five white males on the executive team with few women or people of color, I would then ask them about it. Talk to them about a) who is on their leadership team and if deficient, b) what they are doing to change it. This will give you a sense of their level of commitment to DEI.
More importantly, they can have a commitment but what actions and concrete steps are they taking to diversify the organization? Are they offering diversity training for managers and employees? Are they advertising on job boards with a diverse set of applicants? Are they going to different groups and trying to network? Talk about DEI to all of the people with whom you interview and see how they react. That can help you understand the organization’s commitment.
You can also go on LinkedIn and get a feel for the individuals that work in an organization. What are their backgrounds? Do they seemingly come from a diverse set of schools? Do some of them not have college degrees? Do they come from different geographies? When you look at an aggregate of individuals or a team on LinkedIn, you can get a good feel for the types of backgrounds they have and whether they represent a diverse set of perspectives and experiences.
TorchLight: Any other advice on how candidates can find the “right” job for them?
I think it’s important to realize that there probably isn’t “one” job for them, there’s probably quite a few actually and your path may change over the course of your career.
It’s impossible to predict the future. However, you can ask yourself, where COULD this lead? Is this a stepping stone to a different kind of industry? Is this a stepping stone to the next job? Is this an interim step because your life is crazy right now? Did you just have a major life change and need to scale back? There are many reasons that a job can be right for one person and not for another, so it’s important to look at what you value including flexibility, benefits, salary and other factors mentioned before. Focus on the job that offers the best of what you need for today.
In this job market, job seekers have the edge, so they can wait for the right role. You don’t have to jump at the first offer. If it doesn’t feel right, and you are actively working, hold on—it’s a good idea to take your time and wait for the role that seems like a better fit
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