Maxwell Stephens

How to Avoid a Bad Career Move

When I speak with candidates before they go into a job interview I always say that they should be mindful that they are also interviewing the organisation, and should feel satisfied that it is the right career move for them. I am always equally mindful that there will be certain scenarios when individuals might be more pressed to take on a role for financial/personal reasons.


However, in an ideal scenario where the job market is strong, what can you do to avoid a bad career move? This is something that so many fear, and it can often render professionals immobile, unwilling to take the risk of moving on in case they come to regret it.


Don’t act on emotion


How many times have you had a terrible few days at work and are angrily perusing the job boards by lunch? I suspect most of you have been there; I know I have. The issue is that you are probably angry, upset, and that will be clouding your judgment. Perhaps the issue at your work does not resolve itself, and it does give you a substantive reason to leave. However, never make a rash decision – give yourself some time.


Ask questions


I said this at the beginning and I can’t voice how important this is. The purpose of asking questions is not just to score brownie points from the interviewer. First and foremost it is your opportunity to make sure you understand everything you need to know about the company, the role, the opportunities for progression, and so on. You should never be in a situation where you are accepting a role but feeling like you did not get all of your questions answered.


Do your research


I have worked in a couple of organisations where a new employee has started and on their first day redundancies were made, albeit in other teams, but it was unnerving nonetheless. Of course redundancies are rarely publicised widely before they occur. However you should look in the papers and do your research to check that the organisation is in good shape and is a going concern. The other thing that is advisable to do is look on sites like glassdoor to see what current and ex-employees have to say about the company. I should add a word of warning that sites such as these can be more attractive for disgruntled employees – so just keep that in mind.


Speak to recruiters and your network


Recruiters and your wider network may have valuable insights into the organisation, the role, and a view on where that would sit in your particularly career from a progression perspective. Remember that recruiters work with many candidates and have first-hand knowledge of what is and is not valuable on a CV. Also, if you already have a position you are aiming for in the longer term, a recruiter will be able to tell you if other candidates that were successful in those roles had a similar path to yours.


In Summary


Don’t jump out of the frying pan into the fire is an old adage, but it is a good one to bear in mind when considering a career move. The reality is that you could follow all of the tips above and still be unlucky enough to end up in a role or organisation that ends up feeling like a career move, and that may just be because circumstances change. However, that possibility is not an excuse not to do your homework and due diligence.


Peter Forshaw – Managing Director, Maxwell Stephens


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