A comprehensive list of factors to consider when selecting an employer or considering a job offer

Despite the fact that the job market is a tough place to be in at the moment, it's really important to carefully consider whether a prospective employer is the right choice for you. In this article, I have outlined some of the key factors to consider when choosing an employer. You might consider some points before deciding to apply for a role, so as to avoid wasting your time on unsuitable positions, but all factors set out below should be considered before you decide to accept an offer. Your choice of employer can make a significant impact on your longer term career progression as well as your personal development and job satisfaction.

Remuneration:

For many, the main motivation is money. We all want to earn more, but you need to consider what your priorities are and how the role will affect your future career progression, as well as levels of stress and your feeling of self worth. If there is a significant leap in remuneration, there probably will also be a significantly higher expectation to deliver, possibly within a "sink or swim" scenario. Ensure that you have an understanding of your prospective employer's expectations and support will be available to you before accepting the job offer.

If your role is target driven with target based incentives or commission, determine what your targets will be, when bonuses or commission will be paid and how they're structured. Identify whether these targets have regularly been met previously. This will enable you to make a realistic forecast of your overall annual income as well as your monthly earnings.

Benefits:

Most companies will offer some benefits including health insurance and life assurance. A prospective employer's benefits package could make a significant difference to the overall CTC (Cost to Company) earnings, and should be considered in conjunction with the remuneration offered. Other additional benefits to consider would be opportunities for personal development and improvement e.g. some companies will promote and subsidise self-improvement initiatives such as learning a new language or taking a course in public speaking or pay for gym or sports club membership. Some will also offer other "nice to haves" such as product discounts or subsidised lunches.

Training and development:

You should find out what training you can expect to receive in your role and whether the company is committed to the personal and professional development of their staff. Many companies have structured Learning and Development programmes and policies. Some companies will also provide financial assistance with independent study if relevant to your role. This could be deemed as a huge benefit if you have intentions of further study.

Reward and recognition:

Reward and recognition schemes should be taken into consideration. Does this company genuinely recognise and reward their staff for effort and superior performance? Many companies have formal awards programmes and there should be evidence of these when you start doing your research.

Reputation:

The company's reputation and success in their industry should also be considered. Are they known for being innovative? Do they provide a quality product or service? Do they value their clients? If they're a public company, you can easily conduct research into their financial health. Insider information is valuable here, so if you know anyone who has worked with them as an employee, client or supplier, it would be useful to have a chat with them.

Company structure:

You should also consider the structure of the company, how the role fits within the team / department and which other business units you will be working closely with. This should give you some idea of the potential scope for career development internally as well as insight into the depth or breadth of the role.

Company culture:

The culture of the company and how this fits with your personality should also be given some thought e.g. Does the company encourage a highly competitve environment in which you will be directly competing with your colleagues or do they encourage and facilitate team working and the sharing of knowledge? Does the company encourage participation in extra curricular programmes such as charitable events, societies or company sports teams? Do they offer a social, fun environment with casual work attire or are they traditional, conservative and formal?

Company values:

Company values and whether these fit closely with yours are also important to consider. Are they an ethical or green company? Do they support employment equity, sustainability, waste minimisation, fair trade or other charitable iniatives?

Location:

If the commute to your prospective employer isn't ideal, find out whether the company offer flexible working hours or the opportunity to work from home. You should also consider the surroundings of your potential place of work, for example, proximity to shops and cafes, public transport and safety, particularly if you're required to work night shifts or after hours.

Your prospective boss:

You also need to have a good idea of who you will report into. You should consider whether you will work well together, whether they will be a good role model, whether you can learn from them, and whether they will be supportive and encourage your development. Do some research on your potential boss and try to make an effort to get to know them during the recruitment process. If you feel you haven't got to know them during the interview process, suggest meeting them for a coffee outside of their work environment before accepting the job offer.

The role:

The role itself should of course be paramount. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself: Does the role itself meet my requirements? Am I genuinely interested in the position and company? Am I confident in my ability to fulfil the role? Does the role offer a challenge and opportunity to learn? Will the role offer the opportunity for further progression and additional accountability? Will it allow me to become an expert in my field or provide me with broader exposure, opening the door to alternative job opportunities in the future?

Ensure that you fully understand the job description prior to making your decision. If the role involves a big leap in responsibility, and you're not entirely confident in your ability to "hit the ground running", determine whether your prospective employer will provide you with support, training and mentorship to enable you to fill the gaps in your experience and be successful in your role.

You should be clear about your priorities and your future career goals when considering a position and you should ensure that you have all the information you need about the job role and the company when considering an offer.

I hope this article helps!

Happy job hunting!

Author: Nike Wadds, Stand Tall Consulting



Copyright 2012 Stand Tall Consulting