7 Questions to ask yourself before you start your job search
It won’t surprise you to discover that ‘What kind of role are you looking for?’ is one of the most common questions recruiters ask candidates.
However it might surprise you to note that the most common answers are a version of ‘I don’t know’ or ‘anything really.’
Not only do answers like that create more work for us as recruiters, it also makes it difficult for employers to get excited about hiring you. Companies want to hire people who want a specific job for a specific reason because they are most likely to enjoy their work and succeed. Someone who is willing to do anything might end up loving their job, but they might not.
To give yourself the best chance of finding that perfect role for you, there are a few questions you need to answer.
1. Why am I looking to leave my current role?
It is important to understand from the outset the reason or reasons for contemplating a career change. This will give you a better understanding of what you don’t want and what roles you should avoid because you have outgrown them or they don’t suit you.
2. What am I looking for in a new role?
It is also important to understand what exactly you seek from a new challenge. Is it career progression, a new industry, a change in environment or just a little more money?
3. What type of company / working environment is important for me?
Some people are better suited to large multinationals while others are more comfortable at smaller start-ups. You might be a natural team member or a lone wolf, the important thing is to know what suits you best. If you do you can easily rule out the wrong roles and focus on the right ones.
4. What locations will I realistically look at?
Am I ready to relocate? If not, what is my maximum commuting distance on a daily basis? Your commute has a huge impact on your lifestyle; don’t ignore it as a job search factor.
5. What level roles can I apply for that my experience will match?
Have I sufficient experience to apply for Senior/Manager positions? If you are looking for a change in level or grade, make sure you understand what an appropriate move looks like, don’t expect to run before you can walk.
6. What is my salary expectation and is it realistic?
Am I aware of current market salary rates? Do I consider myself under/over fairly paid? You can use salary guides, online tools or industry contacts to gauge your value and make sure that you only apply for roles that fit that range.
7. What would an acceptable offer look like?
Be fully aware of the value of your current package (take into account healthcare, bonus, pension etc.) and be realistic in your expectations. Many employers and employees are putting greater focus on benefits over salary; don’t just focus on the numbers – think of the entire package.
By answering these questions first, you will be better prepared for your job search. You will know which roles are a good fit and which are not, and you might even learn something about your expectations that you weren’t expecting. You’ll also have an answer the next time a recruiter says to you, ‘So, what kind of role are you looking for?’