When most people head out into the job market and showcase their skills to potential employers, they do so with a specific vision in mind. The best companies and most promising positions are those that can offer everything a specific job seeker needs, and across almost every industry and every level, many of these criteria are the same. We all want a company that will pay us what we ask, treat us with respect, use the skills we’ve worked hard to attain, and help us continue to grow as professionals and as people.
We also want “room for advancement.” But many job seekers employ this term without taking a close look at what it actually means. When you choose a company that offers room for growth over another, potentially higher paying company that doesn’t, what are you actually gaining? And is it worth the cost? Here are few questions to ask yourself before you decide.
Choose a Company that Can & Will Help You Grow
1. There’s a position directly above the position for which you’re applying. But will you actually be able to step into this role? And if so, when?
You may choose to accept a position thinking you’ll springboard to a supervisory level within the next few years. But look closely and ask upfront questions during your interview. You may find out that there are only two managers at this branch, and both of them have held this role for ten years and have no plans to leave. Sure, the next step up the ladder looks straightforward on the surface, but the reality of the situation may be different. If you don’t want to spend the next decade of your life gunning for a promotion that simply isn’t available, think twice.
2. If the company promises to train you, teach you, or help you “grow,” find out what this entails before you sign on.
Many employers promise support for training and continuing education, but these promises, while appealing, sometimes lack substance. Employees discover this when they ask HR about tuition reimbursement programs that turn out to be thin or nonexistent. It can also be disappointing to face reluctance when requesting flexible scheduling on Tuesdays in order to take an outside training course. Meaningful support for educational advancement is one thing. Enthusiastic lip service is another.
3. How does this employer approach the mentoring process?Companies usually approach mentoring in one of three ways:
1) By providing clear structure and assigned mentor-mentee relationships
2) By tacitly encouraging employees to form these relationships on their own
3) By viewing formal mentoring as a personal pursuit that should never intrude on company time.
It’s important to consider which of these categories your potential employer falls into. If it’s category three, your search for a mentor might be met with resistance or seen as a burden.
4. How much does this company care about your long-term professional goals
If you plan to take your career to a level that exceeds this company’s offerings, or you’d like to eventually own your own business, will this employer support and encourage you? Or does this company only see to the horizon of its own needs? The answer can speak volumes about the culture and climate you’re preparing to step into.
Learn the Truth Before You Commit
Before you sign on with a potential employer, make sure the company has the capacity and willingness to offer what you need. For more on how to do this, visit LiveCareer. We can help you ask the right questions during interviews, spot employer red flags and gain the tools and confidence you need to make the best decision for you.