Understand a New Job (Before you accept it)

Understanding a new job before you accept it is a vital tip when looking for a job. At IDR we make sure potential candidates are not only a right fit, but also understand the position and the responsibilities associated.

Here is a great resource from the Harvard Business Journal with 3 tips on understanding a potential job:

1. Know the role. Understand what your role would be — and what it wouldn’t be. Master the written job description before your first interview, but know that most written job descriptions only get you started. Some are hard to understand. Others are out-of-date or may not closely match the actual position. Come to interviews with questions to clarify the role. Test it with detail. For example, ask what you’d be doing day to day (and over the calendar year), who you’d be working with, what decisions you’d face, and what responsibilities you’d have.

Explore role in greater depth in meetings after you have the offer but before you’ve accepted. It’s in these last discussions when you can most easily be direct and blunt in your questions.

2. Understand what you could accomplish. Your career progression will rest on your accomplishments. The role suggests what those accomplishments might be. Think about whether they would make you proud, whether they would meet your aspirations for personal impact.

Evaluate whether the role gives you the authority, the responsibility, and the access to the right people that you’ll need to succeed. Pay particular attention to your future boss and whether he or she would help you be successful. Be sure that the role isn’t defined in a way that limits your chance to make something big happen.

Finally, be sure you’re prepared for the role. Your skills and experience are what you’d bring to a new job on the first day. You want a job that will stretch you — but not so much that there’s significant risk of failure. Challenging but doable is a good objective most of the time.

3. Understand what you’d learn. Describe what would be your “curriculum” in the job — what you’d expect to learn in the role. Keep the curriculum handy and look back at it after six months or a year. It will be a good checklist to ensure you’re meeting your growth aspirations.

Identify who your coaches would be. Learn whether they’d see coaching as important and think about how good they would be at guiding you. Again, think about what kind of coach your boss would be.

The first step in deciding whether to accept a job offer is to understand the role you’d have. How have you approached this?

Harvard Business Journal