It’s the start of the New Year and here’s my first blog article to kick it off!
A couple of friends I spoke with told me that they’ve made it their New Year’s resolution to look for a new job!
Interestingly, companies experience the highest level of attrition during this in Q1. This is usually after the bonus or annual wage supplement (AWS) payout in December. In countries where the Chinese Lunar New Year is celebrated, the attrition numbers usually peak just after the festive season.
This usually translates to hiring in late Q1 and early Q2 for most companies.
It is always flattering to receive some love and attention from recruiters (or headhunters as we like to call them).
So, you got approached for an opportunity, or even been invited to attend an exploratory interview… What’s next?
That’s quite a foolish question isn’t it? The answer is simply a “Yes, let’s explore”, or “No, I’m not interested at this point of time”.
Let’s just assume it’s a decent opportunity and you are slightly tempted, or the call could be an outcome of your recent application… What’s next?
You would agree with me that the next most important thing to do is to prepare! Here goes…
The recruiter (or the person who’s reached out to you)
Most of us are contacted by someone from the recruitment team, or someone who’s hiring for their own team/ department. This is one of the best sources of information. Always try to get as much information as possible. They may or may not have the information, but there’s no harm trying.
Don’t be put off by if they may sound a bit rushed to setup the interview and have little time fill you in on the role. If you are a strong fit for the role, they need you more than you need them.
You can try asking for the following:
- Job Description (JD)
- The process and who’s on the panel of interviewers
- What are some of the things they’re looking for, or challenges that they are looking to solve with this hire
Always check up the company. Even if you know the company well, don’t be complacent. They might have evolved through growth, acquisition or mergers. A couple good places to start are:
- The company official website and Wikipedia to learn more about the company and its history
- Business information sites such as hoovers.com to learn more about the industry the company operates in, and its direct competitors
- money.cnn.com or finance.yahoo.com if the company’s listed. Check the news and financials of the company. (Check this dummy’s guide for help on how to read a company’s balance sheet)
- com – I’m calling this out separately as I’m still divided on this. It really depends on how you look at this “Glass half full or half empty”.
The panel and people
Professional social networking sites such as Linkedin had made it so convenient for us to look up profiles of employees in any given organization. (You might want to explore getting a premium account with Linkedin – There should be a trial account available)
Where possible, I would always advice candidates to take a look at the panel of interviewers that they will be meeting with.
The panel of interviewers is usually made up of the hiring manager and key stake holders or people that the role would have to interact with.
This would give you a better understanding of who they are and what they do. Plan your interview with questions that relates to the interviewer’s role. Remember, as much as the company’s sizing you up as a candidate, you need to also get a feel of the people that you will be working with. More importantly, if you would be comfortable with working with them.
Another thing I that I would look at would be the employees, both current and past. Look out for the length of tenure as this will give you an idea of the level of attrition. More importantly, this will give you an idea of where the company is hiring from and losing talents to.
The grass is greener on the other side, because …
You’re standing in the shade my friend!
As much as it is exciting to think about that new opportunity, don’t get carried away with the unknown. A lot of people I know took the plunge and ended up regretting their decision.
As many of us get into the momentum of work in our current organization, we often find it hard to expand and take on a larger portfolio or try something new. Thus, that created the illusion that career development opportunities are absent in our own organizations.
Is this the fault of the company or employees? We can argue this both ways. It could be us and our own comfort zones (the shade), or it could be a genuine lack of opportunities.
Always take a step back and evaluate your current company alongside the new opportunity. Look at the “Employer Value Proposition” – EVP (I’ll probably do a separate blog article at a later date on this).
Candidates want to join organization that present a strong value proposition. Some basic factors to consider are:
- Company’s branding and market position
- Developmental opportunities
- Total Rewards – Compensation and benefits
So, don’t get too excited about the new opportunity and take care in evaluating the options.
Last but not least, do share your thoughts about any other tips we should keep in mind when approaching that new opportunity!
Happy interviewing and best of luck in 2015!
Eric Wong is Head of Talent Acquisition & Development (APAC) at Polycom, and blogs about how video collaboration can benefit the HR function on Polycom’s “The View from APAC”. Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter@ErickyWong.