Job Hunting 1: The First Rule

What is important to you when you are job hunting?

There are many articles that advise us, quite rightly, to look beyond the money and the position, and consider things like job satisfaction and emotional fit in the organisation. Is this where I want to work? Do I want to spend my days with these people?

These issues are much more important than we might think. However, in this economic climate, most of us are just so grateful to be offered a job that we do not look after ourselves in the process or secure the best possible job for ourselves.

When you have applied for a hundred positions, and this is the first interview you have secured, it is hard to turn down an offer, no matter how poor it is.

‘I’ll take it, then I’ll look for something else,’ we say to ourselves.

However, that seldom works, because we simply don’t have the time to keep this job, worry about the kids and look for another job.

I do understand the desperation, but our fears play into the hands of unscrupulous employers. And, unfortunately, like many criminals, unscrupulous employers do not look unscrupulous. They look very ordinary, very helpful and very friendly, which they are. They are trying to con you into doing what they want you to do. Of course they are going to be friendly.

The first rule of job hunting (the first rule of many things, mind you) is, ‘look after yourself’ because no one else is going to.

That doesn’t mean being aggressive. it just means, during your interview, be sure that you know exactly what is being offered, and write it down carefully.

Do not assume anything. This is much more important than buying a second-hand car, so don’t take anything for granted. Check everything. Did he actually say it was a permanent job, or would it be a three-month contract?

Next we will look at some questions we forget to ask and what you should insist on.

Have you been conned or had a bad experience? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Please pass this on to anyone ‘on the hunt’ out there.

Ian Webster

From Methodist minister to Customer Relations manager in a computer bureau to HR Manager in a newspaper printing and publishing company. Now focussing on training and developing people and HR & people-management consulting.

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