Many workers are open to other job offers now. They're sick of working so much, with little (or no) pay raises, and dream of landing a job where there will be more appreciation and less stress. But before you jump ship, be careful you're not going to land in shark-infested waters. Check out this story I did for Gannett/USAToday.com:
You're sitting in your cubicle one day considering the dozens of emails that await your attention when your phone rings.On the other end is someone interested in interviewing you for a job.Wait a second, you think. You already have a job. You haven't applied for a new one. How can someone be interested in offering you a position when thousands of people are out there trying to land a job right now?
Still, you can avoid such a scenario and make sure that when you do leave a job, it's because you've found one that will be a great fit and offer you new opportunities. All it takes is doing a little investigation, listening to your intuition and asking smart questions.
When you begin exploring a new opportunity:
• Do some sleuthing. Use social media to get the buzz about an employer.
Are employees whining about work conditions or too many deadlines? Is Facebook full of comments from disgruntled former employees? Are customers leaving in droves because of bad service?
Harris suggests checking LinkedIn to see about high turnover among workers or reaching out to past or present workers who may be in your network.
"It's important to be crystal clear about your values and the kind of structure and culture you'll thrive in before the interview, because otherwise you can't make a solid evaluation," she says.
• Get past the charm. A hiring manager is going to put the best face on a job opening and an organization, so try to dig a little deeper.
Ask questions about why the position is open. Is it because someone is being replaced? Why did that person leave?
"If they offer this kind of information to you, be careful to respond diplomatically," Harris says. "Steer clear of commentary about the employee or whether there was a fit issue."
• Check out the boss. Your manager is going to have a big impact on your career at a new company, so take the opportunity to find out as much as you can about this person.
In addition to doing a Google search, meet with your potential boss and ask about his or her background and management philosophy. Someone who talks about a need for workers to be "thick skinned" or "able to push back" may mean the boss is difficult to work for, Harris says.
• Look around. Are workers talking with one another, meeting in groups to collaborate? Does the atmosphere seem friendly and relaxed?
Mufson says you should ask for an office tour. Look to see if doors are shut, and try to speak with workers to get a feel for the environment.
"When you evaluate a position, listen to your gut as well as your intellect," Mufson says. "Ask yourself if you would feel at home in this environment and working with these people. If you felt uncomfortable ask yourself why, and listen to your answer without rationalizing."
What other advice do you have for someone contacted unexpectedly by a recruiter?