This is the third of a three-part series called Your Career. Recap on Part One (Resume Prep & Job Search), here; and Part 2 (Interviewing), here.
Getting a new job can be exciting, confidence-building and a little bit nerve-wracking. It means you performed well at your interview and showed your potential new employer that you have the drive, talent, qualifications, and values that they want and need. And now they want you to be a part of their team.
But, let's rewind a bit to that moment when you're waiting with bated breath to hear whether or not you've made it through...
Before you receive that job offer, you've had at least one successful interview and there could be a subsequent one for final candidates. Keep interviewing until you receive an offer that you like. If you haven't already, send a thank-you note to the recruiter for your interview.
When an organization is considering you seriously for a position, it may request or require that you complete or have a successful background check, credit report, driving record, toxicology screening, immigration status, and/or security clearance.
At this point, getting that job is becoming more of a real possibility, so this is a prime opportunity to revisit your goals and values. Be honest with yourself. How do your personal goals align with the role? Will this position fulfill what you want and need? How well do the company's values align with yours?
Either they fit or they do not. There's no need to force them. A "forced fit" will likely make you unhappy and result in you moving on much faster than if you went for a role that really suits you. If you discover that your values don't align with the company or position, feel empowered to officially withdraw from consideration.
Since you know what the salary range should be and what you want, you'll recognize it when you hear or see it in a job offer. If you get to the stage of salary negotiation, don't be afraid to push back to get what you want and deserve, but be reasonable.
But, it's not all about salary. There are other things to consider when nailing down that job offer too. For example:
Congratulations! You've finally made it! The company has offered you the job and you have the written confirmation. When circumstances allow, it's usually a good idea to secure a new job before leaving your old one.
If you don't already know, ask the recruiter to describe a typical week for your role to gain a clearer view of how your function fits into the department and organization's success. Each company is different.
Also, ask them how much time you have time to consider the job offer, and to give your current employer notice of your departure.
When you do hand in your notice, remember to unsubscribe, update, or switch your work information with any outside suppliers and contacts while you still have access.
Some organizations conduct an exit interviews, which are a great opportunity to reflect on your previous role, and identify what went well and what didn't. Also, be sure to follow your current employer's protocols for the clean and safe transfer of information and/or property for your replacement, to ensure a smooth handover.
Leave on good terms whenever possible, even if things have been difficult in the past – you want to be able to leave with your reputation intact, knowing you did your best.
I remember one job that I resigned from... I had been butting heads with my new, immediate manager but I was still on excellent terms with our department director (who had known me longer and better), so I had no worries when it came to references.
Don't "slam the door" or "burn the bridge" as you exit, because you may need or want to return one day. One of my former recruiters was short-staffed during the holiday season and needed some experienced help. Since I was still on great terms with some employees there and was temporarily available, they asked if I'd be interested and I accepted the offer! It always helps to leave the door open, whenever possible.
So, you've received the job offer, accepted it, and now have an official starting date. What's next? Documentation to read, many forms to complete, and 90 days to prove you belong at the company.
Once you know where to report to on your first day, use the following tips to prepare yourself for your first day:
While you may want to get stuck in straight away, getting a new job also often comes with a lot of paperwork, which can be overwhelming. Some offer letters will provide details of what to bring with you on your first day (for example, photo ID, previous employment records). If in doubt, "bring your life!"
Depending on your new job, you'll likely need to sign specific legal and other "acknowledgment-of-understanding" documents such as:
Your human resources or in-house general counsel can interpret and explain if there's something you don't understand. If you need to verify details with family members, don't be afraid to ask how long you have to complete certain documents, and if you can bring them back later.
Your experience, skills, and personality got the attention of the recruiter and eventually landed you the job, but now you are in a new environment. There will be a time and place to apply your capable skills, but first, you must show that you are open to listening, understanding, and learning all about the culture.
Onboarding is the process companies use to "bring on board" newly hired talent, and introduce them to their policies, procedures, rules, resources, and team. This process may include specialized training unique to the company or position.
Organizations will expect their new team members to follow the procedures explained to them. If there is a work process you've encountered and you believe could be improved or made more efficient, try the organization's method several times first before making suggestions. And, if you do make a suggestion, make sure you can prove exactly how it will save time and money.
We have two ears, two eyes, and one mouth: so listen and observe twice as much as you speak. Use your first 90 days to become better acquainted with the organization. You are a passenger on this train, not the conductor (at least not yet). This isn't the time to "showboat," it's about laying the foundation for a strong and meaningful relationship going forward.
Even if you are a senior executive, you're still new. Learn and respect the current dynamics, and appreciate those who kept things moving and who are helping you to adjust.
If you want to discover more about getting a new job, and how to go about settling into your new role, check out the following resources from Mind Tools. (Note that you'll need to be a Mind Tools Club or Corporate member to see all the resources in full.)
Sonia is an experienced meeting and events manager, with over 20 years experience in conferences, exhibits, and corporate social events. She also owns a visual branding company.
Sonia joined the Mind Tools coaching team in 2021, and enjoys connecting people with resources to help them reach their goals. In her spare time, she is a photo enthusiast, who reviews products, completes store scavenger hunts, and explores nail art/design.
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