Job Search: What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You

The old saying, “Ignorance is bliss,” has been debunked so much that I’m not sure anyone really believes it anymore. However, some job seekers I’ve met do seem to adopt that concept–unconsciously, if nothing else. That attitude can have a painful effect on your job search.

3 Things You Might not Know but Should

  • Is the target company facing a daunting challenge that could negatively affect you if you were hired? For example, is it a likely target for a hostile takeover or otherwise a probable candidate for a merger/acquisition that could result in elimination of the job you had just landed? Certainty might not be achievable with the available information, but it’s up to you to do your due diligence carefully and sniff out such possibilities as best you can.
  • Does the target company have a reputation for being tough on its employees, particularly at the level and/or in the type of role you are pursuing? A company can be challenging to work for and still be largely satisfying and rewarding. However, if it maintains a potentially toxic work environment or spits employees out like a revolving door, you might want to think carefully before seriously considering accepting an offer from it.
  • Is the company operating in an industry (or segment of an industry) that’s perched on the slippery slope of declining value? As examples, just look at what happened in the video recording industry with Betamax vs. VHS and later with DVDs vs. tape recording methods. Absolute accuracy in predicting the outcome of apparent trends probably won’t happen, but you might be able to get a good sense of what could realistically happen and determine if that’s encouraging or discouraging in your situation.

Job Search Risks You Might Decide to Take

As I mentioned above, you might find out as much as possible about a situation with your target company and go either way in deciding whether it makes good sense for you to move ahead. Sometimes the risk-versus-reward outlook suggests that it’s worth pursuing; sometimes not. As long as you’ve taken all the wise precautions you can, that’s really the best you can do to minimize your risk and maximize your potential reward.

What might some of the risks be? For starters, you could leave a solid but unfulfilling job to take one that evaporates unexpectedly and leaves you stranded. Or you might find that the person who hired you and with whom you had a good rapport will fall victim to a management shift that boots him or her out in the cold and leaves you facing the possibility of working for a not-so-great new boss–if he/she doesn’t decide to find a way to shove you out the door as well.

I sometimes think the only guarantee is the fact that there are no guarantees! That certainly applies in the job search setting, making it something of a “buyer beware” situation. The better prepared you are for the most likely eventualities, the better you’ll probably end up once the dust settles.

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