Six questions to evaluate the growth potential of a career opportunity.
What will I personally be doing?
This is beyond the job description and the title. This is about what results you will be responsible for. Those results are your next job search story and key to succeeding in the new position.
In tech, this might include the tech stack but more than that it’s the kind of problems (scale, complexity, security) that you’ll be solving. This might also be your role on the team whether individual contributor, architect or junior engineer.
Your projects should and will change over time but asking questions like these can help you to see what story you’ll be making for your longer term career prospects:
What will success look like 30/60/90 days in?
If you were me and took this position, how would you get up to speed and add value to the team quickly?
What kinds of problems would I be expected to solve?
What kind of work will be taking place around me?
This is important to understand future opportunity and the reality of what you’ll be getting out of this environment.
If you’re passionate about a future in UX and joining a company that doesn’t even have dedicated UX - you may find it difficult to learn UX!
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a job if you’ll be at the forefront of some modern ideas or practices within the team. That could be a great story! But you should consider and weigh whether this is a place you’ll be doing the pulling forward or being pulled forward.
Who will my future network be because of this job?
This is a big one. It can feel great for the ego to be “the best” but it’s better for your career in the long run to be surrounded by people way smarter than you- particularly in the beginning.
When you’re part of an alumni network, will your contacts be impactful people to you? People that can get you that next job or give you stellar advice? Will it mean something in your industry or market to say you are a former employee of a certain company?
What kind of environment is best for me at this point in time?
This one depends on you and your life! You may want to focus heavily on your career in a demanding and highly rewarding role right now. It’s also totally ok if you’re looking for a pleasant job that leaves you time to focus on family or other goals.
Flexibility and intensity are more important at some times than others. Take a minute to consider these tradeoffs at this moment in time.
What kind of leaders will I be working with?
Talent as a leader varies by company and style. A title of CEO doesn’t guarantee great leadership. And leadership decisions will impact you daily in whatever role you choose. You’ll want to understand the vision and style of senior leadership to assess fit.
Get a sense of both the C-suite leadership and the style of the person you’ll work with daily.
You can ask questions such as:
How would other people on the team describe your style?
What are some of your favorite resources about leadership?
How are high performers recognized here?
Where does this organization fall on a rules to chaos spectrum?
Rules places value order, consistency and process. People know what to expect and what channels to follow. This is a great environment for people who dislike chaos and enjoy stability. These Rules places tend to move slower and provide more clarity about direction and pace.
Chaos places value results and speed. People can try new things and are often stepping on each other to get things done. This is a great environment for people who dislike constraints and are comfortable with some messiness in their day to day. Change is frequent and often under communicated in a Chaos place.
Most companies fall somewhere between these on a spectrum. There are advantages to each and your preferred style of growth comes into play.
Would you feel more comfortable “putting in the time” and moving through established paths? Rules place for you.
Would you rather experiment and have to really make your own path? Chaos place for you.
Want additional advice? Ask Patty at firstname.lastname@example.org about our Career Coaching!