Whether you’re “in the market” or not, imagine you have been approached by a recruiter about an interesting opportunity. How do you assess the opportunity? What should you do?
Here are four “homework” suggestions you should consider before you make any decision.
(1) Reassess or confirm your own career goals
Sometimes it is necessary to step back and rethink your career objectives. An unexpected opportunity may trigger this need. Do you really want to move? Would the opportunity advance your career in the way you want it to? Is it a chance to move into an area or sector you have always been interested in? Do you feel you are not progressing the way you want in your present firm? For instance, if you are a lawyer, are you aiming to become a partner within, say, five years? Answering “yes” to these types of questions would suggest you should at least discuss the opportunity with the recruitment consultant.
(2) Objectively consider your advancement prospects
After considering you own goals, you should objectively assess your prospects for advancement in your present firm bearing in mind your experience and/or your PQE. If you feel you are nearing or eligible for a promotion, try to determine what the promotion will mean in terms of salary and benefits. Will it fit your career objectives? Will you be pleased with it? If, on the other hand, an early promotion seems unlikely, you may wish to consider the opportunity presented by the recruiter.
(3) Research the firm and its areas of work
Assuming you are interested in the opportunity, it is strongly suggested you find out as much as you can about the firm as soon as you can. One way of doing this is to question the recruitment consultant. The consultant will likely be able to tell you more about the firm than information posted on the firm’s website or found in publications, and may know details about the firm not in the public domain. For instance, additional (non-published) details about the position may have been disclosed by the firm to help the recruiter attract a good candidate. These details could be about the position or even about items that are related to otherwise confidential areas of the firm’s business. At this time, you may also wish to ask questions about the firm’s promotion policy and/or career paths.
Another area you may wish to pursue is the firm’s future plans. This is difficult as most firms are reluctant to openly disclose their future plans for business and/or competitive reasons. It is possible the recruiter can provide some information, but you will likely have to ask questions of this type if you decide to proceed and get to the interview stage.
(4) Find out about the firm’s remuneration policy and benefits package
You will likely want to know more about the firm’s remuneration practice and benefit plans – especially as you may feel you have a good “package” with your current firm. Here again, the recruiter should be able to provide some information as a good recruiter makes it his/her business to keep-up-to date on the profession’s remuneration practices. It is the same with benefit packages. Note that for lawyers, PQE levels often indicate the salary level a firm is contemplating for the position.
If you decide to consider a potential new opportunity, it is well worthwhile going through the four points mentioned above and having an early chat with the recruiter is usually highly beneficial. Note that the recruiter is not going to force you to make an application for the new position. If it’s not right for you, it’s not right for the recruiting consultant to recommend you either.
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