Does your new job feel all wrong? What to do …

wrong job cartoonThe hangover of your leaving party has just about waned and you have joined your new company.

The first few days (perhaps weeks) were taken up by the induction programme and generally finding your way around the business (and the building). You’re now at the stage where you are starting to develop a routine and your feet are under the desk so to speak.

All should be well, however in the back of your mind something is telling you that all is not as it should be … You’re putting this slight feeling of unease down to new-starter’s jitters and fear of the unknown, but you’re slowly coming to the realisation that you might have made a mistake joining this business.

Arghh…! What do you do now?

Deep breath in, stiff drink, a gruelling hour in the gym or anything that works for you in order to take a step back and take stock.

Thankfully, this situation does not happen often but something has clearly gone wrong somewhere. It is now a matter of working out what to do. Grin and bear it? Resign on the spot? Start applying for jobs on the quiet?

In my experience it is worth doing the following, not necessarily in this order:

1. Let’s determine what it is that is not quite right. It could be the job content, your boss or your relationship with your boss, your colleagues or the general culture of the business.

2. Whatever it is, can it be fixed? Is it something that you can learn to live with? Or has the rot set in and there is only one option – leave.

3. However uncomfortable this might be, you have to talk to your boss. You’re both adults (assuming no paper girls or boys are reading this article) and you need to discuss this in the most neutral and objective manner possible. After all, your boss does not want a disgruntled employee, does not want to invest time, money and effort in fully inducting, integrating and perhaps training a person who might leave within their first 12 months. So, have the conversation, making certain to stick with the facts, no emotion. This is as much your fault as anyone else’s.

4. After this conversation it is decision time, if your boss can change things so as to accommodate you then make certain that you agree timescales and measures / review times. You’d want to avoid your boss paying you lip service, trying to find a quick replacement (maybe the 2nd candidate on the short list?) and to turf you out just before the end of your probation period …

5. You’ll find that if genuine changes have been made and you feel more comfortable in staying with the business, your relationship with your boss will be far stronger than if none of this had happened. After all, you have faced adversity together and have found a solution to the problem. Together.

6. However, if it transpires that you have made a mistake, didn’t do your research properly or indeed you were sold a pup, then leaving would be the only option.

7. The question then is – when? Of course, if this all happens within the first few weeks of joining the new business then you have the option to phone your old company to see whether you can have your old job back (another good reason to always leave on good terms…!). If that door is closed, then you’ll have to make a decision. If you leave immediately, without having a job to go to then you will be in a weaker negotiation position with any new opportunity then if you were still working. However, when explaining that you made a mistake, it is more likely that you are believed than the person who stayed only 12 months in a job because they found that they made a mistake. Really? It took you 12 months to find that out and do something about? If you leave immediately, the advantage you have is that you can make finding the next opportunity your full time job.

8. If you do decide to stay whilst looking for the next opportunity, then step up a gear and deliver your very best work whilst at this business. When you depart, you want to be regarded as a good leaver who, despite recognising that the business was not right for them, still delivered good work.

9. Finally, don’t beat yourself up, we all make mistakes. Just make sure to learn from it and be extra careful in your subsequent career moves…and don’t do it again!

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Preparing for a 2nd (or 3rd) interview with a potential new employer

Congratulations, you have aced the first interview and you are invited back for a subsequent interview / meeting with a prospective new employer. What could possibly go wrong?

There are a few points to consider here, some of which relate to your preparation for the first interview…


  1. If after the 1st interview you don’t really know whether this opportunity is or is not right for you, then it is probably because you have not asked the right questions in the 1st meeting and this is probably down to poor preparation. Your 1st interview is as much part of your due diligence process as it is part of the hiring authority’s. So prepare well, ask the uncomfortable questions, do not assume anything and make sure that at the end of the meeting you know whether you want to be invited back or not.


  1. However, if after the first meeting you are not 100% convinced that this is the right company, right position or the right fit for you then you must communicate this to the person who is arranging the 2nd meeting. After all, if they weren’t 100% convinced that you were the right person either, then the chances are that this is probably not right for either party, therefore it might be best to stop the process and avoid wasting each other’s time. If it is decided that you should go ahead and meet a 2nd time anyway, then this will be a very different meeting in which you can ‘clear the air’ and have a very open conversation about your and their concerns. Based on the outcome of this conversation both parties can decide to go ahead or abort, either way, you will come across as a professional, who wishes to carefully manage their career without making change for changes sake.


  1. Assuming you are keen to go ahead and meet for the 2nd (or 3rd) time, then how do you prepare? How do you make sure that there is added value for you, rather than just a repeat of the 1st meeting, but with another person? Again, some of this will come down to the fact finding questions you asked in your 1st interview. Assuming you are meeting with a different person this time around, you may chose to verify your understanding around some of the facts you learned in the previous meeting – do I understand correctly that…? Is it true that…? As I understand it, this role will….? Your colleague described the culture as…., would you concur?
    Your aim here is to absolutely make certain that this is the right opportunity for you.


  1. One good way of finding out about opportunities within the business is to ask questions such as – what will happen to the current person in the role? (if they are leaving, why? Were there no opportunities for further progression?). What is the average tenure of people in senior positions and what is their background? (in other words, were they external hires or were they promoted?).


  1. It goes without saying that before the interview you need to do your homework on the person(s) you will be meeting. What is their background? Do you have common acquaintances or interests? If so, use these facts as an ice breaker. Depending on how well you got on with the 1st interviewer, you may ask them about advice on how to ‘handle’ the person you meet for the 2nd interview. 


  1. If you prepared a presentation for your 1st meeting, make sure to bring it to your subsequent meetings too. Make sure to make any appropriate amendments based on your findings from previous meetings.


  1. Do not assume that everything you told your first interviewer has been passed on to the next interviewer. Be prepared to give a repeat performance.


  1. Based on the information gained in the 1st meeting, you will probably have some idea of how you would tackle the challenges in the role. In most cases, it is worthwhile clarifying your understanding around these challenges, before giving an overview of your first 100 day plan. It does not need to be too detailed (unless asked for it), however they need to know that you have thought it through and that you have a plan…!


  1. It may be that an offer is extended in this meeting, make sure beforehand that you know what your expectations are and particularly make sure that you know what your minimum is, below which you will not accept. If you are offered in the meeting and it is below your expectations, do not decline or comment on it. Instead, thank them for the offer and ask whether you can think about it for 48 hours. Your search consultant / head hunter should negotiate the offer that is what they are paid for, so let them earn their money and expect them to negotiate an offer that will be acceptable to you. On the other hand, if the offer in the meeting meets or exceeds your expectation, then accept it and ask for it to be confirmed in writing.


Always, always, clarify at the end of the meeting what the process will be from here on (another two meetings? Who will make the final decision?) and to what timescales they are working. You need to manage your own expectations here and if possible, create a bit of urgency.


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