Should An IT Manger Be A “Secret Shopper” When Looking For A New Job?

by drjim on December 10, 2008

IT Leaders Need To Check Out Both Their Next Job And The Company That's Offering It

IT Leaders Need To Check Out Both Their Next Job And The Company That’s Offering It

So let’s pretend for a moment that you are NOT fabulously satisfied with your current job as an IT Leader. You’ve decided that global recession or not, you really, really need to find yourself a new IT job. How do you plan on going about doing this? There is nothing new that I can tell you about Monster.com or Dice.com, writing the perfect resume, or even how to leverage social networks like LinkedIn in order to get an offer. Instead, let’s talk about what you need to do AFTER you get the offer.

When you were just out of school, or when a job that you had suddenly went away, you probably went searching for the first job that would start providing you with a paycheck. However, times have changed. You now actually have a bit of a career going and, assuming that you currently have a job, you’d prefer to not muck it up.

What this means is that your search for you next IT Leader job needs to include a few additional steps that just might strike you as strange – but could very well save your career. Interested? Let’s see what you need to do next.

Once you have an offer from a company, STOP! Don’t accept it right off the bat. Tell the company that you need some time to consider their offer. Two days would be perfect, but you can even accomplish what you need to get done in a single day if you move quickly.

We all know that job descriptions are generally junk – originally created too long ago by someone who thought that they knew what they needed and then transformed into junk by caring members of the HR and legal teams so that nobody would be offended or even know what the job was about. This means that you need to make sure that you can get along with your potential new boss (hopefully you have already talked with him/her). Now you’ve got to find out if this COMPANY is the right company for you.

In a nutshell, if the company makes a lousy product / service and all of their customers are ticked off at them, then this is probably not the best place for you to take your career to. This is the new angle that you need to add to your job search: not just checking out the new job, but also checking out the company that you are considering joining.

How do you do this for an IT job? If the company that you are thinking about joining has retail stores or distributors that carry their products, then this part is easy – it’s time to go shopping. If you were considering joining Bose’s IT department, then you’d want to visit your local Best Buy and check out their home theater section.

Even more important than confirming that Bose products are still available (proof that they aren’t going out of business), would be what you learned by talking to the sales associates. What do they think about Bose products? Do people return them? Are they selling well? Although these are not IT questions, they are critical to making sure that you are joining a growing thriving company instead of a stalling, shrinking one.

If the company that you are thinking about joining does not have their products in retail stores, then you’re going to have to be a bit more creative. Almost all firms have some sort of help / support line. Play the role of a customer and give it a call – how do they treat you? Do some on-line searching for reviews of the company and their products. Look for legal actions against the company – discrimination lawsuits are never a good thing.

At this stage in your IT career, you need to adopt a bigger view of the world when you go looking for your next job. It’s no longer just about the job, but now it’s also about the company that you might be working for…

Did you take the time to check out the company that you are currently working for? How did you go about checking them out? Was the information that you found accurate? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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