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The job’s yours!  Should I follow my gut instinct and take it?

15 Apr 2014 by Lynne Wilkins.

Many people will tell you that the best decision maker is your natural instinct. How many times have you disregarded your gut instinct on a decision, only to regret it later?  Surely your intuition is your best friend in leading you to the job of your dreams?

Intuition or gut feeling happens when we 'just know' something rather than having to come to a conclusion using rational thought.   Studies show that the less we analyse the pros and cons of a situation, the more likely we are to make a decision we’re happy with. 

But be wary! Your personal fulfilment and career success rely on finding something that meets all of your needs.  While you can’t predict with certainty that you’ll be happy at a job, you can increase your odds of making the right decision by not only trusting your instincts but also thinking through why you have those instincts.

Channel the area of your mind that is driven by fact-based evidence to back up what the emotionally driven more irrational area of your brain is telling you to do. 

Ask yourself these questions to help you make a discriminating decision:

Is the job going to provide the challenge I’m after? 
You don’t want to accept a job that’s not going to keep you motivated.  Look over the job description again and think ahead about how you are going to achieve what you want from the position.  If you’re keen to move up the career ladder, you need to make sure there are opportunities for promotion.

What will be expected of me in the first three months? 
Find out whether there will be in-house training to bring you up to speed on the company’s preferred means of doing business.  You should have a sense of whether you can expect a honeymoon period while you learn the ropes or whether you’ll be hitting the ground running. 

Does this job take me towards my career goal?
Consider whether the role will take your skills and experience closer to where you want to end up.   If it takes you in the right direction to be a Global Head of Comms (or whatever you aspire to be), then great; if not, it might be worth a rethink.  Start with the end in mind and keep focused on what you want.

Am I wearing rose-tinted spectacles?
Don’t overvalue an offer if you’re desperate.  It’s all too easy to misjudge a situation when you’re chomping at the bit to move on to new pastures.  Try making a “Reasons to stay” versus “Reasons to go” list.  Assign a value to each item on the list and see which category comes out on top.

Do I know enough about the company?
You may have had a couple of interviews and met the team, but you can do more extensive research to scrutinise the company a little before you make your final decision.  Don’t base your opinion solely on a ‘funny feeling’ you had about the person who interviewed you.  They may not be the person you’ll work with directly so reserve judgement until you’ve found out more about the structure of the company.   Remember, there’s a wealth of information out there: check out employee profiles on the company’s LinkedIn page, see what they’re saying about their job on Twitter, Facebook or other sources of social media. 

If you’re still no closer to making a decision after going through this list of questions, it might be time to just flip a coin!

What were the deciding factors when you accepted or rejected a job offer?  Share your stories with us.

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