“Look back on those experiences in your working life to date that have had the greatest motivational impact on you”, says Nick Tatchell, Senior Consultant at Towers Perrin-ISR. “Then make the effort to find out if a move to a new employer will enhance these experiences before you take the plunge. Some of you will need to find out how quickly you will get the chance to work alongside and learn from senior experts in your field; for some it will be important to know how early you will be able to make key decisions and take responsibility; and for others the quality of training and development opportunities available to you will be the most important motivation.”
“By all means talk to your future employer about this, but best of all is to get in touch with someone who works there already.”
Bruce Pfau, Vice Chair of Human Resources at KPMG, advises, “If you’re a graduate the absolute best way to get a taste of a company is to get involved with an internship. There’s nothing to compare with direct experience of a company.” If you’re already employed, advises Mr. Pfau, then it’s a good idea to speak to someone you know who already works where you’re looking to go.
“You can also look at what the company publishes. If it’s a really good employer it will have information that comes directly from its employees. Learn from your peers.” Mr. Pfau also recommends attending company functions to get a real feel for the people.
David Harper, Senior Manager of KPMG in Russia’s Moscow office, recalls, “The types of clients, professional advancement, challenges and incentives that the Russian firm presented were what initially got me interested. My wife and I then visited Moscow to enable us to better understand what working in Moscow would be like.”
“My view is that the most important thing about joining any new company in our profession is the people you will be working with. In a professional service firm you are always working within teams, the people within those teams often make all the difference, so talk to people who already work there or who have worked there. If you can, speak to the people that you’ll be working with.”
Whichever way you look at it, deciding upon your next career move is a delicate, often uncertain process, but there are concrete strategies you can employ that will allow you to make the most informed decision. It almost goes without saying that thorough research is vital, although remember that information on a website — while valuable — is not always the most accurate guide. Equally important is a level-headed evaluation of your current situation. If you can try to get a taste of actual experience in your area of interest this is another definite bonus. It’s also important to think about how well you will get on with the kind of people you will be working with, as well as the work itself. In other words take a good long hard look before you leap and you shouldn’t fall too far short of the perfect move.