Is it the job of your dreams, or nightmares?

A 5-step guide to assessing your next role

When someone offers you a new job it’s really easy to get excited and carried away. After all, who doesn’t like to have their ego stroked with offers of more money or a bigger title? Those progressions matter, but there’s a lot more to consider if you’re aiming for fulfilment and happiness. So here’s our insider tips on how to assess a new role to determine if it will be a dream come true, or a never-ending nightmare!

More money and bigger titles are great for stroking egos, but real happiness at work is often more elusive.

I sit across the desk from prospective candidates every day, and every single one is very similar and completely different all at the same time. Each of them has their own unique view of the world, their own set of life pressures, their own experiences and aspirations. But all of them want to find work that they love in a workplace where they belong. And most of them are not sure what that looks like — so that’s where I come in.

After 20 years in the recruitment industry and 1000’s of conversations with candidates, I now use a simple method to help people pry out their description of what a dream role looks like for them. So, here’s a simplified version to help you assess a potential dream role.


Five simple questions to assess any new role:

1. What is the vision of the organisation — and I mean the actual vision, not the sentence on their homepage. It’s really important that you can feel committed to the organisation’s vision and to understand how you can contribute to that goal. If you can’t see yourself being committed to that vision, then every day will just feel like hard work. Life is too short not to love what you do.

2. What’s the culture of the organisation (and of the specific department and manager) you will be joining? Do your research and, if you can, ask current and past employees for their honest opinions. Be sure it aligns to your personal values. And remember, your direct manager trumps everything. The organisation can be wonderful, but if your manager is not then all bets are off.

3. What is so great about the organisation that makes talented people stay? Even ask your future manager why they choose to stay? A truthful answer to this question will tell you a lot, and will help you decide what compromises you’ll be willing to make to take the role. And believe me, every role requires compromise. For example, no-one likes to compromise on salary, but there may be other great reasons why talented people choose to stay, and those benefits may be worth a lot more to you than a few extra dollars in your pay packet.

4. Ask yourself honestly: why are you interested in this role? Does it play to your strengths or are you flattered because you’ve been offered something “better”? Find out “what does an average day look like in this role”, and then consider if that’s a worklife that you’ll really enjoy.

5. For most of us, the next role is not the end of the line, so you need to be sure that the opportunity you’re assessing will continue to build your skills and experience. Is there an official development plan for high-potential employees? What is it? Make sure you and your potential employer are on the same page when it comes to your future growth and development.


Think about the story of one candidate who came from a PR background — let’s call him Leon. He recognised that people loved his public speaking style, but behind the scenes his nerves were completely out of control, to the point where it was causing a serious physical reaction. It was a frightful condition, and he swore he would never take another job that required public speaking. That was until he was offered a role right back in PR, with a 30% salary increase that was “too good to refuse”. That, my friends, is a compromise I would not be willing to make. And I can’t imagine Leon has day-to-day happiness at work.

Key takeouts:

There’s nothing wrong with getting more money and a bigger title, but don’t confuse those goals with the aim of being happy and fulfilled at work. They are not the same thing. 
 And before you’re likely to find your dream role, you need to clearly define what it is you’re looking for.

If you’d like more hints and tips on how to discover your dream role, join the thousands of candidates that use Peeplmatch to help them discover work they’ll love and workplaces where they belong. Click here :)

Christine Khor | Peeplmatch Co Founder
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