Is Your Next Job A Poisoned Chalice? How to Assess the Job on Offer

Does Fortune Really Favour the Brave and Bold?

The Latin proverb indicates that fortune favours the brave and bold, but when it comes to your career how much of a risk are you prepared to take? High profile candidates often enjoy a corporate buffet of prospects, job offers placed squarely on the table that could lead to prosperity and acclaim.

Some roles come with a promise of a high salary, attractive perks, and networking opportunities by the bucket-load. When a proposition like that comes along it can seem too good to turn down. The question is, will it turn out to be your dream job or a poisoned chalice? We discuss some of the thinking behind assessing the job opportunity on offer and discuss how you can tell the difference between the poisoned chalice or the dream ticket.

A Challenge Too Far?

With a great job offer on the table, it can be tempting to snap it up without delving deeper. You might be aware that the department or company has a number of key issues that need to be resolved, and, if truth be told, you’re all for rolling up your sleeves and pitching in.

You steel yourself for the challenge ahead – resolving to turn things around promptly. You can then add all your wonderful accomplishments to your updated CV. This might sound like the perfect plan on paper, but the reality is that for some jobs the challenge may simply be too big.

Moving with the Times

We live in a fast-moving digital world. Blink and you might miss the latest twist and turn on the technological journey. With the development of artificial intelligence, the internet of things etc. businesses now have the scope to develop at a rapid pace.

It appears to be an age of transformation, and many businesses are looking to employ executives that aren’t afraid to move with the times and make the necessary changes.

You might feel you fit the bill – consider yourself to be a forward-thinker, driven, and keen to make headway. You welcome the chance to make exciting changes, but it might not be straightforward. In fact, it could be as tricky as pushing a wheelbarrow full of house bricks up a very steep hill.

Prepare for An Uphill Struggle

Despite your determination to succeed you could be met with opposition and barriers. First off you have to deal with the company mindset. It can be difficult to instigate change, especially in a company that insists on clinging onto cultural traits (procedures, legacy systems and processes now outdated).

You might also have to deal with an obdurate senior team and a downbeat workforce, which can leave you feeling deflated and frustrated. So, how do you decide whether that job on the horizon is a super-yacht of a role or a sinking ship best avoided? Here are a few things to consider:

#1 Does the Company Have a Strong Leadership Team at the Helm?

Change is never easy. That’s why a strong leadership team will come up with a plan of action to ensure transformation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to find out how committed the leadership team are to moving forward. Find out where the company aims to be in a year’s time and ask for an honest rundown of what a typically “difficult working day” involves!

#2 Will You Get What You Need to Help the Company to Move Forward?

Even with a great plan and the best will in the world, you will still need a cooperative team around you, and the resources to get the job done. Make sure you understand the perimeters of the role. Find out if there are achievable deadlines for key actions. Discuss budget constraints and ascertain your limits in terms of authority and decision making. It’s critical that you understand what is expected of you in order to succeed, and it’s worth finding out how you will be assessed in terms of your own performance against objectives.

#3 Are You a Good Fit?

It’s wise to find out as much as you can about the company. What message does it convey? Does there seem to be a united front amongst the leadership team? Do employees seem enthused to work there? What is the company ethos? What type of workplace culture and politics are at its heart?

A great salary is one thing, but you also need an element of job satisfaction and a sense of belonging. If you don’t feel you will be comfortable working for a particular company don’t try to persuade yourself otherwise.

#4 Gut Feeling

Once you have arrived at this point and if you’re able to answer the other questions positively then it’s likely that the answer to this question will also be positive. If you have any reservations about company compatibility or your questions are not getting answered, then your gut at this stage will tell you that it’s not the right move.

Furthermore, there are the jobs which may fit your personal brief but the actual job spec and day to day work is just too easy. In this case, even if the salary and benefits on offer are appealing, in the long run, there will be limited opportunity for you to move the dial with regards gaining big project experience that will really showcase your talent further down the line.

”Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do” – Steve Jobs.


Fortune Sometimes Favours the Brave and the Bold

Some might say that’s a wishy-washy way to end our musings on this topic. However (in the absence of a crystal ball) the only way you can make your mind up about a career opportunity is to carry out research, ask well-thought-out questions and listen to that little voice in your head.

At Lincoln, we have over 20 years of experience in recruiting professionals for some of Ireland’s biggest and most prestigious organisations and have helped many professionals follow the path to their dream role. Browse our available jobs here.

Adrian Marples avatar
Associate Director – Financial Services
+353 87 773 1191