How To Choose Your Next Job (Checklist/ 6 Points)

This is a crucial one. A bad decision can have a highly negative impact on your resume and career evolution.

After all, you seek more responsibility, more money and a better title, right?

Here are the 6 questions I recommend to minimize this risk of a false move. And I would only accept a job offer if all points are positive:

The Science:

  • What is in for you? If you are in the first 20 years of your career, it should be a real step forward in terms of responsibilities. If you have achieved the peak of your career and your career path flattens, it should however look consistent with your evolution and stay at least the same level. Bear in mind that the next job will determine the job after. You will always be judged on the current/ last job – and not on what you have done before
  • Do you fulfill at least 70% of the technical requirements, can you do the job? 70-80% is a good value for me to a) ensure the success of the candidate and b) keep him/ her motivated for the next years. Do your risk management properly and do not accept an offer if it is a) too much or b) not enough responsability for you
  • Are external factors such as the time to commute OK for you? I saw many candidates who underestimate the time spent in the car or public transport, who accepted an offer only to leave few months later. Also the salary and other benefits are important. Are you happy with the offer? Make sure you do not have a bad feeling every time the pay-check arrives or you won’t stay either. I personally recommend not to go below the last base salary


The Art:

  • Can you imagine working with all the people you met during the interview process? Does it feel good? Do you trust them to take care of your career for the next years?
  • What was the atmosphere, the company culture when you arrived at the reception desk or when you observed the employees? I remember being a job-seeker two years ago: it turned me down to observe the interaction of the reception desk staff and the employees and I had taken my decision (not to continue the process) even before meeting the hiring manager…
  • How is your overall gut feeling? No compromise on this one! You should only go if you had a positive fit with your future direct superior. Do you want to spend the day with the your potential boss, more time than with your family? If the answer is no – then the answer is no!



A false move when choosing your next job can have a desastrous impact on your career. The Leitmotiv of my job and this blog are to bring together the art and the science, align your head and your guts. And as I said in other postings, the gut feeling will tell you what to do. Yes is yes, no is no and maybe – is no…

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Jorg Stegemann
Jorg Stegemann - Headhunter, Certified Coach and Business Writer - is the Managing Director of Kennedy Executive Search & Outplacement. Apart from running our company blog, he writes for Forbes, BBC and other media.
  1. Alissa Reply

    Great blog post, Jorg. I totally agree with all of your points. Sadly, one of the points is a big mistake by employers, from my viewpoint, and that is we are judged only by our most recent position. Until the Great Recession, I had a stellar career track record (not bragging…just making a point). My industry was hit hard and very early by the Recession, and so was my career. Thus, I was derailed a few years ago and have been in positions signfiicantly below my long-term career path as a result. To be judged for the most recent few years, rather than for my career track record, is extremely demoralizing and, frankly, ridiculous. My last serious job interview encounter took me to the “top 2″ candidate level, and yet the hiring manager was entirely focused on the past few years…he “missed the forest for the trees”. Hiring practices today are filled with short-sighted professionals. Rarely do I meet anyone who sees the “big picture”. Your other points are well-stated and “spot on”.

    • Jorg Stegemann
      Jorg Stegemann Reply

      Alissa –

      Thanks for your comment. I guess we are both right: I wrote “current/ last job”. What I wanted to say is that if you have been e.g. Marketing Director for 10 years and then jobbed at McDonald’s for 1 year, you need a good explanation. I do not say you should turn that job down: but – you need a good explanation…

  2. Luca Reply

    Hi Jorg:

    good points and good to see your blog in cyberspace :-)
    take care

    • Jorg Stegemann
      Jorg Stegemann Reply

      Thanks, Luca!

  3. Charbel Reply

    I agree with the writer: in many parts of the world, the last job is determines the next role … which unfortunately is not very smart from recruiters (I agree with Alissa’s above comment), still this is how things are in reality

    • Jorg Stegemann
      Jorg Stegemann Reply

      Thanks, Charbel. The world of labor is changing – but it takes some time…

  4. Alison Reply

    Like Alissa, and many others I am sure, having been made redundant I took a job that paid £15,000 less ( that fact it was a charity is I guess half an excuse). Now that job has ended I am struggling to get interviews even at that salary. Is it better to “devalue” my currency again or stick out without a penny coming in to pay the bills!

    • Jorg Stegemann
      Jorg Stegemann Reply

      Alison –

      Thanks for your comment.

      I have no clear advice. The problem is that accepting a lower salary can bring you into a downward spiral.

      Being fully conscious of this, a situation can occur where one has to accept it nonetheless…

  5. Ken Reply

    As a job seeker I’m finding that even for jobs at nominally my current level I’m being asked by the recruiting manager why I’m not applying for their role, and being rejected for that reason….. Thats flattering.

    Ok I’m upping my expectations but fishing in a significantly smaller pool, and as Alison says above, we all have bills to pay and if I’m happy to do your more junior role it’s fairly clear I’ll do it well, and we’ll all be happy, even if i leave after a year or two my legacy will persist in processes, contracts, relationships which can only be a benefit to all.

  6. Guglielmo Reply

    Really good points and very interesting and hands on blog…Nice to read you Jorg.

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