Changing your job is always challenging, and the decision is often influenced by many factors. Sometimes those factors are not directly related to the job itself. Still, we usually decide to leave because we don’t feel our job is a place where we’re appreciated or we feel that the corporate culture doesn’t elicit a sense of security.
Changing work environments and choosing a job can sometimes be paralyzing, even when we leave an extremely dysfunctional work environment or a stressful setting. And even though we subconsciously sense that this is the right step for the better, we still feel fear of the unknown.
From my own experience, I know that such a decision is rarely made at the spur of the moment. I remember how thoroughly I chose my new company in Poland. Now I’m Head of the Polish Branch at S-PRO, and it’s a new and exciting experience in my career. Taking that step took me weeks, even months, of deliberation and research! I searched the internet and checked job portals looking for an exceptional employer in Poland. I read reviews and talked to friends. But does the perfect employer exist, and how can you choose between several job offers? Let’s discuss.
How to choose a job offer
Find a workplace that suits your needs, as the absolutely perfect employer is a myth.
The times when it was companies choosing the best employees have passed. Instead, today it’s employees who thoroughly check every company. You should consider several points before accepting a job offer.
Money is one of the most common motives influencing the desire to change your job. Of course, the salary is important because we want decent compensation for our work. However, after reaching a certain financial level, money is no longer the primary motivator. In other words, people are ready to leave their jobs for a better salary if they’re unsatisfied with the work itself or with their colleagues and their career prospects in general.
Every company offers different work benefits, and you should pay attention to them. However, I want to highlight that a friendly atmosphere is not a benefit! Neither are gym memberships, breakfast at work, or healthcare packages. They no longer add value but are rather seen as the standard minimum. When choosing a job, carefully analyze the offer and ask yourself a simple question: Is it for me? Is this what I need in my career vision? After all, not all that glitters is gold. For example, some language lessons can do more good than cookies or board games in the office.
- paid overtime
- paid holiday/sick leaves
- regular salary reviews
- flexibility with the form of cooperation (B2B or employment contract)
- possibility of remote work
- budget for educational opportunities like training, conferences, and meetups
- language lessons
Type of employment
When comparing job offers, ask your potential employer about the type of contracts they offer. There are different types of employment in Poland. I will tell you a bit about the options to help you freely navigate this career topic.
- Employment contract — This is the most popular type of contract, considered by many to be the most secure and stable form of employment. Both the employee and employer contribute a certain amount of money for taxes, health insurance, etc. Both parties also have their rights and obligations. Employment contracts count towards job seniority, which is essential when calculating, for example, vacation leave and pensions. Therefore, employment contracts should always be concluded in writing. In Poland, the minimum salary from January 2022 is 3010 PLN gross per month. An employment contract can be signed for several periods:
a. Trial period — A contract signed to check an employee’s skills and qualifications; it can be no longer than three months.
b. Fixed-term — This type of contract is also designed to check the employee’s skills. A company may sign up to three fixed-term contracts with an individual, but they cannot exceed 33 months in total. (NOTE: A trial period contract is not included in this limit.)
c. Indefinite contract — Тhis most desireable contract type is a permanent form of employment with no termination date.
- Contract of mandate — This is a civil law contract in which the person accepting the mandate undertakes to diligently perform a specific legal act for the principal. The contractor is entitled to such rights as arise directly from the contract (there are no arrangements for vacation, sick leave, etc.). The principal must report the employee to the Social Security administration and pay at least the minimum hourly rate in Poland, which in 2022 was PLN 19.70. A contract of mandate does not count towards job seniority.
- Contract for work — This is also a civil law contract. A person signing a contract for work undertakes to perform a specific task, meaning they will bill for the results of their work. In this case, the employee is not subject to compulsory social and health insurance. A contract for work also does not count towards job seniority.
- Recently, B2B contracts have also become popular. In this case, an individual runs a one-person business and bears all its costs (taxes, health insurance, etc.). The contract signed between the client and that one-person business regulates the terms and conditions.
Of course, this is very general information about the various types of job contracts. Each has established rules, rights, and obligations. However, in Poland, employment contracts and individual entrepreneurship (B2B contacts) are the most popular, especially in the IT industry.
When comparing job offers, I recommend paying attention to a company’s history, the clarity of the company’s vision and operating strategy, past projects, and the customer base. Broad access to information allows us to better understand a prospective employer. There are many ways to conduct a job comparison, such as checking official websites, following social media profiles, and checking Clutch reviews. Experiment, try making contact with companies via email or chat, observe a company’s events and job fairs, and visit the office during open days.
In the post-pandemic reality, remote work has become the norm, and not only for the IT industry. Being able to decide on your schedule is an important issue that affects efficiency and allows you to maintain a healthy work–life balance. But remember that remote work is a big test of trust, and despite flexibility on the employer’s part, sometimes there are some fixed elements of work to which we have to adjust.
Check if the potential employer invests in their employees. Do they encourage the team to expand their competencies? Getting support is a reliable way to grow professionally. Find a company that can respond to your hunger for knowledge and provide enough learning opportunities! Don’t be afraid of those missing points from the list of requirements – the job must challenge you and encourage you to grow. Pay attention to whether the company has a career path, personal development plans for employees, and a promotion path for your position. Finally, think two steps ahead. Are the skills I will acquire in my new job versatile and transferable? Is this the direction I want to grow in?
Seek space for open and honest conversation. Can you count on constructive evaluation of your work and openly present your ideas? Does the company have a culture of feedback? Also, check whether employees are informed about the company’s action plans. Is information actually transparent, or does that exist only as a slogan? You can do this by finding a company’s employees on LinkedIn and simply asking them.
There are situations in life when it’s worth listening to your intuition, especially when it comes to the people you’re supposed to work with. A good team atmosphere is beneficial for creative work and a good flow of information. From a psychological point of view, we do more for people we like. So when comparing job offers, don’t be afraid to choose an offer based on your preference – after all, you’ll spend one-third of your days at work! Pay attention to the tone of voice during interviews and how people present their company.
Job offer comparison red flags
Pay attention to these red flags when choosing a company:
- lack of specific information about the position
- indirect answers to your questions
- not respecting your time
- frequent employee turnover
- open criticism of other employees and a lack of respect
- chaotic job offer
- bad reputation on the internet
- last-minute changes in the contract terms
- leads who like to micromanage
How to compare job offers: 7 questions that are good to ask during interviews
- What are the most important things I should accomplish in the first three months?
- Based on what metrics will you evaluate my performance?
- What are the most immediate projects I would take on?
- What skills are the team missing that you’re looking to provide with a new hire?
- Could you tell me about a coworker whose work approach is different from yours?
- What learning and development opportunities will I have in this role?
- What will my typical day at work look like?
Everyone’s needs are unique. There is no golden mean for everyone. When looking for your ideal employer, be guided by what you think is right for your career path. Take your time with the decision. Think, analyze, and, when you’re sure, choose what’s best for YOU.
I believe in you!