We are kicking off the New Year with a simple list of “what not to do” for executives making a career move in 2015. JMJ Phillip’s Retained Executive Search Division has compiled notes from global searches to publish the top 5 career search mistakes of 2014.
Listed below are the Top 5 Mistakes our search consultants witnessed in 2014:
- Hypothetical Futuristic Bonus Value: Sounds confusing right? While most want a bulldog type in the C-Suite, as they appreciate strong negotiators, it is also really easy to turn off a future employer with a convoluted “what if, and or” Boolean dissertation on what bonus you may be missing out on.
Of course no one wants to walk away from a guaranteed high 5 or 6 digit bonus but trying to leverage your future employer because of a bonus that may or may not come is a sure fire way to make the employer look at other candidates. We worked with a couple of impressive high level executives that gave some great insight on how their careers progressed so quickly by not waiting for a potential bonus to be paid out.
The first executive noted: “You cannot keep looking backwards. Your future is in the hands of your new employer. So I lost some bonus money, not every step is forward and career growth certainly isn’t linear. If the job is worth taking, its worth taking whether you get your bonus from the old company or not.”
The second executive noted: “I guess it’s a matter of integrity for me. I cannot stick around and wait 2 months for a bonus knowing I will put my notice in right after. I have to do what’s best for me and my family but I don’t want to dine and dash on a company that was good to me. I also believe in this new world we are living in, 2 months is a lot of time and I would rather get into the new job and start making things happen knowing it will reward me far more than whatever bonus I could have received from my old employer.”
Being in the search business we understand nothing is clear-cut, sometimes it makes sense to stick around and get your bonus. After all, you earned it right? Other times it may be best to just move on.
But one thing to think about before you sit down to talk compensation, if you’re flinging out wild numbers about a bonus that “may come” your chances of getting the job are going to go down.
- Relocation Bi-Polarism: When you ask anyone working at an executive search firm how they feel about working on retained executive searches versus the contingent professional and management recruiting they did to start their careers off, they will often say, “executives know the game, they know how to make a career change and it’s often a smooth consulting gig.” While that is true we witnessed something in 2014 that was a bit disturbing. Companies often complained about candidates, be it those from a firm or their own internally sourced, backing out in the 25th hour because of relocation. Candidates will often fly out 2-3-4 times only to back out which wastes a lot of peoples time. One caveat to keep in mind is that the world is shrinking, and everyone knows everyone.
If you don’t want to move you need to figure that out early on in your career search, ideally before the first interview and absolutely no later than after the 1st interview. If you fly out somewhere 3 or 4 times only to back out, wasting people’s time may not go well for your reputation.
- Playing “Hide the Compensation”: Once again everyone appreciates a strong negotiator but everyone in today’s world wants transparency. Nothing seems to stop an offer in its tracks faster than withholding what you are currently earning. We know it’s a point of leverage and you don’t want them to lowball you but we look at it from a different light.
If the company see’s your value, they are going to pay you what you are worth. Likewise if you are trying to get a 30-40% raise by playing the hide the compensation game the company can equally say you’re just looking for a pay day, not a career. Be honest with the company about your compensation, tell them where you would like to be AND WHY, then let the chips fall where they may.
Ask yourself this, do you want to work for a company that was going to low ball you but you some how got them to pay you much more? That is not a win win in the end and this can ultimately lead to a resume that depicts you as a job-hopper because neither party ends up happy with the transaction leaving you looking for jobs every 1-2 years.
- I Know Someone There: A pretty simple one to avoid. Again, with the world shrinking, everyone knows everyone. Often we hear from the candidate that they know someone at the company they are interviewing with and they reach out to them. Want to know how often that works out? Not often! Odds do not seem to be in your favor when you work back channels. Prior colleagues opinions of you may not align with your perception.
The one thing you didn’t think about is, maybe the person you’re reaching out to doesn’t want you working there because you have dirt on them. They started a new career and they are doing okay when someone walks in from the past with stories about them. People don’t think about these things but it happens far more often than you know.
- Resume And Social Media Asymmetry: It seems everyone in their life took a position or two that didn’t work out. Maybe they only lasted 3 months because it was a bad cultural fit or the company wasn’t what they expected. So what do you do? You leave it off your resume but it’s listed on your LinkedIn profile or some other lead gathering site has your information listed and you cannot have it removed. So it only takes one simple Google search for someone to find that discrepancy and question your integrity. All we can say is the world is changing. Data is everywhere. If you choose to hide things it may or may not hurt you. Sometimes you can address this in an interview or with the recruiter so everything is on an even keel.
Making a Career move in 2015? Visit Resume Submission
Hiring an Executive Search Firm in 2015? Call 877-500-7762