Over the course of my 18-year recruitment career, I’ve supported hundreds of individuals in:
✴ identifying career opportunities
✴ assessing the suitability of certain roles for their experience & aspirations
✴ going through interview processes
✴ negotiating compensation packages
✴ defining and executing on an exit strategy, and
consequentially an onboarding one
Each of these steps can be challenging, emotional, unsettling, exciting and risky.
I started my career in 2005 as a recruitment consultant in an old manufacturing town called Northampton, where I was responsible for hiring accounts assistants, ledger clerks and credit controllers with salaries up to £18,000 pa. When I exited my recruitment career in 2022, I had just completed my last ever placement; agreeing a compensation package in excess of $2,000,000 for an individual in New York City.
Whilst these experiences may sound worlds apart; when it comes to the process, the depth of the relationships and trust formed with both client and candidate and the hurdles that need managing along the way, they are almost identical.
Although salary ranges vary significantly, the impact to a client of investing in a new hire, or the impact to the candidate on changing companies and jobs, does not. Human apprehension, financial and psychological risk relating to career transition does not disappear just because you earn more. Arguably those on either end of the spectrum have commitments that are relative to their earnings and moving jobs creates vulnerability whatever level you are at.
So, wherever you are in your career today, if you’re considering a job change, promotion or organisational transition, there are ways to mitigate the risks by asking the following questions:
▶ Why are you looking to make the change? (money, culture, development, autonomy, flexibility etc.)
▶ Outside of company culture, have you asked your current employer to address your concerns? (money, development, progression etc.)
▶ Have you clearly defined your values, career expectations and goals? This will improve your ability to select the organisation that is the right platform to get you there.
▶ Do you really understand the content & expectations of the role offered? How does it align with what you are good at, enjoy doing and where you want to develop?
▶ Do you fully understand the compensation package? (bonus pay-outs, equity awards and vesting schedules can get very complicated)
▶ Is there a clear onboarding programme and / or leadership sponsorship?
The first 6-12 months after making a change are the riskiest as you embed into a new business or role. The environment is less familiar, you are just starting to develop your reputation and network and yet expectations remain high.
Doing the upfront work will help aid a smoother transition and reduce time to impact. You may also find that you're looking for something different than you first thought, or that the right opportunity lies in an unexpected direction :)