I have been a recruiter for over 13 years and I always find it surprising to see how people make career decisions without considering or requesting professional advice.

Being an executive recruiter, member of a professional order (CHRP) and a professional career coach (Certified Coach Erickson College), I make it a must to accompany our candidates into making the most important decision of their career…that of resigning from their current employer for a new challenge. 

More than 68% of the people we have sourced (Internal stats) have said no to our first call.  After representing our client and sharing with them the opportunity, we work together in assessing their skills, motivations, and ambition with our clients offer. 

Over the last 5 years, this process which used to take 4-6 weeks has almost doubled to 8 to 12 weeks for C-Level positions.  Why? State of the union: in Canada and the USA we face a  general a labor shortage in all C-Level positions; There is a negative perception about lateral moves in signing with another employer;  The clients have reacted by establishing new HR strategies when it comes to retention: retaining packages by employer to keep valuable executives. Finally the decision process is longer due to the ‘’double career’’ reality of the family unit.  These factors we find are having a tremendous impact on getting those candidates attracted. 

In an article written by Daniel B. Kline in the Motley Tool entitled “Here is when it makes sense to make a lateral career move, Brine tries to demonstrate that sometimes a lateral career move is not a demotion and can make sense. 

“In some cases, you deserve a promotion, but your company has no opening. Your boss may offer you a raise and somewhat meaningless title change but that does not change the fact that your path is blocked. If you find yourself in this scenario, it’s reasonable to make a lateral move to a bigger company where you can expect to have more opportunities.”

You went through a 360-degree assessment.  Everyone sees you to the next stage.  You are among the high potentials but, nothing is moving. In your annual review, you have told your boss that you wish to be considered for other opportunities and that you could bring more value to the organization in another role or another department. ‘’Your current employer may take you for granted.  He pretends they want you to grow yet to what expense for them. Even worse, your company may be happy with your current job and won’t even consider that you may want more out of your career.”

A career move whether lateral or for a higher position, is not easy to make. In an article written by Jeff Goins
November 27th, 2017 in Career Evolution, the author writes about what people should consider before making a career move.  They are 3 major principals according to Jeff who identifies them as 3 boxes in the decision-making process. I agree with the underlining principal that Jeff highlights; “A candidate must find a unique purpose if he is to believe that his impact at work is meaningless.  The candidate must find out how to make a living out of this purpose or passion.”

I will reference the 2 most important examples  that I share with our candidates for every mandate:

Stop Talking about your dreams and start doing it!

To have a better understanding of your opportunity to grow within an organization, a candidate must start seeing the possibility of his own job to make part of this ideal job come through. As the author said: ‘’If you want to do something you love at work, find a way that you incorporate it in your week.  ‘’You need to do it little by little every day and see the results.’’ If this is impossible to live a passion and a purpose, then the candidate should really reassess if he could fulfill this need.

Test your purpose, need, an ideal job with the opportunity being presented to you by creating your own focus group!   

Identify a group of people that know you professionally and have their advice.  ‘’Win their support for your project: selected friends, selected family members and co-workers.’’ Their support will guide your decision. 

At this point, let’s say that the candidate says yes to the recruiter after having been through this thought process: 

  1. He has analyzed and truly believes that there is no possibility to grow with his current employer;
  2. He has considered the opportunity by the recruiter and strongly feels that it may sound like a lateral move, yet the opportunity is larger;
  3. He has identified his true passion and found a purpose he has tested at work, but he sees no results or no way he could build on this;
  4. He has shared his purpose and new opportunities with a selected group to win their support;

He then starts the interviewing process and he finds the perfect opportunity and signs with his new employer. This sounds like what we consider the best match, doesn’t it? 

A new phenomenon is on the rise especially for C-Levels: accepting a new position while signing all the paperwork and establishing his start date yet coming back a week later because he has accepted a counteroffer by his current employer! 

In an article written by Duncan Simmonds on September 6th, 2016 published on LinkedIn under the title: 

Never accept a counter offer!!! ……Here is why

The author systematically makes a reference about the consequence of coming back on your decision. 

‘’When you have received an offer of employment which you are inclined to accept, you must consider very carefully whether it really solves your problem and offers you the opportunity you are seeking before you resign from your current employment.

If you choose to accept the offer and to resign from your current employment, you must be prepared to resist powerful, persuasive tactics which your employer can use to change your mind.

It is invariably a costly irritation for employers to recruit your replacement and often they will do everything they can to keep you. They may offer large sums of money or increased benefits, titles and promises for the future. They can also apply strong emotional and psychological pressure. It can be attractive and tempting to accept.

However, once they know you are discontented, they will regard you as a ‘problem employee’.

Nationally compiled statistics show that nine out of ten people who accept counteroffers have left their employment within six months, either because their employers arrange a replacement in their own time, or because the real reasons for wanting to change your job in the first place, have not gone away.’’

We have shared this the full article with all our C-Level candidates, yet some decide to go back.  Although the author provides us with 12 good reasons not to accept a counteroffer, we would like to share two fundamental reasons why a candidate should never go down this lane.

In an article written and first published on April 11th, 2002 written by Patrick Lencioni published by Jossey-Bass.  The author describes the many pitfalls that teams face as they seek to grow together. Lencioni explores the fundamental causes of organizational politics and team failure and identifies what makes a team a team.  In order of importance 1-5 here are what could cause dysfunctionality among a team:

  1. Absence of trust
  2. Fear of Conflict
  3. Lack of commitment
  4. Avoidance of accountability
  5. Inattention to results

After all the thought process that led to making a decision to pursue your career elsewhere, a candidate must realize that his employer will interpret this as an act of treason and the trust will definitely be hurt to the extent that he may even take it personally.

This act will also be interpreted as a lack of commitment since rarely have I seen hires done in the best of time when leaving an organization.

Lastly, we tell our candidates to ask themselves why is it that until they resign, they were able to get want they wanted!

Remember this quote by Simmonds: ‘’Nationally compiled statistics show that nine out of ten people who accept counteroffers have left their employment within six months.’’

Next time you pursue an opportunity and you strongly feel you are pursuing your goal and you found your purpose…be confident about your decision …when you resign….you resign or else don’t go further in the process. 

This article was written by Guy Larivière of Glasford International Canada. Contact Guy if you have any questions about how you approach your resignation.

About Glasford International

Glasford International is a global (retained) executive search firm with offices throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, North and South Americas. Established in 1998, we support clients in executive search and selection, leadership and personality assessments at an international, cross-border and local level.