Changing Jobs: How to Make the Right Choice

Changing Jobs: How to Make the Right Choice


Picture this: you have been working for a company for a while when one day, an executive search firm approaches you with an attractive opportunity in another organization. At first, you are flattered. Then suddenly, you find yourself facing a dilemma: am I happy enough where I am to turn down this opportunity, or am I unhappy enough to pursue my career elsewhere?

As headhunters, we see candidates in this situation all the time. Our experience has allowed us to gather some ideas to consider if you are asking yourself these questions and to help you make the right decision for you.


Remain objective with a career plan


Maybe you have already written down your professional aspirations somewhere. If not, there’s no time like the present! 

Your career plan should include:

  • Your career goals in the short, medium and long term.
  • Your top priorities, from place of work to the company’s values and the benefits you want. Write down everything that is important to you. Now put these criteria in order of importance. What are the ones you do not want to compromise on?
  • Based on where you are in your career, what do you need in order to move forward? For example, do you want to develop new skills, or improve your quality of life?
  • How will you assess future career opportunities? What questions could you ask the employer to ensure the promotion is truly in line with your expectations?


Try to keep your plan in mind without letting yourself be tempted by the position that is on offer. Then you can see how it stacks up against your clearly defined ideals. The best way to make the right decision is to objectively assess whether the opportunity fits with your ambitions.


Consider the company, not the job title


Forget your current job title. Think of your employer; do you still identify with the organization and its values?

  • Does the corporate culture match my work view?
  • Am I proud to work for this company?
  • Can I grow professionally and climb its corporate ladder? 


If you answered yes to these questions, sit down with your manager to discuss your career opportunities. Tell him or her that you are happy working for the organization, but that you would like to discuss next steps. A good manager will discuss your options, such as a training or mentorship plan, advancement opportunities, or even a raise. 

On the other hand, if you answered no to the questions above, it is likely time to think about a career elsewhere...


Interview the interviewer


An interview should always be a conversation—a two-way street, so to say. Given the current labour shortage, candidates can really stand to be selective about their next employer. The interview is the perfect opportunity to see whether the position and the corporate culture are truly in line with your expectations.

Start by doing some research on the company. Do you like how the organization presents itself? Next, dig a little deeper, going beyond the brand image. Ask the headhunter some general questions. During the interview with your future boss, try to get more detailed answers about the things that are important to you.

For example, if you want to ensure you are properly supported in your role, you could ask the following questions:

  • How will my performance be evaluated?
  • How often do you meet with your managers one-on-one?
  • What group meetings are organized for the managers at my level?

By asking these very specific questions, you can expect very specific answers. This should help you see whether everything you have heard during the selection process is true, or whether it is just smoke and mirrors. 


Money is not everything


Compare the job offer to your career plan. Does the remuneration sufficiently compensate for anything that is not in line with your expectations? That said, never make concessions on the things that are important to you. Again, refer back to your career plan. No amount of money can make up for a job that makes you miserable.


Trust yourself


Any change comes with its own risks and uncertainties. When you are at a crossroads, it is important to try and keep a clear head. Look at where you are, and where you want to go. Does the role that is being offered take you in the right direction?

Talk about it with people you trust. Maybe your spouse, a good friend or a colleague, but also people who can remain impartial. Ask for their complete honesty. Talking about it may help you see the situation from a different angle.

No matter what, keep in mind that this is your professional future. Only you know what is best for you. If this particular opportunity does not line up with your needs, let the headhunter know. Talk to him or her about your aspirations and expectations. Who knows, the next professional opportunity may just be the right one.


This article was also published on CFR Global Executive Search website

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