Most people think that people quit their job because they want more money. But believe it or not, that’s further down the list of reasons than you might think. Money is important, don’t get me wrong, and if someone is grossly underpaid, then they are going to look for another job. In that event, money is at the forefront of the decision making process, because there is the potential of taking a step forward in your career. But let’s examine the real reasons you are looking for a new job:
Your relationship with your previous manager – don’t think that recruiters inherently think you are in the wrong when you choose to leave a job because you hated your boss. The fact is, some people just don’t gel and some managers have been promoted to a level of incompetency. If you hated your boss, think very clearly about what it was you hated so when someone asks you what you are looking for, you can articulate the kind of management which suits your approach to of work.
The job bored you rigid – a lot of people can do repetitive routine work without any drama, but some of you feel like your life is being sucked out of you by one of those dementors* from Harry Potter when you are stuck drilling holes in sheets of metal day after day. There is nothing wrong with leaving a role because you couldn’t take the monotony anymore. But again, when talking with a recruiter, this is your chance to highlight that you need variety and opportunities, to be challenged. We have no interest in finding you a job that will bore you stupid.
Your relationship with co-workers – the boss might be perfect but if you are stuck in a team of people who remind you of the backup dancers on Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, there will come a day when you will punch your last timecard and run for ‘them there hills’. You see, whilst NO team is perfect, what IS important is that everyone fits in, in a way where everyone enjoys coming to work. You don’t need to be bosom buddies with everyone, but you need to be able to work together. This is one of the main reasons I tell people that not every job is for them.
Let me give you an example – years ago I had to find a new credit officer to join a tight knit team of 5 in Melbourne. The existing team was very settled, most of them had been there for years and they were all very close. The reason the vacancy had arisen is that one of them had gone on maternity leave and decided not to return to work. This team never socialised after work – they were all family oriented and social discussion in the office was limited to talk of kids, grandkids and family. A number of people in the team were extremely opinionated, but this didn’t cause any conflict in the current team, as they were all close. When I went to the job market to find someone, I had to take all of that into account when considering who to submit to the hiring manager for consideration. More important than the technical skills, was the person’s ability to slot into that environment and to thrive.
Opportunity for Growth – good people like to be challenged, and this ties back into being bored rigid to a degree. People can do a boring job IF they can see that there is an opportunity to move up or sideways into a different role at some time in the not too distant future. Even people doing an interesting job will hit a wall if they feel that the interesting has become mundane and they need a new challenge. This is a problem for employers – you can’t promote everyone, otherwise you end up with a company filled with managers and nobody doing the actual work. So, to a degree, employers have to expect some staff turnover when they cannot offer new opportunities for some of their people.
If this is you, then you need to be able to articulate this with your recruiter – keeping in mind that this is not about bagging out your current/ previous employer. Have a really good idea in your mind of where you would like to go in your next role and be realistic too. Employers will inherently evaluate you on the skills and experience you have, NOT necessarily your potential. So expect to get a job doing pretty much what you have already been doing, but make sure it’s in a company that regularly reviews staff performance and where there is potential for career growth. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can only get growth in a large company – often it’s the SME’s who give great people, great opportunities, so do not get fixated on the size of the company. Fixate on the opportunity to prove yourself and to gain the challenges that you long for.
Overall, know what YOU are looking for and what is important to you. Understand what is important to you right now. If you have a young family and need flexibility with finish times or part time work then articulate that. If you need a company that will provide training and who rewards hard work and people who make the extra effort, then focus on that. If you need a manager with a certain management style then, please tell us. Because I think most people can get through an entire conversation about “what’s important to you” without mentioning money once. *With thanks to JK Rowling