5 good reasons for exploring new job opportunities
One of the first questions I ask potential candidates who are looking for new job opportunities, is the reason why they are willing to talk to me.
Some people tell me that they engage in every conversation with a head-hunter because they want to explore the market and to see what career opportunities are available. As much as I appreciate honesty, let’s face it, it will give me the impression that you act quite opportunistic and chances are that I am wasting my time.
Others will immediately inquire about the salary package, looking for a salary increase as main driver for switching jobs. Personally, I am not convinced that this is the best reason for exploring new job opportunities. Although there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve your current compensation package, it gives me the feeling that you are available for the highest bidder without looking at the content of the job.
Nevertheless, there can be some very good reasons that justify exploratory conversations about a new job opportunity.
You no longer get along with your boss
The number one reason why people decide to look for new job opportunities is the bad relationship they have with their boss. The chemistry between you and your direct manager as well as the team spirit is crucial to being successful in a job.
It is important though to keep in mind that there is no need to spill your guts when you are talking to a potential employer. A short, objective narrative of the situation is usually more than enough.
You have reached the end of your learning curve
When you start a new job, you enter into a period of fast-paced adaptation, followed by a period in which you learn the finer details of your work. At a certain moment, you reach a level of mastery and the pace of your learning will slow down.
In order to advance your career, you could be looking to develop skills that will complete the ones you already master or you may want to expand your experience into other industries. So you start looking for career opportunities.
Your current job does not challenge you
Picture-perfect as it may seem, a job with just enough work to keep you busy, a job you can do on auto-pilot is not ideal. Bad work habits tend to pop up (the number of times you check your Facebook page is usually a good indicator) and may lead to inferior work.
Research suggests that in the perfect job, you spend 20% of your time doing truly challenging, out-of-your-comfort zone work. This provides you with enough challenge to keep you on your without leaving you overwhelmed and stressed-out.
The above reasons for considering other job opportunities are all negative reasons: they are focusing on getting away from a situation. There are also positive reasons for being interested in a new job, reasons that have more to do with the attractiveness of the new position than with wanting to move away from your current job.
The opportunity is the perfect next step in your career
It may very well happen that I approach you with a position that is exactly the next step in your career that you have in mind. In this case, it is important to determine up front those factors that might convince you to take the jump.
The job opportunity offers you a better work-life balance
This must be the reason that looks most trivial but that can play an important role in your overall happiness. When I approach you with a position that significantly reduces your commute time, it might be tempting to engage in the discussion. Here as well, it is important to bear in mind the aspects of a job and an employer that you value and the concessions you are willing to make for a better balance.
All of the above reasons are perfectly legitimate reasons for considering other job opportunities. The essential part is that you have thought it through before starting to talk to head-hunters, recruitment agencies or future employers. After all, you want to give us the image of a candidate who is consciously managing and building his or her career, not someone who gets bogged down in today's thinking.
About the author
Ingenium Executive Search is a boutique search agency. Isabel Verhelst founded it in 2011 out of a passion for people and a talent to match the right candidate with the right company.
With HR and business experience of over 20 years, Isabel combines HR experience with a deep business insight to achieve high-class results and to create a positive working environment with HR, hiring managers and candidates. You can follow her on her blog to discover her thoughts and reflections on headhunting and executive search.