Below is an article I wrote a few years ago about how to change jobs based on career reasons rather than just the size of the compensation package. The intent of the original article was to highlight the importance of not treating job changes as short-term transactions but more as long-term investments.

The chart shown below represents the factors that drive post-hire success and satisfaction. The problem is that in most cases these critical factors are only superficially discussed during the interviewing process. On the other hand, providing this information represents a great opportunity for companies and hiring managers to differentiate their jobs and attract stronger talent.

If the information is not forthcoming, candidates need to be proactive in getting this information as part of their own due diligence. Here’s one way to do this during the interview.

As a full-time executive recruiter for over 30 years, before making an offer I’d always ask my candidates to put the money aside and tell me why they thought the job was a worthy career move in comparison to other situations they were considering. Whenever their answers were vague, I knew we had a problem. In these cases I worked with my hiring manager clients to get the candidate the information needed to position the role as the best long-term career move. In some cases we made the job bigger. In others we just needed to clarify the role or have the person meet with a senior executive to better understand the company’s business strategy and why the role was important.

Don’t Make an Offer Until These Issues Are Understood!

One way to implement this idea at scale is to give candidates the graphic, or some version of it, and ask them to rank their understanding of the six factors before making an offer. Since these are the factors that drive post-hire success and satisfaction it’s important to delay making an offer if a candidate’s understanding is vague. Just as important is to ask candidates to rank all of their other opportunities on the same factors – including a counteroffer. As long as your compensation package is competitive, you’ll get more offers accepted this way.

For reference, below is the original article. You might want to share this job evaluation process with anyone you know who’s thinking of changing jobs or evaluating an offer. They’ll thank you for the advice.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

The other day someone asked me if she should quit her job. I handed her the graphic shown above and asked her to rank the six factors on a 1-5 scale from terrible to outstanding.

Ranking the Factors That Drive Success and Satisfaction

  • The Factors: Compensation, Hiring Manager and Team, Work Itself, Growth Opportunity, Work-Life Balance and Company Culture
  • Ranking System: 5: Outstanding, 4: Very Good, 3: Pretty Good, 2: Not So Good, 1: Terrible

Since these are the factors that drive job satisfaction, I told her she should consider leaving if the total score was less than 14-15 or if any of the factors were terrible. It turned out her total score barely made the cut, but her boss was a jerk, so that made the decision for her. However, I told her she shouldn’t leave until she had another job that scored well over 20 using the same ranking system. Otherwise, she’d just be going from a bad situation to one just marginally better.

While the chart has value for figuring out if you should quit your current job, in my mind it’s more valuable for comparing different job offers and figuring out which one represents the best career move. You can use the same evaluation approach when considering a counteroffer, too.

When I was was a full-time recruiter I did something similar to ensure my candidates considered the short- and long-term factors in balance before accepting or rejecting an offer.

In these cases, I’d just ask my candidates if they really wanted the job if it weren’t for the compensation package. While they all said yes, only those genuinely interested in the job could explain why in any detail. Looking back on it, in most cases the compensation was quite competitive, but at least four of the other five categories scored a four or five. It also turned out that when the decision was made this way in over 90% of the cases (more than 500 placements) the candidates still were enthused about the job on the first year anniversary date. I call this a Win-Win Hiring outcome. That’s why doing this type of analysis before accepting an offer or counteroffer is so important.

While this is a simple way to compare jobs, candidates need extra insight about the job, the team, and the company to make a complete career assessment. In most cases, the typical interviewing and recruiting process won’t provide enough insight. However, we found that a performance-based job description describing the top performance objectives for the role and digging into a candidate’s major comparable accomplishment was an ideal technique. Using this interviewing method, hiring managers knew if the candidate was capable of handling the role and the candidate knew if the job represented a worthy career move.

Unfortunately, most companies don’t use this approach and aren’t able to give candidates the information needed to make this type of an in-depth career assessment when making offers. In these cases, candidates will need to gather the information for themselves by asking the hiring manager to describe some of the challenges in the job and how the new person’s performance will be measured. As part of this, candidates will need to meet some of their potential peers and get their insight regarding the hiring manager’s style and the upward opportunities at the company. This, plus some outside company research will provide most of the information needed to rank all of the factors shown in the graphic.

Sadly, in too many cases, candidates accept offers based on the size of the compensation package coupled with some hopes and promises about the job itself and the upside opportunity. Too often things don’t turn out as planned. When a job ranks below 15 within a few months after starting, regardless of the compensation, it’s clear too much short-term decision-making went into the assessment.

One way to avoid the problem is to think about the best job you’ve ever had. Then score each of the factors in the graphic on the 1-5 scale. Use this as your benchmark for changing jobs and comparing offers. Then become cynical. Don’t make a single decision without the data you need to make a balanced long-term career decision. Time is your most valuable career asset. Invest it wisely. Don’t gamble with it.