Should I Stay or Should I Go

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 told 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, 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.

Posted in: Passive Candidate Recruiting, Performance-based Interview, Quality of Hire

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