It’s important to remember that when it comes to changing jobs, it’s where you’re going that matters more than where you’ve been.
In a recent post I contended that you don’t need a high-tech solution to solve a high touch problem like turnover. The problems and solutions are just too obvious.
For example, our research shows that whenever 2-3 of the five “Leaving” factors shown in the graphic turn south people proactively look for other jobs. Take this survey to validate these results for yourself. The survey shows that just about everyone who is dissatisfied on these measures is actively looking for another job.
A simple “high touch” solution for minimizing turnover at your company starts by tracking the factors shown in the graphic and intervening when the trend begins to flatten. A better way is to prevent the problem from happening in the first place: before the person is hired. This is a high touch proactive solution that doesn’t require an after-the-mistake-is-already-made high-tech solution to attempt to solve. While this seems obvious, I’ve been kicked out of conferences for suggesting it.
When it comes to hiring, it’s important to recognize that recruiting top-tier talent involves understanding the two decisions the candidate needs to make before changing jobs. The first involves finding the reasons a person would leave his/her current job in the first place. These are the “Leaving” factors shown on the bottom of the graphic. The second involves determining the factors a person would use to compare and accept another offer. These are the “Accepting” reasons shown at the top of the graphic. Sadly, active candidates tend to minimize this second part, focusing too much on short-term pain relief and quickly wind up where they started. This creates a vicious cycle of disappointment I refer to as “Job Hopping Syndrome” since it’s problematic if the new job will meet the person’s long-term career aspirations.
Passive candidates tend to be more discriminating evaluating both components in balance. However, it’s harder to recruit passive candidate since few want to spend the time talking with a recruiter, or hiring manager, who doesn’t understand the open job or how to conduct the two-step evaluation process. In fact, it takes a lot of effort to just get passive candidates open-minded enough to just discuss the possibility that the new role could be better on both dimensions. This is a “go slow” process that, at a minimum, involves a series of exploratory conversations with the recruiter and hiring manager long before the person agrees to become a serious candidate.
Whether a person is active or passive shouldn’t matter, though. What should matter to companies is the need to implement this type of two-step “go slow” process long before any person is hired! This is how to minimize dissatisfaction, underperformance and turnover at its source.
In my opinion a solution is not possible using AI or any high-tech process that depends on the continuing use of skills-laden job descriptions surrounded by a list of “must-have” competencies as the primary criteria for attracting or filtering candidates. As far as I can tell, these are the root cause of the problem, not the solution to it.
Here’s a sample of how job descriptions should be written to attract people based on the factors that actually drive performance and satisfaction. As part of preparing more compelling job postings and outreach messages, another high touch concept companies should embrace is requesting candidates to submit a sample of their work or a summary of a major accomplishment that best compares with the challenges of the open role. This is much better than applying directly to the job or sending a resume. This is a very legal self-selection process that will instantly reduce the number of unqualified people who apply.
Our Hiring Formula for Success offers a great foundation for thinking about how to conduct an interview for identifying and eliminating the factors driving dissatisfaction and turnover. Here’s the formula: Ability in Relationship to Fit Drives Motivation and Ultimately Successful Performance. As you’ll discover, the fit factors are all of the “Leaving” ones shown in the graphic above.
Advice to Current and Future Job Seekers
Take the 2-minute survey mentioned above to find out your current level of job dissatisfaction with the factors shown on the graphic. However, don’t pull the ripcord if your score is too low or rest on your laurels if it’s high. Instead, it’s important to recognize that time is your most valuable asset. What you do in the next few years will impact the next five to ten. That’s why the long-term “Accepting” factors at the top of the graphic need to dominate your career decision, not those offering some short-term pain relief. It’s important to remember that when it comes to changing jobs, it’s where you’re going that matters more than where you’ve been.