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Avoiding career path mistakes

There’s quite a lot of noise in the market about the cost to employers of making the wrong hiring decision, particularly in a market where hiring is tight and head count allowances low.  According to the CIPD the cost of hiring the wrong person is about two and a half times the salary of the individual in question.  Harvard Business School calculates that the cost can be between three and five times the annual salary.  But what about the cost for a candidate who makes the wrong decision?  And is this influencing both the pace of decision making and the caution with which candidates are approaching their job searches?

It is not uncommon for me to encounter candidates who have made ‘a mistake’ or two in their career decisions to date.  It could be the result of a cultural mismatch or the scope of the role changing in the early days of the move.  Many will make the decision to get out quickly when they recognise the mistake and I do think, in most cases, this is the sensible way to go.  One mistake is always forgivable, and if you are able to picture yourself in your next interview telling a compelling and logical story as to your reasoning, future employers will, by and large, understand.  And the cost for remaining in a role that is clearly not right can be both disheartening and de-motivating.  More than one mistake however can begin to turn your CV into one that is perceived as ‘jumpy,’ and particularly in this market, that can be dangerous. 

This is a tough market with decisions taking longer to make for both clients and candidates alike.  Mistakes will no doubt still be made but giving considerable thought to why you are looking to move and what you are hoping to gain from your next role, both in the immediate and longer term, will go a long way in preventing that dreaded feeling of regret.