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An interesting scenario keeps rearing its ugly head as we see the war on talent intensify.

Classic example, we recently got to final interview stage with a candidate, and all seemed good with an offer looming but suddenly the client decides not to progress with the candidate, which seemed odd as everyone was keen.

After investigation it transpired that said candidate had been interviewed at another agency 6 month prior and got to offer stage, accepted and then after nearly 7 weeks into a 2-month notice period decided to withdraw. Citing that they’d decided to stay in their current agency.

Unfortunately for this candidate a senior hiring manager on another team who was at the time the hiring manager at the other agency had recently joined our client and noticed that an offer was pending. Suffice to say once this senior hiring manager had shared their experience internally, this didn’t rest well so our client decided not to progress with this candidate.

This experience should sound rare but sadly we have seen a rise in cases just like this, especially at junior and mid-level, where candidates are accepting job offers and then waiting until the last minute to re-negotiate their current position. And albeit that in the short term this may prove successful, in the mid to long term all this does is burn bridges and damage reputations. Especially in this very incestuous sector where talent tends to be transient.

Therefore, to ensure you protect your own reputation we recommend you consider the following steps:

Whenever you make the decision to commit to looking for a new job there are many things to consider. Most importantly your approach, as this will set you up for the future, making the process a lot easier on you, as well as protect your own reputation in the industry.

We all know the importance when it comes to polishing our CVs and making sure our LinkedIn profiles are up to date with all the key words packed into both. However, that’s only part of the story you need to prepare for.

Before you even get to this stage, you need to ask yourself why? As in why you want to move. In some cases, it maybe that you’ve been made redundant, or that you’re returning to work after a sabbatical. Or if could be the fact that you aren’t getting the recognition or satisfaction from your current job and yearn for something more.

If you are employed and thinking about changing jobs, then you should start at the end. As in imagine going through the resignation scenario and what that will be like. It’s an odd one to start with I know but bear with us here…

The chances are in this current market, you may find yourself in a situation where you are being counter offered. Which as any sane person will tell you, it shouldn’t take for you to resign to get the things you want from your job. And we have a long list of reasons why waiting until after the fact to negotiate isn’t healthy for you or your career but that’s for another time.

If this is the case then to save yourself some time, emotional energy and having to repeat the entire process again in 3-6 months’ time when you realise the underlying issues remain. Before beginning your job search, ask yourself what it would take for you to stay. If it’s only about remuneration or a promotion, then you should strongly consider having a discussion with your line manager first to understand your progression whilst giving you the opportunity to submit a request.

If though the problems run deeper than remuneration and a promotion or you are confident that your current employer won’t meet your expectations, then that is the time to start applying.

Whatever the reasons, especially if you are currently employed, you do need to be sure in your head that you are ready. As job hunting is an emotional journey and depending on your approach or who you partner up with, can have consequences both positively and negatively.

To start with if you are going to make use of your personal network and apply for some roles directly, make sure you keep a list of the companies you approach. You will want to avoid at all costs, applying directly for a job and then weeks later engaging with a recruiter who, with your permission, submits you for the same role.

From an employer’s perspective, this gives the impression that you lack control over your CV and suggests that you haven’t investigated the job opportunity properly (i.e indicating poor organisational skills).

As from a recruiter’s point of view, this oversight can be embarrassing for them also, and may mean they are hesitant to represent you on other opportunities moving forward.

I appreciate that this latter point may not mean much if you’ve had a bad experience with other recruiters in the past, but if you’re building meaningful relationships with a handful of experienced recruiters and advisors then the value is worth its weight in gold. As they tend to work with you throughout your career no matter where they work.

As you then move along the application and interview process, there is a joint responsibility between all parties to always ensure clear comms. This ranges from clarity on the interview process through to timelines and most importantly feedback!

This works both ways. If you have doubts about a role then always voice these concerns to your recruitment partner. It could just be a case of mis information or genuinely your gut feeling maybe right in which case work together to withdraw your application in the appropriate manner.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with coming out of an interview and saying, “you know what that’s just not for me”. No point wasting your energy or others keeping a line of interest open when the role just doesn’t fit your expectations. Shut it down and move on. Its best for everyone involved.

Should you then get to offer stage and decide to accept, then if you are currently employed you will need to prepare for resignation.

As mentioned earlier this can be a tense experience. Due to the current high demand, businesses don’t want to be losing talent. Therefore, they are more than likely to counter offer you, even right up to the last minute before you are due to leave. Which is an appalling practice and says more about the business and how little they value their employees than anything else.

Either way, resigning should be a mere formality at this point as you would have started this journey already examining this option before engaging.

Our last thought on this subject is around resignation. A bit like a relationship…. You shouldn’t have to leave to feel valued. Especially if you’ve consulted with your employer prior to job hunting.

On closing, however you choose to develop your career, whether it’s on your own or with help from a recruitment partner or advisor. Never underestimate the value in a good working relationship. No matter whether you are starting out in your career, are at middle management or in a leadership position. How you treat others, will always speak volumes about you and will keep you in good footing throughout your career. Regardless of whether the minority don’t reciprocate… that’s their cross to bear and tends to come back round on them.