Question of the day: Do you think working for the same employer, in the same position for a long period of time is negative?

Today an interesting question for the recruiting community in follow up to the RBC Daily.....

 

Question of the day: Do you think working for the same employer, in the same position for a long period of time is negative?

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I agree with you Fani.  When a person has only worked for one company they only know that company's way of doing things.  Working for other companies gives the candidate a sense of confidence in their abilities.  Not only technically but the confidence that they can make the change, adopt to another company's culture.  They have more confidence in their

resiliency.  Not a lot of hand holding will be necessary.

 


Rani Zahed said:

How much can an employee learn in one organization? Employees & employers tend to get into a comfort zone with a system of work. It's until a new CEO comes to the firm (and we can see how regularly that happens) that a new system is implemented, hence learning grows.

The old cliche's of working for an organization for life or being their for 3 years minimum needs to be shred very finely, as maximized learning can only be achieved by altering industries and changing companies (unless one wants to remain complacent with the limited scope of some exposure)

I would recommend that motivated individuals should change, learn, accomplish, hand over and more on.

I am thinking of employees who have worked for companies like HP...where they used to be there for 30+ years.  Smaller, more nimble companies were relcutant to hire them becuase they only knew the "HP Way" and  managers felt  that they would struggle too much in a smaller enviornment..  So yes, in many ways, being at a company for many years (and I mean 20+) can hurt you.  But as somebody else stated, that alsodepends alot on the personality of the individual.

The negative that this company may be looking at is an individual that worked the same job and same company for several years indicates to me that this person is a place holder.  He has not been promoted or moved on to expand his skills and knowledge.  This is ok for a worker on a production line that has limited abilities.   However, for a technical or supervisory person that has not moved up or grown in their abilities seems to be someone not very motivated.  It also may be an indication of someone who will not be flexible in the new position.  "This the way we always did it at Company X."

It may be in this case the hiring manager has good insight into what he is looking for in a new hire, especially if it is a growing company and they need people to grow with the company.  When I worked in operations before my recruiting career, I liked to hire people that I could mold and grow.  I know this is a little different perspective than some of the other comments.

 

Bill Wasserman

Great question, Tim--

The happenstance of a candidate with a long work history with one employer is or can be a problem--particularly for certain disciplines in aerospace & defense industries.

Some hiring managers I've assisted actually prefer candidates with 3-4 exposures over a long period of time with different employers. They want someone who brings a broader knowledge and experience base that different employers and different project work gives. An employee who has been dedicated to one or two long term projects/programs,  e.g., Space Shuttle, B1-B, B-2, could actually be unattractive if the employer wants a stronger "innovator" on his/her team. Multiple exposures can give one a richer experience base to pull from.


In aero & defense some “job hoppers” are actually valued if the hopping was logical, purposeful and rewarding, particularly, if the work was in highly classified areas where getting such experience is a rarity (which it is).  It’s as if these candidates have a knowledge base so exclusive if they told you about it…they’d have to have you WHACKED! 

From a sales recruiting perspective long tenure might raise a couple of red flags including:

o Lack of career growth

o Limited exposure to a bigger picture

o Fear of flying

o Elevated comp expectations

Agree, and for me the length of service, particularly in the same position suggests to me a real fear of change, and a preference for playing it safe. Some jobs need a person whose profile shows some percentage of "risk taking".

Dennis said:

 

Long term career stability can be a good thing as long is it is not career stagnation.  If a person has had increased responsibility over the years with the same company that is a good thing.  However, a person who has turned the same screw so to speak for 30 years is obviously not as valuable.  Sometimes a company wants a candidate who has seen a variety of environments so they can take the best of what they have seen.  That is why consultants are sometimes highly coveted. 

Many people seem to be using phrases like "seems", "suggests", "redflags", etc.  Don't be so quick to judge before knowing someone's true motivations.  Saying this suggests a fear of change is simply judging without knowing.  I would hope that any hiring manager would have sorted through a person's motivations, promotions, salary increases, and any other important factor before jumping to a quick conclusion.

You are so correct Kelly. There is so much judging going on here from people who evidently believe that everyone in the work force should have the same intentions and business goals as they do. How would someone know if another person has a "fear of change"...hello...maybe they are very happy where they are and couldn't care less about going anywhere else. They don't fear change, they are just happy...gee, what a concept, being happy with your job and loyal to your employer!

I know people who have been with the same company and the same positions for years, and that is their choice and they do it for their own reasons. Maybe the ones being so judgemental are the very ones who are unhappy and miserable as they are fighting their way up a ladder that some other people couldn't care less about.  

In Silicon Valley, where the average stay is something like 2.2 years,  a long period of time could be 5 years.  

From an employer standpoint, if you respect the company the person comes from it could be a positive.

From a recruiter standpoint, over 5 years is a dinosaur.  This is based on a combination of declining marketability and

golden handcuffs.

Well said!

James F. Jeter said:

You are so correct Kelly. There is so much judging going on here from people who evidently believe that everyone in the work force should have the same intentions and business goals as they do. How would someone know if another person has a "fear of change"...hello...maybe they are very happy where they are and couldn't care less about going anywhere else. They don't fear change, they are just happy...gee, what a concept, being happy with your job and loyal to your employer!

I know people who have been with the same company and the same positions for years, and that is their choice and they do it for their own reasons. Maybe the ones being so judgemental are the very ones who are unhappy and miserable as they are fighting their way up a ladder that some other people couldn't care less about.  

I agree that it depends on the client. I have clients who really value career paths and look for candidates who have "tracked well" in terms of where they have taken their career. For example, someone who has consistently make forward progress in their career is typically seen as someone who is ambitious and driven. It also demonstrates success, to some. This particular client also fosters that type of culture within their company, so someone who has not made any career progress in the last decade or so, is not going to fit into their culture. 

 

At the same time, some clients don't see that as important. I think it all falls back on the recruiter; how you manage expectations, how you present your candidates and how you interact with your clients. 

James,

 

I was one of those. I loved the job I had at the newspaper in NY and did it for 10 years. I never had the opportunity to move up and doubt I would have anyway because I loved what I did. So, beware of being quick to judge when you don't know the whole story.

 



James F. Jeter said:

You are so correct Kelly. There is so much judging going on here from people who evidently believe that everyone in the work force should have the same intentions and business goals as they do. How would someone know if another person has a "fear of change"...hello...maybe they are very happy where they are and couldn't care less about going anywhere else. They don't fear change, they are just happy...gee, what a concept, being happy with your job and loyal to your employer!

I know people who have been with the same company and the same positions for years, and that is their choice and they do it for their own reasons. Maybe the ones being so judgemental are the very ones who are unhappy and miserable as they are fighting their way up a ladder that some other people couldn't care less about.  

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