“Such a shame, it’s my absolute dream job but I just don’t feel that I can stay”

How often do recruiters hear that?

A candidate said that to me last week. In this case, her problem was her boss...try as she might she found it impossible to have a harmonious working relationship and efforts to work through this had failed. She wants the bits of the jobs that she enjoys – challenge, responsibility, flexibility – but in another environment.

She’s not the first, and won’t be the last, to tell me about the ‘dream job’ that hasn’t panned out, and I’m always interested to know why this is.

A snap poll on Twitter and amongst candidates that I’ve spoken to this week revealed 3 main reasons for dream jobs becoming...er...nightmares:

- Office Politics
- Long hours and Unrealistic Deadlines
- Working Relationships

As to what makes a role a dream job, well just like my candidate, the most popular answers were:

- Challenge
- Flexibility
- Responsibility
- Culture

A powerful cocktail...is it so powerful that it intoxicates some candidates?

So what goes wrong?

I think that maybe most jobseekers are very focused on what they want in a job but not honest enough with themselves over what they don’t want. The 3 reasons for leaving are all things that are difficult to gauge before you start the role, as they are more cultural, but maybe culture and values should be issues that companies and candidates explore more. Is there a tendency to see the positives and just try not to look at the negatives?

I’ve always encouraged candidates to try and spend more time with potential employers, ask to meet the relevant team, preferably in a social setting (over lunch, drinks in a bar) when they can maybe find out more about what it’s like to work there - why people leave, what current employees do and don’t like about the working environment, is it a long hours culture, how approachable are management, how do people like to spend their down time?

Where possible, I also try and encourage clients to let successful candidates spend some time in the office, preferably an open plan area, where they can get a feel for the atmosphere and environment. This is especially important with sales led or creative roles in my opinion...at our company we always let people spend some time on the main floor with the consultants, talk to them and hear the general hum of people of recruiters on the phone.

What do others think? And what reasons do you find for the perfect job turning out to be less than perfect?

Are we too demanding...or do we put pressure on ourselves to find the ideal job fully formed rather than take time to let them develop?

Views: 120

Comment by Will Branning on April 30, 2010 at 1:37pm
Good points - it is not always possible to get prospective employers to set aside time to allow candidates to hang out at their work place and/or have an extended "social visit", but they are value-added activities for sure...I have found that if hirng managers and/or their team can spend time just hanging out with candidates - especially if there seems to be a good match (pre-and post offer stages) - the likelihood of the candidate coming to work there is greater.


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