In a third party recruiting scenario, there are three critical stakeholders: ClientsCandidates and External Firms.  Even in today’s candidate-driven market, competition remains the name of the game.  Top candidates are receiving two or three job offers, not to mention a counter-offer to remain with their current employer.

Whether considering a career change currently or completely fulfilled in your role, here are a few recommendations to candidates.  This thought process will guide your thinking and ensure your “career brokers” are set up for success.  If possible, have these rank-ordered prior to your phone consultation or face-to-face meeting.

Career Success: The 4 Cs

  1. Company & Culture. For some candidates, this will be very high on their priority list. 

    A. Prepare a list of 10-15 companies in which you would drop everything to take that interview. Be prepared to explain why each company is attractive to you.

    B. Explain the type of organizational climate/culture that you are targeting. This is more about management style, degree of empowerment, creativity and community involvement.

  2. Career Path. This lens is about upward mobility, as well as the diversity of assignments and job functions/assignments.  If joining a Fortune 1000 company, then global relocation becomes an option.  Be very transparent on this note as you progress through interviews.  Recognize that the industry norm for promotions is at least 24 months.  Remember the hiring manager at your new company, along with their supervisor must support you and expose you to new opportunities.  As you approach the offer stage, start asking these questions.  Once “in the seat,” you have forfeited some of your potential leverage.
  3. Compensation. Think about both “hard and soft dollars.”  They are both important!

    A. When transitioning from one company to another, expect an 8-12% bump in total cash compensation. A desired increase of 20-25% by candidates (which we see more and more in this growing economy) is not impossible, just simply rare.

    B. When companies offer flex-scheduling, full-spectrum insurance plans (medical, dental, vision) market-competitive 401Ks and company match on charitable giving, those should be given ample consideration as well.

    We consult with candidates about “real wages.” How many hours do you work in a week?  It is about net pay, not just gross wages.  Another factor to consider is the company’s expectation around working on weekends or in the evenings.  That real wage starts to quickly decrease…

  4. Commute. We are blessed to be living in the thriving Middle Tennessee and Nashville region; in 2015, extended waiting in traffic is the new norm.  Markets like Chicago, LA and NYC have been challenged with this for years.

A. Be very specific on how far you will drive and how much time you are willing to be in your automobile.

B. Great to ask potential employers about telecommuting; we always recommend that you ask this towards the end of the hiring process. Timing is everything!

Hope this advice will help you or someone you care about.  The Boy Scouts’ simple motto: “Be Prepared” is a great reminder when preparing for the next step in your career.

Martin Plumlee is the Founder and Co-Owner of Plumlee & Associates, a Career Partners International Company, based in Nashville and Franklin, TN.  His twelve years in executive search and third-party recruiting gives him unique insights on how to collaborate with clients and candidates to ensure a long-term match that benefits all parties.  Contact information: / @PlumleeAssoc on Twitter.