Don’t Burn Those Bridges!

You know the old cliche, “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” right? Well that is an absolutely true statement in the job search process. And for that reason, a candidate doesn’t want to burn any bridges.

Don't burn those bridges
Don’t burn those bridges

If you have the option (and you have a much better chance of doing that if you stay in the driver’s seat of your career), don’t leave a job (voluntarily) until you have landed your next job … meaning the deal is signed, sealed, and delivered.

But, for purposes of this post, let’s say you’ve lost your job and are in full-throttle search for your next position. No is not no unless and until that door has been slammed shut and the dead-bolt turned. And even then, it might really only be over if that’s your decision.

Why? Two pretty common reasons.

Bad hiring decisions

These happen daily. Multiple times a day, in fact. Companies spend big bucks to make executive hires and often, perhaps more often than you might realize, they don’t work out.

In a recent interview with Financial Times, Kevin Kelly, the CEO of global executive search powerhouse Heidrick & Struggles, revealed the results of an internal study of  20,000 executive searches performed by his firm:  “We’ve found that 40 per cent of executives hired at the senior level are pushed out, fail or quit within 18 months.” [Source]

If you’ve identified a company that is a great fit for you and your skills, don’t burn bridges but rather, figure out how to stay on the radar screen of that company … because there’s a good chance there will be an opening for a CFO there within another couple years.

Oh, and the candidate who “said” yes to the job which effectively knocked you out of the slot, can also change his mind and quit before he ever starts. Make sure the bridge remains intact so that company can get back to you.

Agonizingly slow hiring processes

I sometimes listen to my clients lament over the fact that the interview was weeks / months ago and they’ve heard … crickets. Hearing nothing is not necessarily a sign of no. It is a sign … but it’s not a sign of no. At least not in and of itself.

It isn’t over until you’ve heard definitively that the company has hired someone else, he actually started, and 6 months later he is still gainfully employed. Even then, according to the above stat, it may not be over. Unless, of course, you’ve already landed your new dream job.

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