Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the challenging recruitment market right now, but today’s reader note reminded me of another tough aspect in recruitment – job transition.
What advice would you give someone trying to transition to an HR role that focus on business culture creation and talent acquisition to match said culture?
I think this is a great question because it touches on several different aspects of a job transition – the job, the company, the culture, and most importantly, your individual needs and wants. Let’s talk about each.
What job are you looking for? First, let’s talk about the work. Not the pay, but the work. You have to decide what you want to do. There could be many things you’re interested in and many things you’re good at. Bottom-line: What do you want to do? Whatever it is, you must be happy with it because you will be doing it all day. For example, in the reader note, they mention an HR role. Is that a generalist or specialist? And if it’s a specialist, what area of specialization – recruiting, compensation, employee relations, etc.? These are the types of questions you need to answer for yourself.
What employee value proposition (EVP) do you need? And want? Now that you’ve identified the work, you can think about what you’d like in terms of pay, benefits, and working conditions. As tempting as it might be to say, “I want it all.”, it could be helpful to define what “it all” means. What’s the minimum pay you’re willing to accept? What are the “must-have” benefits you need? In addition, think about what a company might offer that’s not on your must-have list, but it would be great if it were included. For instance, do you want to ask for authorization to attend a national HR conference? It’s not a deal-breaker, but it would be great. Or maybe that the company would pay for you to get your HR professional certification.
What type of company do you want to work for? In the reader note, there’s no mention of the industry. Granted, some positions might be industry specific. For example, if I’m a pilot, then chances are that I’m working in the transportation industry. Not always, but you get my point. As an HR pro, there are many different industries you can work in. If the work you’re looking for exists in multiple industries, then decide what type of industry would be best for you. Every industry has unique advantages and disadvantages. And if you’re thinking about trying out a new industry, maybe find someone who works in that industry and ask for the inside scoop.
What type of culture do you want to work in? Now that you know what type of company you want to work at, consider the culture. Culture is defined as the “attitudes and behaviors” of the organization. Once you identify the work you want to do and what industry you want to work in, then you can look at the companies in that industry to research which ones have the culture you’re looking for. I do believe it could be more difficult to do this the other way around – meaning identifying a company and then trying to figure out what you would do there in terms of work.
What are you willing to compromise on? What aren’t you willing to compromise? This ties into the last question about culture. If culture is about attitudes and behaviors, it’s important to identify the must-have attitudes and behaviors you’re looking for. And I hate to say it, but identifying culture isn’t about looking at the mission, vision, and values of the organization. While that’s good, it’s about seeing attitudes and behaviors in action. What behaviors do you “have” to see to know this is the right culture for you?
One of the biggest job search mistakes that I see people make is they don’t define what they’re looking for. They settle for “it needs to suck less than my current job”. That’s not the best job transition strategy (but you knew that). Take some time to clearly define your needs and wants so you can plan the transition that’s best for you.
Images from a Banksy exhibit captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Atlanta, GA14