The four reasons A-players change jobs: Opportunity knocks

by Ryan Krumroy
Senior Associate Recruiter at Charles Aris Inc.

As Charles Aris colleague Ashlee Wagner elegantly outlined, there are four reasons why A-players change jobs. I am going to expand on one of them: opportunity.

For a talented A-player or an organization looking to hire one, it needs to be kept in mind that opportunity will happen. In fact, A-players typically make things happen.

A-players either find themselves in environments which allow them to put their talents to work – and, in turn, reap the rewards – or leave for a place where their impact will be embraced.

To the organization seeking an A-player: You need to articulate how your opportunity is going to accelerate that professional’s career trajectory. This might mean giving the new hire increased visibility that leads to collaboration on even more significant initiatives. It may mean outlining an obvious steppingstone to three or four future opportunities, each with impressive allure. Or it might translate to a true pay-for-performance incentive should the new hire exceed past results.

If your organization is going to land the highest-caliber talent in the marketplace, you’re going to need to demonstrate top-tier thinking. You better be impressive in the way you’re approaching interviews, the courting process, the all-encompassing communications, the offer letter … everything.

An A-player will assess you and your team and everything about the hiring process – and will ask herself if she really sees an organization that provides opportunity. None of us, even the best among us, can achieve greatness alone – which means that A-players won’t believe your value proposition if they see glimmers of incompetence behind a thin veil of smoke.

The lesson? Get your house in order and be certain you can lay out a trajectory for this hire before you even attempt to recruit.

To the A-player: It’s wise to remember that most of corporate America is not comprised of fellow A-players. This means that you will have to be masterful in working with many B- and C-players.

As you assess potential employers, you may need to embrace the fact that joining a turnaround or struggling venture could provide an incredible opportunity to paint a masterpiece in what is an artistic wasteland. My recommendation is to explore how much freedom you will be given to effect change, as you don’t want to find yourself without the needed buy-in for that change. Try to get a sense of whether this company has ever hired anyone approaching your capability in the past, and where or how that professional progressed in the organization. It’s less important that the business has never really hired someone of your caliber in the past and more important that its leaders are truly ready for the horsepower that you will provide. In other words, they better have the desire and willingness to change – and the faith in you to follow your expertise.

Want to learn about three other reasons A-players change jobs? Senior associate practice leader Ashlee Wagner discusses the power of people when it comes to retaining top talent.