Article written by Veronique Denant– CFR Global Executive Search France.
Staying in a company for a certain period of time is a sign of stability valued by Recruiters. Indeed, this stability shows that the candidate is loyal to the company and is capable of making a long-term commitment. Furthermore, candidates who have remained with the same company may have benefited from holding different roles and promotions, thereby accumulating new skills. This also demonstrates the ability to adapt to a new role and being prepared to leave an environment where he/she feels comfortable and unthreatened.
Other reasons for longevity in a company may be the level of seniority an individual has achieved, the location of the company and the working environment which may lead to a good work-life balance.
However, whilst there are legitimate reasons for remaining with an employer for a lengthy period, there may be some people who will see this as a potential negative, that the individual has not proved himself/herself in different environments and has not experienced different cultures. Therefore, when is the right time to start looking for a new opportunity ?
Firstly, it is important to stress that there is not a single right answer. No two situations are identical and everyone has different circumstances and what may be the right time to leave for one person would not be for the next.
The most important thing is to listen to yourself. If you feel you have fallen into a routine and are less enthusiastic about your role than you used to be, it may be time to consider whether it may be the time to start to think about a change of role. Perhaps you could undertake a skills assessment as part of your future career plan. Having a better understanding of your specific skills and strengths will enable you to articulate them well during future interviews and is likely to make you more attractive to Recruiters.
People who have stayed for a lengthy period with one employer will be less familiar with external recruitment processes and therefore, preparing for the interview will be essential. Do some research into the company – with such a wealth of information now readily available online, there is simply no exercise for not having done this. Think of the questions you are likely to be asked, spend some time rehearsing some possible answers, think carefully about your objectives and remember to back up your answers with real life examples. Also, remember that the interviewer is in control, answer the question which has been asked, backed up with an example and then wait for the next question. Nervous interviewees can have a tendency to talk too much, to over-elaborate and this can give a negative impression.
In conclusion, there is no typical career path. Keep an open mind, do not be afraid to make a change as the courage this shows, together with other qualities such as initiative and the desire to prove yourself in a different environment will definitely be valued.