The Dire Consequences of Overlooking Fit

5c170f7c72d484b8ed10b7ccf363c043Overlooking Fit “I’m probably going to lose my job in 2 hours. It’s a mandatory meeting. The writing is on the wall.” That’s how the conversation started. Last week I got a call from a close friend and colleague whom I have known for many years.

The story goes something like this. “Angela” left her job 7 months ago where she had enjoyed a lengthy tenure, loved the people she worked with including her boss and thrived. She took a call from a recruiter who presented her with an opportunity that she decided to pursue. After successfully winning the interview process Angela received an offer that was 20K more than her current base salary. Money coupled with more growth opportunity she decided to accept the position. 60 days in Angela knew she had made a mistake. Culturally this company was significantly different from her last employer. She was used to moving fast and leading a team of motivated sales people. In her new role she met resistance from every side when attempting to reach the status quo. Despite challenges she remained diligent and successfully out performed her counterparts nationwide with a sweeping 80% in sales during the 4th quarter. But instead of gaining popularity, she became more and more unpopular. Team members were simply not used to her “way” of doing things. Finally the day came when she made a mistake. Except it wasn’t really a mistake. She was just following her bosses’ orders. It didn’t matter, she took the blame. They had found a way to let her go.

Feeling betrayed, disappointed and slightly relieved I got another call from Angela. This time it was for advice on her resume. She was ready to get back on the job market.

Prevention Methods

You might be wondering, how did she not know that this company was such a poor cultural fit? Were there no signs? If she was so happy why would she even consider a new opportunity? Angela made two critical errors. First, not thoroughly investigating company culture. Although hiring teams put on their best face during the interview process, she could have asked about team dynamics, challenges, work pace, etc. it’s also important to gain an outside, independent opinion of what it’s really like. What are former employees saying? Secondly, Angela got a dose of the green eyed monster. Never focus on money. Although tempting to accept a significantly higher salary, it’s not worth your quality of life. Working 16 hour days and being miserable most of the time isn’t a life. No matter how much money you earn. Ultimately Angela sacrificed her track record and left a less than desirable mark on her otherwise pristine resume.

Road to Recovery

The good news is that one short stint on your resume isn’t career ending. Not even close. Most reasonable hiring managers and recruiters understand that bad things happen to good people. If the majority of your background is solid, a poor fit can be overlooked. It’s important to be honest about what happened but be careful about assigning blame. Take responsibility while conveying the reality of the situation. Never say anything negative about a previous employer. People can read between the lines. Chances are, they’ve been in a similar situation at some point in their career.

Sound familiar? Have you ever left an employer for what you believed was an offer you couldn’t refuse? Only to discover you had made a terrible mistake. What did you do?


Photo Credit: Vogue