Long Employment Considerations - NAJINTERNATIONAL Executive Search | Recruitments | HR Advisory

Long Employment Considerations

Long Employment Considerations

How do we react to long and very long employment in one company?

One of the most important aspects that catches the attention of recruiters is the length of tenure in one company. Is long-term employment in one place an asset, or could it be a cause for concern? By long, I mean several years, even 20 or more. Let’s think about it.

It should be emphasized right away that long tenure in one company in one role is different from changes in positions, promotions, and expanding skills and responsibilities. Therefore, our role as recruiters to be able to distinguish and demonstrate this to the client.

Long tenures were more common in previous years. We were taught that constant job changes look bad on a CV and take away our chance for a good job, so we often built our tenures to be our strength. However, it seems that those entering the job market now see it differently.

Why can long tenure be beneficial?

  • Good knowledge of the company, industry, products, services, clients, and competition.
  • Contacts in the market and industry.
  • The possibility of acting as an expert.
  • The ability to adapt to changes in the company, successive restructurings, and optimizations.
  • Loyalty and stability.
  • Self-motivation.

Why can long tenure be limiting?

  • Walking the beaten path.
  • Resting on laurels – meaning once you have to earn your reputation, then like in school, subsequent teachers see your good grades in the diary.
  • Lack of knowledge of various professional environments and work cultures. Particularly severe if we settle immediately in the first job.
  • Resistance to change.
  • Burnout.
  • Fear of the risk of going to a new job, e.g., getting stuck in a golden cage.
  • Concerns of headhunters and potential employers that a person with a long tenure will withdraw from the process at the last minute.
  • Employer concerns about whether a long-term employee from another company will be able to “switch” to new tracks.
  • Often, the next tenure after a long employment is short, a few months, a year. This is based on my observations in practice.

Based on the recruitment conducted over the past year, I can conclude that longer tenure is not well-received in sales positions.  Clients fear the “fat cat” syndrome. Such a person may only visit friendly clients and may not want to make an effort to acquire new ones. But I have also encountered the opinion of the client that the constant need to acquire new customers is very exploitative. And it is worth giving such an employee other aims or transferring them to other positions. Longer tenure, on the other hand, is more appreciated in financial positions, where loyalty and stability are significant assets.

Regarding the cultural approach associated with national traditions, long and very long tenure is an asset for Scandinavian companies. In addition, this applies to various positions, including sales.

Summing up

In summary, long tenure in one company is neither exclusively an asset nor just a limitation. The key is an individual approach to evaluating the candidate. Both acquired skills and the potential for growth in a new environment can be valued. It is worth approaching such candidates with openness. Appreciating the value of their previous experience while also evaluating their flexibility and approach to new challenges. Also chances of adaptation in a new, often more competitive environment. It is worth remembering that each case is unique, and long and very long employment can be interpreted differently depending on the context.

However, it happens that I hear from a client: She has been there for 20 years? She is already unreformable!

Or from a candidate: What’s 5 years of tenure? He hasn’t even gotten to know the organization well yet!

I’m curious about your opinion…

Dorota Wróblewska, Senior Project Manager, d.wroblewska@naj.com.pl

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