Making the Move – Is It Right for Me, for My Family?

By Dan Young

Changing jobs is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Candidates often ask for advice about how to assess whether or not an opportunity is right for them. After nearly two decades in and around healthcare recruiting and executive search, I typically offer the following guidance:

Define Your Motivation

When assessing your fit for a particular job, there are personal as well as professional considerations. First, you should deeply understand your motivation for considering the role. Does it represent a logical career progression that is aligned with your overall career objectives? Consider if your professional timeline, energy and passion truly align with the needs of the organization and the community.

Examine the Culture

Do you genuinely like and enjoy the interactions you’ve had with your potential new colleagues? Think about this: at the end of a grueling week, will you be around people you enjoy? Would you mind being in the trenches with them—or would you be running for the closest exit? I’m not suggesting you have to be best friends with everyone, but you should trust your gut about the team dynamics and decide if they’re simpatico with how you operate.

Identify Measures of Success

I believe it is a good idea to ask your potential new boss about what types of people have experienced success in the organization. Why were they successful? Was it skill or style? Listen closely to the responses and be honest with yourself around your skills, style and personality as it relates to how they define success. While new ideas are important to bring to the table, it is important to look historically at what types of folks have experienced success, made an impact and enjoyed longevity in the organization.

Explore the Community

Now, step outside of the work setting and explore the community where you will presumably be asked to live. Does it offer most of what you and your family enjoy? If the answer is no, you should carefully consider your quality of life. For example, if going to Broadway style shows is important and you are hundreds of miles from the nearest theater, I suspect this will create a bit of unhealthy tension.

If you have children, does the community offer schools, child care and support programs that are personally important to you? Does it offer a place of worship for you to connect, engage and honor your faith? These are often major issues, if not total deal breakers. For example, if your child or spouse or partner have particular wants and needs and the resources to support those needs are limited in the community, this will inevitably create resentment, and usually a very short tenure. Most organizations are happy to align you with colleagues in similar situations, or connect you with a member of the community to offer guidance in these areas, so don’t hesitate to ask for introductions.

Being honest with yourself about these elements will undoubtedly ensure a smoother transition and longer tenure with an organization, as well as deeper connections with the community.

Name Your Non-Negotiables

I recommend making it clear to the hiring leader and others throughout the interview process what elements of professional development, personal connection and community fit are important to you so that there is ample time for reflection, guidance and response on these topics.

Changing jobs and moving to a new community has a profound impact on so many people that it is well worth spending a little extra time in evaluating the fit from every angle. When assessed correctly, it often results in a fulfilling career move as well as a joy-filled connection in the community, ultimately leading to deeper dedication and longer tenure.

Take Calculated Risks

I certainly recognize that for great reward there is often risk associated. My appeal: trust your instincts, do your research, ask questions and ultimately take as calculated a risk as possible to ensure the least disruption and highest satisfaction for all involved.

Over the years, I have asked dozens of CEOs and Board members about “fit” and consistently hear that their priority is to ensure a candidate and their family are fully satisfied with the opportunity and would rather have an opt-out in the interview process rather than accepting a job only to find dissatisfaction resulting in a short and disruptive tenure.