Skyrocket Your Career! Subscribe to John’s “Got A Minute” video newsletter: SUBSCRIBE

There is a cost — sometimes high, sometimes painful — for making bad career decisions.

Consider these consequences:

  1. Inability to secure a new job because of a checkered resume
  2. Relegated to higher risk, lower tier organizations where you will earn less money and be more vulnerable to organizational dysfunction

So lets go back to the beginning of this great seduction.  A recruiter calls, you are a target, the kind of candidate they are interested in.  That is heady stuff.  It is a fundamental human need — to be wanted, to be valued.

recruiting one way streetHowever, this is precisely NOT the time to permit your ego to overwhelm common sense.

In a time when profound geopolitical and global economic unpredictability continue to impact the US economy, executives have to be more aware of the risks in changing jobs; to be more mindful of their own due diligence vetting process.

Recruiting, like romance, should never be a one-way street.  Whether you are the one being wooed, or the one making the job offer, not asking the tough questions is a powerful recipe for career brand disaster.

You would be surprised — no, stunned — at how many accomplished CEOs and other senior executives get waylaid by the recruiting process.

It all begins with a big announcement: a star CEO or other executive is lured away to join an up-and-comer health system or a sexy new entrepreneurial opportunity. Then 13 to 17 months later, there is another announcement, the star has left to pursue other opportunities, a polite way for the organization to say, we made a mistake, our star recruit got the sack.

Of course, if you really dig down, seven to eight times out of 10, the company will admit that their outstanding executive hire was a really great leader, so capable, so talented, “but it wasn’t a good fit.”

Someone did not do their homework.  Some of the hard, important questions, on both sides, were overlooked.

Here is a note for candidates who find themselves in this situation:  you can survive one, maybe two, bad career choices — short job tenures — but typically not more.

To avoid this sort of career train wreck, executives must become more adept at conducting their own career management due diligence. Being recruited and doing the recruiting are not passive exercises.  Both parties have to be fully engaged, and both sides have to do their homework.

Unfortunately, you cannot rely solely on the executive recruiter who is furiously trying to arrange the marriage.  Nor can you depend on the employer who, once they target you as someone they want, often gets caught up in the wooing and spends less time considering who they really are and what they really need.

Next, I will focus on some questions candidates should ask recruiters/employers.