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Case Study: Successful Job Change With Commentary From Apex Consultant

A mid-management level executive was introduced to Apex by a former colleague. Like many professionals, he was content with his current career, but was interested in learning about new opportunities. He came to Apex for a complimentary career consultation in the Spring, and was able to successfully change jobs by the end of Summer.

April: First career consultation with Apex

He was an amiable businessman in his mid-40s, and had built good relationships with co-workers at his company where he held an important development management position for more than twenty years after graduating from college. We interviewed him to review his work experiences, his current role, the structure of the company, as well as his salary and benefits package at his company. 

He wasn’t quite sure if he wanted to move to another career at that point.

It seemed like he just wanted to get information about the market situation and his potential market value. However, the interview brought his hidden concerns to light:

“The fewer development pipelines are making me worried about my future in the company”

“The budget cut for projects is giving me a lot of stress”

“The salary cut makes me concerned about my future career here”

“I am worried about my career path” 

Comments from his consultant:

Those who are considering a career change should consider a change to their mindset. Most of our candidates are very intelligent and treated well at their companies, which tends to make them satisfied with their current position. However, let me remind you that there are plenty of opportunities in front of you where other companies may offer you better treatment such as: greater depth of pipelines, greater motivation, chances for joining a global project, and a salary raise. What we recommend you to do is to start thinking about yourself and your career, and talk to a consultant or people around you to find out any hidden thoughts and concerns you may have about your current position.​

Middle of April: Start sending CV’s to clients

During the interview and weeks that followed, we introduced five different positions in which he could apply his expertise and he decided to apply for four positions. He took longer than usual for a candidate to review the details on the characteristics of each company, the positions, and the compensation since it was his first time changing jobs. Unfortunately, three companies among the four declined his application since they already had a strong candidate who was about to go in for a final interview. Luckily, he was offered a chance to interview with the fourth company.​

Comments from his consultant:

Timing is one of the most important factors for a job change. Please be reminded that several or even dozens of candidates are applying for the same position. We strongly recommend moving quickly if you find a position or company that interests you.​

May: Company requests first interview

After preliminary screening, he was selected to go for the first interview to be attended one week later. He came to Apex for interview preparation where we advised him to focus on details about the job description, his role, how his expertise could help the company, and the corporate culture.

One piece of advice was not to ask about the salary in the first interview unless they brought it up. Another piece of advice was to review his work experiences and to study the company he was applying for. At this point, he was not quite sure if he really wanted to move on to a second career, and was wondering if he should really be happy that he passed the preliminary screening. However, what matters here is he got an interview offer after applying for the position, which indicates that the company thinks highly of his market value. Let’s just be confident in getting a reply from the company upon applying for a position.

Comments from his consultant:

As for the interview date and time, it is ideal to set up the time within the business hours, which is usually from 9:00 to 18:00. Some companies can accommodate your schedule depending on the position; for example, starting from 18:30. Other companies aren’t as flexible. 

What you can do is to ask your consultant. At the first interview, you may want to prepare a few work-related questions to ask. Let’s leave your concerns regarding compensation including salary to your consultant. This will be negotiated at a later point in time.​

May: First interview is successful

We had a meeting with him to get feedback after his first interview with the Director and HR staff at the company he was applying for. He mentioned that he couldn’t ask all the questions he had since the time was limited. The interview started with him explaining his work experiences and achievements, the reasons for applying for the position, and his role at the current company. They also gave him a job description and information about the organization.

In fact, he felt as if he was going to be declined based on the interviewer's choice of vocabulary. For example, using “IF we should have a chance to work together..”, or “IF you should have a chance to work here..”. However, the result was the opposite; he passed the first interview and was offered a second interview afterward.​

Comments from his consultant:

The impressions from each side of an interview are quite often different in a good way or a bad way. Please feel free to give your consultant your honest feedback. The sooner we get your feedback, the sooner we get the interviewer’s feedback as well.​

May: Second interview is a success

Although he decided to move on to the next interview, he still had some concerns about the move. There was no guarantee that he would get an offer from the company yet. However, he decided to move on and to do the best he could for the interview anyway. 

As he left the office early for the interview, he decided to wear business casual clothes. (Please advise your consultant in advance for the interview dress code).

The second interviewers were three people: the department director, a co-worker whom he was going to work closely with, and a member of the HR staff. 

This interview contained more details than the first one such as his current job and role, internal transfer procedures, the reasons for applying for the position, the possible replacement for him at the current job, and a rough idea of a starting date.​

Comments from his consultant:

Your next job is not guaranteed until you sign an offer letter. Quite a few candidates become concerned or are not able to make up their minds more or less during the job change process. However, quite commonly the second interview can address your concerns or offer a different perspective on the company. Please take this chance with confidence!​

June: Receiving a new job offer

We were informed of the official job offer for him right after the second interview. This news made him relieved for the time being. We asked him to send the previous year’s tax withholding statement, salary statements for the last three months, last year’s bonus statement, and the statement of his preferred starting date as requested by the company. 

Even then, he still had some concerns about their evaluation of him and expectations for him at work. After asking the company the aforementioned questions, we gave him their feedback to clarify, which eventually dispelled his concerns and made him positive about the job change. ​

Comments from his consultant:

Please feel free to talk to your consultant about your thoughts concerning the career move. To remove your concerns, some companies are happy to set up another meeting or telephone meeting with HR staff for those whom they really want to work with. Again, please talk to your consultant if there is an issue with anything.​

End of June: New job offer accepted

We sent the required documents including his salary information to the company. As he has a family to support, one of the things that he needed the most out of the job switch was a salary raise. It was also essential for him to talk to his family about his new job. After sending the required documents, It took less than two weeks to receive a draft of the official offer letter from the company. We examined the draft, concluded it met his needs and informed him of the details. While waiting for the offer letter, he was thinking about his current work situation, and was concerned about the possible problems that could occur when he informed his boss of his resignation.  

Despite his concerns, the offer included a significant salary raise (more than 10%; the usual increase is around 5%) and warm comments of high expectations and future promotions. Finally, he decided to move on after several meetings and phone talks with us, and signed the offer letter after his family agreed on the move.​

Comments from his consultant:

Once you get an offer letter from the company, you may want to check not only your starting date and annual salary, but also your job title, promotion opportunities, employee stock purchase plan, benefits package, and flextime. Please ask your consultant any questions so that we can help remedy problems by the time you sign an offer letter. 

A lot of companies will try to detain you or make a counter offer (promotion or salary raise) for you when informed of your leave. However, please be reminded that you should show a strong motivation for moving to a new company; either for your career development or for personal reasons when asked why you are leaving. In fact, most of those who decided to settle back down in the previous company due to a counteroffer left the company anyway within one year. Some companies even start looking for your replacement while you postpone your leave. Please keep in mind that your boss might get a negative impression toward you once you inform him of your wish to leave. Think about your decision carefully as to have no regrets.

End of June: Resignation from current company

After finishing the procedure for starting a new job, it was time for him to inform his supervisor of his intention for leaving the current company. Since the starting date was the 1st of August, there was a little over one month until the new job started. As a competent executive managing a lot of employees, he worried about the inconvenience he might cause in giving over his job. He was able to leave without causing any particular problems by taking paid day-offs, which was an amicable resignation.​

Comments from his consultant:

The Japan Civil Code states that as long as you give the company two weeks notice, you can leave whenever you wish, but to inform of your leave in the most appropriate manner by checking the working regulations of your company. Most Japanese companies recommend a one month notice for a smooth resignation, but some set up two months or 90 days notice rule at the earliest on your leave. We strongly recommend that you consult your next company about your starting date as soon as possible after considering your possible finishing date at your current company.

The more highly the company evaluates you, the more strongly they will try to retain you. Good companies won’t try to deter you from new challenges and will attempt to give you a nice, smooth resignation. ​

Comments from his consultant

In August, we saw him open a new door to the next stage of life and start working for a new company.  

The HR department at your new company will send you the required documents after receiving your signed offer letter, but you can also ask your consultant about anything whenever you need!

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