Back News  /  January 2014

The rude awakening after beginning a new job

Every second manager complains about the disparity between a job profile and the reality of the task

·    Social skills and company culture are being neglected
·    Job disparities should be authentic and not idealized

Hamburg, 27th January 2014 – Often, there is a dissonance between what is written in a job description and what the position actually entails, particularly at management level. This is the experience of 45% of managers, from department head to board director, who have moved company at least once in the past ten years. The discrepancy between job description and reality is also the reason most cited for dissatisfaction in a new job. This is shown clearly by the study “A Change of Job in Top Management” carried out by the recruitment consultancy InterSearch Executive Consultants. The research was based on 150 interviews with company directors, senior and middle managers.

Of all respondents, at least three quarters have changed jobs at least once in the past ten years. Such moves are often accompanied by high hopes for the future – the strongest motivation for making a change is a manager’s wish for “new tasks and challenges”. After taking up the position with a new employer, however, disappointment may soon follow. The main cause: the promise of the job description and the interview process is not matched by the reality of the job itself. 45% of all managers have made this experience after changing jobs: among senior managers, the figure rises to 50%.

Dissatisfaction is also caused by unrealistic objectives and differences in company cultures

There are additional reasons why a change of job can be a negative experience for managers. Two out of five respondents felt that in a new job, targets for results and timing were unrealistically high. Almost the same proportion complains that the company culture differed radically from their expectations. One third of job-changers openly admits to having underestimated regional differences, while the same number were forced to recognize that they did not have the right qualifications, or in some cases, the right personality for the job.

Candidates and companies profit from an authentic job description

Thomas Bockholdt, Managing Partner of the recruitment specialist InterSearch Executive Partners, has the following advice to avoid a rude awakening after a job change: “Job profiles should be authentic. An unrealistic description of the position or the company doesn’t pay off in the long run.” As a rule, candidates notice discrepancies at the first interview at the new company. A positive first impression often evaporates in the face of expectations that are not lived up to. According to experts, however, companies have nothing to fear if they simply present themselves in an authentic manner. “Every company has specific characteristics which make it interesting to work there. It is these characteristics that must be understood and communicated. Negative aspects should not be hidden but rather declared and explained at an appropriate moment in the selection process. In this way, a candidate knows in advance what to expect, experiences trustworthiness and can make a realistic decision about whether the position is a good match or not.” It can, however, be difficult to arrive at an authentic job description, and this is where the objective perspective of a recruitment consultancy can be helpful.

Even after an appointment is confirmed, opportunities for getting to know one another should be created. “Structured guidance in the first months is important even for senior managers. By undertaking a continuous exchange of news, both partners can ensure that their respective expectations are being met – or make sure that expectations can converge in future” says Thomas Bockholdt

Background Information

For the study “A Change of Job in Top Management” 150 interviews were carried out with company directors, senior managers and middle managers. Respondents were asked on-line about the likelihood of a job-change, which aspects of a change are most important to them, and how they experience the recruitment process. The respondents came from companies with upwards of 100 employees in the Trade, Service and Industrial sectors. The study was carried out in the third quarter of 2013.

About InterSearch Executive Consultants

We specialize in the recruitment of managers and the systematic analysis of management potential with a focus on the “Mittelstand” – medium sized national and international organizations. The company was founded in 1985 under the name “MR Personnel Consultancy” and has offices in Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich with over 30 employees. Today InterSearch Executive Consultants belongs to the international InterSearch network with nearly 100 offices in 45 countries.


Press contact: Thomas Bockholdt   Tel.: +49 40 46 88 42 0