Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

Anyone who's been on a domestic staff job interview since, well, since just about forever, I can guarantee has been asked by someone in the process why they left their last job. One very well-known agency, in fact, requires their candidates to write the reason for each job departure in the body of their resume alongside each of their previous jobs.

This question I find disturbing, however, because virtually everybody knows that job interview etiquette 101 requires we never, ever, say anything even slightly negative about a former employer or even a former work experience - unless you can very skillfully leave the interviewer with a positive impression of you having been through it (a tough job for even the most seasoned candidates). 

So, despite the fact that any domestic agency or employer asking this question is quite aware they will not be getting a truthful answer from many of the people who answer it, it remains perhaps the most popular interview question, ever. Strange, yes?  I believe, mostly, interviewers are setting up an easy way to see if the candidate will speak negatively, in general, thus helping to strike them off the list and move ahead to a more positive-sounding candidate - even if that one could be spinning a well-rehearsed and very tall tale. Presentation is everything, I suppose.

Although there seems some latitude for constructing the truth during interviews, managers, however, should never tolerate anything less than the truth when knowing what it is they are doing to either keep their best domestic workers - or drive them away. An honest look at what could be happening on your estate is the first step to understanding a departure - even if it wounds the ego in the short term, the ultimate benefit will result in both a better manager and a better team service delivery for the principals.

Getting to that truth, however, is the tricky part. As mentioned above, no one in an interview will ever tell the whole truth - if the real reason they departed was, for instance, poor management skills from their boss. Likewise, no domestic worker departing their position will ever risk losing a letter of reference by venting their frustrations - and in the process - allowing their former manager to understand what may have gone wrong from their perspective, thus allowing the manager the information she needs to start improving her ability to manage people. 

So, what's the point of having the truth about why people often quit?  Because there is real value in managers knowing this. Although they may never hear any of it from departing staff or arriving interviewees, they still need to know it, so they can focus on not making the mistakes to drive their remaining good staff away.

As noted in the Forbes article which ultimately inspired this quote from it's own summary Forbes article: Why Top Talent Leaves - Top 10 Reasons Boiled Down to 1:

Top talent leave an organization when they're badly managed and the organization is confusing and uninspiring.

Given that, what actions can you take on your estate which promote good management, clarity of purpose, and inspiration?

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