Pain Vs. Pleasure: Which Is Your Motivation?

What is the source for your considerations of making a move to a prospective firm? Pain or pleasure.

Why does someone make a move to anything?  Generally speaking, a person or a group of people are either motivated by pain or pleasure. Let me explain: you are either motivated by the prospect of moving towards pleasure or improving your current situation, or you are driven by pain and wanting to leave something that is distasteful or upsetting you behind.  When a new situation or prospective firm is presented to a candidate, this is what is going on in their subconscious mind.  They might not be aware of this game that is playing in their head, but they should be.

A Prospective Firm Wants You To Start With Awareness

A candidate who has been at the same firm for quite a while, maybe even their whole career, is not necessarily aware of what it is like to work for a new, prospective firm.  They don’t know if it is a move they should consider or not, if complacency may have set in, or if it just might be the time to look elsewhere.  However, “kicking the tires” (as I have affectionately called the beginning of the interview process) must have some motivation behind it.  You don’t wake up one day and say, “I think I’ll entertain a new position.”  Something must be driving you to have these feelings.  In essence, it is something I refer to as pain or pleasure syndrome.  Do you want to move to a new platform because it presents more opportunity, or maybe even more of an exciting future just looming out there?  Or do you want to leave a bad management situation behind?

Your Best Foot Forward: Clarity & Honesty With Your Prospective Firm

Knowing which of the two motivations drives you will make you a better candidate to any prospective firm.  You must be crystal clear about your reason for wanting to move to a new company; if not, they will not take your candidacy seriously.  Why?  The reason is they are not going to feel confident at the end of the day that you are going to actually make a move.  If they do not feel assured you will follow through with the resignation process and avoid a counteroffer, then they will not go to the extremes to get you hired.  Today, more than ever, a client firm has more steps in the approval process than I have ever seen.  The hiring manager has to feel positive that you will onboard with them at the end of the process.

Motivation Goes A Long Way

Clearly, sharing your motivation for making a move is crucial as you move down the interview path with a prospective firm.  At any time, if they feel your interest is wavering, they are going to pull the plug on the process.  You must demonstrate now more than ever your motivation to go to the new firm.  By being aware of whether you are moving from pain or heading towards pleasure and consistently sharing this sentiment, they will feel more confident in your candidacy.  On the other hand, if you cannot clearly demonstrate this inward motivation, they will not necessarily complete the extensive steps it takes for you to be hired.  The takeaway? Know your pain versus pleasure sentiment and share it often in the hiring process.


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About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.