I know a few other technology managers who obviously value a candidate’s ability and desire to build tenure in a position quite highly. I think the reason is stability – they are looking for someone who, once the job has been mastered, will continue to perform that job well for a very long time, perhaps their entire career. Someone who will do a good job, won’t create a lot of waves, and, most importantly, won’t leave. And I get that. Clearly there are benefits that come from employee stability. But when I’m looking at a resume, a history like that is a red flag to me.
No one has (yet) left the team I currently lead, but I’ve had to deal with turnover before. It’s never fun, especially when you need to quickly fill a critical position that you didn’t plan on being vacated. But that’s part of the job. You do your best to back fill properly, and in the end it always works out.
To me though, the pain of employee turnover isn’t as important as the benefit of hiring rock stars. Now I’ve learned you need to be careful how you hire rock stars, but more on that another day. What I’m looking for is people who are never satisfied. I look for people who will come in, learn quickly, master the job, shine brightly for a year or three, take the team to new heights, and then rather than get bored, choose to look for their next challenge. Hopefully that next challenge is within my team, but there are no hard feelings if it’s another team or company. I’ll take 4 engaged, thoughtful and truly motivated people over a team of complacent people 3 times that size any day.
Someone I used to work for summed it up well – choose progress over comfort.