Plugging that career gap

Senior executives between jobs, avoid letting a gap develop!

At a senior level if you are finished up in your last role and actively pursuing a new role, a word of warning!

Be careful that the gap between roles does not become a problem.

A scenario

You are a senior executive with 20 years’ experience in a number of multi-nationals looking for a new role. You left your last role due to a downsizing of the operation you were managing and the parting was very amicable and positive.

You are enthused by the prospect of a new role and you are currently being considered for a number of roles that are of interest to you. The problem is the selection processes are moving very slowly. You are now 6 months out and while the feedback is positive nothing has materialised.

This is particularly a phenome at senior level. A process can take 6 months or more with 4/5 meeting/interviews.

Why is it taking so long?

  • It can be difficult to get the key decision-makers to make themselves available to meet with candidates due to their travel commitments.
  • Where a number of key decision-makers are involved it can be difficult to get a consensus as to the decision/feedback good or bad so that you know where you stand in relation to this particular role.
  • Often jobs are put on hold but this is not being communicated.
  • The net result is that significant time can go bye and in many cases you have no options at the end of it.
  • It can become an issue then that the market will question why this gap has emerged and it can make it more difficult to get the next role.


  • When looking for a new role, try to generate as many quality job options as possible at the outset. Be careful not to start from too narrow base e.g. in terms so the level/role, location package.
  • You should endeavour to have a realistic assessment of the possible outcome for each role to ensure you are not creating a false sense comfort that will not help you in the long term.
  • Even when you have a written offer it can still fall out but anything less than that is well short of a result.
  • Probably the most important piece of advice is that you ensure your manage the gap period through taking on relevant projects or contracts. These need to be relevant to prospective employers so e.g. doing up the house may not be ideal.

You can be fairly sure that you will be asked at interviews what you have been doing in the intervening period and you need a positive answer to this ideally where is enhances the impact that you are making with the interviewer.

The main mistakes people make from my experience;

  • Not getting to the pace or urgency quickly enough for what is required to create opportunities.
  • Over valuing the potential outcomes from the opportunities being pursued.
  • Not generating ongoing momentum through short term assignments.
  • Assuming that the market is highly efficient in identifying talent. It is not.

Should you wish to talk to Maurice about the next phase of your career, email him @ or call 061 414455 to arrange a meeting.

Interview Tips, Job Hunting, News

Leave a Reply