Frequently asked Questions

Changing jobs

What factors should I take into account when I decide to change jobs?

The most important factor is your motive. You must be sure that the new company will be able to offer you the things you need: income, career opportunities, job functions, opportunity to realize your ambitions, exciting challenges, and so on.

Secondly, it is necessary to assess the risks. You should determine the prospects of the business, and understand the task you will be assigned to fulfill, e.g. to develop the business or to prepare the company for sale. If you would like to make important decisions, you need to find out whether the company will give you an opportunity to do so, and then, determine your future scope of authority. It is important to understand whether you will be able to get on with your future line manager, since mutual understanding between him/her and you is essential. Finally, you need to consider the company’s corporate culture and decide whether you share its values.

Is it worth getting MBA training?

How important it is to have a PhD in the relevant field and an MBA degree when building a career these days?

A doctoral degree is rarely a mandatory requirement for job candidates, and in most cases it will hardly make any difference.

As for an MBA degree, it is required of top-level managers, such as Chief Financial Officers, Chief Marketing Officers, and Chief Executive Officers. The most common wording used in advertisements for top-level managers is “an MBA degree is desirable”, but it is rarely a must. However, a business school certificate will definitely be an advantage in cases when all other characteristics are equal.

Western business education is traditionally considered more valuable than Russian training. There are several reasons for it: foreign business schools take an entirely different approach to the training; there, you can communicate with peers from different countries, and learn how to think outside the box. Finally, foreign diplomas are much more in demand.

Getting education in Europe is more popular, since the European mindset is easier for us to understand than the American one, and training programs are less expensive. Another reason is that you can study in Europe while working in Russia. In addition, many employers tend to think that American MBA graduates are far too “expensive” and often overqualified.

As for Russian business education, employers usually do not make much of it. Generally speaking, it is far too early to speak of Russian schools as prestigious. On the whole, Russian employers tend to pay more attention to the work experience of a job candidate rather than his/her education.

I don’t want to be a manager

My specialization is manager-economist but a management career requires constant responsibility and stress resistance, the ability to take risks and other soft skills, which my character prevents me from developing. How can I apply my knowledge outside of a managerial career?

A career is always about development. It makes the most sense to grow vertically when you go from, for example, an assistant to an executive. Of course, not everyone wants to manage and not everyone gets this opportunity. In this case, you should develop horizontally, mastering new areas of work, new interesting fields and new markets. Not all companies can do this, there are businesses that imply obligatory career growth, such as consulting, for example.
At the same time it is necessary to be ready to develop personal qualities, because the ability to make decisions and come out of conflict situations with dignity is required also on non-executive positions.

Interchange to the Western business

My specialization is manager-economist but a management career requires constant responsibility and stress resistance, the ability to take risks and other soft skills, which my character prevents me from developing. How can I apply my knowledge outside of a managerial career?

A career is always about development. It makes the most sense to grow vertically when you go from, for example, an assistant to an executive. Of course, not everyone wants to manage and not everyone gets this opportunity. In this case, you should develop horizontally, mastering new areas of work, new interesting fields and new markets. Not all companies can do this, there are businesses that imply obligatory career growth, such as consulting, for example.
At the same time it is necessary to be ready to develop personal qualities, because the ability to make decisions and come out of conflict situations with dignity is required also on non-executive positions.

Changing a career

I’ve been working in logistics for a long time now, but I would like to change my career. Is it possible? Will I have to start from scratch?

If you are bored with your job, do not make rash decisions about radical changes; rather, think about what exactly you are not happy with, what areas you may be interested in, and where you would be able to fulfill your potential.

If, however, you want to radically change the area of your activities, try and do it within your company, where people know you and where you have an established reputation. For example, you might be interested in procurement or sales and be familiar with this work, or, maybe, you started your career in this area and now you realize that this is exactly what you would like to do.

It is more difficult to change the career by getting a job in another company, since most employers look for candidates with relevant experience to fill their vacancies. You should be ready to start from scratch, lower your expectations regarding the salary and position status, e.g. from a managerial position to that of a specialist. It will be easier for you to get a job in a small company. In this case, good references will play an important role in your employment. Ask your business contacts for references.

Moving from your own business to the corporate environment

I worked in Russian and Western B2B companies for 7 years, then I opened my own business, which was not as successful, and I would like to return to the corporate environment, preferably in a Western business. I think that employers will be wary of an applicant who has had a taste of running his own business. Is this true?

In general, Western employers are really reluctant to hire people with experience running their own business, especially professionals who have run their own company for many years. Both established companies and start-up projects are afraid that a person will work according to the principles to which he is accustomed, will run a company or a department as his own business. In addition, there are many cases where people go back to “free-floating” and take valuable people and clients of the company with them.

But if you have extensive experience as an employee, you just need to position your motivation to return to the corporate environment properly, to emphasize that the corporate style of doing business is closer to you, it is more comfortable to work in an established structure. It is also worth telling the potential employer what made you start your business – the need to make money or career ambition. In the second case an employer will most likely think that sooner or later you will try to create your own company again, increasing your knowledge and client portfolio. You should not be afraid that you will be taken for a failure, because in running your own business there are many risks and many factors that affect the success or failure of the company.

You are unlikely to get a position higher than the position you left the company from before going into business for yourself. More often than not, these applicants may qualify for a position as a department head or director of a business unit. Much depends on your accomplishments as a business owner – whether it was a small company or you assembled a staff of several dozen people, what kind of turnover you operated. It is important to show what you have really achieved by working for yourself, not to be a so-called “soap bubble”, not to embellish achievements, because each of your statements is easy to check.

Foreigners in Russia

I have worked for almost 10 years in Germany and Italy in the automotive sector, successfully selling components to large car manufacturers. As a next step in my career development I would like to work in Russia, I am interested in European companies (not necessarily connected with the automotive sector) expanding their business in Russia and looking for an ambitious sales manager in Moscow. I speak Italian, English and French and am actively learning Russian. What are my chances of finding work in Russia?

The Russian automotive sector is quite specific and closed. A sector where market participants are in close contact with each other. Employers here are looking for people who know the local market well, with extensive business contacts. Foreign managers can occupy high positions, such as national sales manager or regional sales manager, but they can hardly successfully talk heart-to-heart with Russian buyers in pure Russian. It is usually easier for foreign managers to start working in the Russian market by being transferred to Russia within their company.

You can try sending a resume to companies with a similar sales method, for example companies selling various components to manufacturing companies (e.g. household appliances, etc.). But in Russia, people from the automotive sector rarely move into other industries and companies in other sectors are not very willing to consider them as applicants because they fear that they will return to their sector at the first opportunity. In addition, if you have a general understanding of the market for automotive component manufacturers, you can try yourself in purchasing.

Getting a job with competitors

I’m not entirely happy with my company, and started thinking about changing jobs. Should I consider competing companies as potential employers? How will my transition to the competitors affect my resume and my future career?
Many people think that a transition to another company to work with a similar product or service is unethical. To ensure that such a transition will not affect your reputation, you should choose a company from a related or the same industry, but engage in the sales of a different product. If the market you specialize in is rather narrow, it will not be easy for you to find the desired option, as all companies can compete in one way or another, and you will need to be very careful choosing the right one.
Many employers send us requests to find them new employees by soliciting them from competing organizations. Few professionals, however, are willing to accept such job offers. We try to find candidates so that in the new company they could sell a different product or service to the same end customers, or the same product, but to other end customers.
During an interview with a potential employer, you should be careful when talking about your customer base (although your customer portfolio is usually the competitive advantage due to which the new company wants you for the job). Speak of your current employer in a most ethical way, and try not to sell yourself as a person who knows all the secrets of the company you intend to leave, and is ready to share them. Otherwise, the potential employer may have a suspicion that after a while, having obtained access to their customer base, you would wish to sell yourself to another competitor at a higher price.
As to managers from other professional areas, a transition to a competing company can play a cruel joke on those occupying strategic positions. In addition, employers are suspicious of people who have often moved from one competitor to another, or whose CV mentions a transition to the primary direct competitor. Remember that many large direct competitors enter into agreements prohibiting them to employ each other’s personnel.

Moving to the regions

I’m bored of working in Moscow, and would like to try my hand in the regions of Russia or the CIS countries. What career prospects are there?

The regions and CIS countries offer interesting opportunities for managers from the capital, where they have the opportunity to be closer to regional business, local partners, get an opportunity to influence the result, knowing the nuances of the business, have a wider range of responsibilities. Local professionals are usually interested in learning progressive processes and technologies and a manager from the capital can become a coach for them.

The regions and CIS countries offer interesting opportunities for managers from the capital, where they have the opportunity to be closer to regional business, local partners, get an opportunity to influence the result, knowing the nuances of the business, have a wider range of responsibilities. Local professionals are usually interested in learning progressive processes and technologies and a manager from the capital can become a coach for them.

If a company moves a candidate it is interested in, as a rule, it offers to cover relocation expenses (sometimes not only for the new employee, but also for his family) and accommodation. The manager stays in the company with a definite corporate structure, social guarantees, a training program, and foreign business trips (if it is a Western or large Russian business). The contract can be concluded for several years, during which he develops the territory and the local client base, after which the employee can return to the metropolis or stay in the region. Some companies offer to pay a significant bonus if the manager works in the region for a certain number of years.

Living expenses in the regions are much lower than in Moscow or St. Petersburg, and this is a good opportunity to improve one’s standard of living while earning a salary in the capital. A plus is also a more favorable environment than in the metropolis, which means a more comfortable environment for families and children. And finally, you can forget about traffic jams.

Getting a higher income

My salary stays the same, despite growing responsibilities. What should I do to increase my income?

You should adequately assess your competence level and the benefit the company gets from your skills and abilities. Find out the market value of the experts with similar qualifications. To do this, analyze the vacancies for similar positions on the Internet or contact recruiters, who see the market from the outside and can objectively determine your worth.
Before you talk to the management, think thoroughly of your argumentation (the chances of getting a pay rise will increase if you raise the issue after you have successfully implemented a project), e.g. overachievement, brilliantly accomplished assignments, extra duties, etc. Try not to sound too categorical; rather, be reasonable and polite. It is hardly a good idea to inform your management that another company has offered you a better salary. If you do so, you might be given a raise, but, in the long term, this step will backfire on you — companies need loyal employees who are not driven strictly by material interests. Do not expect your superiors to raise your salary twofold right away. Also, be prepared that you may be offered a change in the bonus scheme or the amount of bonus payments instead of an increase in the fixed part of the salary, since it is much more beneficial for any company to pay the employees for achieving specific targets.

If your current employer is not willing to give you a raise, you can start looking for a higher-paying job. According to Antal Russia, you can expect an average salary increase of 15–20% when changing jobs. But remember that neither the new employer nor recruiters who will consider your CV will appreciate it if the only reason for the change is money.

Work on a contract basis

I work in IT consulting, implementing ERP systems. I have received an offer to work for the company on a temporary contract basis on much more favorable terms. Is it worth changing a stable job for a profitable but temporary one?

Job on contract basis becomes more and more popular in Russia, though this market is not as developed as in West where so called “contract workers” easily pass from one project to another winning money against those who work on permanent basis. However, many companies (especially in IT and telecommunications) more and more often hire professionals to work on a contract basis to implement one or another project: implementation of IT systems or building of telecommunications networks.

In this case, the work of “contract workers” is really worth much more: they can get as much for 100 days of work as they get for a year working on a permanent basis. However, as a rule, they are deprived of social benefits.

Contract work is a good opportunity for a professional to gain valuable experience in different projects and to travel around the world, because your skills are needed today in Tashkent, tomorrow in Kazakhstan, and the day after tomorrow in Indonesia. The most important advantage of working on a contract basis is flexibility, both for the person and for the company.

A career in a startup project

After gaining experience at an international company, I decided to try my hand at an interesting startup where, at first glance, there are more opportunities. Is it worth the decision to make such a move?

When deciding whether or not to go to work for a startup company, it is worth examining the risks. If the company was present in the local market before and was represented by distributors, and now it is opening an office, if it is a large business which is supported by a successful track record in other countries, the risks are not so high. If it is a very new company and its products or services are not very competitive, the market potential is not very high – the risks are higher.

Another important factor is the personality of the manager / inspirer of the business, the clarity of his goals and company strategy. If you know that he was successful in the past and believes in success in the future and knows what he wants to achieve, you can rely on such a person.

A startup business is a business for career people, for risk takers, and is unlikely to suit people who have been in the same company or in the same position for a long time. A startup business can have a lot of potential. There can be a good opportunity to make a career much faster than in an established organization, there are many examples when people started to work in a company as a sales representative, and later opened an office of the company and headed it, but active and ambitious people are capable of it. We need people who are ready to solve non-standard tasks, able to work, able to be effective under conditions of limited budgets. For the employer it is important to have successful experience in start-ups or work experience in a large company, the willingness to create something from scratch, the knowledge of the subtleties of the market.
Among the disadvantages are greater risks and greater responsibility for business prospects than in companies with a long-standing presence in the market, as well as the unsteady structure of the organization and irregular working hours.

Becoming a chief executive

For the last seven years I have been working as a commercial director in a large Russian company. I have ambitions to become a general director. What are my chances in the labor market to take the position of general director in a worthy company?

Transition from the position of commercial director to the position of general director is quite possible. However, it is unlikely that you could move from a Russian company to a Western company, where experience in Western business is required. In order to make such a career move, it is worth looking at smaller companies than the one in which you work. An employer may choose in your favor if you have more experience in that particular sector of the market. Also, in this case it is unlikely that you can expect a significant increase in salary.
As a rule, commercial directors and sales directors have a better chance to move to the position of general director than heads of, for example, HR or IT departments, although such examples do occur. Commercial people are usually in demand for the CEO position.

CFOs from large businesses have a fairly high chance of being promoted to the CEO position. Such people have a wide range of responsibilities, they may be subordinate to logistics, IT, and HR departments. Such a person often performs the function of financial and administrative director, he is responsible for most of the functions and has experience in general management. However, more often than not, it will be the growth of a financier within the company rather than bringing him in from the outside.

A step back in the career

Will my potential employers understand my reasons, and will they be interested in me as a job candidate if, being the head of a retail merchandising department in the fashion industry, I decide to go one step back? I prefer being directly involved in the work process, using not only my brains, but also my hands, and spending more time working in stores rather than in the office. Employers tend to think that in this case the employee is not motivated enough.

In fact, companies value people who truly love the work they do and choose the job functions they enjoy over career growth. In business, such people are perceived as high-class specialists who can develop and train less experienced personnel. If you want to “use your hands”, your motivation is very clear. The employer should appreciate it as, among other things, you are able to develop the team and be their mentor.

A step back in a career is a quite common phenomenon. Still, there is a certain risk of being filtered out at the CV stage, because some employers prefer candidates with a consistent career path. The reasons for it vary, but if you explain to your potential employer why you have made such a decision, that you are really interested in what you do and not just want to sit out the tough times, then you will avoid problems when applying for a new job. Recruiters from specialized agencies are usually aware of the situation in a particular company, and can guess why you have taken such a decision.

Overqualification

Employers say that I am overqualified for the position. How can I avoid this problem?

Do not rush to change jobs. Instead, wait for a vacancy where your experience and expertise will be much needed, or where you will be able to do something new. Otherwise, you’ll become bored with your new job really fast.

Employers are usually rather cautious about hiring a professional who is more qualified than it is absolutely necessary for the business, since they are incapable of providing the person with interesting tasks, and long-term motivation in such case is doubtful.

Nevertheless, recruiters sometimes offer companies people with higher qualifications than the ones required for the vacancy. In some cases, a company may decide to hire such a person, if it has potential for growth and can provide the new employee with work. If the job applicant is a unique professional, and the company would hate to miss the opportunity of employing him/her, it can even go as far as revise its budget and the structure of the department, seeing a possible business advantage in it.

"Overstaying" in the same company

I have been working in the company for more than 10 years. I came to work here when it was barely established, helped develop it, and grew together with it. The company has become one of the leaders in its segment, and I’ve become quite reputable in the industry. And yet, the time has come for me to leave the company. However, I have difficulty finding a job in any of the competing organizations, because they perceive me as the owner of the business and are not ready to hire a competitor. It is next to impossible to find a job in a related or even different industry, too: many people and recruiters in particular tend to think that a person who has worked for more than two or three years for a company lacks ambition, does not aspire to professional growth, etc. Besides, a vast majority of vacancies indicate that they need someone with experience in a specific industry. What should I do?

Two to three years of work in the same company without a significant career growth is the term when middle managers can start considering new job offers. 4 years is a period when managers have learned everything they could in the particular position, have achieved a lot, and usually start seeking new opportunities more actively. The time frames are much broader for higher managerial positions. In fact, if all these years you’ve been growing professionally and going up your career ladder within the company, it doesn’t mean that you’ve stayed for too long, especially if the company has developed fast. You have gained deep expertise, and your contribution to the company’s success is evident. Nevertheless, certain concern on the part of employers may be reasonable; it is believed that you may have difficulty fitting into a new organization.
If you can’t find a job in a company in the same sector, it’s best not try to switch to an entirely different industry. You are right — when it comes to such top positions as the managing director, employers tend to consider candidates from the same market segment. Transitions from, for example, FMCG to B2B do occur, but those are rather exceptions than the rule. It is advisable that you consider sectors related to the one in which you have worked for so many years, where your expertise may be in demand.
It is true that recruiters and employers really see certain risks when considering job candidates who have worked in the same company for more than 5 years with no visible growth. There is a probability that the candidates will refuse the offer at the last stage of the interview, being afraid of letting down the manager they have worked together with for so many years, or change employers again in search of the conditions they’ve become used to.

“Overstaying” in the same company

How to pass the trial period

How to invest in myself best? Is it worth spending time and money on obtaining professional certificates?

Professional certificates are proof of not only a job candidate’s knowledge in a particular area, but also his/her willingness to grow professionally and to invest in his/her education, which is highly appreciated by employers and adds to the value of experts in various areas. This is why it is worth considering how much time and money you are willing to invest in getting such further education.

Professional certificates are becoming all the more sought after in the financial sector (diplomas such as ACCA, CPA, ACA, CIMA, and others). Many companies filter out the CVs with no certificates mentioned, regardless of the work experience. This is particularly the case for the CVs considered in the company’s head office located abroad.

Also, professional certificates give certain advantages to applicants in particular areas, for example, in IT services. They may be beneficial to those applying for positions in consulting (since such experts are better perceived by the clients), to IT specialists in the financial sector (FSFR certificate), or project managers in charge of big-budget projects (PMP certificate).

Профильный анализ личности
  • How to identify your demotivating factors?
  • What tools need to be involved to improve your performance?
  • How to correct your behavior in the team, to avoid conflict?

Personality Profile Analysis (PPA) will answer all these questions.