How to Select Employees Who Will Stick Around

Topic(s): recruiting, selection, turnover
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior 
Article: Career decision status as a predictor of resignation behavior five years later
Authors: J.K. Earl, A. Minbashiana, A. Sukijjakhamina, J.E.H. Bright
Reviewed by: Allison B. Siminovsky

Every organization has faced the problem of losing a great employee too soon. But what if there was a way to see if an employee is likely to resign within several years of beginning his or her career? A new study attempts to link resignation after five years with career decision status at the onset. 

Career decision status refers to an individual’s certainty regarding his or her career path. Additionally, career decision status takes into account whether a person has fully considered other options for his or her career path prior to settling on a career.


Using a career decision profile, the researchers examined the statuses of a group of new graduates beginning their careers at a consultancy. These graduates answered questions regarding how much they knew about their occupations, their comfort with their decisions, and their decidedness with their potential careers at that point. Five years later, the researchers observed that those who were more decided on their careers at the onset were less likely to resign over the five-year period. Additionally, those who ranked career choice importance as very salient to their lives were more likely to leave the organization during their first five years of work.


These results have a number of implications for selection procedures. It might be beneficial for organizations to include a career decision profile with other soft-skill measures, such as personality tests. It is financially and psychologically beneficial for an organization to retain its employees and would therefore be a wise investment for organizations to select those employees that have more thoroughly thought out their career choices and are more likely to stay on. The recruiting process is both timely and expensive – so it would help organizations to know that their hard work was paying off in a hire that will stay the course.

Additionally, universities, recruiters, and career counselors alike should take note of these findings: to help their clients find jobs that they stay in, it may be beneficial to thoroughly discuss career options and find paths that are the most comforting to the clients.


Earl, J. K., Minbashian, A., Sukijjakhamin, A., & Bright, J. E. H. (2011). Career decision status as a predictor of resignation behavior five years later. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 78(2), 248-252.