How to Navigate Interviewing and On-boarding Amidst a Merger or Acquisition

Posted: May 28, 2020

A merger or acquisition can prove to be a challenging time for organizations and employees alike. All top level executives should be prepared to respond tactfully to a merger, buyout, or acquisition of their organization. They should also be aware of how they may bring their skills and expertise to a newly restructured organization. Mergers and acquisitions invariably change company culture. Executives who are interviewing with a newly acquired organization should first investigate the transaction and conduct thorough research to understand the motives for the acquisition. Often, there is a wealth of publicly available information regarding an organization and its key players on the internet. Companies often merge for the sake of enhanced growth potential. Mergers often result in redundancy in teams—for example, there may be two or three times as many marketing managers or sales managers post-merger. This may result in layoffs as the organization eases into its new operations. Executives who are interviewing for a role with a newly restructured organization or are currently on-boarding into a new role must demonstrate how their skills are transferable to the new organizational setting and how they add value in the direction of the desired and anticipated growth. If the acquisition involves private equity stakeholders, it becomes vital for executives to demonstrate how their capabilities and experience are aligned with the investment thesis of the buyers. C-suite executives and junior executives alike must be able to keenly articulate their core competencies, as well as their opportunities for continued development. Executives stand to benefit from maintaining a list of their accomplishments so that they are able to readily articulate and prove their skills. An article published by the Harvard Business Review highlights the keys for maximizing the prospects generated by mergers and acquisitions: executives should seize the opportunity to highlight their strengths as they apply to the integration process. Many companies in the merger phase establish “transition structures”—formal organizations composed of committees and teams that work together to realize the synergies anticipated by the merger. Executives who are engaged in this phase of work leverage an opportunity to exhibit skills pertaining to project execution, innovation, and collaboration. Amidst a merger or acquisition, employees should focus on building and maintaining strong relationships with their teammates. Integrating new people into a single team is hardly seamless, but can be accomplished effectively when employees take the initiative to acquaint themselves with newcomers and take an open-minded approach to new modes of collaboration. Especially in the context of a merger or acquisition, employees should maintain a positive attitude about the takeover and the accompanying changes. Maintaining a position of advocacy exhibits value and resiliency in the face of the inevitable challenges that arise during a restructuring. Executives interviewing with newly acquired organizations should understand the circumstances of the buyout, the nature of the merger, as well as any pertinent information about the other company involved in the transaction. Any insight into the types of benefits received by shareholders and other relevant financial information may prove useful in the process of negotiating a compensation package with the prospective organization. Executives may consider working with a compensation consultant in order to navigate the process of interviewing or on-boarding amidst a corporate takeover. While mergers and acquisitions often spark concerns about job security, these restructuring events can prove to be excellent opportunities for career growth. To learn more, visit our Contact Page, or contact us directly by email at or by phone at 415-618-6060.