In the executive search business, we spend our days talking with people who are, for the most part, not looking for a new job (or responding to job advertising). Most of the people we talk to are very fortunate. They are being treated quite well by their current employer. They are working in careers with a bright future.

And yet a significant number of them are willing to speak with us about a new opportunity. So when do people talk to us?

As it turns out, four factors predict which people will consider a career change. Herndon-based HumanR Inc. has done some fascinating research on the causes of employee turnover. (The report is available as a free download from its website.) And in the many years since I’ve read the report, I’ve seen it proved true again and again.

The answer to these four questions influences the likelihood that someone will stay or leave:

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