Tag Archives: job offers

Please Quit Your Day Job!

SLOUCHOne of the classic lines from Caddy Shack sums up the way I feel. This annoying thing called “work” has been consuming a lot of my time. The funny thing is while I have been lagging in my postings, my blog traffic stats have been consistent. Go figure. Sort of the story of my life, people are just as happy when I shut up as when I impart my pearls of wisdom ;-).

First, some housekeeping. My last post had all of you hanging on the edge because I mentioned my next post was going to address weighing the options of taking a job under the duress of impending parenthood. My apologies. I did respond to some people privately on this but I will give broad strokes on my feelings on the subject.

Everyone’s financial situation is different so I would never counsel anyone NOT to take a job just because they need the income immediately. However, if you are considering accepting an offer for a far less than desirable role, think about a few things first:

  • Can I wait it out a little longer (maybe after baby comes and be there 100% for my spouse) and then find the job I really want?
  • Will taking this job mean that I will have to be tied down to an office for 45/55/60 hours a week and can I commit to that with all that’s going on in my life?
  • Will taking this job take me far afield of my career path and may be hard to get back on because I will not be able to build the skills I need?
  • If I take this as a stop-gap measure and keep looking is this going to be an issue on my resume and how do I explain it? (Hint: Recruiters and Hiring Managers don’t look favorably on people who take jobs for the sake of having one and keep looking, it questions future loyalty and commitment although in this current employment climate you may get some leeway.)

Just some things to think about if this issue comes up.

Now, in my writing hiatus I have thought about many themes to speak about. One thing that’s has risen to the top is a result of the tough job market and that many people are in a long-term job searching process. So I am going to put together a series that allows you to structure your job search like a job, hence my clever posting title “Please Quit Your Day Job”. Get it, you would want to find a job so you can quit your job of looking for a job.

OK, I guess if I have to explain, it isn’t as clever as I thought.

 

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The dilemma for daddies to be (and some mommies too), part 2

momdadbabyI guess I should have called the first post, “The dilemma for daddies to be, (and some mommies too), so I corrected my error. In the last post we talked about how impending fatherhood can be as much of a tricky dilemma as  for expectant mothers. Obviously it is easier for dads to delay the discussion a little longer than moms and not be subjected to any possible discrimination in that regard. The exception of course are moms to be who are adopting, and hopefully they can get some useful information out of this too.

Let’s break down some scenarios and talk about what may be some solutions:

You are expecting a child fairly soon and are interviewing for a position. When do I tell the prospective employer?

If you are having the initial discussions with people (recruiters, hiring managers, etc) and have not gotten into serious interviewing and they tick off some standard questions, one of them is usually “if you were to be offered a position here and you decided to accept it, when could you be available to start?” Things are in the early stages here and I see no reason to show your hand about anything yet. I would respond with what you would normally respond with, depending on your current work circumstance. If you are working, you must say you can’t start for at least 2 weeks after you accept and give notice. If you say anything less, it is a red flag for future employers about your professionalism and loyalty, but that’s a different discussion.

If through further discussions, you find that there is a very good chance the timing will coincide, you will need to evaluate telling versus the opportunity and how you feel they may react.

When I do think it is appropriate to bring it up is when you have completed first, second or more rounds of interviews as dictated by their process and the feedback is all pointing to you getting an offer. They will usually start talking about more specific start dates.

How do I bring it up?

You want to make it seem like an easy issue to resolve, first and foremost. I would say “since we started speaking about the job, some timetables have come into play with regard to my (partner/wife/birth mother) giving birth. As we all know the due date is not always accurate but I will need x time off prior to the baby arriving and x time off after the baby arrives. I am very interested in the position and believe I am a great candidate. I also will do as much self-learning about my duties while I am out as I can (don’t commit if you don’t think you can do that!) as to minimize my ramp up time. I hope this does not affect my candidacy for this position”

It would be best if you could also get this statement and their response in an email. Although it would be hard to prove that they passed on you because of this, it’s harder to do so if they emailed you their commitment to be OK with your situation.

Shouldn’t I just wait for when I get the official offer, that way it would be harder for them to pull it back?

Yes, it would be harder and they could open themselves up for discriminatory practices claims if they did, but is this the way you want to start things off with them? They will feel slightly deceived but will still commit to the offer and that perception may not go away ever. Will this affect future opportunities from within the company? Once there is a little distance from you getting back to work, will they start the search again because they have trust issues with you? Just some food for thought.

OK, next post will be the dilemma about accepting a less than desirable role because you feel you need to be working at all costs!

The dilemma for daddys to be, part 1

newdadMuch has been written about the complexities and legalities for expectant moms and interviewing. The laws are pretty clear about discrimination and allowing time off without fear of recrimination (losing your job.)

It seems to be much less clear for the dads. When our parents were having kids, things were more defined. Mom’s job most of the time was being a mom (the most important job in the world), and dad was in the workforce. When it was time for the new baby, mom being self-employed as it were, didn’t have to ask for any time off or worry her job wouldn’t be eliminated (although she may wished as much!) Dad drove mom to the hospital and paced around the waiting room smoking and commiserating with the other expectant dads. The baby would come and dad would proudly announce it to everyone and dole out cigars. The extended family would engage to support the new mom’s chores and help with other children, etc. Dad would be back to work the next day.

As we all know now, modern day parenting has changed that paradigm significantly. Dads are more involved with the pregnancy and birth. With the great new advances in pre-natal medicine, there are more appointments and involvement along the way from pregnancy to post birth. As they should, the dad is going to Dr. appts, tests, ultrasounds, procedures, etc. He needs to be a more involved and informed partner. A lot of people these days don’t have the extended and immediate family around them so the many tasks around having a newborn falls on the parent’s shoulders.

Dad’s are taking paternity leaves now to spend as much time with the new baby as they can and help out or go to followup appointments, etc., and some progressive companies are even including that into their benefits package. Some are taking up to 3 weeks off using leave and vacation, some are invoking FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) which I believe is up to 12 weeks unpaid but will preserve job security with some caveats. These events usually are well planned out with employers and cause no major headaches or ill will between employee and employer.

That’s all great if you have a job but what if you are an expectant dad in job search mode? As a fairly recent new dad, I know there is a another whole set of stress factors in play besides the normal ones that come with pregnancy. Not long after you hear the wonderful news you can’t help but start to think about the financial ramifications of a new baby to the point of ridiculousness (how am I going to pay for their college expenses?? If I have a girl, how will I pay for her wedding??) Couple that with looking for a job. Especially if you don’t have one and it gets all the more fun.

You will start to worry about when and if you should tell prospective employers you have a baby on the way or accept a position you probably A. don’t really like or B. pays much less than you deserve because you feel you need to be a provider at all costs.

Well, sit back and relax and let’s talk about and get through this…next post! (Deep Breath! Deep Breath!)

Interview with Greg Chenevert, Author of “7 Minute Interview”

Greg Chenevert is one of the most effective Career and Business coaches around. Greg approaches his craft from a very different angle than most coaches which gives his clients a unique advantage in job interviewing, selling or in business dealings in general.

If you don’t believe me that Greg is any different than any career coach, all I can say is “numbers don’t lie”:

Greg has been engaged to teach Career development at a company. His first class of 23, all got placed in 4 weeks. And oh by the way…his second class of 26 all have gotten placed too!

I had a chance to speak with Greg recently about some key aspects of interviewing to get the job you want. His recent Audiobook, 7 Minute Interview provides some indispensable information on how to make yourself the top candidate in the first 7 minutes of the interview, when the hiring manager actually makes their yes or no decision on you.

BillTheRecruiter: What is the most common mistake a job seeker makes that knocks them out within the first 7 minutes?

Greg Chenevert: Bill, job seekers who don’t know or appreciate their audience believe they need to convince managers to hire them and pursue this based solely on technical or intellectual logic. This concept generates a false comfort zone for a candidate, which cascades into series of self-defeating behaviors.  One example is the job seeker who explains a technical reason for employment and doesn’t receive the expected feedback will then repeat their statement with greater vigor. Detailed technical descriptions appeal to only a limited group, often not including the HR manager, marketing or other non-technical personnel. Job seekers fail to understand that when they push information they conversely diminish the rapport. They lose the connection with the other person in the room, who is a decision maker for hiring. Without the rapport that is maintained through specific behaviors, everything the candidate says becomes unimportant because the interviewer is no longer listening.

The most effective interviewing method is to maintain and balance rapport while weaving your information into the listener’s context. The combination makes both the job seeker and their information readily understood.

BTR: Are most mistakes ones that the majority of people interviewing for a job would never even realize they are making?

GC: Yes, most people have trained themselves to follow behaviors without conscious examination. They don’t realize or recognize habitual mistakes. For example, everyone goes to an interview wants to be ‘the best person’ for the job, which is the perfect approach. However, upon arrival they discard this motivation and attempt to be the best: medical device domestic distribution manager, the best Java developer, or the best defense software project manager. They should stick to the first statement and be the best person, the individual who listens, engages listeners and is also a competent manager or developer. Job seekers who behave in this fashion are often the hired candidates.

BTR: How important is the non-verbal part of interviewing to the hiring manager’s decision making process?

GC: The past sixty years of research in human communication can be distilled to the following information that every job seeker can use. The words that you speak during an interview comprise 10% of your message, your tone, cadence, and inflections comprise 40% of your message. 50% of the interview communication is body language, including facial responses and projecting emotions through facial movement. Hiring managers use these channels and weightings to take in the candidate’s information and develop a decision.

Job seekers who rely on logic, rhetoric and words alone are at a severe disadvantage. Consider Ben Stein, the man who does the Visine commercials. His television delivery is possibly the baseline of interviewing. Readers might recall listening to his flat delivery, lacking inflection, connection and body language. Imagine listening to his Visine commercials for a half hour, but instead have it as an interview. Is this an effective approach and behavior to assisting a manager to form a positive decision?

BTR: If you realize things are starting off badly, what things does the book tell you that can turn the ship around quickly?

GC: If job candidates follow the steps in the audio book, they will more likely never encounter this problem, because the dialogue shows how interviews should proceed. However, there is a chapter that demonstrates to listeners how to recognize these situations while they are still manageable. They next hear how, through specific steps, to resolve the tensions or misdirection and re-establish the rapport and information flow of the interview.

BTR: Is there such thing as over preparing for an interview? For example too much role-playing, practicing, etc. that may seem like you are just being an “actor”?

GC: We can train easily ourselves; this is part of being human.   Everybody can over prepare by adopting a delivery, and effectively training themselves to properly respond in a training situation. The interview is a different emotional context because you’re dealing with strangers and have no control over the direct or follow up questions.  Under this stress the job seeker will engage their rehearsed answers as a reaction to the stress, making them sound all the more canned or artificial. Your readers may recall hearing an elevator pitch from a networking meeting that had all the right words, yet was devoid of personal connections. These are similar to the political ads and sound bytes that bombard us during elections.  We forget these within seconds of hearing them, because listeners instinctively tune out ‘canned’ messages within seconds. Hiring managers and HR people hear over-prepared statements so frequently that they tune out faster than most. They have trained themselves to recognize and avoid the rehearsed response.

BTR: Is it better to try and answer the interviewer’s questions with a response you think they want to hear, or just go with your “heart”?

GC: This question drives right to the heart of successful interviewing. Interviewing is a process meant to arrive at a mutual fit for the job seeker and the company. Job seekers need to discover two pieces of information: Does the hiring manager believe that I fit this job, and does the job and company fit with me. Responding the way that you think the interviewer wants to hear may answer your first need, but it subverts the second. This is how people end up in their job-from-hell. Employment is a long-term commitment, requiring mutual acceptance. If you answer from ‘the heart’ you will be certain to find what fits and more importantly benefits both you and your potential employer for a long-term engagement.

BTR: I noticed in the sample chapter the second example of responses there was a probing question posed in response to a question from the interviewer, why is that so important?

GC: The open-ended, probing question is another critical element for any successful interview because it allows the candidate to lead the conversation and demonstrate interest. Without these questions to engage the other person during your interview, every job seeker is structuring an interrogation, something that neither of you really wants. The second part of asking the question is to condense your answer, limit your speaking time, and provide a conversational shift to the interviewer. This prevents any confusion and awkward silences between the two of you. When done effectively open-ended questions are a mechanism to bond the two of you into a conversation that builds for a purpose, getting hired.

BTR: After listening to 7 Minute Interview, how easy is it to change your interviewing habits to be more successful in getting that job offer?

GC: Bill, it’s surprisingly easy for job seekers to achieve and retain constructive changes in interviewing behaviors and stand out from the hundreds of candidates vying for the same position. The book shows how to eliminate the emotional and behavioral habits that have destroyed past attempts, while also hearing how to establish winning habits. As a matter of fact, I include an entire chapter that shows some direct, simple exercises. When job seekers that I’ve trained practiced these exercises for a week and used them at the next interview, they changed from also-ran to hired.

BTR: What in general do you want people to take away from 7 Minute Interview?

GC: There are many things in this book that I that can make the difference for people. I want each to get a few tools to fulfill their needs. Interviewing well isn’t mysterious; it is direct and straightforward. That’s important knowledge for readers to understand, and this fact comes out many times through dialogue and examples. Another beneficial take-away is that there are only a few steps that separate success from failure, and these too are readily learned and adopted. Most importantly I want your readers to appreciate the fact that what they learn from this audio book isn’t how to interview well, it is how to converse well with everybody. When they take these conversational and communication skills to an interview, they work. When employees use them at work, they succeed, and when job seekers use them to network, they get results, because these skills motivate people to listen to you.

Again, if you would like to listen to a free sample chapter of  Greg’s Audiobook and buy the entire book, it is a great investment to improving your chances of getting the job you want go to: http://www.self-help-books.biz/

Networking Sites Reader Suggestion: Xing

networkreadersFirstly, thanks everyone for their feedback on this discussion. I got quite a few responses and wanted to share of couple of the reader’s inputs.

Sarah, who works as a recruiter in the healthcare/medical device industry suggested I check out Xing.com. She observed its model was similar to LinkedIN® but had a generally positive view of it as a complimentary resource to LI. I had heard of Xing before but never really spent much time on it, so I  revisited.

Sarah’s assessment was right on. It has very common features to LI, I would say the interface is a little bit more flashy. It has all the requisite connection processes plus company and job information. It was launched in 2006 and claims 7 million users. I didn’t research the revenue information, but comparing the growth trajectory of their database vs. LI they are about on par (LI had 8 million by end of 2006 and launched in 2003.) LI now has 41 million users. I don’t think Xing will experience that kind of growth given that LI was kind of the industry leader but also can’t count them out as evidenced by the MySpace and Facebook dynamic. They have a bare bones free plan like LI, and a premium membership as low as $5.95/month if you commit to a 2 year membership.

Next post will be my standard review of Xing and another suggestion to Zoom Zoom a Zoom!

The “Counter (offer)” Punch

punchYou have just dropped the bombshell news on your boss that you are leaving. After they pick themselves up off the floor, there will usually be one of three reactions:

  1. Congratulations, good for you!
  2. Traitor! Pack your stuff and get out (or work through your notice and endure my constant looks of contempt)
  3. Sorry to hear that, is there anything we can do to keep you here?

1 is the best outcome. 2 is not comfortable, but you are a grown up and can deal with immature people. 3 is the worst. It means that they are not accepting your resignation and think that this is just an invitation to negotiate.

When you resign you need to say unequivocally that you thought long and hard about this new opportunity – you ARE taking it and you ARE leaving. No ambiguity, no mincing of words and no backpedaling! If the boss still throws option #3 at you, you must make it clear that your decision is final and you would not entertain a counter offer. If you don’t do that, that will create the opportunity for them to guilt you into staying. If you are thinking of opening the door to a counter offer, think about these points then decide if you want to listen to what they have to say.
I would be amazed if you could.

  • You looked elsewhere for a reason, will whatever they counter with (money, promotion, etc.) really make you happy and satisfied with your career?
  • Are you going to have to find another job and threaten to quit every time you feel you deserve a raise or some other recognition?
  • You have let it be known that you were looking elsewhere, they know you are a flight risk and are going to try and keep you around until they find a replacement.
  • The great majority of people who accept counteroffers are not working at that job 6 months after accepting the counter offer (either voluntarily or not.)
  • You accepted another offer somewhere else and now have to go back and retract your acceptance. Are you ready to burn that bridge? More than likely if you try to go back after rescinding your acceptance you will be turned away. You have revealed a character flaw and there’s no putting that genie back in the bottle.

Just some things to think about. Like ending any relationship, or pulling off a band-aid, you need to get through some initial discomfort. This will quickly pass and you will see that you did the right thing. Just remember why you did all this, and that will keep you guided in the right direction when confronted with the counter offer discussions.

I got a new job! Oh, I have to tell them I’m quitting this one?

resignThat euphoric feeling of accepting a new position can quickly leave when you start to think about the prospect of having to go to your current boss and give notice. Mostly because you probably have a decent relationship with she or he and your co-workers, so it will be a bittersweet departure. Even if you absolutely despise everything about your job, it still can be tough.

The best way to approach this is head on. Make sure you are giving proper notice time of at least 2 weeks. Schedule a meeting with your boss the very next morning from when you finalize the new job if it is going to be just 2 weeks notice with not a lot of time to spare.  Let them know when you ask for the meeting it is time sensitive and that you need to speak that day.

When meeting with your boss, keep it professional and upbeat. Explain that you have accepted an offer with another company and will be leaving on said date. Be unequivocal in your tone (I have accepted and I am leaving, this is my final decision.) Don’t dance around it to soften the news of you leaving: “I am thinking taking this offer”,or “I got another job offer and it looks pretty good.” This leaves the door open for them to try and convince you to stay, or worse yet that you are not actually giving an official notice just “thinking out loud.” I will talk about that in the next post (counteroffers.)

There is no real need to give any more explanation than that. If they ask, you can decide what you want to divulge. I usually kept it vague. The new company is giving me a better opportunity to reach my career goals, the hours are flexible, commute is more desirable.  Do not make disparaging remarks about the company you are leaving, co-workers or boss of any kind. Do not reveal salary information. If you have things you want to share that are negative, that is a separate discussion with HR in an exit interview or a one on one with them.

If you feel your boss is putting you off or taking too much time to schedule a meeting, then you should compose a resignation letter and give it to HR. You should do that anyway, but I usually give it to them after the discussion with my supervisor. You can email your boss and explain that time was of the essence in order to do the right thing and that you had no choice since you couldn’t meet with them. Your resignation letter again should be short and sweet:

Dear HR Person,

I regret to inform you that I am resigning my position as Sales Representative at Acme Widgets, effective xx/xx/xxxx.

I have truly enjoyed my time here and wish Acme Widgets the best of luck in the future.

Sincerely,

Me

That’s all you need to write.  After you give notice, your boss may try to convince you to stay. I will talk in the next post how even entertaining that discussion is a bad idea.