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How to Talk Compensation with a Recruiter

No one likes to talk about salary. It has this mystical kind of voodoo quality. No one wants to give the wrong answer. It can become a game of who goes first and the real objective can get lost.

It is really not that complicated. Money is just one of the things that have to align for you to be considered a “fit”. If you are already making $100,000 more than the position pays, then the fit is not there. If you are way below the salary range, that does not fit either.

But this is not entirely about the money. It’s also about the risk and the culture.

Say you absolutely love a role so much that you would take a serious pay cut to have it on your resume. Sometimes this can work (and might be necessary) when you are taking a sharp turn on your career path. If you are a corporate lawyer and you want to leave that world to do more human focused work with a better life balance then this would be credible and might be considered.

But here’s the risk: six months in, when the honeymoon is over and you have are driving home after a bad day, you are really going to feel that haircut and suddenly, your job will not seem as great as it did before. You will start to question your decision and that could have a negative impact on your work and life.

Here’s the other thing to consider: not all managers can handle knowing that one of their team members made a lot more money in their last role. It can create all kinds of negative vibes and really mess up a team.

So when money is the topic, be candid and clear about what you are used to and what you are looking for. Don’t try to get away with “Oh, it doesn’t matter” or “We can discuss it at an alternate time”. There is nothing worse than falling in love with an opportunity only to have the whole thing fall apart at the end because the salary is not appropriate for you.

So spill the beans. It is the only way they can be counted.

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Dealing with the Job Market in 2020

It’s a new year and the way things are going, everyone will be part of a hiring process.  At some point in the next twelve months, you will almost certainly interview for a job and be part of a team that is hiring for a job.

This means we all have to learn to handle rejection.  Not just the rejection you feel when you learn that someone else was offered the job you wanted but also when the best candidate turns down your job for another one.

These things are going to happen.  The key is not to let those feelings fester.  Take time to process.  Ask if there is anything you could have done differently. Go for a walk and absorb the disappointment. Call your coach/mentor/partner/friend to share the news.

Then do everything you can to move forward.  Make some notes.  Close up the file.  Put it away. Shake yourself off.  (don’t laugh – it really works!)

Find where you were in the process and get back to doing the work.  Send more notes.  Make more calls.  Keep your focus on the end game.

The worlds or sports and theatre are filled with stories of super athletes not making a team and famous actors who did not get the part despite a fantastic audition.

“Everything will be alright in the end, and if it is not alright, it is not the end.”

John Lennon

 

 

 

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Top Ten Gifts for Job Seekers

It’s that time of year again – the time of year when we fill the malls looking for the perfect gifts.  Is there a job seeker on your list?  It’s unlikely you can find them a job to wrap up and put under the tree but here are some gifts that they might really appreciate.

  • A new dress shirt and scarf/tie – these are things that are bound to make them feel better as they step into their next interview
  • A month of LinkedIn Premium – you can read about that here.gift
  • A couple of hours with a career coach
  • A compilation of the best career podcasts or TED Talks
  • A gift subscription to a magazine. A real magazine that comes in the mail.  That way when they go to the mailbox, there will be something good to look at instead of just bills.
  • A gift certificate from Vistaprint for business cards or personalized thank you notes
  • Resume review with an experienced resume editor
  • A fancy pen or folio to complete the accessories for their interview outfit
  • Guest passes to a couple of yoga or meditation classes
  • Coffee gift cards. There will always be time to use up before interviews and wrapping your hands around a hot cup of coffee or tea is a lovely way to deal with that.  As an added bonus, if they meet someone randomly, they can offer to take them for coffee without worrying about having cash.

Have fun shopping!

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Tooth Fairies, Hogwarts and Comics – Get Ready for the New Year

I was talking with one of my friends the other day and she was bemoaning the state of her career.  She felt like she was at a cross roads and she did not know what to do.

Naturally, I asked her what she really wanted to do with her life.

“Well”, she said, “I want to move to Palm Springs and be a Disney Princess but that’s never going to happen.”

That was a bit of a shocker for me.  I never really pictured her as the “princess” type. But then, I have also had people tell me that they would like to be the Tooth Fairy or take up residence at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Sure, when you get to a certain age, you feel like writing off those seemingly far-fetched dreams, but you don’t have to.

There are, for example, quite a few wish-granting charities.  They hire people in all kinds of professions.  That would be kind of princess-like wouldn’t it?

J.K.Rowling did not start out as a writer.  She came to it after doing other things (like having a child).  Maybe there is a novel in you.  How do you know if you don’t try?

Enriching your life outside work often has unexpected and positive benefits for your day job.  I took a course in stand-up comedy because some day I want to be a comedian (a real one that gets paid).  That really was the only goal – to get a better understanding of how the business works to prepare for later.

Here’s the funny thing: after I took the course, I started doing my job in a more effective way. The things I had learned had an immediate and positive effect on how I presented material and suddenly, my work was more exciting, and I felt more successful.

I had no idea that was going to happen, but it did.

So, keep the dreams coming and take some time to figure out how to move towards them.

If it helps, I will send a sparkly wand to anyone who comments on this post.

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Job Search: Not a Fairy Tale

I have often said that I talk for a living.  Well, this week, it really has been true.  I talked to a lot of people over the past week.  Some of them were interesting. Others, not so much.

One of the really great stories came from a gentleman who had a long career in the world of finance and accounting.  He was really keen on a role that I have working on for one of my clients.

As he was recounting the chapters of his career, I stopped him. He had just mentioned taking something new after more than 10 years with an organization.

I asked him how that happened.  He said that he had been on the website for his professional association paying his dues when he decided to take a look at the careers page.

One of the postings caught his eye.  He decided to apply right then.  He did not go home to think about it or talk with a million people.  He just applied.

(Kudos to him for keeping his resume up to date so it was ready to go.)

He got a call the next week and met with the hiring team.  Everything went well.  He got an offer that he liked.  He resigned and the rest, as they say, is history.

This is not a fairy tale story. He was not an exceptional person.  He was nice and all but he did not have extra sparkle or a fancy pedigree. He saw a job, applied for it and got it.

When something catches your eye, take action.  You can always hit the brakes if something that smells bad in the process but you won’t be in the process if you don’t apply.

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My Day is Craptastic – and yours?

Things don’t go well all the time.  Even when you work really hard to do the right things the right way, shit happens. People who are angry or unhappy lash out and toss around mistruths or accusations. Sometimes the crap lands on people who have nothing to do with the problem.

When this happens, our tendency is to get bug eyed and then close the door and cry.

And that’s okay.  Crying is good.  It gets the shock and awe (how could they say that?) out of the way so you can move on to dealing with the problem.

We can’t control people who throw crap at us, but we can control how we deal with it.

Yesterday, when I asked a good friend how she was, she replied “Well, I spent yesterday crying but now I’m getting constructive.”  Brilliant.

How you react behind closed doors is one thing.  What you do in public, is quite another.

Sure, take moment to vent, cry, swear, whatever, but then sit down and make a list of damage control items.  Consult a trusted advisor.  Take a deep breath and take action.

While you may have to accept that you did not get that job or that your colleague took credit for your idea, you do not have to let it end there.  You can send a gracious note to the hiring manager letting them know that you respect their decision and that you would be open to considering other roles in the future.  You can find a way to mention your contribution to the project while your boss is listening.

But it takes clear thinking and a desire to rise above it, to let the world know that you really do care about what you do and that a little crap thrown your way is not going to change that.

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Today’s Veterans are Tomorrow’s Business Leaders

Do you have any military veterans in your work group?  Are there any in your company?

As we stop and pause on Remembrance Day at 11:00, we need to think about not just  the veterans from the Great Wars but from the more recent wars.

Every year more than 4,000 men and women leave the military and transition to civilian life.  Their average age is 37 and they have a lot to contribute.

Veteran Affairs Canada has a really neat guide  that describes some of the resources that are available to help employers reach these great candidates.

Did you know that a Combat Engineer is responsible for building and maintaining roads, airfields and bridges?  We may think that road work is tough in our hot summers. I bet it is nothing compared to doing it in Afghanistan.poppy

Supply Technicians take care of purchasing, warehousing and inventory control of food, fuel, tank parts, clothing and a host of other items required to keep a large group of people at optimal performance in crappy conditions.

These are big jobs being done far from home with pressures and obstacles that can be daunting.

We would be hard pressed to have employment conditions that are as difficult no matter how fast our company is growing or how much pressure we feel from the investors.

You can check out the Veterans Affairs web page for more details and for information on different programs being offered to employers to help connect them with former military folks.

There is a really cool program called Helmets to Hardhats that is supported by construction companies and unions.  The program works to remove barriers and increase awareness of the skill sets that are available in this remarkable group of people.   You can read more about it here.

We owe to veterans and to our companies to talk more about this.  They have already served us.  Now it is our turn to serve them.

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