The Counteroffer Conversation

You’ve accepted the new job.  Excitement abounds.  Congratulations!

This process has been in the works for months now.  You’ve stressed, agonized over what is the right path forward.  Maybe your decision was based on a search for a better quality of life.  Maybe you’ve been tired of being overworked and underpaid.  Maybe it was the continued promise of a raise that you haven’t received in 3 years. Perhaps it was based on the fact that your company has an express elevator to 9th floor (HR) every last Wednesday of the month, where layoffs have killed morale.  Maybe your boss is a possible sociopath. Maybe you are tired of the squids you work with who constantly complain and all seem on the verge of having a heart attack or stroke.

Regardless, it was time for a change.

Now comes the difficult part – telling your current company and existing boss sayonara.  Resigning is never an easy task.  Perhaps you have forged relationships through the years that are going to be difficult to walk away from.  Perhaps you have unfinished business to complete and you don’t want to leave your colleagues high and dry.  Perhaps it is fear of the unknown.

Regardless of the reasons, nothing has likely changed between the time you made the decision to seek out a new opportunity and now.

So brace yourself, and anticipate a counter offer.

Consider these questions before having the counteroffer discussion with your employer upon your resignation:

  • Will the problem disappear after accepting a counteroffer from my current employer? Many job seekers who accept counter offers return within months to start their job search again, because counteroffers are a short-term solution to long-term underlying issues. What does this type of management approach say about the workplace culture and employment brand anyway?  If your employer is willing to adjust your salary when you “threaten” to resign, then your employer is knowingly underpaying you for your talent and efforts, an indication of non-appreciation of their employees.
  • If I accept this counteroffer, will I come to regret it?  Statistics show that if you accept a counteroffer, there is a very high chance you will be out of the job within six – twelve months.
  • Will I have a bulls-eye on my back?  Often, resignation is seen as “lack of loyalty”, and your current employer may now question if they can count on you, which will limit your future growth.  In a survey from Heidrick & Struggles of senior executives and HR leaders, 40% of them said that they thought someone who accepted a counteroffer would see their career negatively affected mainly because of that diminished trust with the immediate boss, with the organization; basically, people feel blackmailed.
  • When times get tough, will my employer begin the cutbacks with me?  Your employer will never see you in the same light again, and in the boss’ eyes, your resignation has demonstrated a lack of loyalty to the company.  When promotion time comes around, will my employer remember who was loyal and who wasn’t.
  • What kind of culture will exist going forward? Perhaps there were already cultural issues or concerns from your end.  You won’t be making it any easier by accepting a counteroffer.  You are certain to create colleague resentment and/or charges of favoritism if word of your acceptance of a counteroffer spreads around the office.
  • Where is my allegiance?  Do I really owe your company anything more than the effort you’ve put forth?  In corporate America currently, companies will not hesitate to cut their bottom line when it comes time for earnings, so you should ask yourself where your loyalty truly lies.

As professionals in the recruiting field who have seen this scenario play out hundreds of times, our simple advice is to be prepared to receive a counteroffer when you are ready to resign.  Aim to preempt any attempts by walking into your manager’s office and simply saying – “I appreciate everything you have done for me throughout my career here, but I feel now is the time to move onto the next chapter.  This is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make.”

Do not burn bridges.  Do not go out with a flamethrower.  Walk out with a smile.  And then exhale.

Now go celebrate, you’ve earned this next chapter.

What’s in a Resume?

Sending your resume to either a prospective employer or recruiter is like sending your calling card, your personalized marketing piece and most importantly it is your first impression.

Your goal should be to grab attention right up front, be positive and make sure to emphasize what you can bring to the position.  Research shows that the first scan of a resume can be as brief as 6 seconds. That said, a simple easy to read format is key.

Your potential employer will want to understand your accomplishments and be able to peruse your timeline quickly.  This is where you show who you are, detail your experience and unleash your full potential.

The Basics. Along with your name and contact information at the top formatted in a clear and easy to read font like Calibri, Cambria, Helvetica or Times Roman, it is also good practice to include a section of core competencies, skills, key qualifications, or a professional profile in a prominent area of your resume.  By doing so, a potential employer can quickly locate the qualifications needed for the position and be enticed to read further.

Your work or professional experience. Now it’s time to identify your work experience and achievements, starting with the most recent. Make sure to include your job title, company and dates of employment.  What comes next is the most significant component of your resume – the achievements and performance section.  This is your opportunity to shine, so be specific, emphasize your accomplishments and include numbers or percentages where possible. Increasing or reducing numbers can help define your accomplishments and makes an impression about of your passion.  Don’t just list your responsibilities, describe the result of your involvement when possible.

Education.  Education is another important piece of information most employers or recruiters will look for. The placement of your education can vary depending on its importance to a specific job.  The name of the school, location, degree obtained, GPA and year of graduation are standard components to include.  Honors or academic recognition, coursework, activities or other achievements obtained during your education (that are relevant to the job you are applying for) should also be included.

What about customization? One way to grab attention is to repurpose the job description’s requirements. Review the job description you are applying to, look for the keywords describing the skill, culture or experience your potential employer is looking for.  Now find ways to match your skills and talents.  Take keywords from the job description and use them in your resume as often as possible.  Keep in mind the use of keywords should not be overdone and must appear as a natural part of your own experiences.  This is recommended for each job you are applying to; one size does not fit all in most cases.

Your resume is your first impression to any company or recruiter.  It should convey who you are at your best.  Layout, flow, spelling and grammar are all key areas to fine tune and double check.  Keep it simple, make it easy to read and most importantly, showcase your skills. The goal is to position yourself as the best fit for the job so no one will want to pass up an interview with you.

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3 Steps in Preparing for the Perfectly Executed Interview

You just heard from the recruiter that you’re going to meet the hiring manager.  The opportunity and company sound exciting and a great fit for your background and prior experience.  This is the step that will launch you to the next level in your career… “My skills match this job description perfectly!  I have this! Can’t wait to go in and show them what I’ve got!”

I’m frequently asked about how to prepare for an interview — it’s a great topic that I don’t think job seekers spend enough time on.  Most people don’t interview but a few times in their career and therefore generally don’t get very polished in the process.  The key to success is preparation.

Your first step in preparing, is to research the company thoroughly that you’re interviewing with.  The second step is to research each person on the Interview team and the third step is to prepare yourself for the upcoming interview such that you showcase the best of what you offer to the company.

Step One

Start by going to the company’s website this may sound obvious but frequently applicants don’t go through every page and read back current news blog post add leadership team. If the company has videos demonstrating what their products or services do watch them think about questions that you have as you’re watching and reading the content from the website.  WStart by going to the company’s website. This may sound obvious, but frequently applicants don’t go through every page making sure to read news, blogs, posts and to familiarize themselves with the leadership team. If the company has videos demonstrating what their products or services do, watch them and think about questions you might ask during your interview. Write them down so you don’t forget them – you’ll use them in Step 3.  If the company is public, read their last 10-Q.  If the company is private, spend time going through their social media postings to see what is important to them – the portions of their business are they promoting, where is their focus is when looking at new customer acquisition, etc.  Write down any questions that arise.

Step Two

You have the list of people that you’ll be meeting in your interview.  Now it’s time to do a little homework.  Go to LinkedIn and research the background of each person scheduled to meet with you.  Do you have any common connections?  Are those common connections good references for you?  Write them down.   You want to mention those common connections casually when meet that person in the interview.  “I noticed on LinkedIn that we both know Elizabeth Jones, she would be a good reference for me if you are in touch.”  You should make a call to her yourself to get some insight about your interviewer prior to your meeting.

Step Three

Prepare your list of questions and organize them by interviewer.  Your questions should be aligned to the level and roll of each interviewer.  If you’re meeting a senior executive as part of your interview team you want to ask forward-looking questions about the company’s direction and goals over the mid to long term.  During the interview make sure that you tie some of your experience back to those goals and cite examples of where you have done things like that in the past.  As you move down the food chain of responsibility with other interviewers, your questions should become more tactical.  You should be thinking prior to the interview about projects that you have worked on in your past that align to likely needs of the new company.  Have three examples prepared so you can ask which of your past projects might be most relevant to discuss in the interview.

Your outcome will be significantly improved in your interviewing if you go through these basic steps and take time to prepare.  Some basic preparation pre-interview will pay long-term Your interview outcome will be significantly improved if you apply these basic steps and take time to prepare.  Basic preparation prior to an interview will pay long-term dividends in your career.  Good luck on your next interview!

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I’m Pretty Happy with My Current Job. Why Would I Consider a Change Now?

This question comes up often when recruiting candidates, and I am sure our outreach is ignored at times because candidates have asked and answered this question themselves.  This article is meant to help you answer this very question and might just change the way you view new opportunities that are presented to you in the future.

I reach out to and talk with hundreds of candidates each year and one of the first questions I ask them is “So why are you looking for a new job?”  I’m amazed that most of the time the reasons are completely valid and well thought through.  Very rarely do I hear compensation is the number one motivator.  It’s definitely important, but rarely the driving force behind their interests in new opportunities.

So, when is a good time to consider a job change?

A good time is any time you are in a position that feels like you are on auto pilot and completely unmotivated.  A good time is when you are no longer challenged, learning, or feeling the impact of your work on the organization; it’s time to ask yourself why that is.  Regardless of what you do for a living, you should feel motivated at the start of each week and feel rewarded at the end of each week with the work you’ve done.

The feeling of being stuck in their current role and an under appreciation for the work they do is the top reason I get from candidates as to why it’s time to look for new opportunities.  They want an opportunity to grow professionally, to take on new challenges, learn new technologies and be part of an exciting organization that values its employees.

I can tell you from experience that opportunity is not a lengthy visitor.  When a recruiter reaches out to you with an opportunity, I encourage you to pay attention and evaluate the opportunity, you owe it to yourself!

Please follow us at Broadreach Staffing and connect with me on LinkedIn to stay on top of amazing opportunities as they come about.