Career Coach Office Hours: April 8 2022 | JobSearchTV.com
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I want to make a request. I’m working on an article related to leadership betrayal and what happened, how people wind up feeling betrayed by the managers and leaders they work for. If you’ve had an episode of that, I’d like to hear about it. And what happened, how it happened, were they able to rectify the issue, anything along the lines of your story? I’m not going include your name in what I write. But I’m testing a hypothesis here. So you can email it to me at TheBigGameHunter@gmail.com. In the subject line, put the word betrayal, or message me through LinkedIn. My page there is linkedin.com/in/TheBigGameHunter. Anytime after May of 2022, I’m done with the article.
I’ve been trying to work at my current company for a few years, and only managed to get in last month but as a contractor for via a staffing firm. I love the company and love the industry. But I’ve had an offer from another company for a talent acquisition pm role that could pay more and have more security than being a contractor. This is my first job outside of higher ed. I haven’t had any real jobs before. Any advice for a 25 year old trying to make it out there. So the first thing I’d say is, I wouldn’t talk with the contracting firm because all they’re going to do is scream at you. I might speak with my client manager and simply say “I’ve wanted to work here for a long time. I know I’m here as a contractor. And I’ve really want to work for your firm for a long time. And I have no stability here because I’m a contractor. Is there any way you might consider converting me on to full time staff because that’s really what I’d love. I don’t know the terms of the contract that you people have with my staffing agency but I have another offer and I’m concerned about at the end of this contract what happens to me. So I really want to work here. This has been a firm I’ve targeted it for years and this is all I’d really like to do– stay working here but I can’t do it as a contractor in good conscience. So give me advice,” you ask them. If you listen and you ask questions, at the end of the day, you have to do what’s right for you. Don’t let any threats from the staffing firm that says, “We’ll make sure you never work there again,” because they have no control over that. That’s just bravado on their part, BS on their part that has no semblance of “We’ll make sure you’re blacklisted forever if you ever leave.” They have no control over their client in this regard. But the client has a choice. And they can say, “you know, our contract prohibits us from bringing someone on board. You may have to leave for six months, and then re-apply for a full time position with us. But for now, we can’t hire you, because of our contract.” I don’t presume to know what what the contract says. But I’m just giving you a heads up about possibilities here. And that you need to be conscious of going into this. So see what they advise, be honest with him, and then make the right choice for you.
Is ghosting becoming normal among software engineering recruiters, especially after a candidate has invested several hours in the interview process. Becoming normal? It’s always been normal. Hate to be that blunt about it, they just didn’t call it those things. They used to call it not returning your calls, not responding to your emails. Now it’s called ghosting. This has always existed, because, if it’s a third party recruiter, they hate to get into the arguments or to feel the sound of you disappointing and saying “but why?” And not really having a good answer. If it’s a corporate recruiter, they certainly don’t want to go through this because they’re behavior can have an adverse response from you in terms of purchasing the product, or the service, or wherever it is that they’re ,the stories that you tell them about their company and how they treated you badly. And you’ve spent so much . . . and it’s pointless. So, is it normal? Always has been. Always has been? It’s just now called ghosting.
Should I mention I was once offered a position at the company I’m currently applying for now. I rejected their offer a few years ago, which I deeply regret to this day. But now I want to work for them, even if it’s a different position. The answer is I wouldn’t bring it up right away. Make them fall in love first. The history is irrelevant because you said it was a few years ago. They made an offer, you turned it down. And now you’re reapplying and you want to work there. So, I wouldn’t bring it up right away, because that creates a roadblock. We have no idea if the previous matnager was still there. Or there’s any record of the fact that they made you an offer from years ago. They’re evaluating you for how you are today, not for the decision you made several years ago, or, as you say, a few years ago. So very simply don’t bring it up. Now, if they asked you about it, you can tell them “Sure. I interviewed for a different group, I made a decision not to join at that time and take another offer. I’d like to work for you now.”
“What was wrong with the offer the last time?”
“There was nothing per se wrong, I received a better offer from another firm at that time and turned it down. I’d like to work for you now.”
“How do we know that same thing won’t happen again.”
“The truth is you don’t. If you make a mediocre offer, it’s certainly possible the same thing could happen again. But right now I feel like I really want to work for your firm, as long as the money’s right, as long as the position’s right, etc..”
So I wouldn’t bring it up. I’d just simply move on and focus on getting yourself in front of everyone so that they fall in love. Because if they don’t want you, they’re not going to make an offer and all these mental gyrations are going to be irrelevant to the equation.
Do software engineering recruiters ever reject candidates who are impatient and check with them every few days for updates? Yeah, they do. Why? Because you’re a pain in their rear. They invariably will message you or tell you. “Hey, look, we’ll be in touch when we have some word or when we we have a decision,” or however it is they express it. We’ll be in touch when we’re ready. And they aren’t quite yet. So, sometimes, and I know this is the case, I was a third party recruiter, not a corporate recruiter, I would get annoyed by constantly being pushed and controlled and you know, the constant interruptions in the middle of other things. “Hi, have you heard anything?”
“I told you yesterday, I’d be in touch if I heard anything.” Yeah, but that was then. Today . . . ” And it was like, nothing has changed. All you’re doing is taking me away from what my job is, which is to help people find work, to give you a polite message that says, “sit back, I’ll be in touch with you as soon as I hear from them, good or bad. I’ll let you know.”
So yes, there are times that corporate recruiters will reject people because you’re a pain in the rear, you’re annoying and it gets under their skin because they’re human beings just like you are. Someone pokes you constantly and says, “Did you hear anything, did you hear anything, you hear anything?” And they haven’t. So stop it. If you haven’t heard anything in a few days, message them. You don’t have to call them. You can simply say, “Hi, it’s been a few days. I’m sorry if I’m being pushy. But I was curious, have you heard anything, good or bad? My feelings won’t be hurt if there’s a turn down. If you can tell me why I was turned down, that will be helpful.”
And often they’ll say, “Yeah, we got a turn down. I forgot to call you. And they just told me they picked someone stronger.”
“How are they stronger?”
“I don’t know. They just picked someone stronger.” So accept it. Focus on the next interview with the next company, getting the next interview with the next company and moving on until you hear back. Stop being such a nag. It’s not a good sign.
Is a follow up interview a good sign? Well, it means you weren’t rejected. So that is a good sign. But I have no idea where you are at this stage in the process. Have you had one interview with a screener and now you’re talking to someone from the department or from the group or with the manager? I don’t know. They’re still evaluating you. They’re still trying to figure out whether they want to hire you or reject you. That’s what they’re supposed to do. Right? So is it a good sign? Way too early? Describe it as a good sign. You’re still in the game? You’re not close to getting an offer if you’re asking this question but you’re still in there fighting and have an opportunity to be hired.
As a Software Engineering Manager (which I’m not. I used to do recruiting in that space), do you like leading from the front or do you prefer taking a back seat and let your engineers run the shop? The answer to the question is yes because it depends on the situation. Managers and leaders want to feel like they can trust their staff. No one likes to feel like they’re being micromanaged. Right? So the correct behavior for a software engineering manager, like any manager is to provide a clear charter, discuss with the team what’s expected of them and when, set up the meetings to track with them as to where they are in the process, so that there are no surprises, because surprises are never good, right? Then if there’s a problem, you know about it quickly. Tell them “I’m not here to punish you or beat you up. I’m here to get a result. If you’re having a problem come to me, if you don’t come to me. I’m just gonna do our regular meeting. And if I find out there that there’s a problem that you’ve been sitting on, I’m gonna be real mad.” So, is it a situation where you lead from the front? I think you leading from the back and doing the classic thing of trust, but verify. Former President Nixon would talk about his negotiation with the old Soviet Union. And we went into a negotiation and we came to agreements and we’d trust them but we verify. That allows us not to worry about whether the other side is trustworthy or not.
What can a junior employee do to develop and grow to become a CEO? Well, the answer is start your own business. That’s the easiest way to do it. If you’re talking about becoming the CEO of a large corporation anywhere in the world, the idea becomes what’s the background of the existing CEO? How can you become knowledgeable and develop your expertise and visible? You may not be able to rise from the mail room to use a 1960s or 1950s scenario, rise from the mailroom up to being the CEO. And there was the movie The Hudsucker Proxy, that was hysterical, where the mailroom worker came up with the solution and saved the business, which they didn’t want saved, which is the whole humor in the story, where he invented the hula hoop. But the idea is understand what it is like to be them. How they worked their way up? What they needed to do, what their education is, what’s their overall background, and start mimicking that, including changing jobs to get better experience so that you can earn your way. But the shortest path is start your own business, build your business, become successful in it, that’s going to help you a lot more and help you get there faster.
Do recruiters actually read cover letters? Actually, it says do recruiters actually care to read cover letters? How important are they really? Well, the resume is going to confirm or reject anything you say in the cover letter. What the cover letters is a marketing tool that whets their appetite to read the resume and gets them excited. Now, it’s not actually the letter. If you’re sending it as an attachment, you’re putting it into the bottom of a body of the email. So that this way they’re reading it without having to open an additional document. No one opens something that says coverletter.doc. What they do is they’ll read the body of the email, particularly when you make the fit obvious to the reader. So, is it important? No, the not having one is a missed opportunity to sell yourself and your credentials and you’re fit for the role in a way that’s going to attract them and make them want to open up the resume and get excited.
Is asking the recruiter to have a week to 10 days to consider the job offer weird or uncommon? It’s not desirable. First of all, what you’re doing is signaling to them that you’re not really interested or you’re waiting for something else. Is that really the message you want to send to them? I doubt it. So why haven’t you been thinking about it up until this point? Now if it’s a question of ‘I’m stalling,’ you can say “I’d like a few days to think about it. Can I circle back to middle to latter part of the week?” That buys you a few days and then you come back to them with a few questions that will ostensibly remove any doubt from your mind about whether or not you’d be interested in this role. That’s really the way to do it. A week to 10 days basically says we need to keep interviewing. This person is not a lock to take this job. And they’re gonna wind up rescinding the offer, because you’re not all that interested anyway. So is it weird? Uncommon? It’s not desirable. It isn’t uncommon. A lot of people try to pull this game. And I’ll say it that way, because you’re not being honest with them about what you think. And if you were honest with them, and said, “I’m waiting for another offer,” or “I have another interview with such and such firm, and they are my first choice, they’ll pull the offer. You know that. So, is it weird? Is it uncommon? No. and No. It’s not desirable.
Imagine for a second, you proposed marriage to someone and they said, “Can I get back to you in a week?” Hmm. Also, same thing for them. They proposed marriage, you’re saying, “can I get back to you in a week to 10 days?” You break their heart, you hurt them? They’re not going to be happy?
When choosing the strongest leader in an intellectually demanding profession, is IQ the only necessary thing to be examined? What are you? An idiot? No, of course not. Leader. Leadership. Examples of leadership successes. How you’ve handled difficult situations previously. These are the important things for them. The result winds up being you’re being childish. This is an infantile question. They want to examine your track record of success and whether it’s in an intellectually demanding profession, or one that doesn’t demand a lot of intellect, they want to hear what you’ve done that’s made you successful, and how it could apply to them and their needs. So childish question. Stupid, you can do better.
I’m working in a company that I like, but I’m quite underpaid. We recruited a new recruiter, with a salary 25% percent more than the one I’m in. I’ve been approached by other companies. But I wouldn’t like to leave. The only reason I would consider moving to a new job is the salary. Should I be open and discuss it with my manager? The formal salary review process is approaching in two months but no way could I get a good salary increase in the formal process. I believe the maximum is 6 to 7%, which I’ll point out doesn’t keep pace with inflation. So I don’t know if you have an offer elsewhere. I would start going out and talking to other firms now.All you know is that you’re being paid 25% less than another person. I don’t know what your experience level is. For all I know, they have 10 years of experience, and you have 10 months of experience and that makes a huge difference because they’re basing the salary upon the person’s existing salary, their existing level of experience, and more. So assuming that you’re at the same level, which I don’t know, if you are, I would start going out and talking to other firms and getting a sense of your value to other firms. I would circle back when I was close to receiving another offer and say, “I was really disappointed to hear that Cheryl, or Sherm, or whoever it is, has been paid 25% more than me. I’ve been approached by another firm and am close to getting another offer. And I really, frankly, would rather stay here. Why are you paying them so much more than me and why am I not getting that kind of money?”
“Oh, you’re up for your review?”
“Yeah. 6, 7%, not 25. So do you not see my value because other firms are doing it? I’m talking to a firm at the same level as this person and a few dollars more. What’s the issue?” So this gives them a chance to get clean, give them a heads up if you want to stay? You can get the offer in advance of the other one. And maybe you can bring it to an end at that point. But I wouldn’t have a conversation with my manager so quickly until I determine whether other firms saw my value at that level.
Why would I be interviewed for a position if their offer is significantly less than my listed minimum salary? Well, they could have made a mistake. That’s certainly possible. They could have also thought, “well, maybe we can negotiate. Maybe she or he will fall in love with this job and the opportunity and they’ll be flexible. We’ve certainly impressed them with the opportunity. Maybe they’ll take it for less.” There’s any number of reasons, the fact that you have a listed minimum salary may indicate that you’re being unreasonable. And they’re quoting what they believe your value is. That those could be the basic reasons why.
Why would it take an interviewer a day to get back to me once they know if they want to hire me by the time the interview ends? It’s now 26 hours. I was told they get back to me today, but I’m losing hope. Any thoughts? Yeah. So often, final interviews, as I’m going to assume this is a final interview that we’re talking about. HR is waiting for approvals, they’re waiting for feedback from the decision maker, you are not the A priority to the decision maker; you may be a B. And thus, they’re still waiting for the report that’s going to allow them to generate the offer or reject you for that matter. So the fact that they said, we’ll be back to you today, and it’s now the next day, don’t get so worked up over it. You can just send them a quick text or email that says, “hey, you mentioned I’dwind up hearing from you later in the day, yesterday, and I’m getting concerned. Is everything okay?” And that causes them to give you an update on the status of this situation.
What’s the best way to look for high quality jobs? I don’t know what a high quality job is to you. I have no idea. I have no idea how you define that term. But usually the best way to find the job is through an introduction by someone in your network, someone who you know, who can introduce you to someone who they know that you may not know who’s trying to hire someone like you. So you arrive with an endorsement and a testimonial from the person that you know, to the hiring manager that makes them want to hire you. That’s always the best way.
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2300 episodes.
Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Schedule a discovery call at my website, www.TheBigGameHunter.us
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