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Be A Savvy Job Seeker

All too often we in the recruitment industry focus so much on client management that we forget the candidate’s side of things.  While it is important to guide clients through the recruitment and interview process, it’s just as critical to ensure that candidates are educated on the job-seeking process. 

Whether you’re a candidate conducting your own search or working with a third-party recruiter, here are some things to keep in mind while trying to negotiate your way into your dream job:

·         Sometimes it DOES hurt to ask.  While most of the time it’s true that “it doesn’t hurt to ask”, I always encourage candidates to think long and hard before asking a potential employer for compensation/benefit items that don’t fall under the category of deal-breaker.  If you’re being offered a generous salary with a solid benefits package, odds are you won’t turn it down because the company doesn’t subsidize gym memberships … so it’ll make you look greedy and less-than-serious if you ask about that before signing a letter of intent.

·         Look towards the future.  Many companies will offer higher-than-market salaries upfront to get qualified candidates through the door, but skimp on raises and bonuses down the line.  A fair starting salary with generous raises will pay off more in the long run than a big starting salary that never gets much bigger.  Ask pointed questions about how and when raises are given, what they’re calculated on, etc.  Ask for specific dollar amounts (or percentages) when it comes to bonuses.  It’s not uncommon for potential employers to fudge the details on this a bit, so it’s fair to be aggressive.

·         Analyze your non-negotiables and figure out what they’re really worth.  This one can be tricky, because many job-seekers get caught up on one or two things that they want, think they should get, or are used to having.  But it’s important to really look at what the offerings are worth before you make a decision on them.  Recently, I was disappointed to have a candidate turn down what I knew would be the perfect job for him.  Unfortunately, he became stuck on the idea of being reimbursed for a certain item.  While my client provided a pool of funds that could be used for this, other potential employers, as well as his current employer, specifically line-itemed it with a separate check and he couldn’t get past feeling this was an “industry standard” benefit that he “deserved”.  At the end of the day it was more principle than reality and he turned down the role of a lifetime for what came out to less than $15 per paycheck.

·         Be honest with your potential employer about deal-breakers.  Once you’ve analyzed your requirements and decided what’s truly important, don’t be shy about letting a potential employer know (when the time comes).  If you need a certain amount of vacation time for an annual commitment, can’t afford to renew your license right now, etc., then make sure your potential employer knows.  Most job offers should be considered a jumping off point for negotiations and the hiring manager isn’t going to be a mind-reader; it’s important to tell him/her (or use your third-party recruiter) if you’re serious about turning down an offer over a specific item or items.  If you’re really “the one”, they’ll want to do everything they can to put together the package that’s right for you … but you have to give them the opportunity to do it.

As always, thanks for reading … and happy job-hunting!