3 Salary Negotiation Rules You Should Never Break

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Getting and acing the interview feels like a homerun, but it’s really a third-base play. Stepping on the home plate happens after the offer, salary negotiations and your signature is signed on the dotted line.

Some job seekers are so eager about closing in on the finish line that they may not carefully evaluate and counter the compensation offer. It’s an important final job search stage, so protect yourself and don’t break any of these rules.

You get paid what the job is worth
It’s not breaking the rules for a company to ask what you were paid in your last job. But it’s also okay for you not provide this information. Most recruiters or hiring managers want to know your current or previous salary to make sure the compensation is within a range you will consider. However, that may not be the best approach.

Asking about a candidate’s earning history can also be a way to low ball an offer. A better approach is to ask for an applicant’s salary expectations. That is a fair approach. If you are asked the salary question, it’s definitely appropriate to turn the question around and ask for the salary range for the position. That gives you a chance to decide upfront if that range fits your experience and anticipated comp. You should be paid for what the job is worth in terms of scope of responsibility and experience required, not for your past or present earning power in a jobs that may not be apples to apples.

Consider the complete compensation package
Don’t focus so much on the annual salary number. There are other variables that add up to the total bottom line. Fully paid healthcare benefits, although rare, do happen, and that’s a big chunk of change of over $5,000 for single coverage or double that for family coverage. Get the details of the company’s insurance coverage, including the percent of employee responsibility and deductibles. Life insurance, disability insurance, etc., as well as 401k contributions impact the total compensation. If a company matches 30% of your 401k, that’s a nice deal.

Look at all benefits, such as daycare, free or discounted meals, and stock options before making your decision. Carefully review the stock program, the number of diluted shares and their actual worth. A large number of options can be enticing, but it’s their actual or potential worth per share that matters.

Don’t accept less because it’s a remote job
It’s an error and red flag is a company offers a lower salary in exchange for a remote role. There are some benefits a home-based gig, but you should be paid for the work that you are doing, not where you are doing it. If a company hires the right talent, most employees will tend to work longer and harder at home than in an office where many distractions exist. The company wins. Plus, the company saves on expensive office space that you’re not using, which could be thousands of dollars per month. Be prepared to address that in your salary negotiations.

Coming to an agreement on your value to a company isn’t a fun part of the job search process, but with insights on how to approach the offer stage, you can command the salary you deserve.

Be Prepared for Video Interviews

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It feels great to clear the first hurdle of the job search process and land an interview. It’s your chance to really sell yourself, have an open conversation with the hiring manager and get one step closer to closing the deal on a new opportunity.

Except not all interviews happen in-person or with a chance for a live exchange of information. Some companies are relying more on recorded video interviews to weed through contenders.

There are pros and cons of video interviewing, but don’t let the camera scare you. If a company extends an invitation to interview via a recorded interview, seize the offer and prepare just like you would for any interview.

Advantages
Some of the benefits of video recorded interviews include a more efficient way to conduct numerous interviews and expedited time to hire. Those advantages may seem to fall on the side of the hiring company, but they can be pluses for you as well. You won’t have to wait as long for an interview. Coordinating phone or face-to-face meetings can take days if not weeks at times. Video recorded interviews can shorten that time drastically and don’t require scheduling time on multiple calendars.

You can generally also find a time that works best for you, day or night; choose your own setting; and not have to travel any distance to an on-site meeting. Some platforms also can be accessed on a tablet or mobile phone.

The Downside
Some people may have performance anxiety and worry about how they look on camera. There is generally only one shot to answer a question on some video platforms, and there is not a way to clarify questions or ask for additional information. You also can’t read the interviewer’s non-verbal cues since questions are pre-recorded or in written form. A Skype interview, for instance, is different. That medium does afford a two-way visual and verbal exchange.

The worst part: a video recorded interview can feel a bit de-humanizing and like one more use of technology to remove the real sense of connection and rapport between two people. There is also the chance that video recordings can increase discrimination, giving the hiring company a means of judging appearance rather than qualifications.

How to Prepare
You still don’t want to miss getting your foot in the door, even if that first introductory interview is through a video recording. How can you ace a video interview?

Just like you conduct any interview. Prepare.

  • Find the most comfortable place for to record your interview, preferably a professional, office-like setting.
  • Try out a practice recording of yourself in which you check for lighting, distance from the screen, microphone reception and noise levels
  • Dress like you would for an on-site interview (at least from your torso up)
  • Smile; you’ll look and sound more upbeat if you smile throughout the recording
  • Research the company and prepare for potential questions like you would for any interview
  • Set a time for your recorded interview when you know you will look and feel your best
  • Be natural and use hand gestures just like you would if you were sitting in front of the interviewer

A video recorded interview can feel a bit like creating a video for a dating site, but it’s all about putting your best foot forward. You’ll need to do that if it’s in-person or on camera. Rehearse, set the stage and…and break a leg!

When Taking a Step Back is a Step Forward in Your Job Search

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If you’ve been consistently building your career and rising in rank over the course of a few years, you will most likely have your mind set on obtaining an equal or higher level job title when faced with searching for a new job. Without question, most everyone wants to keep growing, reaching new career pinnacles and earning more money. But is holding steadfastly to a desired title or increased level of responsibility your best approach?

Not always.

Of course you want to be recognized for the experience you bring to the table, and it’s tempting to hold out for the job status that rewards you for your hard work and level of expertise. However, it doesn’t always pay to keep waiting and let other opportunities pass you by. It may be more important to your ego goals to accept only a role or title that you believe you are worthy of.

Multiple factors impact your choice to bide your time for the right title or step back into a lower-level role. How do you decide?

How urgent is your need to find a new job? If you’re existing job is causing undue stress or conflicts, it may be important to consider roles you may not have otherwise pursued. A bad boss, a toxic environment, an overwhelming work load, and not being compensated fairly are all reasons that may affect your need to secure new employment sooner rather than later.

Financial circumstances are another reason to abandon a search for a better title and settle for another role. If you are unemployed and running out of financial fuel, you may need to expand your job search criteria to multiple levels in your field, but that’s not all bad. Stepping back also has advantages:

  • You will know how to do the work easily, giving you a chance to shine immediately and rise again in a new organization.
  • You can focus on simply doing good work rather than feeding your ego, which might be a surprisingly welcome relief.
  • Less pressure, means more time to continue your job search on the side and keep looking for jobs that meet your job responsibility and title objectives.

There may be other times you want to consider a drop in the organizational hierarchy. For example, a targeted company may have such a stellar culture or reputation that stepping into a position at a lesser level may be your best bet for the long term.

You may have to work a little harder to convince recruiters that you will be happy working at a different level. There seems to be a perception that high-level leaders won’t be satisfied if that can’t retain their ability to lead a pack, which is not always true. You will need to sell your desire to contribute, regardless of the title, over your need for status. And isn’t that a great quality for any leader? Less ego, more team collaboration and credit.

The most pressing question anyone has when making such a career pivot is: Will is hurt my career? Not if you position it the right way. If, for instance, you are unemployed, it is far better to have a job, even if it’s not your dream job, than it is to have an extensive period without employment. Recruiters are not keen on long stretches of career gaps.

 

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Job Searchers

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Looking for a new job is never at the top of anyone’s list of a fun time, but it can be fulfilling when the hard work pays off and you land that new position. How effective you are in your search efforts depends on multiple variables, including your credentials, fit for the role, and how well you interview; however, there are approaches you can cultivate that will keep you on top of your game and up your odds of winning.

At Fridayd, through our work with and research on job seekers, we’ve identified seven habits of the most effective job searchers.

Don’t Waver
A job search can be short-term or take much longer. On average, it may take white-collar professionals seven months to land a new job. We’ve seen job seekers using Fridayd secure a new position in as little as two to seven weeks, but most take longer, depending on the type of job you are looking for and your qualifications. Regardless of the span of time, stay the course. Don’t put your search on the back burner.

A job search is frustrating, especially when it goes on for too long. It’s easy to give in to defeat and depression and give up your search. Don’t. Keep going. One of the reasons we founded Fridayd was to help conquer the tedious and overwhelming jobs search and application process. Even when you start to feel defeated and want to throw in the towel, Fridayd keeps going for you, doing all of the work you may not want to do or feel like doing on your own.

Keep Connecting
Networking is a major aspect in your search. Even if you’ve touched base with all of your connections, stay in touch and circle back ever so often to see if anything has changed since your last contact. Don’t merely rely on existing members in your network. Continue making new connections.

Sell Yourself – Always
Everyone you meet has the potential of knowing someone who knows someone looking for the exact talent you have. Always be selling yourself. Unemployed individuals, in particular, can start to fall into a black hole when a job search goes on too long. They can become less concerned about their brand or appearance and stop worrying about the impressions they make. This is exactly when they need to do the reverse and get up, get dressed up, and show up in the world.

Continually Refine Your Approach
If you started with one resume a year ago and you are still searching a new job, mix it up. Try new approaches to your resume and cover letters. Keep them fresh. Ask for advice from mentors or resume writers.

Stay on top of hiring and recruiting trends. Read articles and blogs so that you are informed about the changing hiring landscape and practices. Fridayd is one of those changes that has helped to improve the job search process for its users. Learn more about how it works.

Stay Positive
Believe that you WILL land the job that is just right for you. Stay positive. Find ways to keep your spirits high and continue the search, no matter what. Be grateful for the lessons learned along the way.

Reinvent Yourself
A job search is an ideal time to deeply evaluate who you are and what you really want and need to be happy. Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself. Maybe you are searching for a job in the same field because you think you have to, when, in fact, you could be missing hundreds of opportunities to try something new or do the work you’ve always secretly dreamed of doing. There are career coaches and mentors who can help you dig in and understand yourself and your career goals better.

Don’t Define Yourself by What You Do for a Living
People work for myriad reasons, but most do so to support themselves and their families. Still, there is a tendency to validate who we are and our worth in society by the work that we do or the professional level we have risen to. Shift your mindset to see yourself as someone who is passionate about doing good work and contributing, regardless of the type of work or title you hold. Even in your search, don’t view yourself as unemployed, for example. Look at yourself as an explorer of self and opportunities – a discoverer of vast possibilities.

Bonus Tip
Keep smiling. You found your last job. You will find another one, too — and one that is meant to take you on a path you maybe didn’t know you were supposed to travel, but one full of new lessons and growth.

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Get Moving. Summer Is Over and Hiring Is Ramping Up

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Companies generally ramp up hiring after Labor Day. The holiday signals the end of summer and the close of the heaviest vacation season. During summer, there tends to be a slack off of both hiring and job searching, but “game on” when summer is in the rear view mirror and year-end goals are looming ahead.

This is the time to prioritize your job search efforts so you can ring in the new year with a new job. If you already have a job, it’s easy to put your job search on the back burner and limp along in your existing role. Stop procrastinating. Move your job search up on your to-do list. It will energize you to take action. And if you do it now while recruiters and hiring managers are just as eager to get positions filled, you’ll increase your chances of reaching your goal.

Rev up your networking
Reach out online and in person at events where you are bound to run into both old and new connections. Many networking and organizations slow activities in the summer months, too. Chances are, they will be kicking off post Labor Day with a new line up of meetings and networking opportunities.

Revive your resume and cover letters
If you’ve been conducting a search with the same resume and cover letters and nothing is happening, it may be time for a refresh. Ask a mentor to review them and provide honest feedback, or hire a career coach or resume writer to help.

Resist wasting time online
You do need to search for jobs and submit resumes. Yes, networking is a big help in finding your next adventure, but to think that it is the only way is poppycock. You need to search, apply, and network to be most effective and not miss all the possible opportunities available to you. But what you don’t have to do is all the work online yourself.

Check out how Fridayd can make a difference and reduce your online time to 30 minutes or less per week, giving you more time for networking while upping your chances of finding jobs that are most relevant for you.

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How to Think Like an Entrepreneur and Add More Value at Work

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No everyone will start a business, lead teams or rise to CEO, but all employees can create a big impact where they work by thinking like an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs are problem solvers. They generally start businesses to solve an existing problem, provide an improvement or innovate for new ways of doing things. That means they are paying attention with sharp awareness to their environment, the way work is done or how to make life better or easier.

Thinking like an entrepreneur, even for the entry-level employee, means looking for methods of doing your own work in an innovative and efficient manner as if you were the CEO, but it also means understanding the bigger picture and not just the role you play defined by your job description. It’s easy to get heads down in an isolated silo and take responsibility for only what you need to get done within your own department. Yet, to add the most value and be seen as a strategic asset, you have to step beyond what you do in the day-to-day. Apply the following seven tips to help:

Seek knowledge about cross-departmental roles and objectives
Ask employees in other departments about their jobs and comprehend what each department’s role is in the organization. How can you work together better or collaborate on issues that impact the entire organization?

Know your product or service
You should get a thorough briefing on your company’s products or services when you join a company. If not, make it your goal to educate yourself and stay abreast of any product enhancements. Think like a product manager yourself. What can be done to improve products or services over time? Always accepting the status quo is no-no for the entrepreneurial mind.

Understand the market you serve
Think outside the organization to recognize the market your company serves and constantly look for economic or social trends that could impact that market. Also, tune in to the customer mindset.

Acquire knowledge about company financials and revenue goals
Just because you don’t have a seat at the C-level table, doesn’t mean you should not be as deeply concerned about the bottom line as company leaders. You’ll feel more engaged and eager to contribute if you take just as much responsibility as those at the top for achieving revenue goals.

Stand in the shoes of your CEO
What is it like to be the CEO? How does he or she have to look at the business to meet revenue expectations and improve the company from both financial and cultural perspectives? See a problem. Present a solution.

Envision the future
Always have an eye on the future and what might be. Imagine the impossible now that could be possible tomorrow. Dream big, about your own role and the company’s growth potential.

Thinking like an entrepreneur with fill you with more passion for the work that you do and make you feel more involved in the success of the company. You will be thinking like a leader, constantly growing and challenging yourself, and increasing your value to the company.

Staying Put Can Hurt Your Lifetime Earnings

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It wasn’t uncommon for members of previous generations to start and end their careers at the same place, never once switching employers. We’ve all heard the stories of employees who started in the mailroom or the factory floor and worked their way up to CEO. Upward mobility of that nature is rare today. Most people find they need to change employers to substantially advance their careers.

But career growth isn’t the only reason to keep moving. Compensation is a major motivator for switching jobs. In fact, cumulative earnings can be negatively impacted by staying put with the same employer.

Forbes estimates that employees who stay at a company for longer than two years will make 50% less over the lifetime of their career. Most companies give compensation increases of only 2-3% each year. Switching companies provides an opportunity for you to negotiate a higher salary and to be appreciated for the skills you have acquired over time.

Do you have to switch jobs to get a significant compensation increase? Not always. Some companies are good at making sure they not only develop their employees, but also compensate them fairly for their increased knowledge and responsibilities. But those companies are rare and that might be the slower path to advancement.

If it takes you five years to advance from coordinator to manager at a company you joined right out of college, you may be able to make that jump in three years by changing companies and command a higher salary at the same time.

If a starting salary is $40,000 and you are fortunate enough to get the high-end increase of 3%, you will still be earning under $44,000 three years later. Ask anyone who has sat across from a manager at performance review time receiving a measly jump in salary year after year. The heart-sinking news can be upsetting and also demotivating.

One problem lies outside of the restrictions companies place on the allotment of annual increase percentages. Managers often fail to see the level of growth an employee has achieved or won’t go to bat to secure a higher bump in salary for top talent. High performers won’t stay in one place for long. They’re smart. That’s one of the reasons they’re high performers to begin with. They’re astute enough to know their value and keep moving.

Job hopping on a resume isn’t always advisable when changing jobs happens every year, but it’s more the norm and not the exception to see two-year stints on the resumes of high potential talent.

 

 

 

What’s Good About a Bad Corporate Culture?

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Employees leave companies because of bad bosses, but they also exit because of bad cultures. What constitutes a culture gone wrong? Negativity, lack of recognition, all work and no play, stagnant personal growth, disrespect, mistrust, low engagement and suppressed innovation can all sour a workplace persona.

The only good thing about a bad culture is that it can change.

According to Maria Hernandez, founder of InnoGuía and a business coach who helps individuals, teams and companies to create cultures of engagement and innovation, “It’s not easy to transform a deeply rooted culture, but it can be done with the right mindset and coaching.”

Corporate cultures, like all cultures, have at their core a set of beliefs and related behaviors that get reinforced and perpetuated over time. For a culture to change, beliefs at the individual level have to undergo revision, starting with those of company leaders who have the most influence within an organization and who set examples for other employees to follow. “Coaching is a great start,” said Hernandez, “but the newly evangelized have to walk the talk.”

Hernandez views the coaching she does as preventative as much as a cure. “Companies should begin learning how to emanate aspects of other great places to work and start educating employees before a culture is tainted. It’s far more cost-effective to get everyone on the culture bus early than it is to replace talent due to constant turnover. “

Operating from the premise that employees who are respected, feel connected, are free to innovate, and have a sense of contribution will be more passionate as well as happier, Hernandez has seen through experience that those cultural attributes can be learned. Performance improves and so do bottom line results.

Employees often don’t realize the power they have to be agents of change and even influence culture from the bottom up. That’s why coaching also has to be pervasive and company-wide for teams and even one-on-one. If everyone can learn to work with integrity, inspiration, innovation and collaboration for a common cause, powerful transformation can occur.

Third-party training can bring the greatest benefits to a business. Employees are more likely to listen to a credible, outside source than a peer or supervisor. Once a corporate team learns new skills and consistently uses them, however, they become mutual reciprocity influencers to help build and foster a revived culture.

 

 

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The One Most Often Overlooked Interview Question

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Job seekers prepare for every interview question imaginable and have their own long list of questions to ask in return, omitting one that they frequently fail to address: “What is the office space like for this position; where will I sit?”

Most job seekers are concerned about job requirements, salary and benefits, not taking into account how the physical environment can impact job satisfaction and success. And, then there is the eagerness to simply land the offer and not wanting to appear too particular or pushy in the interview by asking about office details.

If you are not offered a tour of the facility before the offer phase, ask for one. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the full picture of your potential work experience before deciding to join a company. Ask if the person filling the role will have a private office, a cubicle or sit in today’s more trendy open shared space. There are pros and cons for each, but it can be a shock going from an office with a door to a large, wide-open room with no dividers.

Rare is the employee who wouldn’t opt for a private office, but there can be advantages to working in cool, Silicon Valley-style office without barriers, including increased transparency, collaboration and team cohesion. Truth be known, however, the greatest advantage for companies that build open-plan offices can be cost. Fewer walls and cubicle dividers mean less expensive construction.

But the true costs can be the exact opposite of the intended benefits: more distraction, lower productivity, increased illness spread through close contact, conflict among employees and decreased morale.

If you love the new opportunity but the workspace isn’t ideal, you may be able to use it as an additional bargaining chip. It could help you negotiate more remote work time, for instance, as a tradeoff.

Take your new work environment into serious consideration before signing on with a company. It can impact more than your ability to produce optimally and succeed, including taking a toll on your emotional and physical health.

 

 

 

 

What You Should Know Before Signing a Severance Agreement

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More than 2 million Americans voluntarily leave their jobs every month in the US, with millions more leaving involuntarily through termination. Rare is the case of an employee collecting a cushy severance package when exiting of their own volition. Unless, of course, it pays for a company to help transition an employee who resigns and, for example, may be a holder of critical company information. A nice monetary send-off may help tighten potential loose lips or ensure continued good relationships.

Of the millions and millions of other employees who are off boarded involuntarily, most generally walk away with very little or nothing, unless they hold upper-middle or senior-level positions with significant years of service to warrant a severance pay out or they are part of a larger layoff or downsizing and a company wants to prevent bad press that could result form sending off employees without assistance. In the latter instance, assistance may not be monetary in nature, but rather career counseling, resume writing or cover letter preparation.

In the devastating moment of job loss, a monetary severance can help ease the pain and provide a cushion while finding new employment. It can be a great benefit, making you eager to sign on the dotted line, but it’s also not without risks.

Most severance agreements include terms legally binding you to abide by them after you’ve signed the agreement, and most of those terms favor the employer, not you. For instance, you may be forbidden to take legal action against the employer or defame the company in any way. If you are fired for age discrimination or retaliation, you can’t bring suit against the company after you sign a severance agreement. Think twice and take your time before signing. Most agreements have a deadline and provide time for you to fully consider the terms.

If you also signed a non-compete agreement at the onset of your employment, you will most likely be unable to immediately find work in the same field. Signing a severance agreement may make it impossible to legally appeal the non-compete agreement even in cases of hardship in which you can’t find employment outside of your field.

If you are offered a severance package, heed the following advice:

  • Don’t sign a severance agreement unless you have to. If you have a nest egg, as most people should, to protect you in the event of losing a job, rely on that instead. You won’t be legally bound to the stringent restrictions built into most agreements and will be able to walk away with a greater degree of freedom.
  • Find a reputable labor attorney who can review the agreement and advise you before signing. A legal professional can walk you through all of the terms and make sure you understand the extent of the restrictions.
  • If you do need to sign an agreement, you may also be able to negotiate the terms before signing. You could secure more compensation or benefits for a greater period of time, instead of what is originally stated in the agreement.
  • Understand the consequences of what could happen if you do sign and then break your agreement. The penalties could be severe.

Whether or not you accept a severance agreement and the terms, walk away, move forward and commit to not disparaging the company. You want to heal from the experience. Speak favorably about the positives of your work experience and those you worked with. Protect yourself from potential libel and from having any negativity backfire on you with the company speaking unfavorably about you and your work.