Job-Seeking Step 6: Closing The Deal

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Step 5: Interviewing

Walk away from the job offer if you see any of the following

  • The interview is giving you a bad feeling
    • You feel oppressed and pressured
    • The company’s interviewing method makes you feel like a slave
    • If your gut instinct says there’s something wrong, avoid the organization entirely
  • If it’s a working interview, don’t spend more than an hour doing work
    • Many companies will scam candidates to work for them to get projects done
  • Signs that they won’t care about your career
    • They take forever to respond to you
      • If it takes weeks for them to return a call or email they’re not going to communicate much when you’re hired
    • You get endless tests and assignments before you’re even hired
      • Though it’s good to be safe, many companies use it to dehumanize their workers
    • Job being over-sold, job description is vague and they’re not questioning about relevant experience
      • It’s usually too good to be true
    • Weird buzzwords or enigmatic phrases
      • They don’t understand how to use you and imagine you in multiple roles at once
    • There’s no talk about a path for career progression
      • The job is a dead end
    • The employer assumes that you’re going to automatically jump at the offer they give
      • There’s a presumptuous expectation that the boss is doing a favor by hiring you
  • Signs that the company doesn’t care about subordinates in general
    • The interviewer complains about the current staff when they first meet you
      • It’s a trickle-down abuse culture
    • Jokes are made at the expense of the staff
      • It’s a passive-aggressive trickle-down abuse culture
    • The employees either look away from the boss or act like they don’t want to be there
      • The boss is either domineering or an embarrassment of a leader
    • The workers are brutally honest and hate their job
      • There is a perceived image of a nice workplace until the boss leaves
  • Signs that the corporate culture has deep and unmanageable dysfunctions
    • There are many new employees in a long-standing business
      • There’s a high turnover rate and it’s for a reason
    • A lack of proper communication inside the office
      • You won’t know what to do and the panic button will be hit often
    • There’s little or no respect of others’ time or talent
      • Nobody will care about your time
    • There’s little or no sense of remorse for wrongdoing or violating boundaries
      • There’s no respect for your skills and talents
    • The potential employer asks for money from you before you begin working there
      • You’re there to perform a service for money from them, not the other way around
      • The company is in a serious financial crisis or it’s a scam
    • Everyone looks like they don’t want to be there
      • They probably don’t want to be there
    • Pay grades are regarded as a type of status
      • Gifted and intelligent people don’t care about money, and they don’t look at paychecks to determine their worth
  • Company policies that are dangerously constricting
    • A no-moonlighting policy in the employee handbook – you can’t work another part-time job
      • This means you can’t develop your career in a different pathway
    • A no-references policy – your boss isn’t allowed to give a good reference
      • This can only be found out from asking:
        • “Does your company allow managers to give references for their employees, or are those inquiries sent to HR?”
    • Progressive discipline – increasing penalties for more failures
      • This is a holdover from the Industrial Revolution, but treats you like a third-grader
    • Payroll deductions for items used on the workplace – this includes gas expense, company lunches, supplies, etc
      • This is a money-saving trick by companies, but completely disrespects you and your ability to work
    • Dictated hours for salaried employees – every employee must work a certain number of hours
      • By its nature, salary employees have a varying set of hours every week, and this is a bad way to manage
    • Internal job transfers are dictated by managers
      • If a manager is fully determining promotion and transfer opportunities, the company is treating you like a machine
    • Formal performance management – breaks down tasks and goals into daily, weekly and monthly metrics
      • A good worker doesn’t need to be dictated what to do every hour, and a good company should respect that
    • No casual time permitted – this allows for taking a day off for minor events that need time off
      • There is no freedom to live your life if the company only gives vacation, sick and holiday time
  • Pay attention to anything else that makes you feel disrespected or sick inside

Keep a few things in mind when negotiating the details of the job

  • Look at who you will likely be working with before accepting a job offer
    • You might go through several rounds of interviews before meeting a potential coworker
    • Spend time on-site to see if the culture fits you
      • Research with sites like Glassdoor to find out without being there
  • Look at other marketable skills you can bring into the job, but don’t get greedy about your income
    • You will almost always be paid less than you are technically worth
    • There are 3 general types of jobs you are going to fill
      • Leaders, which gives the best negotiation room
      • Followers, where negotiation is all about your background and expertise in the specific tasks
      • Mindless laborers, which has little to no negotiation even with years of experience
  • Use industry standard salary and benefits information when negotiating with a potential employer
    • The ability to negotiate pay has a compounding effect
      • $5,000 additional annual pay at this job will turn into $50,000 additional in 20 years
    • Research salary surveys and salary guides, and pay attention to the geographic area
      • A fun working environment is worth having, even if you’re uneasy about lower pay or no prestige in the work
    • Confirm that the salary is a firm job offer before asking if the salary is negotiable
      • Take advantage of your value in skills, aptitude and experience compared to the market when negotiating salary
      • Talk about assuming other work responsibilities to sweeten the deal, but don’t over-promise
      • Ask for complete control over certain projects to provide a stronger feeling of autonomy and job satisfaction
    • Ask if the salary is base or can involve bonuses, stock options, a sign-on bonus or other benefits
      • Talk about whether they will re-evaluate your compensation 6 months to a year after you start, assuming you’ve met their expectations
    • Don’t ever accept a job offer immediately, you need to think about it to prove that you’re not desperate
  • Even if you can’t make any gains on base pay, look at other benefits you want that you can negotiate on
    • A better title that can look nicer on a resume, which is worth a pay cut in the long run
    • A clothing stipend being built into your contract, since you are representing them
    • Transportation reimbursement, since it allows you to be in the office each day on time
    • Housing subsidy if your commute will be intense
    • Guaranteed severance package in case the job stops existing when it wasn’t your fault
    • An office with a window
    • Tuition reimbursement or on-the-job training to offset the costs of growing in skills
    • Daycare reimbursement for childcare
    • Flexible scheduling to allow for the uncertainties of life and permit your creativity while on the clock
    • Additional vacation time to permit more relaxation
  • Get the promise in writing to prevent misunderstandings later
    • The position’s key responsibilities
    • Salary and bonus information
    • Any special arrangements from the negotiations
    • Start date
    • When benefits start
  • Keep a few thoughts in mind when revisiting an old company you worked for
    • Determine if the new opportunity will advance your career
    • Think about the prior concerns you had before you left the workplace the last time
    • Recall your previous experience with the company
    • Pay attention to who you know and knew at the company

Leaving your old job

  • If you want to be professional about it, give at least two weeks’ notice
    • If you’re being mistreated or abused then quitting might be justified
    • If the business is doing anything unethical, then leave as quickly as possible, since your entire reputation is at stake
  • Write a formal resignation letter
    • Make it gracious and concise
    • Don’t make promises or give too much information
      • Don’t mention your new workplace
    • Avoid using any negative phrasing
      • Don’t be specific on why you are leaving
      • Share that you are grateful and thankful for the opportunity
    • Turn it into HR or your boss or both
  • Communicate appropriately
    • Be honest with others
      • Your integrity and openness will not burn bridges, but lying can ruin your reputation permanently
      • If you are only looking at one job or area, that honesty will take you farther than vagueness
      • When telling stories as you leave, give more credit to the coworkers than to yourself
    • Create an “I am leaving” elevator speech (1-2 minute summary)
      • Avoid being negative or boasting
    • If you don’t want a “going away” party, be clear and up-front about it with your co-workers and boss
      • If you do attend them, always be gracious and prepared to say some uncontroversial words
      • Avoid any serious drinking if it’s an event outside of work so you don’t appear as a drunk or say something offensive
    • Be ready for a counter offer from your employer
      • Have a plan on how to respond
      • Though it is not generally permissible to take a counter offer, consider what it will take for you to stay
    • Give a reference to a replacement to ease the blow from you letting down your co-workers and boss
    • Give advice to whoever is taking over your work to enable them to succeed
      • Write a letter outlining suggestions and give it to your boss or a trusted co-worker

Exit properly

  • Do the right thing, even if it’s inconvenient, to ensure a good reference and good reputation
  • Finish all the important work that you needed to complete
    • Work hard all the way to the last day
      • Depending on the employer, they might either work you dry or give you almost no time working once they receive notice
    • Let all of the internal people and any relevant clients know that you are leaving
    • Schedule a debrief meeting with your boss to tie up any loose ends
      • If you are in an exit interview, have a plan on what you want to say and how much information you want to give
      • When you are uncertain about what trade secrets are permitted to be shared, don’t be afraid to ask
    • Delete any corporate passwords so you are not tempted to use them
    • Delete any personal files you’ve stored on the company computer
    • Turn in any company-owned property you have received during your tenure
      • Keys
      • Computers, phones, electronics
      • Product samples
      • Tools
      • ID badges
      • Credit cards
    • Decide what work space items to take with you
      • When in doubt, ask what is okay to take
        • Books
        • White papers
        • Research reports
        • Awards
        • Personal items
      • Consider packing them up after hours or have someone else carry them out for you
  • Keep track of all of the pay that you are entitled to get
    • Continuity of health benefits
    • 401(k) and other retirement plan status
    • Accrued vacation and sick pay
    • Bonus money or any owed overtime pay
    • Reimbursed expenses
  • Leave graciously
    • That place of employment took a risk with giving you a job, a paycheck and work experience
    • Even when you have nothing good to say about it, find something good
    • Avoid any embarrassing or unscrupulous last days, even when it’s tempting
      • Don’t steal company property, including office supplies
      • Don’t escalate any awkward situations
      • Don’t make any last-minute company credit card expenses
      • Avoid any last-minute romances or public breakups during your transition
    • Personally thank everyone who helped you land the new job
  • Cut the cords with your old workplace, since old contacts usually serve little to no purpose in your career advancement
Next: Step 7: Starting Your New Job