Job-Seeking Step 6: Closing The Deal

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Step 5: Interviewing

Walk away from the job offer if you see anything amiss

Signs the company doesn’t care about your career

  • They take forever to respond to you
    • If a hiring manager takes weeks to return a call or email, you won’t receive much communication after they hire you
  • You receive many tests and assignments before the company even talks about hiring you
    • Many companies use tests and analyses to dehumanize their workers
  • The job is over-sold, the job description is vague, and they’re not asking about your experience
    • Scammers don’t care about your background
  • Strange buzzwords or enigmatic phrases
    • They don’t understand how to use you and imagine you in multiple roles at once
  • Nobody discusses a career progression path
    • The job is a dead end
  • The employer assumes you’ll automatically take their job offer
    • The manager presumes that hiring you is doing you a favor

Signs the company doesn’t care about any subordinates

  • The interviewer complains about the current staff when they first meet you
    • It’s a trickle-down abuse culture
  • Managers make jokes at the expense of the team
    • It’s a passive-aggressive trickle-down abuse culture
  • The employees either look away from the manager or act like they don’t want to be there
    • The manager is either domineering or an embarrassment of a leader
  • The workers are brutally honest and hate their job
    • The manager maintains a false image of a great workplace

Signs a corporate culture has deep and unmanageable dysfunctions

  • Many new employees in a long-standing business
    • The company is experiencing a high employee turnover rate because people keep quitting or getting fired
  • Not enough appropriate communication in the office
    • You won’t know what to do, but everyone will panic frequently
  • Little or no respect of others’ time and talent
    • Nobody will care about your time
  • Little or no sense of remorse for wrongdoing or violating boundaries
    • Nobody respects 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 they’re a scam
  • Employees see pay grades as a type of status
    • Gifted, intelligent people don’t care about money and don’t determine their worth with paychecks

Dangerously constricting company policies

  • A no-moonlighting policy – you can’t work another part-time job
    • The company doesn’t want you to develop your career through a different path
  • A no-reference policy – your manager can’t give a good reference
    • You can only discover a no-reference policy by 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
    • Was once common in the Industrial Revolution, but treats you like a child
  • Payroll deductions for items in the workplace – this includes gas expense, company lunches, and supplies
    • A company money-saving trick which completely disrespects you and your ability to work
  • Dictated hours for salaried employees – every employee must work a certain number of hours
    • Salary employees’ hours vary every week and dictated hours force them to loiter in an office
  • Managers dictate internal job transfers
    • The company treats you like a machine if a manager fully determines promotion and transfer opportunities
  • Formal performance management – breaks down tasks and goals into daily, weekly, and monthly metrics
    • A great company should respect that a great worker doesn’t need every hour laid out for them
  • No casual time permitted – not allowed to take a day off for minor events which need time off
    • The company gives little to no freedom to live your life if you only receive vacation, sick, and holiday time

Pay attention to anything else that makes you feel disrespected or violated

Keep a few things in mind when negotiating the job

Look at whom you’ll likely work with

  • You might experience several rounds of interviews before meeting a potential coworker
  • Spend time on-site to see if you identify with the culture or research with sites like Glassdoor

Try including other marketable skills you can bring into the job, but don’t be greedy about your income

  • You’ll almost always get paid less than you’re worth

There are three general types of jobs you will fill

  • Leaders, which give the most room for negotiation
  • Followers, where negotiation power comes from background and expertise in specific tasks
  • Mindless laborers, which provide little to no negotiating 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 income at a job could turn into $50,000 extra yearly income in 20 years
  • Research salary surveys and salary guides, and consider the geographic area
  • A fun work environment is usually worth doing non-prestigious work or receiving lower pay
  • Confirm the salary is a firm job offer before asking if you can negotiate the salary
    • Consider your skills, aptitude, and experience compared to the market when negotiating salary
    • Talk about taking on other work responsibilities, but don’t over-promise
    • Ask for complete control over specific projects to feel more 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 six months to a year after you start, assuming you’ve met their expectations
  • Don’t ever accept a job offer immediately, since you will need to take time to think about it to show you’re not desperate

Discuss every negotiable benefit you want

  • A loftier title for your  resume, which is worth a pay cut in the long run
  • A clothing stipend built into your contract, since you are representing them
  • Transportation reimbursement for you to be in the office on time each day
  • Housing subsidy if you have a heavy commute
  • Guaranteed severance package if the job ceases to exist beyond your control
  • An office with a window
  • Tuition reimbursement or on-the-job training to offset the costs of developing skills
  • Daycare reimbursement for childcare
  • Flexible scheduling to allow for your creativity and life’s uncertainties
  • Additional vacation time to give you more freedom

Put the agreement 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

When considering a job offer for a company you’ve worked for before

  • Determine if the new opportunity will advance your career
  • Think about your prior concerns before you left the last time
  • Recall your experience with the company
  • Observe whom you know and knew at the company

Leaving your old job

Give at least two weeks’ notice for a job you’re leaving

  • Quitting may be justifiable if you’ve been mistreated or abused
  • Leave a job as quickly as possible if you see any unethical business practices since your entire reputation is at stake

Write a formal resignation letter

  • Make it gracious and concise
  • Don’t make promises, give too much information or mention your new workplace
  • Avoid phrasing anything negatively
    • Vaguely express why you’re leaving
    • Share your gratitude and thankfulness for the opportunity
  • Turn your resignation letter into HR, your manager or both

Communicate appropriately

Be honest with others

  • Your integrity and openness will not burn bridges, but lying can permanently ruin your reputation
  • Your honesty of only looking at one job or area will take you farther than vagueness
  • Give more credit in your stories as you leave to the coworkers than to yourself

Create an “I am leaving” elevator speech (1-2 minute summary)

  • Avoid negativity or boasting

Be clear and up-front with your co-workers and manager If you don’t want a “going away” party

  • Always be gracious and prepared to say some uncontroversial words if you attend one
  • If the event outside of work, avoid heavy drinking to avoid saying something offensive or appearing to be an alcoholic

Be prepared for your employer to give a counter-offer

  • Make a plan of how to respond
  • Taking a counter-offer is usually inappropriate, but consider why you’re leaving and what would make you stay

Give a reference for a replacement to ease the blow from letting down your co-workers and manager

Advise whoever takes over your work to help them succeed

  • Write a letter outlining suggestions and give it to your manager or a trusted co-worker

Exit properly

Do the right thing, even if it’s inconvenient, to ensure a great reference and reputation

Finish the work you needed to complete

  • Work hard all the way to the last day
    • The employer might either work you hard or give you no working once they’ve received notice
  • Let the company and any relevant clients know you’re leaving

Schedule a debrief meeting with your manager to tie up loose ends

  • If you’re in an exit interview, know beforehand what you want to say and how much information you want to give
  • Don’t be afraid to ask if you’re uncertain which trade secrets are permissible to share

Delete any corporate passwords to avoid the temptation to use them

Delete any personal files stored on the company computer

Turn in any company-owned property

  • Keys
  • Computers, phones, electronics
  • Product samples
  • Tools
  • ID badges
  • Credit cards

Decide what workspace items to take with you

  • Ask what you can take if you’re uncertain
    • Books
    • Whitepapers
    • Research reports
    • Awards
    • Personal items
  • Try to pack them up after-hours or have someone else carry them out for you

Track any payments you’re entitled to

  • Continuity of health benefits
  • 401(k) and other retirement plans
  • Accrued vacation and sick pay
  • Bonus money or owed overtime pay
  • Reimbursed expenses

Leave graciously

That company took a risk by giving you a job, a paycheck, and work experience

Find something good to say about the company, even if you can’t find anything

Even if it’s tempting, avoid any embarrassing or unscrupulous last days at your job

  • 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

Genuinely thank each person who helped you land the new job

Cut connections with your old workplace since old contacts don’t usually help later in your career

Next: Step 7: Starting Your New Job