Buying Time with Multiple Offers

A recent occurrence that we have been seeing is job seekers getting multiple offers at once. This is a great trend in the market because it is an indicator that the economy is improving, but it comes with a downside: many job seekers have no idea how to effectively handle more than one offer at a time. We are seeing a lot of job seekers lose offers because they are mismanaging their communication with both the company who is giving them the offer and the recruiter who got it for them. 

When you have more than one offer, the most important thing to keep in mind is: CLEAR COMMUNICATION. 
When you start trying to buy yourself time by not responding to a company or to a recruiter, you are jeopardizing your potential offers. If you are in the final stages with any company, law firm or recruiter, you need to be an open book when it comes to your other offers or pending opportunities. Most companies and recruiters will be understanding about it. It is important that you return phone calls and emails promptly when you are in the offer stage with any company. You are better off to respond immediately explaining your situation, than wait too long and lose the offer. 
I once had a job seeker who got one offer from her first interview, but still had three other interviews to go on that week. We clearly communicated this to each of the companies and they were very understanding. They allowed her to go on all of the interviews and the first company appreciated her honesty and was willing to wait for her so that she could fairly asses each opportunity. In the end, she did have four total offers, however, she went with the first one who had patiently waited for her all along. If she had lied to the first company or been evasive regarding her other interviews, she could have easily lost the best offer she had. 
Just remember, be in communication. You are better off to let the company know that you are in the final stage with another company and ask if they are OK with waiting for you to see through the process than lying about it. If you do this you will be respected and taken more seriously.

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What are the top 5 subjects to AVOID in an interview?

There are many subjects that you need to tread lightly around when in an interview. Below are the top 5 subjects that can quickly ruin your candidacy for a particular position:

 

1) Politics-This should go without saying, but I have noticed that a lot of people are bringing up politics in interviews lately due to the recent election. In addition, be careful about posting controversial or political topics on social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and/or Linkedin. Employers will Google you and see what you are saying. If they don’t agree with it, they may not hire you. Even though the election is over, you still want to be careful about what you share in an interview or on a social media site regarding your political affiliations.

 

2) Religion-Even though employers are not supposed to discriminate against you based on religious beliefs, you do not want to test that rule and bring up religious affiliations in an interview. Religion is a very hot topic that can easily offend the person you are interviewing with if their views are not in line with yours.

 

3) Sexual Preference-Sexual preference is another area that is protected under the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), but it is still a topic to be careful about discussing during an interview. Though many companies have become more forward thinking when it comes to this subject, you still don’t want to get into too much personal information during the interview process. 

 

4) Personal Relationships-Discussing issues related to current or past personal relationships is typically not appropriate during the interview process. I often see people who discuss too much personal information in an interview and many interviews will be put off by this. Personal relationship information you may want to stay away from in an interview includes: recent divorces, cheating, bad break ups etc…This is none of the employer’s business.

 

5) Age-Yours or theirs! It is never appropriate to bring up your age or the interviewer’s age in an interview. I hear a lot of people who will “joke” that they are “not as young as they used to be.” Even though this can seem harmless, an employer might see this as you not being comfortable with your age, and this can make others around you uncomfortable.


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How do I negotiate a raise in this economy?

Asking for more money in a down economy can be very tricky, which is why it is important to strategically plan out how you intend to do so. One of the most common complaints I hear from employers is that they are sick and tired of the sense of entitlement that their staff has. This includes, expecting more money. There is an important difference between expecting more money because you feel entitled to it, and approaching your employer to discuss the value you bring to the organization, which in turn leads to a well earned increase. So what does this mean?

It means that you should avoid going into your boss’s office and “demanding” an increase in pay because you are “overworked and underpaid.” Instead, you should wait for the opportune time where you have successfully completed a large project, landed a new client and/or saved the company money. Timing is everything! If you go into your boss’s office when they are having a bad day or the company is struggling, you will most definitely be turned down for a raise. Saying that you are struggling financially to your employer is not a good reason for an increase either. To your employer it may sound like you are not good at managing your money. It is also important to make sure you have strong EVIDENCE to make a case for WHY you deserve an increase. Always ask yourself, “where am I adding value to my organization?” 
I would recommend using one of the following opportunities to bring up the subject of a raise:
1) Opportunity: When someone else in your company has been let go and they are not going to replace that person. 
This is a great opportunity to show that you are a team player and offer to pitch in and help cover that person’s role. ALWAYS start by offering something WITHOUT asking for anything in return. Then, once you have been assisting with those additional responsibilities for a few months successfully, you can find a good time to broach the subject of increasing your pay to be commensurate with your new duties and responsibilities (and possibly a promotion down the road).
2) Opportunity: You bring in a BIG new account (or two). 
When you are adding a new revenue stream to a company or bringing on numerous new accounts, that company will typically want to make you happy. If you are able to land a big new account or two, this will provide a future opportunity to discuss an increase in compensation. It is important, however, that you wait until you have successfully produced results with that new account for at least three consecutive months or one quarter. This is critical to creating leverage! Bringing in the account is not enough. You have to show that you have been able to successfully manage and grow that account.
3) Opportunity: You came in below budget.
Saving a company money is always a great way to make a case for why a company should offer you an increase in salary. I know that in some cases, you will be penalized if you do not spend the amount you have budgeted for the year, but those are not the situations I am referring to. Overall, most companies are looking for ways to save money. If you save the company 100k over the course of the year, you can then bring that up during your negotiation and use that as EVIDENCE for the value you bring to the company and why you deserve an increase.
4) Opportunity:  You hit or exceeded your forecasted numbers or billable hour requirement.
Exceeding a goal or quota is one of the easiest ways to negotiate a higher salary. I remember when I first started recruiting and was consistently exceeding my goals by 30%. It was very easy that year to go in and make a case for why I should receive an increase in the percentage of commission that I was receiving because the numbers spoke for me. Typically, the end of the year during your review is a good time to address a potential increase.
5) Opportunity: Producing consistently better work product than your peers/having a great attitude.
I work with a lot of administrative professionals in my staffing business. I find that many of the administrative professionals I work with have a harder time negotiating an increase in salary because their numbers are not linked to billable hours or sales. The best way to negotiate a higher salary as an administrative professional is to work on all of the following:
-Always be on time and offer to pitch in/work overtime when needed.
-Always double and triple check your work.
-Offer to do things for your bosses and/or your peers that are not required of you, but that would be appreciated.
-Always have a good, team-player attitude.
-Work on anticipating your boss’s needs/don’t always wait for someone to give you something to do. Be proactive!
If you focus on those five components as an administrative professional, you will be noticed and rewarded. The administrative professionals who I have seen apply the above five characteristics typically do not even need to ask for a raise, they just receive it!
In summary, remember that actions speak louder than words and timing is everything when it comes to negotiating a higher salary!

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