Handling a Counteroffer

What is a counteroffer and how can you effectively handle it when you receive one?

A counteroffer is when the company that you are currently working for does not accept your resignation and offers to match or better the offer with the new company that you have received.
Many companies have strict policies on not giving counteroffers as they know that it is rare for a counteroffer to work out, and others will stop it nothing to keep their best employees no matter what the cost. So is it a good idea to accept a counteroffer once you have already accepted a new position?
Of the many job seekers who I have placed and coached throughout the years, only about two to three have ever accepted a counteroffer and wound up staying at their original employer for more than six months.
Why is it that most job seekers do NOT stay when they do accept a counteroffer from their current employer?
1) There were certain reasons that you were looking for a new position to begin with and typically, a company will promise to “fix” those issues, but in reality, you still wind up dealing with the same issues that you were originally faced with.
2) When you accept a counter offer, often for more money, your original employer now has higher expectations of you than before. In many cases, employers also harbor animosity towards the employee who they gave a counter offer to because of the  demands they have to meet to keep you. There is also a lack of trust after someone accepts a counteroffer. That then has to be rebuilt, if it can be rebuilt at all.
3) Finally, if your co-workers find out about your counteroffer that you have accepted, they can often treat you differently and many times, they become resentful and can treat you worse.
There are very rare occasions where accepting a counteroffer does work out, but in a majority of situations I have come across, most counteroffer situations end badly with the job seeker leaving the employer within a few months of accepting a counteroffer.

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How can you stand out when you are interviewed by or as part of a group?

There are two types of interviews that could frighten even the most experienced job seeker: The Panel interview AND the Group interview.

By a Panel interview, I mean that you are being interviewed by more than one hiring manager at the same time. There are several things that you can do to be effective at a Panel interview:

  1. Make eye contact with each person who is interviewing you throughout the interview.
  2. Do not interrupt any of the people who are interviewing you.
  3. Do your research on each individual who will be part of the panel and direct specific answers to that person based on their background.

In order to be effective at a Group interview, where you are being considered along with several other applicants at the same time, it is important to stand out from the crowd. 

The top 5 ways that you can stand out from the crowd in a group interview include:

  1. Have strong talking points. Don’t waste your words. When time is precious, like it is in a group interview, it is important to have everything you say make an impact. Always have a minimum of 3-5 talking points prepared that include evidence of where you have increased Productivity, Efficiency and/or Performance in the past (show them your PEP!).
  2. Wear a bold color. Jewel tones are ideal (royal blue, kelly green, red etc…only do this for a group interview! Normally I recommend more subdued colors), but stay away from patterns or loud jewelry. Standing out is important, but you do not want to stand out in a negative way.
  3. Again, never interrupt! Do not interrupt your interviewer or your other interviewees. It all comes down to respect. Absolutely chime in when a discussion begins and add your two cents (tie in your talking points), but under no circumstances should you interrupt others in the group.
  4. Do your research/be knowledgeable! One of the main reasons that people do not get hired is because they have not done their due diligence. If you know more than your counter parts who are being interviewed, you will have more opportunities to speak and share your knowledge with the group. Make yourself stand out by being the expert in the group. Be confident, not cocky!
  5. Don’t forget to ask questions and follow up immediately after the interview. I think it is always wise to send an email thank you immediately after the interview AND to send a hand written thank you note the following day.

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How can a daily declaration get you hired?

You have probably heard me mention in my prior blogs the terms “Daily Declaration (DD)” and “Statement of Intent (SOI).” These terms may be something entirely new to you or you could have heard of something similar in books such as “The Secret” and “Think and Grow Rich” (both of which I highly recommend!). 

The concepts of a DD and SOI are something that I created several years ago. The first time I used my DD and SOI was when I wanted to make over $100,000 a year. I was a junior recruiter and was in my early 20’s. At the time $100,000 seemed like an insurmountable amount of money to make. I could not have fathomed making that much money in three years, let alone one year. At that point, I had taken a lot of knowledge from books that I had mentioned earlier, as well as a class that I had taken called Landmark Education and combined them to come up with the ideas of a Statement of Intent and Daily Declaration.
The first year I created my SOI it was solely focused on money, however, I have since expanded my SOI to create a wide variety of things, including booking television shows, creating a successful business and much more.  The key components to creating an effective SOI are “WHAT,” ie. what you want to accomplish, “WHEN,” by when you want to accomplish it and most importantly, you must be SPECIFIC! Statements of intent that are not specific will get you no where fast (ex. I want a great job). It is also important to only use the affirmative and empowering language that I mentioned in a prior blog. You need to take “hope” out of it, and replace words like “hope” and “try” with words such as “create” and “intend.”
An example of what your statement of intent could look like would be something like this:
“By December 31st 2013 (WHEN-typically I recommend picking a date 3 months to one year out so that you have enough time to retrain your brain and accomplish what you intend) I am creating that I will have a position paying me $60,000 or more (always add or more when speaking about money or things you are looking for an abundance of) that is within 10 miles of my house and where I get to work in an environment where I look forward to going to work every day (YES! Do be that specific…it goes back to that old adage, be careful what you wish for because you might just get it!).”
Once you have your SOI written out, keep it somewhere it is easy to get to so that you can declare it out lout a minimum of once a day, ideally 2-3 times a day (you can keep it next to your bed, in your bathroom and/or on your iPhone). The reason it is important to declare your SOI daily is that your brain and subconscious will sabotage you at first and hold you back from getting what you want. Once you begin declaring your SOI out loud every day, you will begin to notice that you will take actions in line with your SOI and it will also help re-train your brain to be in line with your new goals.
Many people will write out a goal or intention, but few will take the time to declare it. What I am suggesting is not something new or even innovative. These concepts have been around for thousands of years and these same concepts are what have made successful men and women around the world able to achiever their highest goals, financial and otherwise.  The concept of the SOI And the DD are just my way of saying it. Over the past 10 years, I have taught thousands of people to be effective using these easy methods. Even if you don’t believe me, try it! What is the worst that could happen? You might actually wind up with the results you want and have to confront your own power and success? At the end of the day, we are the only ones responsible for our lives and our futures (the good and the bad). Once you take ownership of how your life turns out, you will never again be a victim of your circumstances and can begin to create the life that you have always dreamed was possible.

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The Top 5 Ways to Transition Your Career

I have been asked to speak on several television shows lately about how one should find a new job when they are looking to transition their careers. I have come up with a list a of the Top 5 things that you need to do if you are looking to make a career change:

1) Figure out WHAT you want to do next by meeting with a Career Coach, taking career assessments/personality tests and/or doing your own research online. 
2) Next REVISE your resume to reflect any transferrable skills that you have from your previous field that can apply to the field that you are looking to transition into (functional format resumes can be very helpful for accomplishing this task).
3) REINVENT yourself by taking whatever classes, certifications, tutorials and/or training that may be required or necessary in the chosen field that you want to get into.
4) NETWORK your way into your next position. Join different associations and groups that are in your new desired field and get out there and network. Don’t forget to connect with people using social media at networking events as well!
5) CREATE a “statement of intent” and a “daily declaration.” Your statement of intent will include “by when” you will find your new ideal job, “what” that new job will look like (this includes salary and title) and other specifics related to your new career. You will then declare that statement (which should be 2-5 sentences long), out loud every day at least once, ideally twice, with vim and vigor. This is what will retrain your brain to believe that you can accomplish what you are intending in your statement. Some people even keep their statement of intent on their phone or next to their bed so that they can look at it if they are feeling down or like they cannot accomplish what they have committed to.
If you do these five things, you will be on your way to transitioning into your ideal career.

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The Adaptability Factor

There is an interesting chasm that we are noticing in the market right now. It is something that almost every law firm and corporation we work with has noticed as well. That chasm exists between the millennials and the baby boomers. The millennials have amazing technical skills and can complete a project, but often lack the work ethic, ability to be proactive and advanced skills that more seasoned workers possess. We often hear complaints from our clients about how the millenials are unable to take initiative and have a sense of entitlement regarding the work they do. On the flip side, the experienced workers/baby boomers, have tremendous skills and an amazing work ethic, but are unable to adapt to the changes in the market place. It is this fact, “The Adaptability Factor,”that is inhibiting a lot of the more seasoned applicants from being able to get hired and then stay employed once they are hired.

What do I mean by this? I mean that one’s ability to adapt in this market place, directly correlates to how effective or ineffective one is at getting hired and staying employed in this market. I hear a lot of job seekers over the age of 50 who scream “Ageism!” as to why they are not being hired in this market, however, I have found that adaptability has a lot more to do with hire-ability than age does. 

A perfect example of this is that my staffing firm has personally placed numerous people who are over the age of 50, 60 and sometimes even 70, however, many of these more experienced workers who do get hired are then getting fired because they are unable to adapt to the new skills that are required of them due to the changing expectations that employers have.

A few weeks ago, there was an article in the Wall Street journal about how legal secretary jobs are becoming obsolete. I disagree. I believe that legal secretary jobs are just as prevalent as ever, however, the role of the legal secretary has shifted tremendously. Years ago, it used to be one secretary to one attorney, where the secretary was interfacing with clients and acting as more of a personal assistant, in addition to filing documents.

In today’s market, it is not unheard of for a legal secretary to support, five, six or even seven attorneys. This is because the more junior associates are extremely self sufficient and the attorneys who are using legal secretaries rely on them more for technical skills and knowledge. Legal secretaries are now doing the role of word processing, paralegal work, as well as administrative work. Therefore, if you as a legal secretary cannot adapt to these new demands and expectations, your position will be eliminated. Employers everywhere are looking to cut costs and create more “hybrid” type roles where several positions are combined into one.

So how do you become more adaptable in this market if you are a more experienced worker who wants to get hired?

You shift your perspective. It will not do you any good to go around complaining about how old you are and how unfair it is that there are no jobs out there and how hard things have become. Instead, look at how fortunate you are to have 20+ years in a changing market place and how if you can use your experience to your advantage by being willing to adapt to the new climate and marketplace, you WILL be the most desirable applicant. The next time your are in a temporary role or an interview, instead of explaining why you CANNOT do something, discuss what you CAN do and how willing you are to adapt to whatever is required of you. I truly believe that legal secretaries with many years of experience still have an important place in the current market if only they are willing to adapt and figure out HOW to make it work, rather than all the reasons it can’t work.

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Why Lie?

Why do people lie on their resumes? As a recruiter, it makes no sense to me. More and more we are noticing people who “inflate” their skills, add a fake degree and/or increase their length of time at their last employer on their resume. The sad thing is, for the most part, they don’t have to go to such extreme lengths to get hired. Many times, these job seekers would be hired based on their real skill set or resume, if only they wouldn’t lie.

On two separate occasions in the past week, we have caught job seekers clearly lying on their resumes. In both cases, they then proceeded to lie to us about why they lied on their resume. We are in the business of getting people jobs, not blocking them from getting hired. When someone blatantly lies on their resume and then lies to us about why they lied on their resume, we can no longer represent those people and often times, they become blacklisted industry wide. If I were to catch someone in a lie on their resume and they were honest about why they did it (ie. admitting they were desperate because they needed a job and showed remorse), I might be willing to give them a second chance.
The reason I am writing this article is to implore the unemployed and employed job seekers NOT to lie on their resumes. If someone is worried that their resume might not represent them effectively, they should not resort to lying! Instead, that person should work with a recruiter, career coach or resume writer to see how they can represent their background in a better light. There are many folks who we have represented who have been out of work for two or more years or have been lighter on certain skills and yet, we are still able to find them jobs by teaching them to be honest and coaching them on how to represent their backgrounds more effectively.
That said, the next time you want to fudge your dates, add a degree or throw on some additional skills that you don’t have, think about the ramifications of your actions and how one lie could cost you your career.

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What you say IS what you get

Have you ever listened to what people say? I mean, really listened? Over the last few years I have begun to pay attention to the language that people use in their job hunt and how it directly correlates to their effectiveness or lack of effectiveness in finding a job.

What I have begun to notice is that people who consistently use disempowering and passive language such as “I hope,””I’ll try,””I might,” “Maybe,” “One Day,” tend to be less effective in attaining the jobs they want than those who use more affirmative and empowering language such as “I will,” “I can,” “I intend,” “I am creating,” etc…
Though I am not a neuro-psychologist, I love the study of the brain and understanding how and why we do what we do. What if the language that we use had a direct relationship to our ability to attain our goals? I have personally played with this theory over the past ten years and have found it to be consistent that using empowering and affirmative language does have a direct correlation on my effectiveness, as well as on the effectiveness of those who I have taught these principles to.
One of the first things that I teach job seekers who come into my office is how to use affirmative and empowering language in their job search. Essentially, I tell them to start noticing the words they use to describe their job search and to omit the words that are disempowering.
This is also true of negatively discussing your job search with others. The most common phrase I hear amongst unemployed job seekers is “It’s hard.” It’s hard, meaning their job search. When you begin replacing “It’s hard” with things like “I am getting out there,” and/or “I am making progress,” you will start to notice that different results will begin to appear. Often times these results are getting you closer to the job you really want. 
In a class I lead called “Making Yourself Indispensable in the Workplace,” I coach job seekers to keep a note pad with them and to write down every time that they complain during one full day. From there, I teach them to notice the impact that their complaints have on those around them. What I have found is that many of us don’t even realize how often we complain and how our complaints begin to create our reality. When we replace our complaints with proactive or positive language about what is working, rather than what is not working, our perspective begins to change as well. Once your perspective begins to alter, your attitude, beliefs and actions will slowly alter as well to be in line with your new perspective on what you are committed to.
One of the best quotes that I have heard is “If you want to know what you are committed to, look at what you have.”
This statement can be biting for some people, because they don’t want to take responsibility for the circumstances in their lives. When you begin to take responsibility for both the good and the bad things that happen in your life, you are no longer the victim of your life, you are the cause of it and you will begin to have power over the direction your life goes.

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