Counter Offers. You Suck.

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Q. I've gone through the entire interview process and received a great offer; a better opportunity with a better company.  I've analyzed and agonized over the decision to leave my current position, for what appears to be a better one, and I've decided to accept the offer. However, upon resigning, my current boss asks me to stay and made me a counteroffer. Now what? - Nicole, Los Angeles. 

 

A. Career changes are tough enough as it is, and anxieties about leaving a comfortable job, friends and location and having to reprove yourself again in an unknown opportunity can cloud the best logic. But just because the new position is a little scary doesn’t mean it’s not a positive move.  Since counteroffers can create confusion and buyer’s remorse, you should understand what you’re up against.

Counteroffers usually involve offering more money, a promotion or future promises. The Emotional Counter Offer is a calculated approach to guilting you into staying with the company.

“You’re too valuable.  We need you.”

You can’t desert the team and leave them hanging.”

“Why would you want to work for that company?”

“We were just about to give you a promotion, and it was confidential until now.”

Consider this

Where did the additional money or responsibility you would get come from?  Was your next raise or promotion just given early?  Will you be limited in the future?  Will you have to threaten to quit in order to get your next raise?  Might a cheaper replacement be sought out?

You’ve demonstrated your unhappiness or lack of blind loyalty, and will be perceived as having committed blackmail to gain a raise. You won’t ever be considered a team player again.  Many employers will hold a grudge at the next review period, and you may be placed at the top of the next reduction-in-force “hit list”.

Apart from a short-term, band-aid treatment, nothing will change within the company.  After the dust settles from this upheaval, you’ll be in the same old rut.  A rule of thumb is that more than 80% of those who accept counteroffers leave, or are terminated, within six to 12 months.  And half of those who accept counteroffers reinitiate their job searches within 90 days.

Finally, when you make your decision, look at your current job and the new position as if you were unemployed.  Which opportunity holds the most real potential?  Probably the new one or you wouldn’t have accepted it in the first place.

Top 10 Reasons Not to Accept a Counter Offer

1.After resigning, you have made your employer aware that you were looking and unhappy. Your loyalty will now be in question.

2. When promotion/raise time comes around, your employer will remember who is loyal and who is not.

3. When making difficult decisions about cut-backs, the company may begin with those that are deemed less loyal.

4. Accepting a Counter-Offer is an insult to your intelligence and a blow to your personal pride, to simply be bought at the last minute.

5. Where was the extra money for a counter-offer at during your last performance review? Most companies have strict wage/salary guidelines and may be simply giving your next raise early or buying time to hire someone in your place.

6. The same circumstances that now cause you to consider making a change almost always reoccur within the next 6-12 months.

7. Statistics show that if you accept a counter-offer, the probability of voluntarily leaving in 6 months or being let go within 1 year are extremely high.

8. Once the word gets out, the relationship you now enjoy with co-workers will never be the same. You lose personal satisfaction of the peer group acceptance.

9. What type of company do you want to work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you are worth?

10. Accepting counter-offers after already accepting another position burns bridges with other companies, your recruiter, and ultimately shows all 3 parties that you can be bought.Need more evidence? Do your own homework: google counteroffers and see what you find….

Ask Lucy - Frustrated with Job Boards?

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Question

We posted a job on multiple sites, are eager to hire but have received minimal applicants. Those who have applied are often outside of our industry. What are we doing wrong?

– Shannon from NYC

Answer

If you’ve ever used a job board you know all too well that they can be inefficient, ineffective and frustrating.

Job Boards are Transactional

Highly impersonal, there is no connection between the employer and prospective talent. No conversation. Only a cold, sometimes sterile description that demands a resume for consideration. Talent has no idea where the resume goes or who it goes to. The chief complaint I hear among talent is referred to as the black hole of resumes. Even when job seekers send their resume as directed, they rarely receive a response of any kind. Job seekers have become weary of this unpromising process and are much more reluctant to apply than in the past. Both active and passive job seekers want a personal connection. A point of contact with a pulse. A person with whom they can engage with, ask questions and connect with directly.

Job Postings are Poorly Written

Sterile. That’s putting it nicely. The purpose of posting a job is to attract talent. There’s nothing appetizing about a laundry list of job duties and responsibilities. Yawn. How would you tell a friend about an open position at your company? You’d likely begin with all the reasons why you like to work there. You would tell the story, the narrative that frames you brand, company and culture. The majority of job postings share little insight into company culture and the people. At best, it’s a history lesson and humble brag session. Talent wants to know why they should apply for your job. They’re not just looking for a job, per se. They are looking for more than a paycheck. And while that may vary from person to person there are a few common themes.

Job Seekers are More Savvy

Job boards are becoming passé. The smart job hunter isn’t surfing job boards. A decade ago posting a job proved to be much more successful than it is today. Before the rise of LinkedIn and the abundance of social networking there weren’t as many choices.

Now prospective job seekers are getting more proactive. Talent can contact a hiring manager, internal recruiter or HR directly. They’re doing their homework, conducting research on your brand long before they even consider applying. Without a well communicated approach, the desirable candidates are bypassing the yell and sell of a job description turned job post.

You Must Go To Them

You must go to them. It’s highly unlikely that the candidates you desire are sitting around waiting for you. They’re busy and they’re tire of the fluff, the billboard approach. They want a personal connection, transparency and engagement. They want to know what it’s really like to work for your company.

You must have a recipe, a strategy, a process. So before you post and pray, consider a more calculated approach to talent acquisition.

I've developed a proven system that works, every time. No job boards, no surfing LinkedIn.

Are you looking for the solution?

-Ask Lucy

 

Download Hire Like a Boss to Land the Ideal Candidate

 

How Do You Attract Talent?

How Do You Attract Talent?

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase talent attraction? Money, promotion, stability, cool product? Why do we believe a candidate will leave a job, relocate and come to work for us? By definition, attraction is a quality or feature of something or someone that evokes interest, liking, or desire.

Women In Fashion: How To Get That Executive Position

Women In Fashion: How To Get That Executive Position

Women still face challenges in the workplace today in the area of top executive placements. Nowhere is this fact more evident than in the fashion industry. Even though females comprise almost three-quarters of the workers in the fashion industry, they have attained less than one-fourth of the leadership roles within the top fashion companies according to recent reports.

More Money. Better Fit. How Do You Choose?

What would you do? originalLast week was a close call. My candidate received two offers days apart. Both well-known fashion retailers, same title. Despite their similarities one offer came in 10K lower than the other. Considering this individual was already facing a pay cut regardless of which company she chose due to the cost of living increase, a 10K difference in base salary intensifies the debate. In case you’re wondering about the former cost of living issue, all I can say is that’s what happens when you want to leave Ohio. Both companies eagerly waiting, hopeful for an acceptance my candidate had a difficult decision to make.

If the suspense is killing you I’ll tell you what happened so we can get to the point. She took the offer with the lower base. Are you mentally cursing her right now? Does fit matter to you?

The winning company was the better fit. Their hiring process was swift and well executed. She described her onsite interview as perfectly organized, this company was a perfect host with attention to every detail. She noticed the current employees were genuinely content, glad to be there and all had lengthy tenure. This company’s doing something right. But that wasn’t all. They promote from within and maintain a stellar reputation in the industry. She spoke with a handful of trusted colleagues and friends who had worked for this company or knew someone who had. Each confirming the company culture was hard to beat. Of course, I’d been saying this all along, and not simply because one was my client and the other was not. Pitting clients against one another is bad form and frankly, just plain wrong. I hate to say I told you so but, sometimes we need to hear from a variety of sources to validate our decision making process.

What’s the moral of this story? Money’s not everything. When faced with two or more offers, look at the big picture. In each scenario consider what your life will really be like. Will you be working so many hours that the increased base negates itself anyway? Is there a realistic possibility you will be promoted in the future? The interview process is telling of the company’s processes. Finally, people work for people. Who did you have the better connection with?

Are you sick of me asking you all these questions? Now I’m urging you, consider a 360 view before making a decision based on compensation alone. Choose the best fit.

In case it wasn’t obvious my client won the candidate. Because they rock, obviously.

 

Photo Credit: Gawker Assets

Choose Ye Internship Wisely

Stella-McCartneyBefore Cal State Fullerton would issue my diploma I had to complete an internship. Like any student with two part time jobs and a full course load this feat seemed rather unappealing and next to impossible. As a Journalism major I was expected to complete this requirement somewhere like the OC Register or some other respectable organization with journalistic integrity. The thought of writing for a newspaper sounded worse than not graduating at all, a mind numbing, soul suffocating experience that I could not bear. Since there were no fashion journalism internships available (that would satisfy graduation requirements) in Orange County I chose the only Fashion Industry internship was seemed acceptable; a modeling agency. I like to think that had I chosen to follow the path of lemmings on staff at the Daily Titan I would not be where I am today. No better, no worse, I just wouldn’t have found my passion and purpose. We all have to start somewhere and sometimes that means putting in your time as an intern before proving yourself worthy of a higher rank. There’s no shame in it. Take Tom Ford for example. After graduating from Parson’s, the former YSL and Gucci visionary interned in Chloe’s press office. Or Sylvia Plath (my favorite author). In 1953, Plath interned at Mademoiselle, an experience which she fictionalized in her novel “The Bell Jar.” At 16, Stella McCartney took an apprenticeship with Christian LaCroix.

Internships can dramatically impact your future career. Choosing an internship that’s right for you is decision I don’t recommend taking lightly nor procrastinating, such as my 23 year old mind instructed.

Consider your future.

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Five years from now is your internship the type of place where you would like to be employed? Look at your internship as a first job. Choose your market segment and choose wisely. Want to work in Fashion? Don’t apply at Columbia Sportswear. Your first employer or internship can pigeon hole your resume into the types of companies who will even consider your candidacy for future employment. And the next, and so on. It’s a domino effect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the benefits?

Sylvia Plath

Beyond the name on your resume and school credit what other benefits does this internship offer? What’s in it for you? Can you utilize their network and contacts to find a full time job following the completion of a successful internship? Is there an opportunity to have your work published? If you select a smaller to medium sized company you’ll likely have an opportunity to take on larger projects that can be included on your resume to enhance your experience.

 

 

 

 

 

Paid vs. Unpaid

Lauren Indvik

The great debate, should interns be paid? While you can find internships that offer compensation most will not. Consider Lauren Indvik, co-editor-in-chief of Fashionista who fondly remembers her internship at Vogue as worth every sacrifice. Should you dismiss these golden opportunities? It depends on what you’re looking to achieve. Remember, you can get a summer job at Dairy Queen. Can you get the experience you need serving Dilly Bars? You decide.

When choosing an internship, choose wisely. Just like a job search it’s better to be strategic and wait for the right fit as opposed to checking the box.

So how’s that internship search going?

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Fashionista

Did You Ask the Recruiter?

Question-mark1-450x251Did you ask the Recruiter? Been contacted by a recruiter lately? If you’re on LinkedIn chances are your inbox and voicemail is swimming with messages from recruiters. If you’ve taken the time to actually speak to one of us you may have noticed we ask a lot of questions. Here’s another one, are you asking the recruiter any questions?

There’s a few key questions you should be asking every recruiter when discussing a potential opportunity. A good recruiter will answer most of these without you having to ask. In case you don’t gather this info during the conversation I suggest you do some of the asking.

 

1. Have you worked with this client before? How long have you worked together?

This will give you a sense of how well they know their client. I’d recommend asking this one first as it will add some color to the questions to follow. If a recruiter has worked with a client a long time chances are they have a strong sense of what the client needs in terms of both skill set and cultural fit.

 

2. Why is the job available?

The answer you’re looking for is either a) recent promotion or b) new position. This means the company promotes from within or they are growing and can add new hires. Either way it’s a good sign. If the position is available because someone left the company or was let go, you need to do some more digging. This isn’t a red flag but gather as much insight as you can.

 

3. What’s the reporting structure?

This one is a little sneaky. If it’s a highly structured, corporate, environment you know you will likely be focused on one aspect of the process. If there are less layers employees probably wear a few hats. There’s no right or wrong answer just know the type of environment that’s right for you. Also, who are the cross functional departments?

 

4. Tell me about the company culture.

Don’t let this one go too easily with a generic answer. Get creative to get to the truth. Which companies do their employees come from most frequently? Similar companies tend to pull from one another. Is there a flexible start time? What’s the dress code? Does their company culture mirror that of their consumer?

 

5. What’s the compensation range?

You might not get a straight answer but it’s critical you know whether or not they’ve got the budget to bring you aboard. I typically ask candidate’s their current base salary and bonus structure. Then, if it’s on the low to middle end of the range I tell them that they would stand to see an increase if they made the move. You don’t to be in the range but at the very top end with no change of an increase. It’s okay to ask if you are on the high end of the range. Then, at least you know.

 

6. How long has the job been available?

This will tell you if there are potential concerns with either the company or the position. As a rule if a job has been open more than six months it might be a red flag. My next question would be why? There could be a reasonable explanation but you be the judge.

 

Remember, there are some questions your recruiter may not be able to answer. Distribution channels and five year marketing strategies might be more appropriate for hiring managers. But don’t be afraid to ask. You might be surprised at how much some of us actually know.

 

Are there other questions you typically ask?

 

Photo Credit: Facebook

Outdoor Retailer Ready?

ORAre you Outdoor Retailer ready? With just two weeks away from the polite chaos that ensues twice a year in Salt Lake City, the real question is, have you booked a hotel? If you procrastinated like me last August, all I can tell you is good luck. Last summer’s borderline dreadful accommodations motivated me to book a more suitable room in October and I still had to fight. I know, everyone complains about the lack of rooms, but somehow we just can’t imagine OR in Vegas. Although the weather would be nice. What really happens at OR and why do we faithfully continue to participate? The overbooked meeting schedules, sitting on the floor catching up on emails at the nearest outlet. The setting up and tearing down of what each year continues to be a more outdone version of the previous year’s booths. Some of which resemble small villages. Who designs these masterpieces in retail design? Such was the case for Keen complete with an onsite bus where private meetings were conducted. Impressive to say the last. Not to mention Keen Fest. Rory really outdid himself with the whole production. Fondly remembering the street tacos. Mmm. Tacos. I suspect the usual banter, show and tell and networking will not fail us this time around. There’s the line on Wednesday morning. People fighting to get their badges at the last minute, arguing with the show staff. Osprey will be scoping out Gregory and likewise. By Thursday at 5pm (or sooner) the booths transform into mini house parties, some with live music and everyone has beer. Beer by the keg, the case, the truckload. I was most impressed by a certain brand’s ice sculpture. Really, it was pretty spectacular. The secret interviews that take place were not so secret last year when it was widely rumored that Patagonia was conducting several openly in their booth. While I can neither confirm nor deny this, a word of wisdom to both sides of the interview desk; don’t talk about it at the show. Everyone knows it happens. Why wouldn’t it? With thousands of industry pros from all over the globe it would be a crime not to execute a little exploratory conversation. While there’s plenty of background noise business is being conducted and by the plenty. Although I get the sense that most meetings are scheduled well in advance between buyers and brands. On the plane ride last year I sat next to a buyer at Amazon, who according to her already had all meetings lined up and planned on getting in and out of town, with a quickness. Sometimes it’s brand awareness for the smaller new comers. I found a handful of new yoga lines that I’ve since followed. So there’s that. What is it about OR that we really love? What brings us back? That’s simple really. It’s the product & the people. The show and tell of what’s new & innovative. Always a favorite is Arc’Teryx. I had four meetings scheduled with various hiring managers and could barely get into the booth because everyone was fawning over their footwear. People are still talking about it. A candidate actually mentioned it today over the phone. For me, it’s a great way to meet a number of clients and candidates all in one central location. Catching up with old friends and meeting new faces. The sample sales aren’t bad either. Let’s face it, we love product and the people who create the things we did not know we needed until OR. Looking to add to your busy agenda? Email me if you want to stand in the coffee line together or grab a drink at the ice sculpture.

 

Photo Credit: Outdoor Retailer

Is Your Process Design Driven?

apparel-constructionThe most common challenge Senior Design Executives report is finding designer leaders who are strong conceptually with hands on garment construction experience. It seems that the candidate pool of designers with said experience is becoming shallower all the time.  And I’m not talking about small start up brands who simply want to keep costs down by doing more with less. These complaints stem from well known, beloved brands with sizable head counts and major market presence.Maybe you’re wondering, if companies will employ three jobs (designer, product developer, technical designer) instead of one, why does this skill set matter? Why not utilize three jobs so that each individual can focus exclusively on their specific role or as Nike puts it “stay in your lane”. Simply put, the more control over the design process the higher the quality and attention to detail; usually. Companies who are producing product that’s highly regarded in the marketplace are typically design driven. Meaning their designers know how to sketch, make changes to pattern and fit, create a tech pack and communicate changes to factories. They might even know how to sew. Imagine that. This doesn’t mean that the designer is executing all functions at once but it does mean that the designer has enough institutional knowledge and hands on experience to drive the process and maintain a high level of design integrity. The initial concept doesn’t get lost in fit sessions or costing. In the design driven process the product developer, patternmaker, etc. assume a more supporting role as opposed to having three chefs planning the menu. Everyone acknowledges that companies are structured differently and utilize various methods to execute the design process. It’s not uncommon for large retailers to employ a designer, technical designer and product developer while patternmakers are outsourced to overseas factories. In this scenario the designer is left with the responsibility of turning out a high volume of sketches with less attention to the actual construction of the garment. All the recent grads said Amen! While it may sound like a dream come true to some, the demand for senior level positions with a full range skill set is becoming more intense. Especially at the management level. These brands want someone who has been there, done that and can mentor more junior designers who lack the skill set required to execute the process. In the US it’s more common for higher end fashion labels to impose a design driven process with onsite sample makers and patternmakers. On the opposite end of the spectrum, outdoor industry designers commonly maintain this level of control. Major retailers whose consumer is athletic, sportswear or Bridge and below often maintain a highly structured product creation team, where the designer is a cog in the wheel as opposed to driving the bus. Perhaps this is why European and Canadian designers are sometimes more appealing to US based employers. Designers typically have a solid foundation and practice the entire process throughout their career with the support of the previously mentioned roles. Is the US lagging behind? Is this skill set we are no longer teaching in school? If you’re thinking about becoming a designer, realize that it’s more than just creating beautiful concepts and images. Maybe you consider starting your career at a company that will train at every stage in the process. It may not seem as glamorous but the payoff is bigger. Are you a designer with this skill set? Good news for you, there are some incredible career opportunities available.

 

Photo Credit: Global Post

The Winning Strategy for a Tradeshow Interview

wwd_tues_l_ds-338The Tradeshow Interview

We all know it happens. Sometimes in secret other times blatantly out in the open. If you’re one of the lucky few to score an interview at a tradeshow there are a few things to consider.

Advantages

You’re not on the hiring company’s home turf. A tradeshow is neutral ground. Hiring managers tend to be a bit more casual in their interview style. The adrenal and momentum of the show works in your favor. Interviewers tend to be less critical at a show than they would at the office. Typically you’ll meet with one person as opposed to a round of potential future team mates.

Disadvantages

You’re tired from an extensive meeting schedule. The tendency is to approach the interview with an overly relaxed or casual attitude. Your interviewer may also be tired and a bit scattered.

How to make a memorable impression. In a good way.

Prepare. Obviously. Just as you would for a phone or on site interview research and familiarize yourself with the product and position. You might consider reviewing your hiring manager’s LinkedIn profile to see what this person looks like. That way you’re don’t appear lost when arriving at the booth or meeting location.

Focus. As I stated earlier, although it’s tempting to approach the interview casually, this is still an interview. Take 5 or 10 minutes in a quiet corner to mentally prepare and review your notes. I’ve suggested that candidates go into the restroom if need be. Sometimes it’s the only quiet place on the show floor.

Stay on track. Interviews are a dance. Let your interviewer take the lead initially by asking their questions. But, remember they’re often scattered and tired from previous meetings. The show takes a toll. Keep the interview on track by working in all your accomplishments throughout the conversation. You still have to sell yourself. Questions are an easy way to break up the conversation and pepper in your selling points.

A gesture of gratitude. Consider bringing a coffee for your interviewer. It’s not only thoughtful and memorable, it might be just what they needed. Don’t bother with resumes as they are just extra paperwork to carry around. Instead leave them with your business card. Remember to thank them for their time. If someone brought me a coffee for our meeting, I would always remember them.

Don’t talk about your interview with anyone. If you’ve just come away from what felt like the best meeting of your career the temptation is to share the good news with others. Even if it’s someone you trust it’s in poor form to disclose that you’ve interviewed with another company while you’re at a tradeshow to conduct business for you current employer.

Sounds straightforward right? Take advantage of this unique opportunity with a winning strategy.

 

Photo Credit: WWD Magic

Resignations Are Hard To Do, This Strategy Will Help

i-quit-my-job-450x338Resignations

Breaking up is hard to do. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran with a 20 year tenure or only been around a few years, it’s never easy to say goodbye. Resignations can be emotional, high pressure and difficult to navigate if you’re not properly prepared. While every company can be different in the way they handle resignations calling it quits could vary depending on your manager. Leaving you unsure of what to expect.

We always prep our candidates both emotionally and strategically prior to the resignation. It won’t be easy; after all you likely spend more time at work than you do with your friends and family. Keep it short and sweet. The less you attempt to explain yourself the less chances of brushing your manager’s ego or worse. Focus on the positive from the inception of the resignation until your last day of employment. This likely won’t be your last resignation, better not to burn any bridges.

The simple strategy for executing the resignation.

Focus on the positive. Thank them for the opportunity. Did you learn anything, did you grow? Have you enjoyed working with your team? Now’s the time to express gratitude for anything positive you experienced during your tenure.

Less is more. I’s better to simply state that you’ve decided to accept another opportunity and will be moving on. Your last day is x date. Here’s where it gets tricky. Sometimes employers will want to know the details of your next employer and position. Where are you going? How much are they paying you? Why are you leaving us? If this happens, just relax. You’re not obligated to answer. You can politely inform them that you prefer not to say. Or if you feel compelled to answer, keep it brief, focusing on the learning opportunities at your next role. Under no circumstance are you required to reveal the compensation package. Asking in the first place is in poor form. If you do answer, this will likely open up a new set of challenges known as the counter offer.

Counter Offers. Counteroffers usually involve offering more money, a promotion or future promises. The desperation or ego of your employer suddenly decides they need to do whatever it takes to keep you around. That is, just long enough to find your replacement. A counter offer should never be accepted under any circumstances. But, don’t take my word for it. Simply google the term “counter offer” and decide for yourself.

Keep quiet. Once you’ve executed a simple yet difficult conversation, exit the office quietly. Don’t discuss your resignation or new opportunity with any coworkers. This will only stir the pot. Stay positive and focused on your role until the end. You don’t want to give your employer any reason not to provide you with an excellent reference. And of course, resist the temptation of saying anything you’ll regret later, even if it’s warranted.

Easier said than done?

 

Photo Credit: Victory Chic

What to Consider When Considering Counter Offers

04-0570-4677010_0x440Counter Offers You’ve gone through the entire interview process and received a great offer; a better opportunity with a better company. You’ve analyzed and agonized over the decision to leave your current position, for what appears to be a better one, and you’ve decided to accept the offer. 
However, upon resigning, your current boss asks you to stay and makes you a counter offer. Career changes are tough enough as it is, and anxieties about leaving a comfortable job, friends and location and having to reprove yourself again in an unknown opportunity can cloud the best logic. But just because the new position is a little scary doesn’t mean it’s not a positive move. Since counteroffers can create confusion and buyer’s remorse, you should understand what you’re up against.

Counteroffers usually involve offering more money, a promotion or future promises. The Emotional Counter Offer is a calculated approach to guilting you into staying with the company.

“You’re too valuable. We need you.”

“You can’t desert the team and leave them hanging.”

“Why would you want to work for that company?”

“We were just about to give you a promotion, and it was confidential until now.”

Consider this

Where did the additional money or responsibility you would get come from? Was your next raise or promotion just given early? Will you be limited in the future? Will you have to threaten to quit in order to get your next raise? Might a cheaper replacement be sought out?

You’ve demonstrated your unhappiness or lack of blind loyalty, and will be perceived as having committed blackmail to gain a raise. You won’t ever be considered a team player again. Many employers will hold a grudge at the next review period, and you may be placed at the top of the next reduction-in-force “hit list”.

Apart from a short-term, band-aid treatment, nothing will change within the company. After the dust settles from this upheaval, you’ll be in the same old rut. A rule of thumb is that more than 80% of those who accept counteroffers leave, or are terminated, within six to 12 months. And half of those who accept counteroffers re-initiate their job searches within 90 days.

Finally, when you make your decision, look at your current job and the new position as if you were unemployed. Which opportunity holds the most real potential? Probably the new one or you wouldn’t have accepted it in the first place.

Top 10 Reasons Not to Accept a Counter Offer

1. After resigning, you have made your employer aware that you were looking and unhappy. Your loyalty will now be in question.

2. When promotion/raise time comes around, your employer will remember who is loyal and who is not.

3. When making difficult decisions about cut-backs, the company may begin with those that are deemed less loyal.

4. Accepting a Counter-Offer is an insult to your intelligence and a blow to your personal pride, to simply be bought at the last minute.

5. Where was the extra money for a counter-offer at during your last performance review? Most companies have strict wage/salary guidelines and may be simply giving your next raise early or buying time to hire someone in your place.

6. The same circumstances that now cause you to consider making a change almost always reoccur within the next 6-12 months.

7. Statistics show that if you accept a counter-offer, the probability of voluntarily leaving in 6 months or being let go within 1 year are extremely high.

8. Once the word gets out, the relationship you now enjoy with co-workers will never be the same. You lose personal satisfaction of the peer group acceptance.

9. What type of company do you want to work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you are worth?

10. Accepting counter-offers after already accepting another position burns bridges with other companies, your recruiter, and ultimately shows all 3 parties that you can be bought.

Need more evidence? Do your own homework: google counteroffers and see what you find….

 

Photo Credit: Vogue Italy

Think inside the box. The Tailored Resume.

resumeThe Tailored Resume. So you have a lot of skills you want to show off on your resume? Good for you. Not everyone is multitalented. Having a variety of skills and varied job titles on your resume is a good thing in life but it can make your job search a whole lot more challenging. I know, it’s not fair. It’s reality. As humans we seek to categorize people places and things. It’s natural. Your resume needs to read clearly and consistently so that the person reviewing it can easily and quickly put you into a box.

Does your resume match the job you want? Tips for the tailored resume.

The Summary

I prefer summaries with key words as opposed to lengthy paragraph formats. If you opt for a traditional paragraph, focus the language on the job you’re interested in. As opposed to positioning yourself as a jack of all trades. Most medium to large sized companies want specialized experience. A little variation is okay but keep it focused on the position of interest. The only exception to this rule is in a startup. Startups will value background diversity for obvious reasons.

Job Titles

To even be considered for a role you’ve got to think like the person hiring. This could mean HR, a recruiter or the hiring manager. If you’re applying for a position in Merchandising, does your resume consistently read merchandising with your previous titles?

Sometimes employers award unusual job titles. This makes for extra fun in tailoring your resume. You have to be honest, so use the title given but consider using a more common or similar title in parenthesis. While a good hiring manager should be able to read between the lines, you’re more likely to get past the initial review if its’ more obvious to them. Why not make it easy?

Were you a consultant or freelancer for a time in your career? Rather than using the title CEO or Consultant, use a title that more accurately reflects what you did. Best scenario is to match the title to the job you’re applying for. You can still maintain the work consultant. Example: Sr. Designer – Freelance.

Skill Set

Do the skills reflect the role you are pursuing? If you’re unsure take a look at the job description posted. If there’s a specific skill you possesses that’s listed on the job description but not on your resume, consider adding it. Pepper these skills throughout as they are applicable to previous positions.

The end goal is to get your resume as closely aligned for the job you’re pursuing. This will increase your chances of getting the initial interview. During the call you can elaborate on your many talents.

 

Photo Credit: Dribbble

The Dire Consequences of Overlooking Fit

5c170f7c72d484b8ed10b7ccf363c043Overlooking Fit “I’m probably going to lose my job in 2 hours. It’s a mandatory meeting. The writing is on the wall.” That’s how the conversation started. Last week I got a call from a close friend and colleague whom I have known for many years.

The story goes something like this. “Angela” left her job 7 months ago where she had enjoyed a lengthy tenure, loved the people she worked with including her boss and thrived. She took a call from a recruiter who presented her with an opportunity that she decided to pursue. After successfully winning the interview process Angela received an offer that was 20K more than her current base salary. Money coupled with more growth opportunity she decided to accept the position. 60 days in Angela knew she had made a mistake. Culturally this company was significantly different from her last employer. She was used to moving fast and leading a team of motivated sales people. In her new role she met resistance from every side when attempting to reach the status quo. Despite challenges she remained diligent and successfully out performed her counterparts nationwide with a sweeping 80% in sales during the 4th quarter. But instead of gaining popularity, she became more and more unpopular. Team members were simply not used to her “way” of doing things. Finally the day came when she made a mistake. Except it wasn’t really a mistake. She was just following her bosses’ orders. It didn’t matter, she took the blame. They had found a way to let her go.

Feeling betrayed, disappointed and slightly relieved I got another call from Angela. This time it was for advice on her resume. She was ready to get back on the job market.

Prevention Methods

You might be wondering, how did she not know that this company was such a poor cultural fit? Were there no signs? If she was so happy why would she even consider a new opportunity? Angela made two critical errors. First, not thoroughly investigating company culture. Although hiring teams put on their best face during the interview process, she could have asked about team dynamics, challenges, work pace, etc. it’s also important to gain an outside, independent opinion of what it’s really like. What are former employees saying? Glassdoor.com? Secondly, Angela got a dose of the green eyed monster. Never focus on money. Although tempting to accept a significantly higher salary, it’s not worth your quality of life. Working 16 hour days and being miserable most of the time isn’t a life. No matter how much money you earn. Ultimately Angela sacrificed her track record and left a less than desirable mark on her otherwise pristine resume.

Road to Recovery

The good news is that one short stint on your resume isn’t career ending. Not even close. Most reasonable hiring managers and recruiters understand that bad things happen to good people. If the majority of your background is solid, a poor fit can be overlooked. It’s important to be honest about what happened but be careful about assigning blame. Take responsibility while conveying the reality of the situation. Never say anything negative about a previous employer. People can read between the lines. Chances are, they’ve been in a similar situation at some point in their career.

Sound familiar? Have you ever left an employer for what you believed was an offer you couldn’t refuse? Only to discover you had made a terrible mistake. What did you do?

 

Photo Credit: Vogue

What’s IN and What’s OUT of Resume Design

Top-10-Resume-Building-TipsResume Aesthetics What does your resume say about you? What message does it convey? In many ways the aesthetics of your resume are as important as your personal appearance at an onsite interview. A neat, clean, well-tailored resume sets the tone for a positive first impression.

It may not come as a shock that we’ve seen a few resumes. A recent trend I’ve noticed is the increased use of imagery. Graphics, photos, charts, blinding color, and infographics have made their way onto many creative professional resumes. I get it. You’re attempting to showcase your creative talents in the hopes that someone will see your stunningly beautiful resume and offer you a job. But, that’s what your portfolio is for; use it. Even the most cleverly executed infographic won’t properly convey your personality or creative genius. It just looks messy. Even worse, it’s difficult for Hiring Managers, HR and recruiters to read. I don’t want to have to hunt for your most recent employer or job title. A resume should not resemble a treasure map. Most programs don’t parse graphic heavy documents. Meaning, your resume will not be properly filed and likely not found when searching for a candidate with your skill set.

A few style tips for keeping your resume well groomed.

IN

Keyword summary

Strategically centered at the top of your resume is both convenient and aesthetically pleasing. Keywords also parse nicely.

Bullets

Breaks up bulky text. Refer to Essay Style as the messy alternative.

Supporting evidence

Percentages or numbers are a great way to prove your claim. For example, increased sales by 17% as a result of bestselling design.

LinkedIn Profile

The person reviewing your resume is likely going to cross reference you on LinkedIn anyway, why not save them some time and include a link to your profile.

Links

Have some work you would like to showcase? Sample sketches, designs, projects, writing samples? Include a link at the top of your resume.

OUT

Objective

Including an objective became passé when Saved By the Bell started airing reruns. It’s over.

Essay style.

Resumes are not minor cogitations. Clear, concise statements read well and without the text feeling overwhelming. Break up your points with the bullet style of your choice.

References

We don’t recommend including an additional page of references. When the time comes, you can simply provide your potential employer with one if it’s requested. References available upon request can go away altogether. It’s stating the obvious. As opposed to not being available?

Imagery

Debatable as to whether or not this was ever acceptable. Graphics, lots of color, photos, charts, etc. have no place on your resume. Communicate your experience the old fashioned way, through writing. Refer to Links.

Cover Letter

The controversy continues as to whether or not a cover letter is still necessary. My perspective on the cover letter is that if your resume is well written a cover letter is redundant and frankly, an extra document to read. Not time well spent. Most cover letters say the same thing. If they’re clever enough to have some substance they won’t sway my opinion of a candidate’s qualifications or fit for a specific position. One thing is for certain; if you opt for a cover letter it should be a separate document. Not combined with your resume.

Finding the Right Work Environment to Thrive In

thumb_65e781e4e85db70cefcc5a6e4ee38143b4589b8a_slider_image_headerI wouldn’t say I’m cynical but most of my close friends would say I’m not easily impressed. Last week I took a call from a young woman who was seeking some direction on which companies to target for her job search. While still junior in her career she possessed a deep level of understanding of the kinds of things she was seeking in her next employer. She knew what she wanted to gain through experience and was willing to find the right company who would foster these aspirations. Impressive. Most of us have at least a vague, underlying sense of what we desire from our work. Some of us are seeking fulfillment or engagement within a meaningful role. While others may have an aggressive list of goals and benchmarks we would like to achieve.

Is it whimsical to believe that we can achieve our desires through personal efforts alone? If we simply work long and hard enough will we eventually reach our destination of personal satisfaction?

Most of us acknowledge that we cannot do it all alone. We need the right environment in which to thrive. But what does that environment look like? How do we know which environments will be fruitful and which will drain us and foster resentment.

This begins with some self-awareness. Rather than taking a shot gun approach to whatever comes your way, consider spending some time thinking about what truly matters to you. It’s not always as easy or simple as you may think.

What matters to you? A few ideas to get you thinking…

  • Upward mobility. Opportunity for promotions. You’re looking for a career track.
  • A socially conscious company. Mission driven.
  • A brand that you can relate to personally.
  • Superior product that inspires.
  • Work-life balance.
  • Continuous learning. Opportunities to grow professionally.
  • You want to feel like you’re part of something as opposed to just a number.

 

Once you have a firm grasp on what’s important you can begin to narrow down your list of potential future employers. Maybe it’s a combination. Even better. The more specific you can be about your desired culture and goals, the easier the process will become when determining fit.

A company’s culture typically represents the people, systems, beliefs and scope of the overall organization. So where do you go from here? If you’re ready to develop a strategic search plan continue here for step by step instructions.

 

Photo Credit: Thread

Utilizing Strategic Search to Get YOUR Ideal Job

thumb_4f7b365416843cd7ab231a09a863e7219dcde15a_slider_image_headerStrategic Search Sick and tired of the shot gun approach to your job search? Why not try a more strategic approach? Earlier in the week we talked about the importance of knowing what you want before developing a plan of action.

Whether you’re employed and confidentially looking or between jobs and actively looking, a strategic approach will cost you more time and thought but the rewards will be significantly greater. Besides, what’s the alternative? Applying online, otherwise known as the black hold of resumes. Let’s face it, this is where resumes go to die. Or, wait for the ideal opportunity to find you? A realistic possibility yet how will you know the role is right for you if you haven’t done your homework.

Although this is nowhere near an exhaustive list, let’s work from a few of the examples in our last post.

If you’re seeking…

Upward mobility

Consider companies that are growing. If you notice a company is hiring a number of positons they’re likely adding new roles. Or, seek a company with a reputation for promoting from within.

Socially Conscious or Mission driven

Which companies in your market segment are publicly acknowledged for donating to charity? Aside from great product, which brands appear to be more mission driven? Obvious examples are: Keen, REI, TOMS, Wild Fang, etc.

A brand that you can relate to personally

This one is easy. Do they align with your personal beliefs, hobbies or lifestyle?

Superior product that inspires

Which brands do you admire for innovation, craftsmanship, or overall aesthetic?

Continuous learning. Opportunities to grow professionally.

You’re likely to find more learning opportunities in small to medium sized companies. With less employees you’ll be given the opportunity to try new things and work in more than one function. With smaller brands you’ll get hands on experience. Some larger corporate settings offer training and development. Macys, Neiman Marcus, Nike are a few examples of companies that offer formal training programs.

Work-life balance

Some companies have a reputation for turn and burn cultures. Others are more subtle. This is where you’ll need to leverage your network to find the truth. Who can you talk to who has worked there in the past? Be careful to not base your view on only one person’s experience. Talk to at least three. LinkedIn is an easy way to find people who have worked at your target company in the past. Talk to recruiters whom you know and trust.

Engagement. You want to feel like you’re part of something as opposed to just a number.

In general, smaller to medium sized companies are a bit cozier with less red tape which typically promotes engagement. If you’re set on a corporate structure refer to Work-life balance and leverage your network to gather the information you need to make an informed decision. Another resource to consider is glassdoor.com. Sometimes you’ll find interesting comments from past employees that will offer insight. It may not confirm that the company promotes employee engagement but it will be obvious if they do not.

Putting Your Plan into Action

By now, you might have 10-30 companies on your list. Now comes the easy part. Use the advanced search on LinkedIn. Type in the company name and title of the person who you would potentially report to. For example: If you’re a Director of Product Development, you would likely report to a VP. Repeat this step to determine your best HR or Talent Acquisition contact. For large companies, Director of Talent of Acquisition. In smaller or medium sized brands, HR director is more likely to be your point person. Once you have a complete list of names and titles to corresponding companies you can contact them directly either via email or through LinkedIn.

Introduce yourself, express your interest in the brand and why. This is a great opportunity to include some of the reasons you were drawn to this company and why you’re reaching out. Include your resume. A paragraph maximum will suffice. Don’t write an essay on your career history and why you’re awesome. Keep it brief and to the point.

You just made a strategic contact with a company you would be truly interested in working for. When the timing and opportunity is right your chances of being contacted for a role that aligns with you is significantly greater. Without the guesswork.

 

Photo Credit: Want

Brand vs. Culture

01-3013057_0x440We recently made a tough decision to politely decline partnering with a well-known activewear brand on a few searches. Actually, it really wasn’t a difficult decision at all. I had heard from a number of industry connections over the last year that the culture was challenging. That’s putting it lightly. Demanding pace, micromanaging, a revolving door of employees. Despite the rumors, I took the call to learn more directly from the source. I was curious, what was their perception of their culture?

I always ask new clients if there are any rumors about their company or any negative perceptions in the market. To my surprise they were very well aware of their company reputation. HR shared with me most of what I had heard from candidates. She added of course some of the benefits of working for this brand, which while were not without merit carried more weight in terms of office aesthetics. Surprisingly unapologetic with little desire for improvement in the future health of their company culture. I wondered, why would someone want to work for your company? So, I decided to ask her directly. Her answer was simple, yet telling. It went something like this, we have a great product, brand and loyal consumer following.

Hmm, I thought. You haven’t really answered my question. Is your goal to attract more consumers or talent? That begs the question, does an equal parts great brand and product translate to a great place to work?

You tell me? As an industry professional are you more inspired by the brand and product they create or the culture in which you work?

Naturally we gravitate towards product that we relate to. Particularly in the performance and outdoor market segments there’s an emotional connection to the activities we personally enjoy. But is it enough to warrant a less than desirable work environment? I suppose it depends on what drives you and what you hope to gain with a specific role. For the most part, the candidates we encounter want both a brand that inspires and a healthy culture.

Acknowledging that no company is perfect, knowingly promoting a company that has a notorious reputation for turning and burning employees was not an offer I could accept in good conscience.

A few days later two senior level employees from this brand reached out to me personally. Informing us that they are confidentially seeking new opportunities. Apparently the brand / product superiority was not enough for them.