We hope this finds you well, as are we. The Barrett Group has been active in the
career management market for 30 years and has weathered all manner of crises,
Yes, the US and the world are in the grip of a health crisis. Once governments recognize what needs to be done and commit publicly to doing it, people will adjust. Fortunately, with the measures rapidly being adopted in the US and Europe this is finally starting to happen, though it will certainly get worse before it gets better.
Where China has adopted strict lock-downs, the incidence of new cases has already dwindled.
There is hope that “shelter in place” and similar measures being adopted elsewhere can slow the rate of spread and allow health services to expand their capacity and source the equipment and supplies they will need as the crisis peaks.
Medically, most people even if they become infected are not at risk of anything worse than a severe flu, if that, but please take all necessary precautions. Extensive testing for example in Iceland shows that many who are infected never become symptomatic… though they may still be infectious for a period of time.
Industries will be impacted differently.
The cruise ship, airline, amusement park, and concert businesses are already suffering. Consumer goods companies, particularly makers of hand sanitizer, face masks, toilet paper and the like are thriving. The health care industries once they adjust will probably do well, too.
On-line shopping is booming as you can see from Amazon’s stock development. Microsoft and others have leapt into the remote-learning market as schools have closed.
Government stimulus and support is also making its way through the regulatory process and green shoots are showing on the world’s stock markets. Many other industries will not be significantly impacted in the medium term.
At the Barrett Group we are modestly ahead of the curve as far as virtual working is concerned, and it seems that the world is moving our way. This may be the most significant impact of all in the long term as more and more companies recognize that there are in fact significant advantages to telecommuting.
Already, most initial employment interviews are conducted by telephone and videoconference.
By the way, we can help you set up a complimentary videoconference account of your own, if you wish, to help you capitalize on this trend.
Our discussions with major employers indicate that most expect to weather this crisis and continue recruiting major talent, as their organizational strategies are long term and not particularly affected by the whim of the market.
So, in a nutshell, as long as you are willing to do the work required, this health crisis should not significantly impact your career change campaign in our opinion.
Most of our clients land through the unpublished market anyway and we know how to help you make the connections required to be successful there.
Fear can be paralyzing.
But you need not be a victim.
Take advantage of this crisis to take stock of your situation. Perhaps it is time for you to take
action. If so, please consult us. Thirty years of guiding executives toward a
better work / life / compensation balance has made us the experts. We can help.
In the meantime, please do everything you can to stay healthy and
protect the health of those around you.
A hiring manager, 3rd party recruiter or HR professional encounters many difficult assignments. Other than letting an employee go, the most difficult among these assignments is informing an interviewee that they were not selected for the job opportunity.
Consider these two crucial reasons this method has helped our clients toward success:
The High Road Approach Establishes A Path For Future Opportunities. Many clients who take the high road approach end up being selected for the position if the employer’s first choice washes out during the offer negotiation or probationary stage of onboarding. From time to time the employer is so impressed by your sophistication and political savvy that they change their mind and offer the position to you anyway.
The High Road Approach Expands Your Sphere of Influence. Our clients often receive referrals for totally different opportunities either within the same company or a job located in the interviewer’s sphere of influence. These referrals are to jobs in both the unpublished and published job markets.
How To Implement The High Road Approach
The approach to use is simple and quite profound, considering it is the road least traveled. By using this methodology, you can develop a networking relationship with the decision maker. Upon establishing this relationship, your connection may eventually volunteer the answers to the questions you wanted to ask.
The approach begins with a simple letter sent by email or traditional mail:
Hi Name of person in the hiring process assigned to deliver the news>,
Although I am disappointed for not being selected for the opportunity, congratulations on filling the position!
In the interest of staying connected, I will send you a LinkedIn invite. I have learned that amazing opportunities can come from networking relationships, contacts shared and from professional associations.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like assistance with anything or just to stay in touch.
I will circle back around to you in a few weeks to see how you are doing.
Your first and last name (xxx) xxx-xxxx
An additional High Road Approach goes a step further.
Find out who got the job and take them to lunch. You have more in common than you realize- you obviously wanted the same position. Turn the disappointment of not getting the job into a networking opportunity.
Compensation is a fundamental component of employment, but it’s one of the most difficult topics for workers to discuss with their employers. No surprise, perhaps, given that discussing money is traditionally a conversational taboo, along with politics and religion. Nevertheless, if you want to get paid what you deserve, developing a comfort level with this topic and having a good strategy will go a long way towards preparing yourself to ask for – and get – the compensation you want.
Enlisting the help of a career coach is a great way to get started. Their clientele gives them hands-on insight into what works and what doesn’t. A coach can suggest best practices and real practice to help you become more at ease with the process.
As for strategy, it’s important to keep in mind that, when it comes to negotiating money, there are two specific times to do it: during the hiring period and after you’re already employed. Each time calls for a different approach, and it pays (literally!) to learn the following tactics.
The first step to set yourself up well to negotiate money during the application process is to make the hiring manager believe that you are the perfect fit for the job. That means you omit everything from your resume that is outside the scope of the job description. Scratch all keywords that are unrelated to the company, the industry, and the role that the company needs you to do. Scratch even achievements that you are very proud of if they aren’t related to the job description, and leave only core competencies and skills. This will help ATS software identify you as a highly skilled person, flag you as being worth more money, and secure you more interviews.
How to Talk Money During the Interview Process
When you reach the interview process, pursue the same tactic as above through verbal articulation. Jot down in advance all of your successes that directly relate to the job posting, and discuss only those during your interview. Give examples of what you have done that relates to what the company wants you to do. Don’t bother to bring up anything else, even if you’re proud of it. Why? Discussing your experience beyond the job description might make the hiring manager think that you will negotiate any offer they might extend, which will result in a lowball initial offer.
You should absolutely negotiate, of course, and you want to ensure that the starting point is as high as possible before you do. Surprisingly, about half of all job applicants do NOT negotiate salary during the hiring process. Of those who do, most focus only on base pay, instead of considering the entire compensation package. People who don’t negotiate at all, or who don’t negotiate the compensation package as a whole, during the hiring process inevitably leave money on the table.
In general, if you’re asked what
salary you want, try to duck giving a direct answer. Let the hiring manager name
the first number. If pressed, offer a range, along with a disclaimer that you will
consider a salary offer only in the context of a full compensation package, as
well as the people you will work with and report to, and any other pertinent
details. You don’t want to trap yourself into the low end of a range, and this
disclaimer will give you greater freedom to negotiate.
Preparing to Ask for a Raise the Moment You’re Hired
The best way to get a pay raise after you’re employed, says Dan Resendes, chief consulting officer of The Barrett Group, is to accept a job offer with a request that you get your first evaluation in six months instead of in one year. You’ll look ambitious, and it enables you to ask for a raise twice in one year.
“Eighty percent of my clients get a
6-month evaluation when they ask for it,” says Resendes.
Next, ask your manager right away what her goals and objectives are. Find out what the performance indicators are and tell your manager that you plan to give her the best performance possible. In return you, you will ask to be compensated as well as possible. If this makes you feel apprehensive, remember that bosses are impressed by ambition, and asking for money demonstrates your interest in staying at the company.
Don’t wait until your evaluation to follow up and find out how you are doing against the goals you were given. Be proactive and have regular conversations once or twice per quarter to make sure that you’re on track and that the objectives haven’t changed, lest you fall victim to an evolving mission.
One unique stratagem that coaches at The Barrett Group counsel their clients to do is to buy a “dream book” when they start a new job. A dream book is a notebook in which you write down all your successes and the ways that you deserve gold stars for meeting your goals. Update the notebook each week. By the end of 10 months, it will be full of contributions you’ve made to the company that can inform the conversations you have with your boss about your performance and bolster your rationale for a pay raise request.
The most effective way to use the dream book is to invite your boss to coffee about a month before your evaluation takes place, the better to have her undivided attention. Tell her that you’ve been tracking your work performance since you were hired and present her with a report that will give her complete, accurate information of your contributions to the company that she can review at her leisure as she considers your upcoming raise.
Offering your boss such written
evidence has three benefits:
your argument for deserving more money,
the onus off her to think of reasons, herself, why you deserve a raise when
there may be other competing demands on her time, and
her defend to higher ups in the company her decision to give you more money if
the need arises.
When you proactively target company goals, track your results, and regularly communicate your efforts and overall ambition to your boss, you strip away all the risks generally associated with asking for a pay raise. You make the best case possible that you deserve a raise. Most people are reactionary with their careers, but those who manage their careers in this way end up more successful, more satisfied, and better compensated.
General Dos & Don’ts
In addition to these four tactics, here are some general Dos and Don’ts to keep in mind as you plan your next raise request:
DO ask! You’re more likely to get a
raise if you ask for it than if you don’t ask for it. Plus, you’ve got nothing
to lose; people don’t get fired for asking for more money.
DO consider bonuses, benefits, perks,
and other elements of the full compensation package in your negotiations, not
just base pay.
DO your homework. Know what you’re
worth, what you’ve done and what you need to do to set yourself up for success.
Make sure that your work priorities are aligned with the company’s, and solicit
feedback regularly from your boss.
DO your best to appear confident
during all your conversations about money.
DO take stretch assignments that allow
you to interact with people outside your silo. If your boss doesn’t treat you
right, these additional contacts will enhance your leverage to secure a better
talk aboutyour personal
financial needs when negotiating your pay. Your rent hike isn’t your boss’s
problem. Negotiations should always be performance-based conversations.
DON’T negotiate money through email! Men
especially make this mistake, observes Resendes. If you are communicating via
email, you can be sure that you’re up against a team of people whose best
interests are hiring you at the lowest possible compensation you’ll accept. Instead
pick up the phone so you can speak to one – and only one – person and hear his
reactions to your comments.
DON’T negotiate pay before you have an
offer in writing. Big mistake! If you don’t know what’s in the entire
compensation package, you don’t have the full picture. The base salary may be
low because of a big bonus, corporate housing, stock options, or any number of
other reasons. Wait until you know all the details of an offer before you begin
challenge your boss or get
defensive if you don’t get the raise you want. Let it sit for a week and then,
when you’re calm, circle back to ask what you could have done differently to
get the raise you asked for. Use the experience as an opportunity for
DON’T forget that if you don’t get paid
what you deserve, you can always go elsewhere. It’s a jobseeker’s market, so
You’ve revamped your LinkedIn
profile, added new skills and credentials to your value proposition, and
practiced interviewing. You’ve re-written your resume for every job
opportunity, crafted your cover letters with the care of someone wooing a new
love interest, and sent follow-up messages to every hiring manager you’ve met.
You’ve even lost weight and refreshed your wardrobe.
If you are STILL getting no promotions
or compelling new job opportunities, you need to look beyond the standard
checklist of job search activities. You need to leverage the intangible
advantages employed by the most successful executives. Sure, skills and
experience are essential in an executive job search, but it’s your ability to garner
and harness these important, subtle, and sometimes elusive, qualities that will
really set you apart from your competition.
One of the most important of these is executive presence.
There is only so high that people
can advance in their careers with skills and experience alone. At some point
their prospects will level off if they don’t possess a characteristic known as
Although executive presence has been studied enough to have earned its own acronym (EP), it remains difficult to describe and even harder to obtain. It’s the certain je ne sais quoi that demarcates managers from executives. It’s a manner of looking and behaving the part of an executive that includes a combination of things like a firm handshake, good eye contact, dignified comportment, and appropriate dress. Someone with executive presence also exudes an ease of being, a sense of self-worth, and confidence that is neither arrogant nor pretentious. In short, it’s the “It” factor.
You know it when you see it. You also know it when it’s lacking. A senior executive of a New York City-based startup related his impression of a candidate who lacked executive presence during an interview:
I interviewed a guy with 30 years of experience for a position. He comes into the company, which is famous for being a startup, wearing an ill-fitting, strangely colored suit. Someone with executive presence would have understood, at a minimum, that wearing jeans and a sports jacket to an interview at a startup is appropriate. He also exhibited little confidence in himself, carried himself poorly, and lacked authority when he spoke. With 30 years of experience, this guy should have been at the executive level. But it was clear to me he was not an executive – he was a 30-year manager.
Your Executive Presence
Executive presence comes naturally
to some people. But it can also be cultivated through planning and preparation.
The first step is understanding specifically what you need to do to boost your
If you’re unsure of how to get started, engaging an executive career coach, such as those at The Barrett Group, is an excellent way to get help in targeting how you can up your game and perform at your best. Because they have their ear to the ground in the job market, they are best situated to help you play to your strengths, whatever those are, and exploit them to the best of your ability to yield better opportunities and higher compensation in your job search.
International Experience Differentiates You
Is international experience
relevant in your job search? If the job involves interacting with other
countries and traveling, then, yes, it’s relevant. But even if you’re seeking a
US-based job, having international experience allows hiring managers to tick
off the “preferred” box. It shows a little extra value about you.
If you’ve lived outside your own
country, it implies that you’re a risk taker and even that you are a higher
performing applicant. In addition, people who work in an international
environment, where business and cultural customs are different, demonstrate a
greater adaptability in carrying out their jobs than their local peers.
A recent article in CEO Magazine details several other reasons why international experience is important for executives, not least of which is that, in our increasingly globalized, technology-driven world, leaders with overseas experience will be crucial to driving future innovation and expansion.
If you have the opportunity to get international experience, and it’s not a hardship, get it and have it in the bank because you might find yourself looking for a job in the future where it will be important or useful.
It should be repeated often and vigorously to utilize your professional network (Read Hone Your Networking Skills…and Slip in the Backdoor to Land Your Next Job for more information). Networking is the biggest factor in finding a job for all types of people, and successful executives will tell you that most jobs, or even every job, they ever got was thanks to their network of relationships.
The most important thing to
remember about networking, however, is not to wait until you are looking to
switch jobs to build those relationships. You should build them when you don’t
need them. How? You do it by always going out of your way to help others – that
is, you pay it forward. Make it part of your business strategy to help others
and extend yourself for others in whatever way you can whenever you are in a
position to do so. If you do, when the times comes that you need help in a job
search, you will find that people in your network will be willing to help you
Executive positions are very competitive, so small advantages will make a difference. Some advantages are easy to manage, such as dressing the part for an interview, for example. But job seekers need to know what that means at each different company. In today’s casual workplace, fitting in could mean a full suit, or it could mean jeans and a t-shirt (as the anecdote above demonstrated). If you have piercings, tattoos, or an unusual hairdo, try to tone things down if the environment calls for it. How you dress for an interview is a slight “tell” on how well you did your homework on a company.
If you have cultural differences,
give special consideration to how to handle them in your job search. Someone
with a thick foreign accent, for example, might need to practice speaking
slowly and enunciating well. Orthodox Jewish applicants who need to leave
before sundown every Friday should volunteer specific assurances on how this personal
requirement will not affect their ability to get their work done.
Companies aren’t allowed to
discriminate against applicants, of course. And, at the same time, you need to
be yourself. But it shows a level of good judgement if you address these
differences head on, which interviewers will appreciate. And it shows a clarity
of mind that comes from preparation and forethought.
Mastering this and other intangible
advantages will showcase your personal brand, which may well tip the scales in
your favor in your job search.
Knowing how to read clients and colleagues, and understanding what underlying thoughts and emotions are influencing their actions and decisions, have long been useful skills in business.
These and related competencies, including staying calm under pressure, an ability to manage social relationships, being aware of your emotions and knowing how to channel them productively, comprise the rapidly spreading concept of Emotional Intelligence (abbreviated as either EI or EQ). These characteristics are recognized not only as important components of good business practices, but also a critical skillset in the modern workplace.
A Careerbuilder survey of more than
2600 U.S. hiring managers showed that a whopping 71% of employers value
emotional intelligence in employees over IQ, and 34% of them admitted to
placing greater emphasis on EQ when hiring and promoting employees. Nearly 60%
of them said they’d pass on a candidate with a high IQ but a low EQ.
survey was published in 2011, but the buzz about emotional intelligence has only
grown. Many businesses now study EQ and design programs to educate the masses
about its important contributions to organizations and how to harness its
benefits. The World Economic Forum even ranked emotional intelligence as one of
the top 10 skills in 2020 in the The Future of
– a skill that didn’t even make the top 10 list for 2015.
It’s clear that when it comes to employment and job seeking, emotional intelligence is now critical to have – perhaps even more so than skills and experience.
Emotional intelligence is, as it sounds, the intersection of emotions and intelligence. It’s the ability to recognize one’s own emotions and the emotions of others, manage the emotions so that they don’t control your own behavior, and use the information in a way that is productive and beneficial to relationships and circumstances.
For example, a manager with high EQ might recognize a worker’s struggle to make a standing 8:30am meeting because the drop-off time of his child’s school conflicts with it. She changes the meeting time to accommodate the worker. The manager has sacrificed little with the schedule change, but has gained enormous appreciation on the part of the worker and even, perhaps, other witnesses, by the gesture.
of emotional intelligence has evolved in different ways since its introduction
in the 1980s. Peter Salovey, currently President of Yale University, and John
Mayer, Professor of Psychology at the University of New Hampshire, were early
pioneers of the theory, publishing a foundational research article in 1989.
Daniel Goleman then popularized the concept with the release of his 1995
best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ.
The Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute was created at Google in 2007 when a team of leading experts in mindfulness, neuroscience and emotional intelligence developed an internal course for Google employees. It soon became an incredibly popular training program and now serves companies, nonprofits and government organizations worldwide.
the RULER program, developed at
the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, has been sweeping the nation’s
schools using an evidence-based approach for integrating social and emotional
learning into classrooms.
Global management and consulting firm, McKinsey, has spotted the trend, estimating that, between 2016 and 2030, demand for social and emotional skills will grow across all industries by 26% in the U.S.
Benefits of EQ for Job Seekers
you still need certain skills and experience to get your foot in the door for
many opportunities. But having high emotional intelligence will give you
leverage over your competitors. Why? Because hiring managers know that people
with high EQ make good decisions, handle change well, respond well to feedback,
and are able to effectively solve problems. They stay calm under pressure,
support their co-workers, and cultivate relationships that help to create
productive work environments.
Hiring managers also know that people with high EQ are more likely to tough out a difficult situation, and direct reports of managers with high EQ are less likely to leave a company – 400% less likely according to one source!
employed, people with high emotional intelligence continue to be rewarded. The Careerbuilder
survey showed that a full three-quarters of employers said they’d be more
likely to promote someone with high emotional intelligence over someone with a
And, in case you’re wondering, that eventually translates into money. According to a 2017 time-lagged study of emotional intelligence and salary, college students identified as having emotional intelligence turned out to enjoy significantly higher salaries 10 to 12 years later, mainly because EQ helped them acquire the social capital necessary to be successful in their careers.
intelligence comes naturally to some people, but, as with music, sports or
languages, anyone can learn it with instruction and practice. If you want to
boost your EQ, you can peruse the abundance of literature available or take an assessment
test. You can also start with the following steps:
Become self-aware. Learn to identify your emotions as they happen. When you can label your emotions objectively, you can learn how to manage them so that you respond to them productively instead of reacting to them. Figure out your strengths and your weaknesses and learn how to maximize your effectiveness within these parameters.
Stop and think. You may not be able to stop from feeling an emotion, but you can manage your response to it. Pause before you speak or write back to someone in a moment of anger or frustration. In the face of criticism, warranted or not, ask yourself how you might learn from the situation.
Train your attention. Life is full of many distractions, but learning to focus on a goal or a purpose leads to calmness and clarity of mind. You can’t stop negative experiences or life stressors from occurring, but you can choose how you react to them. Daily journaling is one excellent way to process your frustrations and put things into perspective.
Talk less and listen more. The more you understand the perspective of others, the more empathetic you’re likelier to be. You don’t have to agree with the perspective of others, but your effort to see how they see things will result in deeper and better relationships.
Manage your relationships. Offer feedback, extend praise, and make apologies. Observe your surroundings and relationships and make concessions or accommodations to others, knowing that they your active efforts will result in better relationships and a more productive workplace.
important to continue to practice these steps to maintain a high level of
emotional intelligence. But the effort will pay off because people with high
EQs have an edge – in business and in all aspects of life.
You wrap up an engaging interview at a company and come away feeling that this position would be a great fit for you. You have the impression that the hiring manager feels the same way about you. He walks you to the door, you shake hands, say goodbye…and you never hear from him again. Ever. Not only does he not call, he doesn’t respond to your follow-up calls or emails. You’ve been ghosted!
If this has happened to you, you’re not alone. Companies have been ghosting applicants for years, and it happens across many different industries. A recent survey by Recruiting Daily Advisor found that among applicants that have gotten ghosted, 23% were seeking jobs at business, finance and legal companies, and 22% were job seeking at advertising, marketing, PR and media companies. Many other industries also make the list, including healthcare, retail & hospitality, and tech.
Ghosting is a term that got its start in the world of dating
when one person suddenly quits returning the phone calls, emails or texts of
the other with no explanation because, you know, it’s too awkward to tell
someone that you’re just not that into them anymore. Instead you just pretend
that they don’t exist until they quit trying to contact you.
In the business world, the reasons behind getting ghosted are usually not so petty, but it’s equally painful – perhaps more so because, your ego notwithstanding, there are mouths to feed and bills to pay. How long should you hang in there waiting for signs of life?
Some people experience ghosting at the application stage. They
send a resume to company after company with no response. There are several
reasons for this:
First, maybe you’re not qualified for the job. According to Dan Resendes, Chief Consulting Officer at The Barrett Group, the biggest mistake job candidates make is submitting an application that doesn’t have 100% of the “must have” job qualifications. It demonstrates two strikes against you: 1) You aren’t qualified, and 2) you didn’t follow instructions. In this case, applying is a waste of time.
If you are 100% qualified and your application still gets no traction, your resume might be to blame. Your resume should reflect ALL the job qualifications, and not just in the body of the resume, but also in the headline.
Most hiring managers handle huge numbers of resumes and only
read the top few lines of each one. If you’re applying to a position requiring “international
sales experience” and your resume headline reads “sales experience,” you won’t
get a response – even if your international experience is highlighted later.
At the same time, you should omit all skills outside the
scope of the job requirements. Many people include a laundry list of common
core competencies in their resumes, but this sometimes works against you.
Hiring managers might think you’re over-qualified, would become bored, or might
ask for too much money. It’s counter-intuitive, but if the requirement is for
20 years of managerial experience and you have 25 years of experience, write only
that you have 20 years of experience.
Lastly, if you’re applying as a stranger to a job posting, keep in mind that sometimes the job opportunities don’t actually exist. Companies often already have a #1 candidate in mind, perhaps through a referral or an internal promotion, but company policy requires that the job be posted publicly. If this seems unfair, don’t get mad; get a friend on the inside who can propel your candidacy.
How NOT to Get Ghosted
First and foremost is to avoid getting ghosted in the first place. How? By developing social ties and good communication.
Get on the Inside Track.
You should never apply as a total stranger to a company before exhausting all avenues to find a social connection. If you’re looking at $80K+ positions, you can be sure that the people who land these positions are not strangers to the company – they will have been recommended for the role. Find a friend to recommend you and you will have personal reputations and political clout to support you.
If that is easier said than done, don’t fret. Many successful professionals don’t know how to leverage networking to their advantage when they’re new to the job market. They’ve been on the giving, not the receiving, side of networking and may be out of practice with the slow, inconsistent process of building and expending social capital. But no one with 10-20 years of work experience, who has impacted people’s lives through hirings, promotions, and business deals, should have go into a job market cold. Always leverage your social capital first by asking your contacts how you might best proceed for a job.
Know Where You Stand.
When you’re in the screening process ask your counterpart (with a twinkle in your eye): “Do you think I’m a good fit for this opportunity?” Often, she will be honest and say, “Yes,” and tell you next steps. If the answer is “No,” it gives you the opportunity to offer more information about whatever reservations she might have.
As a general rule, the last item of discussion should always be a mutual agreement on next steps so you know the timeline for follow up communication. If they say, “We’ll get back to you by Monday,” and you don’t hear from them, wait one day and check in on Wednesday. If you haven’t nailed down a timeline, wait one week before reaching out to check in.
How to Handle Getting Ghosted at the Interview Stage
If you do get ghosted, there are several things you should keep in mind:
Be Patient and Courteous.
If you get no response to your check-in email, wait one week and call. If you get voice mail, leave your name, phone number and a short message saying, simply, that you’re checking in. Nothing more. DO NOT reference any other attempts to check in or offer reprobation about the lack of communication, lest it sound critical. Remember, this is the ONE person who can open a door for you. When all else fails, try to reach out to someone else at the company, preferably one with a social connection to you, who can advise you on how to proceed.
Don’t take it personally. The most common reasons applicants are ghosted by companies is simply bureaucracy or inefficiencies in the hiring process. Candidate selection processes are often handled by lower-tiered people who are overwhelmed or inexperienced. Sometimes decision-makers aren’t available for interviews during the given timeline. Confidential corporate changes might be underway that hiring managers are prohibited from communicating to applicants. Or maybe the hiring manager just got hit by a bus. In other words, it’s them, not you.
Don’t Give Up.
Resendes tells a story of a client who came to The Barrett Group for career coaching six months after being ghosted by a company. Although he felt like he was a perfect fit during the interviews, he got no response to inquiries about his applicant status. He grew discouraged and gave up. His career coach convinced him he had little to lose in following up again, so he called the company and was greeted with a surprising exclamation: “Thank God you’ve called! We wanted to hire you but misplaced our hiring files and didn’t know how to reach you!” The client swore that the coaching fee was the best money he’d ever spent because he would not have called the company again on his own. The takeaway: If you are running short of options, you have no reason to stop following up.
If schadenfreude is your thing, you’ll be interested to
learn that ghosting now cuts both ways. The incidence of job applicants blowing
off scheduled interviews or even accepting jobs only to fail to show up for
work without notice or further contact is on the rise. The trend has been
reported not only by professional social network, LinkedIn
and many news organizations, but also by the
Undoubtedly, the tight labor market makes it easier for job applicants to give companies a taste of their own medicine, but resist the temptation to do so.
Even if a better opportunity surfaces, it never pays to burn bridges. Keep to the moral high ground and hope that companies will learn their lesson about ghosting!
Employee benefits and perks have come a long way since the advent of company cars and casual Fridays. A review of emerging benefits and perks in today’s business world yields such novelties as “pet leave” for new pet owners, nap pods for sleeping breaks, and beer on tap. These kinds of offerings are certainly a testament to what appeals to millennial workers, who comprise an increasingly large share of the labor force. But it’s not just millennials who are driving this demand.
The volume and diversity of benefits and perks now available
to workers at companies bespeaks the growing value that employees place on them
in the workplace – a value that sometimes rivals hard cash. According to a 2015 survey by company
review website, Glassdoor, nearly 80% of employees would prefer new or
additional job benefits to a pay raise. They also play a significant role in
the job search process. Three
in five people report that benefits and perks are among their top
considerations in accepting a new job.
In an employment market as tight as the current one, employers need to pay attention because those who don’t risk squandering an opportunity to attract the best talent.
Family and Flexibility
In 2015 Netflix made headlines by offering unlimited
parental leave – to both moms and dads –in the first year after the birth or
adoption of a baby. That offer was in addition to its unlimited time-off policy
for vacation and sick leave.
Netflix is an outlier when it comes to such generous
benefits, but many companies are, nevertheless, trending towards more family
friendly and flexible leave offerings. According to the 2019
Employee Benefits Report of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM),
which surveys employers annually about their employee benefits offerings, more
than one in three U.S. employers offer paid maternity leave, up from 21% in 2015,
and many of them offer more leave than the federal and state mandates. In the
same time frame, the number of companies offering paternity leave (30%) has
almost doubled. Nursing moms will be happy to learn that this year more than
half of U.S. employers report offering lactation rooms, compared to just 35% in
Employers are ever more responsive to the high demand for flexibility in work schedules and remote working, with nearly 60% offering flextime during core business hours and almost 70% offering occasional telecommuting, up from 56% in 2015. In fact, more than one-quarter of respondents allow their employees to telecommute full-time.
Fastest Growing Benefits and Perks
The greatest increase in benefits were concentrated in health-related and wellness categories, with 20% of employers indicating they had increased offerings in those areas. Given the prominent role many employers play in providing health insurance to employees, they have a great incentive in keeping healthcare costs down and increasingly ply their workforce with wellness tips and information. About one-third have consistently offered an onsite fitness center, fitness classes, or memberships to fitness centers for the last several years. And just as many are offering a health insurance premium discount for participating in a wellness program, up from 17% two years ago. Nearly 40% offer company-organized fitness challenges.
Other notable changes in benefits and perks offered this
year include the rise in onsite stress management programs, company-paid
snacks, employee referral bonuses, and the number of employers who allow pets
at work. And the number of companies offering standing desks have jumped from
just 25% in 2015 to a whopping 60% this year.
Employers seem increasingly willing to invest in their
employee. Over half of employers offer tuition assistance, and the ratio of
companies offering student loan repayment, while still small, has doubled since
2015. In addition to professional development opportunities, which most
companies have offered for years, an increasing number of employers are
offering formal mentoring programs. And executive or leadership coaching, which
didn’t even make the list five years ago, is now offered by four out of ten
Not surprisingly, the most commonly offered employee
benefits are health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, retirement
benefits, and paid leave for vacation and illness. The roots of these old
standbys date to the 1940s, when companies were precluded by the Stabilization
Act of 1942 from raising wages (in an effort by the U.S. government to
prevent wartime inflation). Unable to compete with high wages for workers,
companies began offering health insurance and other non-income benefits as part
of their overall compensation package.
Today, nearly all companies offer these basic benefits in some capacity to their employees and have continued to add more. Over the 20th century the composition of benefits in employers’ total compensation costs has continued a steady rise, comprising about 30% in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What’s really interesting, however, is how much the variety
and volume of benefits and perks have exploded in recent years. Twenty years
ago, the SHRM tracked 60 employee benefits. In this year’s annual report, by
contrast, that number
has ballooned to 350 – and it’s likely to continue growing, according to
Why? One reason is that benefits enhance a company’s appeal
to workers without necessarily driving up fixed costs, as higher wages and
salaries do. Another reason is that in our increasingly stressful world,
workers are putting greater value on things beyond money. After all, how do you
put a price tag on a flexible schedule, an in-house mentoring program, or the freedom
to bring your dog to the office?
The growing importance of benefits and perks to workers
notwithstanding, the negotiation of any new job, naturally, starts with salary.
The first step in the process is to know what you’re worth. There are many online tools
to estimate the salaries of particular roles in particular industries. Some are
even able to calculate personal factors that could influence the estimate one
way or the other. The second step is to do your research. Know what companies
are paying for similar jobs in different industries, and how things may vary
based on geography.
When a job offer comes and it times to discuss compensation, don’t be afraid to negotiate. And if you’re like many workers in the job market today, you won’t limit yourself to discussing money.
The benefits and perks offered by a company shape its culture and values, which may translate into greater job satisfaction. Smart employers who don’t leverage these to get you in the door will lose out on attracting top talent.
Why is it that so many of us become dissatisfied in mid-career and begin to question why it is that we are doing the job that what we are doing? Sure, maybe it’s because you have been on the wrong career path all along. It’s more likely, however, that the original reasons you had for choosing your career are simply no longer valid.
It might be an indicator that you’ve reached full circle in
your career cycle and should reassess your current values and priorities so
that you can begin anew in a career that better suits your needs at this time
and place in your life.
Understanding career cycles and the stages within a cycle is
liberating because it helps you understand the progression of a normal work
life and enables you to anticipate stages before they happen so that you can
prepare for them. Transitions are challenging, so the more you know what to
expect, the better.
The concept of career cycles is one of several mainstream theories in career development to have emerged over the past 100 years. In the 1920s Frank Parsons, considered to be the founder of the vocational guidance movement, kickstarted the idea of career determination with his publication, Choosing a Vocation. According to Parsons, workers should match their personal traits to specific occupations.
In the 1970s, Albert Bandura promoted the concept of self-efficacy, which suggested that the greater an individual’s confidence in her capabilities to organize and execute a goal, the more likely she is to attain it. It became de rigueur in the 1980s to identify your personality type as a tool to ascertaining your ideal occupation (raise your hand if you have ever taken a Myers-Briggs test to learn your personality type).
Super’s model sees occupational choice not as one decision made at a single point-in-time, but as an unfolding process that spans a lifetime and is influenced by life events. It is an excellent way to look at career shifts in a society where rapid technological developments are upending industries and work as we know it.
He argued that vocational development stems from the process
of developing a self-concept and that people choose occupations that
enable themselves to express that self-concept. To develop a self-concept, you must
know yourself. What are your interests? What kind of worker are you? What is
important to you? What are your goals?
In addition to a self-concept, Super identified five stages of development in typical career cycle:
Originally, Super associated age ranges with each stage of development, with the first stage beginning in childhood and the last stage culminating with retirement. Over time, however, he acknowledged that an individual might cycle through all five stages multiple times depending on whatever life changes or new opportunities might crop up.
For example, if a worker wanted to change careers in her 40s, she might re-launch a career cycle by exploring new interests and passions, pursuing them tentatively at first, and following them through to fruition as potential leads opened up. Career cycle stages were, therefore, independent of age and a worker might expect to experience several mini-career cycles throughout her life.
Where Are You in Your Career Cycle?
There are development markers and tasks associated
with each of the five stages in a career cycle. Knowing where you are in your
career cycle now can help you anticipate next steps as you transition from one
stage to another.
In the Growth stage, an individual is expected to develop a self-concept that germinates in the fertile ground of fantasy, interest and a growing awareness of individual capacity and how it relates to the specific requirements of a job.
In the Exploration stage, an individual
hones his self-concept more realistically and identifies vocational
preferences, which he then implements experimentally in the form of hobbies, volunteering,
and part-time or otherwise low-commitment work. If a particular choice turns
out to be a poor fit, then he may pursue other interests.
When an individual enters the Establishment
stage, she endeavors to secure herself in a position in a chosen field of work,
establish herself, build good work relations, and pursue advancement
The Maintenance stage involves a
continuity of established work patterns and a preservation of one’s
achievements. Workers in this stage typically break little new ground in their
careers and may even plateau.
In the final stage, Disengagement, workers experience declining interest in their occupation and invest less and less energy into it. People over age 65 may mentally transition into retirement planning. For younger workers, however, this may be a point to reassess values and sources of satisfaction and re-launch a mini-career cycle by exploring interests that better align with their self-concept, which may have changed over time.
Is It Time to Consider a Change?
If you are unhappy in your work, feel stressed or
unchallenged, face a poor work-life balance, or lack a career-related identity,
you may be in the disengagement stage of your career. It’s important to reflect
on the source of your discontent, consider how your needs, interests and
priorities may have evolved, and acknowledge that it might be time for a
change. It is natural for your self-concept to change along with life events,
and your career choices should reflect that.
When your occupation is aligned with your self-concept you will be the most satisfied in your job. Acknowledging where you are in your career cycle allows you to purposefully move yourself into the next stage.
Maybe you have a new baby and want to spend more time at home, or maybe your company is undergoing a round of layoffs. Not only are these kinds of life events normal, you should expect them. In fact, in the 21st century you should plan multiple mini-cycles because the rapid pace of technology is disrupting so many industries. Workers simply don’t stay in the same job throughout their lifetime as they once did.
The trick is to plan ahead and think strategically! Be open
at all times to recognizing new opportunities as they arise and be willing to
explore them. People who plan for change, even when things are going well, cope
the best with a career change. Pulling the trigger on something new when the
times comes can be scary, but the more adaptable you are, the easier it will be
to transition into the next chapter of your career.
Many factors affect hiring and recruitment. Some are internal to an organization, such as organizational culture, or company product releases. Some are external to an organization, like economic trends. Seasonality is definitely important. Naturally, industry fluctuations play a big role, too.
When you look at the larger picture, it’s clear that what influences hiring and recruitment is often cyclical or evolves over time. The better you understand these factors, the better you can take advantage of them to set yourself up for a successful career change.
Obviously, the economy is the paramount influence when it comes to hiring. A strong economy means a good job market. With the unemployment rate currently at 3.6%, a 50-year low, we are seeing a uniquely advantageous time to be job hunting. However, the situation is even more interesting.
It’s clear from the most recent data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that many aspects of the job market are in ground-breaking territory – much of it good news to job seekers.
Since hitting a low in July 2009, job openings have rocketed past the pre-recession peak of 5 million in 2014 to 7.4 million at the end of April 2019. Hiring increases have been even more impressive, surpassing pre-recession levels and peaking at 5.9 million hires, a series high.
What’s particularly notable about these figures is this: For most of the JOLTS history the number of hires (measured throughout the month) has exceeded the number of job openings (measured only on the last business day of the month). Since January 2015, however, this relationship has reversed, with job openings consistently outnumbering hires.
In other words, there are a LOT of open jobs.
In April, there were 1.5 million more job openings than there were newly hired
people. In fact, there are now more jobs available than there are unemployed
people! The ratio of unemployed persons per job opening was 0.8 in April
according to JOLTS.
Clearly, in this market, the onus is on companies to act quickly lest they lose out on hiring the best talent.
What Industry is Hot and What’s Not?
There is an unsettling truth to keep in perspective if you’re looking to change careers: One reason why there are so many more open jobs than there are unemployed people is because there is a skills gap. Many open jobs are in technical fields requiring skills that too few job seekers have. If you are in a position to do so, you can’t go wrong by improving your technical skills. Technical fields and technical industries are perennially hot when it comes to hiring.
But other industries are growing, too. According to a monthly analysis by LinkedIn, the industries with the most notable hiring shifts in May were Corporate Services (7.6%), Wellness & Fitness (7.4% higher), and Software & IT Services (6.7% higher).
Year to year, employment in professional and business services, and health care continue to trend up. The chart shows the yearly change in the hiring rate in several industries according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Wondering which industries to shy away from? Answer: Mining and Logging, and export-producing goods industries, like Agriculture and Manufacturing – all of which are facing significant downturns in hiring.
A Season for Change
The granddaddy of all hiring cycles is the calendar. While some industries buck the historical trends, there are definitive hiring seasons during the year. Understanding the trends will help you choose the optimal times of the year to pursue a career change.
For several reasons, a New Year means new jobs. Companies have new hiring budgets and sales forecasts to act on at this time. Recruitment managers are refreshed after a holiday vacation and eager to start filling newly created positions. Moreover, many workers resolve at this time of year to make a career change, which creates opportunities in newly vacated positions. For all these reasons, the January-February time-frame is the springboard of a hiring season that continues throughout the spring.
The 2nd Quarter is also a good time to job search, although the later you wait, the fewer job options you might have. The ranks of new hires towards the end of this quarter tend to be filled out by newly minted college graduates. But hiring for many industries peaks in the spring, especially Construction, Tourism and Hospitality. It’s also common to find, at this time, many hiring managers scrambling to fill open spots before the office empties for the summer months.
Not surprisingly, hiring surges for seasonal industries like Tourism, and Outdoor & Leisure are typical during the summer months. Education also sees a big boost, as school districts seek to replace non-returning teachers. Professional industries, however, tend to experience a hiring lull. To the extent that companies are hiring, the available jobs are more likely to be seasonal or lower-level positions. After all, it’s hard to set up interviews and streamline the hiring process when people are on vacation.
Back-to-school season is also a “back-to-work” season, with hiring bumping up again. Rejuvenated once again from their summer vacations, hiring managers are keen to fill available spots in their departments during September and October. They are often motivated by a “use it, or lose it” mentality because whatever funds might remain in their hiring budget at the end of the year will disappear. In November and December, however, hiring falls of a cliff. The glut of major holidays and depleted budgets puts hiring on hold for many industries.
The chart on the left tells the basic story of hiring during the year, but remember that not every industry falls neatly into this pattern.
Hiring in Retail, Warehousing, Transportation and Customer Service, for example, surges during the end-of-the-year holiday season.
Likewise, because January to April is peak business season for Tax and Accounting professionals, hiring in these industries tends to happen outside these busy months.
Regardless of the season, you should never be doing nothing if you’re a job seeker. Slow times are ideal times to be researching new options, developing new skills and, most importantly, networking.
All of these tasks take time and are incredibly important in positioning you to act quickly when the right opportunity presents itself.
If you are trying to figure out the best time to start a career change, familiarizing yourself with cycles and trends that influence hiring and recruitment is a useful place to start. But careers begin and end regardless of whatever economic trends, seasonal cycles, and industry changes are doing. So, when you’re trying to decide the best time to start your career change, the answer is NOW.
The most important influences on your recruitment by a future employer are the ones that you create for yourself.
That means that you should keep abreast of what is going on at your target companies, watch for news announcements that may identify an optimal time for you to make your move. Some hiring managers budget for positions early, so plan ahead and be prepared to send a resume at anytime.
The best time to get a new job is always whenever the right job comes along. The timing of that might be unique – completely outside typical hiring cycles. It could be NOW.
So, continue to network regularly, build relationships, develop new skills for yourself, and prepare to move quickly when the right opportunity comes along.
Most people focus on their career in a reactionary instead of a strategic way. That means that if things go south, it is hard to understand what went wrong.
If you’ve adapted to the status quo, switching gears is hard. You may face barriers to change that sometimes feel insurmountable. Some of these barriers are very real, while others might be self-imposed.
Either way, overcoming barriers often involves a level of self-reflection during which you analyze your career and, more broadly, your life in order to assess your innermost goals and your value proposition – that is, everything that you can offer an employer. Only after you have taken stock of yourself and your dreams can you make informed decisions about how best to manage your career effectively and achieve your goals.
What is standing in your way? If you feel stymied in your efforts to advance your career, answering that question is the first step towards overcoming whatever barriers you face.
Maybe you’re worried about money. Maybe you don’t relish the idea of starting a new career at the bottom rung of the ladder. Maybe you struggle to find time in your day to job hunt.
Many people are paralyzed by fear – fear of losing their job; fear of speaking up at work; fear of getting passed over for a job because of age, gender or race. Or perhaps you have “impostor syndrome,” the fear that you aren’t qualified to do the job your hired to do.
Perhaps your problem is simply that you know that you are unhappy in your current job, but you just aren’t sure what else to do. Or maybe you know what you want to do, but you have no idea how to pursue it.
Some people worry about lacking experience. By the way, if this is you, you’re not alone. In today’s economy this should actually be everybody’s concern because the rapid change of digital technology is disrupting business processes in so many industries.
A 2016 report by the World Economic Forum forecast that within five years over one-third of skills that are considered important in the workforce will have changed.
Only after you identify what is standing in your way to a more fulfilling career can you focus on overcoming it. But be sure to give the question serious reflection. Arriving at an honest answer here is crucial, and it isn’t always easy.
You may need to dig deep to assess the real barriers between you and your goals. It may even be worth engaging the professional services of a career coach, such as those at The Barrett Group. Career coaches are a great resource for someone in a rut because they intentionally push clients out of their comfort zone and encourage them to consider perspectives and options they may not have thought of.
The methodology starts by investigating all aspects of what’s right and wrong in your life, including financial independence, business success, family and relationships, and health and fitness. Ask yourself challenging questions such as:
What are you most proud of?
What does success look like? or
What is the worst thing that could happen if you
don’t achieve your goal?
Such questions help differentiate between societal ideals of success (e.g. money or status) and personal successes (e.g. work-life balance and a happy family).
Use the “Five Whys” technique to drill down to the root cause of a problem. In this approach, you identify your problem (e.g. I’m unhappy at work) and ask yourself “why.” Repeat the question five times in response to each answer.
Typically, you will uncover alterable behavior on your part that could resolve the problem. When you ferret out self-imposed barriers in the path of your career advancement, you can think through how to dismantle them.
The process can be emotionally arduous, but, ultimately, it brings you clarity about priorities and personal values in your life, and it sets the foundation on which you can rebuild career aspirations.
The clarity process is the hard part. Once that is done, you just need to come up with a game plan for advancing your goals and commit to it. First, consider how you can lessen the barriers that you identified.
Lack of experience? Up your game through online courses, reading books, or volunteering to work alongside someone who can coach you. Of course, if you’re an older worker, don’t underestimate the value of your soft skills.
Lack of time? Completely understandable! Prioritizing a career change is very hard, especially given that it doesn’t provide immediate gratification. Still, the benefits of scheduling even a few hours per week into your calendar to promote your career will build up over time.
Unsure how to pursue your goal? Start by building and
nurturing your network of contacts. Reach out to them and have a conversation
or solicit advice. You’ll be amazed how informative and helpful people can be.
How to Stay Motivated
Change is stressful and the frustrations of a job search can wear down the best of us. Getting organized and structuring a routine in your job search will help. Set S.M.A.R.T goals – goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
For example, schedule 10 hours per week towards enhancing your career opportunities, target three resumes per week to send out, or plan to meet 10 people for coffee per month. Revise the numbers as necessary, but stick to it!
There are several other steps you can also take to stay motivated:
Focus on what you can control and not on the
things you can’t control.
Celebrate small victories whenever you can.
Make a list of all your accomplishments, which has
the dual benefit of making you feel good about yourself and providing you with
a handy reference of your career highlights to use for quick reference. It may
also spark ideas about how to link different career goals!
Take mental breaks – looking for a new job is
Don’t forget to keep things in perspective. If you ask people how they came to be doing what they are doing, they often answer that they fell into it due to chance circumstances. That may be frustrating to hear, but it should actually encourage you.
“Chance circumstances” is a testimony to networking. If you cultivate and grow your network, you will be surprised how opportunities will crop up.
Changing careers isn’t easy, but it’s easier than staying in a job you don’t want. It’s also easier when you have a strategy to overcoming the barriers to your success.
Are you in a midlife career change? Are you changing careers at 30, 40 or 50 years of age? Do you need a new career? If you are currently experiencing difficulty in your job search, we’re here to help. Please send a message with your information or call.