October 03, 2011
Tips on Getting the Salary You Want
Just because the economy seems a bit precarious doesn't mean that you have to settle for a lower salary than you deserve. But if you're feeling less than confident about speaking to your boss about a raise, sales expert Michael McIntyre has some tips for you. The president and CEO of Benefits America, as well as the author of "The Authentic Salesman: Mastering the Art of Transforming Real Objections into Real Transactions," McIntyre offers these ten tips for people entering into salary negotiations with a manager:
1. Do a reality check. Take a coworker or two out for coffee or lunch and ask them for blunt feedback about how you come across at work. Consider this your pre-performance review.
2. Read the tea leaves. If your company is laying people off, try back later. It's just common sense.
(Learn to understand the signs -- read "How to Tell If a Layoff Is Coming.")
3. Brag mercilessly. Make a list of everything you have done to help your company achieve its goals. And be specific.
4. Practice that pitch. Rehearse with your spouse or friends first, and make sure they're tough on you so that you're battled-tested and prepared for your boss's curve balls.
5. Cut the sly act. Be upfront with your boss about why you want to sit down. No boss wants to be ambushed. Also be specific about how much of a raise you request –- it shows leadership and confidence.
(Is now the right time to schedule that meeting? Read "Can I Ask for a Raise Yet?")
6. Acknowledge your boss and company. Be gracious, saying something along the lines of, "Mr. Jones, thank you for taking the time. I truly appreciate the opportunity."
7. Zip it! After you acknowledge them, if you have done it correctly, they know why you're there. Let them be in control (bosses like that) and ask the obvious or make a statement.
8. Acknowledge them, no matter what. They might say, "Well, I reviewed your file and as you know, the company is on a tight budget and I just don't see how you getting a raise is going to fit in this." Reply, "I understand and felt this might be a possibility when I came in; however, I want to share with you a few ideas about this. Have you considered the value ...".
(Get more negotiation tips -- read "Ask for the Raise You Want.")
9. Do not ramble! Once you make your rebuttal (if needed), let it go. Bosses hate rambling, so make your point concisely and watch for the ball now in their court.
10. Never, ever get emotional. No matter what, chances are that you will get a raise if you have made yourself invaluable. Leave your sensitivity at the door if you want to move up the corporate ladder.
Do you have any salary-negotiation tips or secrets that have worked for you? Share your story in the Comments section below.
August 12, 2011
OfficeTeam Reveals Five Hiring-Manager Secrets
What's going through a hiring manager's mind during a job interview? The answer may surprise you. OfficeTeam, a leading administrative staffing service, has identified five things job seekers should know about the interview process -- from the interviewer's point of view.
"Many job candidates may not recognize that hiring managers can be as anxious as they are during interviews because of the pressure to find just the right person," says Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "Hiring mistakes are costly, in terms of the time and money invested and the toll on staff morale. Interviewers are looking for subtle clues the applicant has the right job skills and work ethic, and will fit in with new colleagues and the corporate culture."
Hosking adds, "Job seekers who do their homework and remain poised throughout the interview process will be able to engage in more productive, relevant conversations with prospective employers."
Here are five things most hiring managers may be thinking about the interview but won't tell you:
1. I haven't prepared in advance. You may have spent hours creating your resume, but there’s a good chance the hiring manager doesn't remember exactly what’s on it.
Advice: Always have an extra copy of your resume handy, and offer to walk the potential employer through the highlights, particularly if he or she seems at a loss for questions.
2. I'm wary of phonies. Think again before you claim that your greatest weakness is that you "work too hard." Most hiring managers have heard it all before. Inauthentic responses are a red flag to employers.
Advice: Come to the interview with several job-related anecdotes in mind that reveal the real you and speak to how your specific talents can help the business. Don't be afraid to show some personality.
(Read "What Are Your Greatest Strengths and Weaknesses?" for more tips.)
3. I love to talk about my company and myself. Interviewers are advised to let the candidate do most of the talking. But hiring managers are only human and enjoy discussing things they are passionate about, including their careers and interests.
Advice: Ask the prospective employer about his or her professional advancement within the company; this can yield valuable information about growth potential at the firm and get the conversation going. You don't have to wait until the end of the interview to ask questions.
4. I may intentionally make you uncomfortable. Job seekers often rush to fill in awkward pauses between interview questions. Hiring managers hope that if they keep you talking, you’ll reveal more of yourself. They also may throw curve-ball questions to see how you react and to gain insight into your thought process.
Advice: Rather than rambling and potentially saying something you regret, keep your responses concise and on point. It's OK to stop and collect your ideas before you begin to speak. Don’t be too concerned if you’re stumped by a tough interview question. Showing your reasoning skills is often more important than finding the right answer.
(Read "100 Potential Interview Questions" for more advice.)
5. I'm going to ask my assistant about you. Six in ten executives surveyed by OfficeTeam said they consider their assistants' opinions important when evaluating new hires. It should go without saying, but make sure you treat everyone you meet with respect when you arrive for an interview. You never know who may be weighing in on the hiring decision.
Advice: If the administrative professional isn't busy, make polite small talk while you wait. Also, avoid irritating behaviors, such as loud cell phone conversations.
September 17, 2010
The Monster 5 for Friday -- Careers Edition -- September 17
Sure, social media enthusiasts like to think of themselves as “rock stars,” but as the MTV Video Music Awards proved, there’s still a long way to go before they’re the real thing. In typical fashion, Lady Gaga was the talk of the night with her “meat dress.” While we can’t think of many other offices other than the MTV stage where this qualifies as work-appropriate attire, we’re hoping this casual Friday comes and goes without any similar fashion choices. No matter what you’re wearing to the office or to interviews, here are the top five stories from the world of work you might have missed this week:
5. Lessons Learned in the Job Search: Job searching is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. Molly Wendell outlines some tips from her colleague Mike that helped him save time and get back to work faster.
4. 5 Ways to Tell If Your Internship Is Legal, Regardless of Pay: Just because your internship is paid, doesn’t mean it’s a good opportunity. Heather Huhman discusses the five factors you should consider and why.
3. Dressing for the Interview, by Industry: There's no getting around it: In every job interview, you're going to be judged -- at least partially -- by how you look. But how you should look varies depending on your industry and the job you're interviewing for. Peter Vogt takes a look at general interview attire expectations for eight career areas so you can dress to impress.
2. How to Ace the Interview Without Saying a Word: While you’re preparing for what to say in your next interview, have you thought about preparing for what you won’t say? Shadow Nightwing explains how to prepare your nonverbal communication for your next interview.
1. 9 Steps to Responding to a Lowball Job Offer: What can you do if you receive an offer that undervalues the skills you bring to a company? First step, remember that it’s a negotiation, and apply Donna Svei’s nine tips to negotiate your job offer to get what you deserve.
Which of these was your favorite? Did you write a great article we missed? Let us know in the comments below.
For more must-read content, check out the Monster 5: Works Edition for this week’s top articles from the world of talent management.
April 20, 2010
Equal Pay Day Marks Another Year of Unequal Pay for Women
Today is Equal Pay Day, an event organized by the National Committee on Pay Equity to call attention to the gap between what men and women earn.
Even though women overtook men in the workforce for the first time during the recession-ravaged year of 2009, statistics show that when it comes to gaining ground in earnings, we haven't come such a long way, baby. Here's a look at some of the numbers:
Half-Cent Gains: In 1963, when the Equal Pay Act became law, women who worked full-time year-round earned 59 cents for every dollar men earned. In 2008, women earned 77 cents on the dollar, an increase of just 0.4 cents -- less than a half-cent -- a year. The gap is even wider for minority women.
Difference Adds Up: On an annual basis, women earned an average of $10,622 less than men, the largest gap since 1992. Over a lifetime, that discrepancy adds up. A 2008 study by the Center for American Progress Action Fund reports that the wage gap may cost a woman an average of $434,000 over the course of her career.
Geography Matters: The wage gap can be better or worse depending on where you live, according to government data analyzed by the AAUW (formerly the American Association of University Women). For all workers over 16 of all educational levels, women fared the worst in Wyoming (with an earnings ratio of 64 percent) and the best in the District of Columbia (with an earnings ratio of 88 percent). Among college-educated workers over 25, the earnings ratio was lowest in Alaska (64 percent) and highest in Wyoming (89 percent).
Discrimination Exists: As Monster Senior Contributing Writer John Rossheim details in his article on the gender wage gap, occupational and work-life choices are two often-cited reasons behind pay inequality. However, a 2007 AAUW pay gap study of college graduates reports that even after accounting for experience, training, education and personal characteristics, "the portion of the pay gap that remains unexplained…[is] evidence of discrimination, which remains a serious problem for women in the work force." Discrimination figures on the National Committee on Pay Equity's list of the top 10 reasons behind the pay gap as well.
As many equal-wage advocacy groups point out, the wage gap is an issue for everyone, regardless of gender. With the recession putting more men out of work, more families need to get by on women's (typically lower) earnings. Lower earnings also translate into lower pension and Social Security payments for women in retirement. The proposed Paycheck Fairness Act, which passed the House in January 2009, is meant to address issues of gender-based pay inequality.
Working women, how has your salary compared to that of the men in your work or home life? Do you feel you're being paid equitably? Leave a comment below, and check out these resources:
November 10, 2009
Due Diligence and the Job Offer: More Than Salary and Benefits
Success! I have received a job offer from one of the two firms I have been interviewing with. The offer is reasonable in terms of salary and bonus, but, of course, there is more at stake than the total compensation package.
So begins due diligence, part two, where I really take a look under the hood of this company.
The Firm’s Well-Being
Let’s start with my concern about the firm’s technical commitment and support. While waiting in the firm’s lobby for my final interview, I couldn’t help but overhear current employees complain about malfunctioning or non-existent computers. Hopefully, new hires receive new computers.
When I was originally researching this company, I discovered their involvement in a significant patent lawsuit. Perhaps this is the norm in their industry, but how often does a patent issue get escalated to a state Supreme Court? That seems unusual to me for what appears to be an otherwise solid manufacturing firm.
There are bigger picture questions that linger in my mind, too. In particular, a number of skilled folks recently departed the firm in a voluntary downsizing. According to my sources, some of those depleted departments are being “held together with duct tape.” Ironically, the human resources department suffered a 100% voluntary reduction in force. So what motivated many of the key people in this economic downturn to voluntarily leave their jobs? Is there something more at work here?
No job offer analysis would be complete without taking a hard look at the health insurance benefits. At first blush, it appears there is no dental coverage. Doesn’t the firm care about the whole health of its employees? Despite the fact that I have seen more impressive company-sponsored healthcare plans, it is better than paying through COBRA for coverage.
Perhaps I have been spoiled by past employers who provided both short- and long-term disability. With this firm, I can elect to buy into group long-term disability, but strangely short-term disability coverage is not offered. Fortunately, I am in good health so I don't anticipate the need for any such insurance coverage. But Murphy's Law is always at play.
My Career Advancement
Finally, the intangible: The prospect of no real professional development. While I am grateful to have this job offer letter in hand, I have to consider that this may not be a linear progression at this stage of my career. But since it’s only a niggling factor, perhaps it’s best to ignore it and just get on with my life and new routine.
If you were considering a job offer, what would you want to uncover about your new prospective employer and job?
October 08, 2009
What’s the “New Normal” -- Especially When It Comes to Salaries and My Job Search?
These days, I regularly take 30-minute road trips to job search networking groups, seminars and other job-hunting activities. While employed full time, I used every single moment of my 15-minute commute to be on the phone (hands-free of course) with my sales folks or customers. I hadn’t listened to the radio in 9-plus years, much to the amusement of my stay-at-home girlfriends when comparing notes about favorite songs on the radio a few years ago. But now I routinely listen to business radio, and one term used over and over again is “new normal.” What exactly is that and how does it impact my job search?
If I distill down the term, it basically means the economy’s new center point as related to the stock market and the median salaries. In short, the stock market isn’t what it was before the economic meltdown, and most professions and jobs will not enjoy the same salary scales as previously earned.
The new normal in terms of job salaries is a big discussion topic in my job clubs. In some cases, I have heard of people taking positions at 40% to 60% of their previous pay, primarily given the need for family healthcare coverage. In other cases, I have heard of candidates securing positions equal or greater than their former salaries. Given all the information I’ve heard, it seems the new normal in pay scales can be anywhere between 40% to 120% of previously earned incomes. But everyone needs to remember that behind these figures are the rounds of negotiations and tactics employed within, both by the potential employer and the job seeker.
So what’s my new normal? Certainly, I’d value a bump up in pay, but that may not be realistic with my desire for a manageable commute. I’d also like to negotiate in some additional compensation, like company stock, as well as what used to be considered classic benefits, like a 401K plan with employer matching. So my acceptable new normal, given the competition in my field, would be an overall compensation package that might ring in at 80% to 90% of my previous pay. But don’t forget, another part of the new normal is that more responsibilities are assumed at lower-level job functions with no additional reward.
From what I hear from fellow job seekers, their new normals include longer commutes, fewer perks (if any) and less valuable benefits. I know a few folks who are going back to school for an additional degree instead of dealing with the new normal now. One is going back to school to complete her master’s in education to teach technology, and another has just taken the LSATs to pursue a law degree. Another 2 of my job club buddies are taking certification courses in fund raising to gain entry into nonprofit fund-raising roles. And yet another friend is pursuing his nursing degree. All of them hope to move their compensation needle upwards by changing careers into other fields while still leveraging some of their experiential underpinnings from the careers to date.
While I had explored retraining or additional coursework earlier in my job search, I decided not to go down those paths given the lack of income for at least a year’s time. Now, given 5 months of job seeking and the new normal, I may see what it would take to earn my pharmacy degree. This strikes me as a rather flexible and always in-demand profession given a recent trip to the local corner pharmacy for some simple prescriptions for my sons.
How have you reconciled the new normal and your job search goals?
October 15, 2008
The Working Poor
Several years ago, I read a book called Nickel and Dimed. The author, Barbara Ehrenreich, went undercover to take low-skill, low-wage jobs such as hotel maid and waitress to see what life was like for these workers. What she found disturbed me: A culture of people living right under the public radar, struggling while trying to earn a living. I have never forgotten that book or the stories within it.
Unfortunately, while the book was first published in 2001, the working poor still hold a large -- and growing -- place in society. According to this article, Census data reveals the number of jobs paying poverty-level wages increased by 4.7 million between 2002 and 2006. We all know the economy is in the tank now; what’s surprising is the study period was one of relative prosperity, which means the tough times of today bode even worse for those below the poverty line.
It’s easy to think of the poor as jobless and living in a cardboard box. But the reality is that many work just as hard, if not harder, than anyone else, but struggle paycheck to paycheck and often go to bed hungry. One alarming statistic: 40 percent of adults asking for emergency food assistance were employed.
So why talk about this now? Well, today is Blog Action Day, and this year’s theme is poverty. And in a financial crisis, with the holidays coming up and a pivotal presidential election less than a month away, we at the Monster Blog wanted to devote space to the issue.
Want to help? Then educate yourself about the working poor. While there are many agencies that advocate for low-wage workers on a state level, The Working Poor Families Project is a national initiative that deserves a mention. And here is a list from Blog Action Day’s Web site of resources dedicated to fighting poverty. Check it out, and whatever you decide to do, as they say, think globally, but act locally.
September 16, 2008
In a Tough Economy, Maximize Your Money
Let’s face it: The news has not been good lately. We wake up to a gloomy economic headline every day. Unemployment recently hit 6 percent. The stock market crashed to its lowest levels in years. Consumer confidence is down, and prices and inflation are up.
Times like these can make people edgy, angry and worried, mostly about their personal bottom lines. So how can you make sure you not only survive a tough economy but come out ahead of the game?
Taking control is the first step. These articles will help you maximize your money. And if you have tips on keeping your cool during economic uncertainty, post them in the comments below.
January 22, 2008
Pro Athletes Do Earn Their Millions
Weep not for Brett Favre and Philip Rivers, whose respective NFL squads, the Packers and Chargers, were bounced from the NFL playoffs over the weekend.
Though Rivers is headed to the operating table and Favre is once again pondering whether to hang up his cleats for good (my prediction: He won't), it's not as if the two men will need to work a second job this offseason just to make ends meet. Favre ($11 million total compensation package) and Rivers ($5 million) were among the NFL's highest-paid quarterbacks this season, according to data provided by Salary.com, which powers Monster's Salary Wizard.
I used to resent the exorbitant salaries that top athletes routinely command. For example, I once would have wailed against the fact that Tennessee Titans QB Vince Young took home just over $13 million (No. 1 among all NFL quarterbacks) in 2007, even though he's played only two seasons and hasn't exactly put up Canton-worthy statistics just yet (21 touchdowns, 30 interceptions and a meager rating of 69.0 through his first 30 games).
But with almost a decade of work experience now under my belt, it no longer bothers me that baseball, basketball, football and, to a lesser extent, hockey players just want the biggest portion of the lucrative pies that owners in today's money-making machines of professional sports leagues are willing to give them. In today's age of multimillion and multibillion dollar TV contracts, state-of-the-art playing facilities and non-stop sales of sports merchandise, you can be sure there's plenty of revenue to go around.
Today, I'm fine with the reality that guys who throw farther, run faster and jump higher than the rest of us can parlay their unique skills into astronomical salaries and a comfortable lifestyle for themselves. After all, if you were in their position, wouldn't you be trying do the same?
And while we're talking NFL, how about a little Super Bowl XLII prognosticating? I see the underdog New York Giants, led by Eli Manning ($6.45 million in compensation in 2007), keeping the score close for a while, but in the end, Tom Brady ($6 million) and the vaunted New England Patriots offense will pull away and win by 10, 31-21. And hey, come to think of it: A Super Bowl title means a bonus check for the winning team, too!
Meanwhile, here are a few Monster resources that can help you in your next salary negotiation -- even if it isn't for six figures a year:
- "Salary Negotiation Know-How"
- "Be Paid What You're Really Worth"
- "The Negotiation Dance"
- Salary & Negotiation Tips message board
September 06, 2007
Are You Thankful for Your Benefits?
This past Labor Day, I was watching the "Today" show, and in between stories, they were doing some labor trivia. And when they discussed how employers are not legally obligated to provide paid vacation, it just struck me.
I know that paid vacation is not legally required, but I realize that’s a benefit I take for granted. I’d never work somewhere that doesn’t offer vacation to full-time employees. It’s such a must-have for me, that in my head it’s become a given.
Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued a study on leave benefits, and as of March 2007, only 77 percent of workers had paid holidays and vacations available to them. And this doesn’t even go into other benefits like health insurance.
What benefits make or break a job for you?