Tag: hiring manager

What to Say About Pay: Sharing Salary Information With Prospective Employers Makes More Sense Than You Might Think

What to Say About Pay: Sharing Salary Information With Prospective Employers Makes More Sense Than You Might Think

It’s a situation I’ve come across several times in my recruiting practice: A company will ask a promising candidate for his or her current salary, and that professional will decline to provide it, creating an awkward standoff before serious hiring discussions even begin. At first glance, this seems like a sound strategy for employees. After all, you don’t want to “anchor” potential salary negotiations with a figure that is lower than the company might otherwise offer. Nor do you want to scare off a promising opportunity if your paycheck outstrips the current budget for the position. Yet in practice, there are legitimate reasons why being coy about past pay doesn’t always serve job seekers’ best interests.

Good Companies Bargain in Good Faith

The biggest issue is trust. No matter how you chose to approach salary negotiations, they should take place with companies you’ve thoroughly researched and whose reputations you admire. If you don’t believe a company will bargain in good faith, it’s probably not an organization you want to entrust with your livelihood. Good companies realize that they owe their success to talented people. If a business is going to invest in bringing someone onboard, it makes no sense to risk that relationship from the very beginning by being manipulative during the hiring process. Yes, there is a degree of risk in telling a hiring manager exactly what your current boss thinks you’re worth. But in all likelihood, the person conducting the interviews has hired dozens of employees before and has a pretty good idea of what you make anyway. Additionally, he or she will usually be working with a budget influenced more by the demands of the position than by the work history of the current candidate pool.

Pay is One Part of the Package

It’s also important to keep in mind the profound impact a job change can have on your life. A 40-mile commute will steal the same amount of time out of your week whether you make $80,000 or $120,000. A promotion at an organization known for grueling hours or a highly politicized culture can easily make being a manager worse than being managed. It’s critical that candidates approach a job opportunity knowing exactly how the move will advance their specific career goals and put them in a position to thrive. Employers want to invest in people who can not only handle their new jobs, but grow into more advanced roles in the future. To that end, showing interest in a job’s challenges, leadership potential, skills development and other opportunities beyond the paycheck is a great way to distinguish yourself from other candidates. Being forthcoming about your current salary is one way to do that.

You Can Still Negotiate

The primary reason my clients will ask for current salaries is to keep from wasting everyone’s time if a candidate’s pay level and qualifications go significantly beyond those associated with an open position. It’s not an effort to begin salary negotiations, as there’s nothing to negotiate before a job offer is on the table. If you feel the size of your current paycheck could hurt your prospects for a lateral career move, use this initial inquiry as a chance to ask your own questions about the position’s salary range and make clear that you’re entering the process with an open mind. If the new position represents a significant salary increase, emphasize why the responsibilities of the job and your unique qualifications justify the raise. Particularly today, after many real estate careers took unexpected detours during the housing crisis, employers are willing to look at the breadth of your career rather than the details of your last pay stub. Keep in mind, too, that the hiring process is usually focused on finding the best candidate, not necessarily the cheapest. I’ve seen plenty of companies change a job’s title, responsibilities and compensation for the right person. Even after you’ve been forthcoming about your current pay, there is always a chance to negotiate for more once you’ve convinced the company you will excel in the position. When the time comes, both you and the hiring manager should enter those discussions focused on your future, rather than your past.

For more than 20 years, Christopher Frederick has helped match the talents of executives with leading companies in real estate. Visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate professionals and read more about our one-of-a-kind approach to executive recruitment.

Should I Tweet the Boss? Business Communication in the Digital Age

Should I Tweet the Boss? Business Communication in the Digital Age

Hiring managers aren’t just looking for solid interpersonal aptitude and an error-free cover letter anymore. Today, the “communication skills” so valued by employers also extend to texting, social networking, email and any other way you might interact with a colleague or client. In fact, a recent survey by CareerBuilder found that 43 percent of HR professionals use social networking sites to vet candidates. Among these managers, about a third have tossed applicants out of the running specifically because their online presence demonstrated poor communication skills, i.e. writing. Etiquette and tradition have yet to catch up to the many ways we now reach each other, but a few guidelines can help employees stand out in the job search and at the office.

Build a Wall

Tricky as it may be, it’s worth keeping professional networks and social circles separate online. It’s often best, for example, to keep Facebook for true acquaintances and social contacts you trust. By locking down your security settings to make content accessible only to friends, you can ensure the boozy photos your nephew shared of his recent college adventures don’t show up on your page if an employer finds it through Google. Even when a co-worker, boss or client wants to connect directly on a social network you’ve designated as friends-only, you’ve got options. Entrepreneurs can direct people to a Facebook page or Twitter account opened in the name of a business, while public figures can direct them to a Facebook fan page. Another option is to ignore a Facebook request but to immediately invite the requestee to connect on LinkedIn or another professional platform instead to signal respect for his or her desire to keep in touch professionally. Even with carefully curated accounts, though, it’s also important to realize anything you post online has the potential to become public.

Find the Rules

When there was just the telephone, it was a safe bet that the boss wouldn’t want to be interrupted after 10 p.m. unless the building was on fire. With email, texting and messaging apps, though, there truly are no hard rules. After all, the person at the other end can control when he or she checks a message, and the sender doesn’t know whether that note will set the recipient’s phone abuzz during dinner. The frequency, format and expectations of text-based digital communication are a matter of personal preference and company culture. One study, for instance, suggested about half of smartphone users were annoyed when someone didn’t respond to a text within an hour. Some companies have realized productivity gains through policies restricting email after work. It’s now critical to make note, not just of what people say, but of how and when they say it so you can communicate with them accordingly. Likewise, it’s also useful to set expectations. For example, if you’re involved in an email exchange toward the end of the day, let the other person know if you don’t plan on checking your inbox after 6 p.m.

It’s Still Writing

Authors are keen to point out that it’s usually more difficult to write a short manuscript than a long one. Just because a message is limited to a few sentences or 140 characters doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be thoughtful. Reread what you’ve written at least once and fix any grammatical or spelling errors. Even on messaging platforms made for speed, sloppiness can hurt your reputation. Also, tailor the style of the message to the person or people receiving it. If someone favors short, two-word replies to your emails, it’s respectful to send the same. If another contact starts every message with a formal salutation and closes with a full name, assume that’s what that person expects from you, as well. There may be few hard-and-fast communication rules to rely on these days. But people still notice attention to detail and respect for the way others do business.

For more than 20 years, Christopher Frederick has helped match the skills of high-value executives with leading companies in real estate. Visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate professionals and read more about our one-of-a-kind approach to executive recruitment.

Age Before Beauty: Why employers and candidates alike should value maturity

Age Before Beauty: Why employers and candidates alike should value maturity

Traditionally, stakes rise for employees entering the second half of their careers. College expenses and retirement planning can stretch family finances. Health coverage becomes more critical. And there’s less time to make up ground in the event of a job loss or unexpected career change. Employers, too, face tradeoffs. Salaries mount with the experience of employees, and hiring managers weight the enthusiasm and malleability of younger workers against the expertise of seasoned hands.

The last five years, though, have forced companies to adapt their thinking on traditional career patterns as economic upheaval disrupted the career trajectory of potentially valuable hires. Everyone has a story of how they personally weathered the downturn and how that experience has made them more knowledgeable, harder working and more strategic in their fields. These experiences often demonstrate the values that hiring managers seek, and job candidates at all points in their careers should emphasize how their maturity can enhance their value.

For companies seeking talent, a long resume and a wealth of diverse experiences in the industry offer a range of advantages:

  • Businesses change: It’s impossible to predict the challenges a team will face five years from now. Markets, competition and the work skills to deal with them change constantly. Odds are, an employee with a longer list of past job titles will have a broader skill set and better strategic knowledge in a changing business environment.
  • Perseverance: So long as an advertised position’s job description is accurate, more experienced applicants are more likely to know what they’re getting into when they apply. That could include candidates who’ve endured the trials of entrepreneurship, new product development or mission-critical project completion many times over. Likewise, an established road warrior with enough frequent flier miles to vacation in Tahiti can offer management more peace of mind than someone new to the workforce who hasn’t experienced that lifestyle.
  • Training: It’s a myth that only entry-level workers are adept at learning new technology. New software is, after all, new to everyone who encounters it. If a candidate meets the current technical requirements for a position, his or her ability to adopt new technologies in the future will depend on a willingness to learn and to embrace change. Neither is age-dependent.

Candidates, too, should see their maturity as an asset and sell it with confidence to potential employers:

  • Emphasize experience: The more time people spend in the workforce, the better they understand the nature of their work and their interaction with their coworkers. Approach employment prospects with concrete examples of how your knowledge sets you apart. Your years in the workforce likely give you numerous specific instances that prove you can drive sales, improve efficiency, meet deadlines, motivate a team or otherwise achieve the accomplishments valued by potential employers.
  • Professional contacts: A long industry career results in decades of personal contacts, former clients and coworkers whose careers have moved in parallel to your own. Networking is always more effective than scouring job postings, and here seasoned workers have an edge. A long resume is unlikely to scare a potential employer if he or she has met you in person and knows you from your past work before they see an application. Furthermore, someone who has been in the industry longer may find it easier to relate to managers and to identify their needs in the interview process.

The disruptive changes in the real estate market have leveled the playing field somewhat. With everyone’s career affected to one degree or another, companies have to look deeper than the list of job titles and dates on a resume to uncover the personal characteristics, skills and values that reveal a candidate’s potential. Job seekers and hiring managers alike are best served by focusing on all that a candidate’s years in the business can offer down the road.

For more than 25 years, Christopher Frederick has helped find the talent that drives the growth of leading companies in the real estate industry. To learn more about how we can enhance your next executive search using our extensive digital network of professionals, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com.

Remember Me? Five ways to stand out as a job candidate

Remember Me? Five ways to stand out as a job candidate

A strategic approach to job hunting can help savvy applicants stand out from the crowd. Here’s how:

1. Make contact. As in any business transaction, it’s always better to approach a prospective employer through a referral or a personal contact – particularly in an era when many job applications are gathered online and sorted by machines. Hiring managers feel more comfortable and take on less risk when hiring someone they know or have met in person. For job seekers, it pays dividends to prioritize networking over searching through ads or sending unsolicited applications.

2. Be specific. There is no industry board or government agency that certifies people as “visionary leaders,” “team players,” “results-oriented” or any of the other vague superlatives people add to resumes. If it’s a description that anyone can self-apply, then most probably have. Instead, use language in application materials that is unique to you. What’s the largest number of people you’ve supervised? The biggest project budget? What specialized industry knowledge have you developed that is possessed by few others? What are concrete examples that show your leadership and smarts? Perhaps your sales team managed to grow revenues when your overall industry was in a downturn, or you created a process that made your business more efficient. No one remembers the self-anointed “visionary leader” in a stack of resumes. Executives remember the employee whose good idea saved the company 20 percent of a project’s cost.

3. The “Golden Rolodex” Even big business can become a small world over time. Your mentor from a college internship, your repeat client at a previous company, the talent you hired that has since moved on – all of these people are advancing in their careers just as you are in yours. Keeping in touch through a short email when the chance arises, crossing paths at a conference, or even sending a holiday card can lead to unexpected opportunities. Keeping an extensive database of contacts over the years, no matter how seemingly trivial, can serve you throughout your career.

4. Have something to say. Every professional develops a level of expertise at what he or she does, and engaging with like-minded professionals can grow your network and open doors. Keeping a blog that offers real insight into your industry, cultivating an interesting Twitter feed or updates to LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networks can generate an audience of potential employers. You may never get a chance to pitch the top executives of your dream company directly, but if one of them finds value in what you write, you’re doing something very similar.

5. Write a cover letter. A surprising number of people send a generic form letter to accompany their resume. This can indicate to a hiring manager that you’re applying to as many places as possible without consideration for the demands and benefits of the opening at hand. Cover letters are a single page that need not contain Pulitzer-worthy prose. But they can be a highly valuable chance to pitch why you’re interested in a company and why, beyond the impersonal qualifications on a resume, you’re the best person for the job.

For more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has been a trusted recruiting partner to the real estate industry. To learn more about how we can help your company benefit from our extensive network’s fast and affordable new search process, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com.

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