The Joy of Job Offer Negotiation

December 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I received a call from a job search client yesterday. After hearing his question, I realized that many job search clients will need to know how to handle this situation. It went something like this, “Great news, I’m going to receive a verbal offer for the job I interviewed for last week. I’m very excited about the opportunity and will make even MORE than I did at my last job. However, the standard vacation time is two weeks and I need three. Should I try to negotiate for an extra week of vacation?

I’ve been so focused on developing content about how to FIND, APPLY TO, and INTERVIEW FOR a new job that I almost forgot to add how to NEGOTIATE favorable employment terms. As a result, I’ll be developing  “Negotiation-Acceptance-Transition” content for upcoming job search effectiveness workshops. (Side note: I’m planning to launch the complete Job Search Effectiveness training series in an on-demand video format January 1, 2011. The new website is to be located at PersonalSuccessNetwork.com. The content will focus primarily on helping professionals become much more successful in attaining their job search and career development goals).

I bet you’d like to know the answer to my client’s question. Remember that almost every answer to almost any question is SITUATIONAL. So, let us first consider the scenario: the client had been terminated from his former position as an IT Engineer about 6 months earlier. He had a total of 20 years experience with just two companies. The new job responsibilities would align nicely with his skills and experience, PLUS the client would be working for a highly desirable company. The hiring manager at this new company informed him that a formal job offer would be coming within 24 hours. During the short conversation, the hiring manager also indicated that two weeks of vacation was one of the many standard benefits.

Now what? Should my client attempt to negotiate for one extra week of vacation? My “off-the-cuff” response was a very firm YES! Are you surprised by my response? The key to being successful in this situation lies in HOW my client negotiates for the extra week of vacation. Since my client was presently out of a job, he was less leveraged than had he been employed. If he is too AGGRESSIVE with attempting to gain the extra week of vacation, he  will certainly jeopardize the job offer. However, there’s nothing wrong with my client being ASSERTIVE with his request (while simultaneously expressing his gratitude).

My recommendation? During the official verbal-offer phone call, he should first express his excitement and appreciation. Next, he needs to acknowledge the two-week standard vacation policy and politely mention that his former employers allocated three weeks to him each year. Thus, to continue with his family tradition, could he somehow earn the additional days during the upcoming year?  Even if the answer is NO, do not fret: there IS a fallback position. He would simply ask if it would be acceptable to take an extra week off each year without pay.

This is a WIN-WIN situation for the client. Why? First, he has a new job. Second, he just may end up with that extra week of paid vacation. “But what if the employer does not grant the extra week?” you may ask. Well, it’s certainly not a deal-breaker! Refusing this highly desirable position would result in waiting several more weeks before another job offer. If the client makes $52,000 per year, why would he hold out for what is essentially $1000 when he would lose much more than that for passing on this opportunity? He wouldn’t… and there it is!

To Your Success,

-Tom

Advertisements

Bridge The Generational Gap

October 19, 2010 3 comments

“DUDE, YOUR BLOG IS SICK!” This statement was a serious contender for the title of this week’s blog. As we all know, TITLE is everything in attracting readers. Since my intention is to attract people from all generations, I decided to tone it down a bit… but that’s where it ends! The rest shall have flavor for everyone: Hot & Spicy for the Millennials, Exotic & Colorful for the Gen-X‘ers, Low-Salt or Sodium-Free for the Baby Boomers, and Bland with a bit of Honey will be served to the Traditionalists with a smile.

Bridging the generational gap is very important to enhancing communication, effectiveness, productivity, and profitability across all levels of an organization. In reviewing The New Map of Adult Life (Sheehy 1995, 10-11), I first thought I was looking at a map of Middle Earth (ref: Lord of the Rings trilogy). Many of the descriptions and diagrams under Provisional Adulthood and First Adulthood hit home. Suffice to say, I have dipped my toe in Middlescence with the recent purchase of a bright red BMW. Manual transmission, all-wheel drive, and tan leather interior.

It’s PHAT!

Could I possibly demonstrate a better expression of an early midlife crisis than this?

I don’t think so!

But how can we more effectively work with “The Others” (people from other generations, I mean)?

Today I propose one unique approach that may help bridge some of the generational gaps. The concept is Informal Mentoring. “Informal mentoring is about being in the right place at the right time and fostering boundless professional support and guidance within organizations” (Lois J. Zachary). Young employees often struggle with finding a perfect mentor match, while significantly tenured employees struggle with swallowing their pride and asking for help (often with technological challenges). Informal mentoring is casual, spontaneous, self-initiated, personal, unstructured, and self-managed. The success for implementing an informal mentoring strategy is dependent upon how effectively an organization trains all employees on its benefits. After all, every unique individual is motivated by the question of WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)?  This is a question that drives engagement from all employees, regardless of their generation.

Although informal mentoring is still regarded by many organizations as both less significant and less legitimate than formal mentoring, it is a much better approach to helping employees who need mentoring actually get it when they need it. Why? Because the employee is personally investing their time and energy into their own growth and development (as opposed to doing something they were TOLD to do). More importantly, it can be a catalyst for effectively breaking through the generational walls of misunderstanding and foster more effective communication across wide variances in tenure. By creating an action plan to support and enhance informal mentoring in an organization, generational gaps will shrink and all types of mentoring will be enriched.

So what’s the word, POPS?

In the words of President Ronald Reagan:

“Tear Down This Wall!”

(June 12, 1987)

Sincerely, Cheers, Yours, Dude, CU L8R, I’m Out,

-Tom

Mile High and Taking It Higher!

October 4, 2010 5 comments

Attitude Determines Altitude!

Attitude Determines Altitude!

Attitude Determines Altitude! It’s a phrase that has been used many times to highlight the impact attitude can have on individual behavior, learning, and success. Have you ever been amazed by how quickly your attitude improves after achieving a small success? Or how a complete stranger with a poor attitude can drag you down in a matter of minutes? As much as we try not to admit it, the truth is that our attitude is constantly shifting and can be dramatically affected by external forces.

But why is ATTITUDE so important? Because the more positive our attitude towards gaining new skills, stretching our creativity, and enhancing our perspective, the better we learn as adults. The better we learn, the more we retain. The more we retain, the more effectively we apply. Effective application leads to increased competence. Increased competence enhances our self-confidence. Enhanced self-confidence leads to personal success. Personal success leads to increased motivation to succeed again, which positively influences our attitude towards learning. Simply put, our attitude plays a key role throughout the cycle of adult learning, motivation, and success!

ALTITUDE: How high can your motivation to learn and succeed take you? Denver sits at approximately 5280 feet above sea level and is appropriately labeled the “Mile-High” city. While leading high-performance teams in the past, I consistently reinforced the importance of each team member’s attitude towards learning and how motivation can help everyone succeed. Attitude really does determine altitude, which is why our slogan was “Mile High and Taking It Higher!”

-Tom

Motivation from the Inside-Out!

September 20, 2010 5 comments

The sixth principle of the Andragogical Model is Motivation to Learn.

What motivates you to learn? My initial response to this question was, “To further develop my skills in order to attain a job promotion, make more money, and/or because of others’ expectations.” However, I quickly came to realize that these external reasons aren’t the most important factors. As I continued to ponder my individual learning motivators (as a adult learner), one thing was clear: I am very focused on changing myself from the inside-out, not nearly as much from the outside-in.

Congruent with my own realization, Malcolm Knowles points out that the most potent motivators that make adults respond come from “internal pressures” (Knowles 2010, 68). Internal pressures include, but are not limited to, improved quality of life, enhanced self-confidence, increase in self-esteem, and higher job satisfaction. Knowles challenges us to consider the intrinsic value and the personal payoff. My personal internal motivators include: personal happiness, sense of accomplishment, recognition, increased awareness, and expanded perspective.

Motivation is not simply an on/off switch- there are many layers to motivating adult learners. Last year, at the University of Denver, I met a (surprisingly) non-traditional professor named Greg Giesen. “Geese” was my instructor for a graduate course entitled, “Leading High-Performance Teams.” My personal motivation for taking this course included personal interest and experience, plus it was a requirement for my Masters program (external driver). The classroom learning activities were structured in a way that they fostered a highly interactive environment. This made the course fun and somewhat competitive as well! I believe being able to experience a sense of accomplishment and reinforce internal intuition on various projects led to a higher degree of personal learning and real-life implementation than had the course been structured in the more traditional sense (lecturing).

When teaching adults, I believe setting the tone through personal connection and helping training participants feel important can be effective methods in addressing the principle of motivation. At the very start of a training session, it is wise to welcome the group, introduce yourself, explain why you are training the course, and reveal what your personal payoff will be. By asking the participants to do the same, you communicate that you are interested in them and can learn more about what motivated each of the participants to sign up. Once you more about why each individual is attending, you may be able to leverage this information during the training to more effectively connect the learning to the participants.

From the Inside-Out,

-Tom