Being Left “High and Dry”

Not to send a message of sour grapes with a recent candidate experience I had, but… why not? When I bring a candidate to the table, prep him for an interview, negotiate an offer, and then he decides to no-show for a position he’d accepted, it sends me a loud message to me and the countless others who’ve put their time into the search – we’ve been left “high and dry'”. It’s surreal to step back and think that all the effort that went into this search was wasted.

It’s human to make mistakes and to sometimes change our minds on important issues. I get that. What I don’t get is when someone doesn’t have the decency or strength of character to pick up the phone (or even return a phone call after pulling out) to explain what’s happened and why the candidate decided at the very last minute not to show up. It’s called business etiquette (or proper protocol, or whatever you want to call it) and in this case, it did not happen. Receiving that call from a client trying to find out why their new recruit has failed to show up on Monday morning is completely embarrassing. This is after they’ve invested time and resources to prepare for the new employee’s arrival, of course, including:
Setting up voicemail
Establishing an e-mail account
Ordering credit cards for travel-related expenses
Ordering and paying for a new cell phone
Ordering and paying for a new laptop
Booking airfare for an upcoming trade show
Scheduling a complete training and on-boarding plan
Announcing the “New Employee” to the entire employee population

So by now I think you get my point. Backing out of an offer – after telling everyone involved how excited you are about joining the organization, signing and accepting the job offer while continuing to look for a better deal like some NFL or NBA free agent – is just plain wrong. You’ve destroyed your brand equity and your reputation in the market and risk having this story told to others who may know lots of influential people in this space.

If you do find yourself struggling with a decision to accept an offer, then by all means, listen to the little voice inside your head and opt out early. Do it out of respect for the very people who’ve invested time, energy and money in vetting you as a candidate. Leaving them high and dry has real consequences downstream, not just for the organization and recruiter, but also for you and your brand.

Top 5 Things to Remember When it’s Time to Resign

Sooner or later that dreadful day will come when it’s time to call it quits. My best advice is to follow these five easy steps when you’re finally ready to cut bait:

1. Make sure your decision is final, and that even with a counter offer, you are done! If there’s even the slightest bit of hesitation on your part, it will stick out like a sore thumb and could potentially leave the door open for a counter-offer (which may require a roll of TUMS).

2. Keep your decision to yourself. Never discuss leaving with a coworker – regardless of how long you’ve known them. People love to talk, and most couldn’t keep a secret if they tried. Someone letting your news out of the bag could be a real problem. Trust no one!

3. Make sure you have a written offer in your hands. Accept no substitutions – verbal offers don’t carry any weight when making an important decision like a resignation. Negotiate all of the fine points, have your offer in final form and make sure it’s on the new employers letterhead, dated and signed.

4. Keep your message – both written and verbal – brief and to the point. Less filling is better – it doesn’t usually do any good to discuss where you’re going. Don’t arm your audience with ammo they can use to make a counter-offer or make you second-guess your decision. Leave no wiggle room!

5. Maintain a professional approach to the resignation, because your brand will live on in that organization – for better or worse. Give the proper notice (or honor your notice period if you have an employment agreement). If they ask you to leave before your notice, often you can receive compensation from your employer. Also make sure you take the high road and never badmouth the employer to the employees still on the island. Nothing good can come from that.

Now that you have what you need to resign, all that’s left is the guts to pull the trigger!

Asking the WHY Questions

Originally posted on Healthcare Informatics

Here’s a job/career tip the next time you are interviewing for a new position: Before you start thinking about an offer, you should do some soul searching. Make sure you really want to join the organization you claim you want to work for. Trust your instincts – but verify it’s not your emotions driving your decision.

Ask yourself the following WHY questions and try to answer each one as honestly as you can. After all, it’s your life and your decision, and it’s you who will have to live with the uh-oh consequences after the fact.

WHY is this company the right organization for you? List three or four solid reasons why you want to work for the organization you are interviewing with. Is it just about the paycheck, or do you like the culture, the leadership or the chance to do things you’ve never done before? Be sure you know you’re joining up without emotion and based on really good reasons. Please check all of the boxes before you go ALL IN.

WHY is this decision a smart career move for you? Are you scaling your skills or learning a completely different skill by accepting this job? Make sure you understand all of the reasons that make this move the right one right now, and list three or four good reasons as to how your career will grow as a result of the decision to move forward.

WHY do you like the people? This one is really important – I mean, who wants to wake up every day and go to work for a jerk? But how do you know what it will be like to work for this new manager once the dust has settled? I recommend meeting the new boss one-on-one before you declare your intentions in a non-interview setting. Lunch or coffee one morning in a neutral setting always works. Now that the interviews are over, get to know this individual as a person. Talk to others in the company and ask the tough questions about the hiring manager’s style. Their honest answers will surprise you if you ask the right questions.

WHY is the organization’s culture appealing to you? Do you know? This very important question is probably one of the toughest to gauge. Again, you have to ask a lot of questions. I like candidates to ask one simple question to a potential hiring manager: What’s it like to work for you? Their answer should speak volumes about what you should expect. Then again, this is another example where you need others to help bifurcate their story. How does the company incentivize employees to become successful? Is there real camaraderie with the troops? Ultimately, are people having fun working there and do they like coming to work every day?

Once you get through the WHY questions, is the compensation package a fair value exchange for what you have to offer? Nobody wants to leave money on the table – ever. When evaluating the compensation, step back for a minute and make sure you’re looking at the entire package. That includes base, incentive compensation, equity and their benefit package. What’s the upside, and how much of it can you control?

Too many candidates start and stop looking at a new opportunity using the base salary ONLY – a bad move and potentially a huge mistake. There are too many other important questions to ask.

So let me ask you again: WHY?

Starting a New Job? Develop Better Listening Skills…

Originally posted on Healthcare Informatics

A new day has dawned and you are starting a new job! How exciting! There is a certain level of uncertainty as you enter the building. All sorts of thoughts enter your head and lots of “what if’s” begin playing out in your mind. Chances are you don’t know anyone except those that interviewed you – and most employees (that will report to you) have never met you. Any baggage you had from your old job was left the day you resigned. This is your chance to experience your own NOVO: A Latin expression meaning “from the beginning,” “afresh,” “anew,” “beginning again.” Change is a good thing!

You bring a level of expertise with you that your new CEO wants to tap into. No doubt about it. And you will definitely get your chance. Your skills, your background, your education, your references and the way you handled yourself during the interview process made you the top choice by the interview team. However, you are still entering the unknown in many ways. New culture, new processes, a different way of doing business – and a new social network of employees you will soon get to know. And they will get to know you and form their own opinion of you based on how you handle yourself. This fresh start can be anything you want it to be. You are the driving your own bus. It’s your call as to how you handle yourself, build new relationships and learn how your new employer does business.

That ONLY works if you know how to listen.
Some of us are intuitive and want to listen and learn and understand the dynamics of the new organization. That’s a good thing. Unfortunately, some of us just can’t help ourselves. We have a different plan. We have to let people know how important we are by talking 2-3 times more than we listen. It almost every case the loudmouths always lose. They don’t know when to listen because they are too busy talking. Actually – they don’t care. They make themselves feel better by telling people (they don’t even know) how things should be done and how they did things at their former employer. In reality -they have no clue. Why? Because they never stop to listen.
Hello. News Flash. Nobody cares.

We all have two ears and one mouth. Some of us understand how important listening skills can be – particularly in a new job. Others don’t get it and never will. Why? Because they prefer to talk and they refuse to listen.

Listen, learn and succeed. That is a much better plan!