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BAD ADVICE for Job Seekers

There’s so much advice out there for job seekers. There are a lot of people on LinkedIn and other places that act as if they are the authority on job seeking and ideal hiring ideas.

The problem is that much of what they say is NONSENSE. It’s just not based in reality.

I want to try to address some of the poor ideas floating around. Although in a perfect world some of their sentiments may be true, we don’t live in a perfect world. Many of the ideas floating around out there are just not realistic.

The fact is that many people need a job. Just because the interview doesn’t go exactly like some idealistic person out there thinks it should, doesn’t mean you should automatically walk away from an opportunity.

I am going to try to tackle a few of the BAD ADVICE topics that have stuck out to me.

Caveat – I am giving my best advice without going into exhaustive detail. Each of these topics are nuanced and each situation is different. So, even with my advice, do you best to determine what is right for your specific situation.

#1 Counter Offers

“NEVER accept the first salary offered.”

This is just bad advice. There are times to counter and there are times to just be happy and thankful for a great opportunity.

My Advice – If you are SURE that an offer is not competitive in the market, then it may be appropriate to counter. I emphasize SURE because some people make these determinations out of ignorance.

Market value on a position is based on several different factors. Some people will just “Google it”. This is problematic because the results may be based on several different factors and irrelevant to the position.

For example – If someone looks up “average salary for a HR Manager”, they may get something that is completely off in comparison to the opportunity for which they are applying. The HR Manager role looks very different in different settings. Things like company size, industry, and organizational structure play a large part in determining appropriate salary.

So, if someone relies on that data, it could lead them to make an uninformed counter offer and hurt their chances for the opportunity. Some companies are open to counter offers, while some do not look favorably on them – especially if they are outrageous. That’s just reality.

At the end of the day, you also have to evaluate the total opportunity and all of the intangibles. Maybe the salary isn’t exactly what you want, but other benefits of the job offset it. Don’t believe that you always have to counter.

#2 Current Salary Question

“If the company asks you about your current salary, you should not only walk, but RUN, away from that company. They are only trying to use that against you.”

This is a nuanced topic, and in my opinion there are good arguments for and against asking about current salary (in some places it is now illegal to ask, so that’s a different story). At the end of the day, I believe a candidate should be offered fair market compensation that is commensurate with the job and the skills of the candidate.

With that said, don’t just walk away from an opportunity because one individual from the company violated your ideal standard of what should and should not be asked. This is bad advice.

Some companies, or specific people in the company, are just used to asking that question. You should evaluate the opportunity based on what they do with that information. If they come back and make an offer that is clearly not in line with market value for the role, and have no explanation other than “we are giving you 10% more than you are currently making”, then you can evaluate it.

You may also determine that it is not exactly where you wanted to be, but the overall opportunity is still good.

My Advice – Don’t listen to people that tell you to walk away form an opportunity just because they asked you about your current salary.

If you get an offer that you feel isn’t fair (based on market data), then you have the opportunity to request more. You have to do this knowing that once you start negotiating, the company could walk away. That’s why it is important for you to weigh out the options, and determine how much you want the job.

#3 Job Hopping

“It’s not that big of a deal. It’s actually good because it gives you diverse experience. Any company that’s concerned about the fact that you change jobs every 6 months isn’t progressive enough to understand why they should want someone with your talent.”

This is horrible advice. Yes, people who “job hop” do have diversity of experience. They may have a lot of talent and skills to offer a company. But, it WILL hurt your job opportunities.

The fact is that it costs a company a lot to recruit and train someone. Any company that’s doing a solid evaluation of a candidate is going to consider the ROI. Will they get a return on this investment?

If you’ve shown that you are ready to find a new opportunity every 6 months, they can assume that trend will carry forward. This means it would be a bad investment for them no matter how talented you are.

My Advice – If you can, try to develop a good pattern of sticking it out in your jobs. Sure, there are situations that are untenable, and you have to get away from them. But, if you can, work toward developing a solid employment history that does not include changing jobs every few months. It can really hurt your future opportunities.

#4 Interviewing the Company

“How dare they ask you about your weaknesses? Do they not realize that you are interviewing them? They shouldn’t question your ability, they should be happy that you have graced them with your presence.”

I have seen sentiments like this expressed by professionals. It makes me wonder if they have had to actually hire someone, or live with the consequences of a hiring decision.

Yes, you are interviewing the company. You do want to make sure that the company and position are a good fit for you and your values.

With that said, the company is most definitely evaluating whether or not you are a good fit for them. There are people out there that seem to peddle the idea that you should have an ENTITLED mentality – “The company shouldn’t question my ability, they should just realize that they have talent sitting here”.

My Advice – Don’t go into any interview with a mentality of entitlement. This can make you come across as arrogant. Confidence is good. Arrogance is BAD.

Respect the fact that the company is trying to evaluate your skills, experience and technical competence. Then, ask good questions, when given the opportunity, to evaluate whether the company is a good fit for you.

In Conclusion –

Don’t believe all of the “experts” out there when it comes to job seeking. Don’t pass on good opportunities based on some ideal concept that isn’t based in reality. Best wishes in your job search.

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