Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Will I get rehired?

From a reader,

Read your blog...you have a lot of interesting information. I have a question and I am wondering if you could provide some advice.

Here is my situation: a week ago my former company let me go due to poor economic times. I was still billable, but their current backlog was not there to support me. They were waiting for a couple projects to move before hiring people back. From talking to my former co-workers and other consulting firms, work is suppose to increase around 2nd quarter. This would possibly mean that my former company would hire me back.

Would it be reasonable to negotiate a higher salary? My stance is, they see value if they are willing to hire me back, I handle their clients good, I work hard, and it would give me some security if they are willing to go a little bit extra to convince that I am valued employee.

Would this be a good stance for me to negotiate on?

I am currently sending on my resumes, with no other job offers on the table. My concern is rejection and blowing an opportunity on possible income.

Any advice you have would be appreciated.

Well, I’ll have to be honest in my reply.

Based on your question, there are some assumptions that I feel could backfire. For one, while you got this information from your ‘sources’, they aren’t really valid until the projects have come through, agreed and have been signed on the dotted line. I might sound pessimistic (really don’t want to), but until the projects are officially agreed to, it can be the second quarter or much later. Secondly, even if the projects do come across, how do you know you’ll be rehired? That’s a scary assumption, because you are then counting on getting rehired without credible data! On the other hand, if they had let you go saying they’ll reconsider hiring you when the market improves, you at least stand a chance. Again, they might have ‘told’ you but they don’t have to. I don’t know of any law that says they must rehire employees, off course there might be a few exceptions. But under normal circumstances they don’t need to rehire. You can still apply and try your luck.

Next, assuming you do get rehired, chances are slim that they would make any changes in your salary. Since, the very reason for letting go in the first place was poor economic situation. It’s obvious that cost plays a major factor in such decisions. I then don’t know why they would spend more on rehiring you, while they can hire someone new by paying a lesser salary. Makes sense? No? It’s excellent that you’ve done a great job handling their clients, but that doesn’t in anyway indicate that the next person might not go one step ahead.

Alternately, here’s what I would have done. I wouldn’t count on getting rehired and instead focus my energy on finding another job. If the rehire does come through, it’s great. Else, I’m at least making sure there’s Plan B in place. Further, your chances of getting a better/expected salary package are higher at a new Company.

So what can you get from your previous company? You can get yourself some excellent references that can vouch for your work. That will go a long way in your job search.

Good luck with your job hunt!

Friday, February 19, 2010

What will get you rehired? Or not.

Your chances of getting rehired are blown away, if:

You’d sent your resignation via voicemail / text / fax.
As silly as it sounds, I’ve come across people who chose to send their resignation over phone! The only way to do it is in-person, unless you are working remotely.

You didn’t serve out the required notice period.
Yes, we know you got a better job offer elsewhere. That doesn’t give you the right to walk away without serving your notice period. Your unfinished work landed on your colleague’s plates, not that they don’t already have enough to do!

You left your team members high & dry in the middle of a critical project.
Again, we know you got yourself a great job, but your team members haven’t forgotten your act.

Performance was the primary reason for your exit.
The job still requires the same skills. Not many companies take it well even if you’ve been away from over a year.

You were fired for disciplinary action.
Remember that sexist comment you passed on your colleague…during work hours? Yep, people haven’t forgotten that. Nor have they forgotten that drunken incident on that fateful Friday. Drinks were on-the-house, so was your behavior!

On the contrary, you’re chances of getting rehired increases, when:

You left on a positive note. (Captain Obvious? Yes!)
Searching for a job can get one to do crazy things, like asking to get rehired after burning bridges with the previous employer. No, they aren’t interested.

Ready to start afresh.
That would mean salary, benefits, perks and insurance. Everything. Your ego too. Period.

Good rapport with the team members.
You might the manager’s pet, but nobody wants to work with a team member who doesn’t gel well.

Your team members want to refer you back.
Managers are employees too. Chances are that your previous manager has quit as well. That would leave your team members to refer you back. Would they?

What have you gained since the time you left?
Very important question that deserves a well thought out answer. Be honest.

You’re ready to undergo the interview grind, one more time.
Being in the role earlier doesn’t guarantee you a place in the team. Get yourself prepared for the interview grind.

Your previous Company wants you back!
This has to be the best case scenario for getting rehired.

In the end, opting to get rehired starts with answering a very basic question: Is this your ONLY option?

What would you do? Take a quick poll.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

And then HR screws it up....

From the reader who sent the previous query:

Unfortunately, the company has offered someone from my hometown before I could negotiate with them and convey my decision!

Situation: When they had offered me, I’d mentioned that I would need a couple of days to decide on the offer. And exactly on the third day when I contacted them, I was astonished to hear that they had offered someone else and the position was closed! They had found someone who could accept the offer (without negotiating) and join immediately. However, nowhere in my interview had they mentioned about immediate joining. As per policy in most companies an employee needs to serve out a notice period. During my interview I’d clearly mentioned my notice period and also willingness to join the company as per their requirement by negotiating with my current employer on the release date.

This is something strange to experience. Especially since this tells me about the HR's behavior & attitude towards candidates. It’s absolute unprofessionalism. I decided of not pursuing the offer with them. I can't imagine working with such an organization.

Thanks again for your time in replying to my mail.

I’m sorry the offer didn’t work out. Understandably, it sucks to be in such a situation. While it might seem strange for a person experiencing this for the first time, such senseless practices do exist. Even extreme cases such as revoking an offer, changing components of the offer after the candidate has joined, are among other senseless practices that are prevailing in the market. Is it unprofessional? Off course it is. But it is unavoidable? Sadly, the answer is, No. The current job market isn’t helping either. There are far more number of highly qualified candidates, than the number of the jobs available.

Well, you at least have a couple of positive things going for you: a) you haven’t resigned upon receiving the offer; (b) you got away from working for such an employer. That tells me that you did give it sufficient thought before taking the next step. Excellent approach!

You also can take away some learning from this experience. You’ll know exactly what to ask in your future interviews. Maybe even spend more time in finding out details about the prospective employer (not that you already aren’t doing that) before you take up interviews with them.

Hope you land with a job that meets your criteria.

Good luck!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Job offer negotiation

From a reader:

I came across your blog while searching for some info. Really must appreciate your efforts in answering our queries.

I’m writing to you to seek your advice on a job offer.

I’ve been working for 4 years with an IT company that’s in another city. I‘ve been in search of a job opportunity in my hometown for over six months. Currently, I’ve got an offer from a company in my hometown. But I’m not that excited with the offer. Though I’m getting a very good role, responsibility and position (designation), the salary which they are offering is not that good. When I’d mentioned to them that I’m expecting a better hike, they countered that by saying I’m relocating to my hometown and as per my experience their offer is the best in the market. I’m not concerned about the fact that I am relocating to my hometown (it can wait a little longer if needed), my concern is that I’m pretty sure that I’ve not been given a fair offer considering both my experience and skills.

At times I feel like compromising on the salary front, thinking that I’ll prove my skills & experience while performing on the job. But when asked about appraisals, I was informed that I would be eligible for the next appraisal cycle (next year). That would mean that I would have to remain on the same salary for another year and I would be underpaid. This is another factor which is not attracting me to accept the offer.

I’m due for an appraisal in a month’s time with my current organization. Assuming, I get a decent hike post-appraisal, my salary would be way beyond what they are offering me. Is there a room to negotiate for a better salary? Please suggest.


Congratulations on the offer!

Well, there are many things that come to mind. First, are you moving from a tier-1 to a tier-2 city? The reason I’m asking is because offers vary depending on the geographic location/city. Many factors such as cost of living, talent pool, tax liabilities, legal compliance, etc, are taken into consideration while deciding the salary range. So effectively, an offer of $x in a tier-1 city might be seen as high in a tier-2 city. Now, this might or might not be true in your case. Especially since you mention that they cited your experience as being a major deciding factor in the offer. On the contrary, they are also referring to you relocating to your hometown and that their offer is the best in that market. So, it comes down to you answering my question.

Second, you’ve been trying since six months to move back to your hometown. I assume then that this must be your first job offer there. Does that tell you something about the job market in your hometown? Either way, the current situation has more candidates (and good ones at that) than the number of jobs available. Is the job movement from a generalist role to a specialization? That could complicate things too. If four years of your work exp is spread across various skills and you were interviewed for a specific skill, then your technical competency gets rated on that particular skill.

Third, have you made a list of things that are important to have for your relocation? Yes, there’s role, responsibilities, salary, etc. However, in this case since the salary is lower (than your expectations) there might be benefits that might be part of the job offer. Like, relocation benefits, flexi hours, telecommuting, vacations, insurance coverage, bonuses, stock options, etc, that add to the whole offer package. Did you explore those as well? I assume you did.

Next, you mention that you are pretty sure that the offer isn’t a fair one. Well, what’s the benchmark you are considering? If it’s based on objective data then it makes sense. If not, you may want to re-evaluate the offer.

Finally, let’s move to the upcoming appraisal. There isn’t any concrete data on the possible percentage of hike that you might expect, especially given the current market conditions. Expecting the next employer to compensate you with a hike for work that you’d done in your previous company, isn’t really the way to bargain for a hike. No? If that’s the case, then you might as well wait for the appraisal and then start interviewing. Given that your move to your hometown can wait a little longer, I suggest you don’t take up an offer that you are not satisfied with. Period. Cause it will catch up with you sooner than later.

Is there room to negotiate for a better salary? Yes, there is if you have decided on things that you are ok to let go and others which you must have. Off course, you can still go ahead and ask for a hike. The max that they’ll say is a ‘No’. But that discussion will have more weight if you went in with researched data. Negotiations are really about giving as much as getting. I see there’s a lot you can take away from this interviewing experience.

Hope you get the offer you are expecting. Good luck!


This one's hilarious! Couldnt help but place it on the blog.
Should be labelled under, "What not to do with a Twitter account?"

PS: Click on the image for a better view.