In the February 25, 2020 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a reader asks whether it’s possible to recover after accepting a job offer with a salary cut.

Question

salary cutI’ve been unemployed for six weeks. Was earning around $120K. Have been offered a position at $85K and, quite frankly, I need the money. Even more important, I recognize that my self-esteem is too bound up in my career: I need to work for more than just the money. Am seriously considering accepting this lower offer, because I believe these folks cannot afford to pay more. Will my chances of negotiating another position at a higher salary be irrevocably damaged if I accept a salary cut? Advice, please, and thanks in advance.

Nick’s Reply

You’re facing an important decision, and you need to be sure you are balancing the key issues. How long can you afford to go without a job? If you accept this offer, how much time will you be able to devote to continuing your search for one that pays better? Will being under-employed versus unemployed affect your self-esteem?

(And consider this: Is it possible to get more money out of a company that “cannot afford to pay more?” We’ll get to that at the end.)

What’s your objective?

I could easily tell you not to give in yet, and that it would be smarter to continue your search until you find a job where the pay is more in line with what you’re accustomed to. Six weeks is not a long time to find the right job. But being able to pay the bills is just as big a consideration. You could borrow to meet expenses until you find something better — but how would that affect your motivation and effectiveness in interviews?

These are very personal questions that only you can answer, and I think they are more relevant at this point than the main question you’ve asked: Will a salary cut damage your ability to win a higher salary later? While it might seem penny-wise and pound foolish to focus on the short-term problem (paying the bills), there’s something to be said for surviving today so you can stay in the game.

It’s important to think about what your objective really is.

Why a salary cut?

In today’s business climate, radical corporate restructurings and the outsourcing of jobs to “consulting firms” seem to be killing wages and salaries. While economists consider it a minor footnote and blow it off, stagnant wage growth tells us something is very wrong. Seemingly low unemployment suggests pay should be going up — but it’s not. This is for another discussion, but it seems the U.S. Department of Labor may be misrepresenting the impacts of masses of uncounted people who are returning to the labor market. I could make the argument that there is no talent or labor shortage; that in fact, we’re in an unprecedented talent glut. That’s why employers think they can hire you even with a salary cut.

There are a lot of good people on the street. Some employers are capitalizing on this by hiring great workers cheap. But this is no more of an ethical problem than you accepting a low-paying job while continuing your job search — and then quitting for a job with more pay.

(Is it ever worth taking a salary cut, other than because you need the money? I see one possible benefit, if you look at it as a re-tooling investment. A lower-paying job might be the price you pay for an opportunity to gain a foothold in a new field or business, and to learn new skills.)

Are good salaries dead?

While some employers are buying talent at a discount, others are smarter. They don’t assume that because you took a pay cut at your last job, you’re now worth less. They see an opportunity to land a great new employee who might not have been available to them otherwise at any price. (See Dr. Dawn Graham’s insightful article: The Salary Negotiation Mistake That’s Costing You.)

I know one very rare HR manager whose policy is to offer candidates what they’re really worth. If they are truly under-paid, she helps get their compensation back on track, and earns the new hire’s loyalty. Good salaries are not dead. (See Why employers should make higher job offers.)

So, no, I don’t think your chances for more money will be irrevocably damaged — not unless you become complacent. You must continue your job search if you take this lower-paying job. If you stay in the $85K job too long, you could indeed hurt yourself long-term.

Encourage better job offers

As you continue to search while newly employed, you must learn how to negotiate from a position of strength — even if the employer says it “cannot afford to pay more.”

  • Never disclose what your current salary is. It’s none of their business. An employer will always use your current salary to negotiate against you. See We need to know your salary because —.
  • Ask the employer what the salary range is before you agree to interview. Don’t fall into the trap of interviewing for jobs that won’t pay enough. You’re likely to rationalize accepting another low salary simply because you invested so much time in it.
  • Assess the value you could add to any new job you’re considering. Can you do it faster, more efficiently, more profitably than the employer expects? Couch your salary expectations in terms of what you will bring to the employer’s bottom line. Be ready to explain it.
  • Choose higher-paying jobs and, for each one, prepare a mini business plan that demonstrates clearly why you’re worth the money.

What counts most in any job negotiation is what positive impact you’re offering to an employer’s bottom line. That’s what wins you more money. Focus on conveying that critical message to an employer, and you’ll always be able to negotiate for more money — with a current employer, or with a new one.

Have you accepted a job with a salary cut? Why? Were you able to regain your higher salary level? How? What should this reader do? Do you believe salary cuts are more likely in today’s job market?

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39 Comments
  1. There have been times when I took a less than ideal job and kept looking. Take that job that does not pay as well – you might line it – do a side hustle if you need to. In my case I am planning to start my own company but I will hang onto my current job until I can’t keep both going at the same time (a former business owner said a regular salary is a great thing).

  2. I agree with Nick’s points.

    Regarding self esteem:

    I once found myself unemployed. I eventually was offered a job after 6 months that paid 2/3 of what I had previously made. The place was poorly run, hence the joke of a job offer. I ended up taking it as UI was running low, but working there affected me negatively because of the expectations vs. pay. I eventually got another job offer after 6 months and made up most of the salary difference. The real kicker is that it took 9 months to find my replacement who only was there about a year.

    The moral of the story is that I would just be careful and do your homework on the company to make sure you know what you’re getting into and that you’re okay with it.

    When to take a pay cut:

    I just wanted to re-iterate Nick’s point that the one time it’s okay to take a pay cut is some compelling reason to, like getting into something different or better work life balance or whatever else you value.

    For example, when I started my current role, I made less than I did a year prior before I lost my job. I often thought if I would have taken it if I was still employed there. My answer would have been yes – It was only a 10% pay cut which was partially made up by better benefits and I’d be doing something new and more in demand. Since it was a government job, the contracts and pay scales/steps were all online and based on the contract, if I went in and worked hard, I’d be making more than I ever did after only a year.

  3. Also, it’s important to evaluate the total compensation and benefits package, not just salary. Some jobs pay a higher salary but have lousy benefits. You might be better off in the long run with a lower salary that comes with better benefits. Some employers may have a slightly lower salary but give extremely generous bonuses – you can’t count on it, but the payoff can be huge when they come through (I once got a bonus that was nearly the same amount as the salary at my first full time job – granted, I was seriously underpaid at that job, but still…). If you can get any sort of sense of it before you’re in the trenches, work-life balance may also make a difference as might your assessment of your colleagues or how compelling you expect to find the work; accepting less money for a less stressful or less time consuming or more engaging job might be worth the tradeoff for some folks.

    • While I am employed I try to keep the pulse on what is happening with my company. If things start looking bad, I start looking for a new position. I have avoided actually being “laid off” for 14 years by doing this. By the way, once I have left, I find out that I did the right thing by leaving!

      When I am in need of employment, I will take something to bring in at least some appreciable amount of revenue, and then I will keep looking. Usually I get some good experience that is useful in the next job.

      Companies have no problem letting us employees go, and I have no qualms in quitting.

      PS: In the event that my company were to let me go, I already have a job – it’s my own company I am working on founding. Revenue would be another problem, however. So I am working on that.

      • “Companies have no problem letting us employees go, and I have no qualms in quitting”. Amen!! Back in the mid-90s, I saw the movie “Heat”, about a crew of professional bank robbers. One line I’ll not forget from their leader was “never have anything in your life that you cannot walk away from in 30 seconds or less if you spot the heat (law enforcement)”. Integrity and a good faith effort? Absolutely, a mark of character. But when employers have no compunction about throwing employees under the bus, then I apply this very line to them.

        • @Antonio: Letting people go (firing them) and quitting are business decisions. Or should be. Loyalty is a very fuzzy concept.

  4. research what a ‘pay equity law’ is find out if they have one in your state, we have one in CT now and it’s great new for all candidates

  5. If the new job involves moving, you need to consider the cost of living as well. This can vary by more than a factor of three inside the US.
    The one time I took a lower paying job, it was in returning to my graduate assistant position after having had a temporary position as a Visiting Assistant Professor (known ahead of time to be a one year position).

  6. I took a job they had a annual cap on what they could pay (for business reasons). I was able to accept it at an annualized rate that was the same as my last job but fewer hours. Later they converted it to a 1099 free lance and I was able to deduct my commuting business expenses but had to reconstruct my own benefits. Later the firm closed but I was able to carry myself for 4 years there.

  7. In my personal experience, I’ve had to take pay cuts (50% in some cases) by accepting positions just to keep the wolves away from the door after stints of lengthy unemployment and fruitless job searches. UI doesn’t cut it, and my state has cut the traditional 26 weeks down to now 20 weeks (with talk of going down to 18 weeks). For me, and others I’ve known (especially older workers), this equates most often to career suicide. As screwed up as employers are today, it’s no secret on this site with any of the posters that they’re just looking for a reason to disqualify candidates. The question then begs “why did this candidate go from job A to Job B, and for 1/2 the wages”? I’ve been asked this in interviews, and even when answering that circumstances like sudden and unexpected unemployment popped up, and I needed to make the bills, that’s still not sufficed employers neurotic suspicions. I mean, you’re in a world of hurt, as you have to survive, but stepping down the ladder a rung (more like two or three rungs today) is shaking your death rattle.

    • This is one reason not to divulge salary history in the first place.

      Since I work for the government now, my salary is public info. You can find in with no longer than 2-3 minutes using Google. I’ve literally told recruiters that if it’s so important to them, go look it up, but I’m not going to willfully negotiate against myself.

    • @Antonio: You may find some useful ideas about how to handle that question here:

      https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/11074/salary-reveal-earns-lower-offer

  8. I would say take the lower salary, and keep looking. That to me is not desperate nor potentially very hindering for future salary boosts. I have worked in technology/research for about 13 companies over 30-plus years, usually non-profits in Wash., DC metro area, but also Fed Gov and 2 for-profits. I have taken wild leaps of salary, up and down, and never found it to be a problem to move up fast, even if I was moving from one of the lower-paying roles. But that’s somewhat because of the DC metro region, factors might be different if I was in, say, Miami.

    • I strongly agree with you that taking a job while searching for a better job makes sense (been there, done that) 1. you’re more valuable employed than unemployed 2. sometimes the “best job is the only job”. But, I’ve personally run into employers who either assume, or just outright say in the interview “I think you’re looking for a stop-over job until you find a better one” (ok, true), or the ones who with a smirk on their faces offer and/or hire you for 30-50% less wages, and pat themselves on the back because they consider it a great victory that they found a sucker for chump change. With all due respect, your being in government and not-for-profit related jobs (as I’ve found with many in the academic world, and many in woke high-tech industries), and living in Washington, D.C., that’s a far different beast than guys like me in the private sector (often smaller and more brutal) manufacturing and/or manufacturing related industries here in Kansas City.

      • Yes Mr Zoli the one maybe greatest factor is where you live, that’s why I put Washington DC up front. About a third of the time when leaving my roles it was not my choice. But here, I quip, that one has to TRY hard — to be UNemployed. My having worked at, at least 10 non-profits, they have also become quite brutal over the years. They easily rise to the level of the 6-7 years I spent at for-profit pro consulting (usually for mostly Fed Gov). The non-profits, at least here, are no longer benevolent, even if they claim to be. Academia at any level here is also very rough play, it doesn’t pay anything salary-wise and does not offer any security, it’s largely politics (phd wife was in the university domain for some years). But here, 30-50% pay-cuts — or raises –are common, in my experience. And here, I and I think most others largely take that in stride. So perspective will vary GREATLY depending on what industry and whether you live in for example KC or DC. As you have so noted.

      • You speak the truth.
        After reading several of your posts on this topic I realize you say it like it is.
        I also heard the “I think you’re looking for a stop-over job…” VERY early in my career and personally witnessed the “…smirk on their faces…” too.
        For many of us, accepting a major drop in pay is, as you say, “…career suicide…”.
        You also hit the nail on the head about government jobs, academia, and the “woke” high-tech industry (Google recently lost an age-discrimination case; a topic all onto itself).
        Only a handful of states make it illegal for employers to demand compensation (pay equity) history.
        With those facts, I’d have to be REALLY desperate to accept any position with a moderate to large pay cut.
        Human nature (especially in the employment world these days) is to be suspicious first and only soften that position after seeing a mountain of evidence to “prove” (at a high standard with moving goal posts) why anyone would take a large cut.
        Worse yet, the economy is riding a decades old bull market so that puts tremendous pressure on the applicant to “explain” a major cut in an attempt to persuade a prospective employer whose eyebrows are already raised with a “red flag” attitude.
        Great post Zoli, you revealed reality that millions of the chronically underemployed are living everyday.

        • @Chris S: I love it when a company that may not be in business in 2 or 3 years insists on hiring people that will stick around for “the long term.” Even more stable companies cannot commit to not having a layoff or downsizing. That’s a fair question to ask when they ask you how long you’ll commit to.

      • @Antonio Zoli: The public sector, in some cases, is adopting the same philosophies and habits as the private sector. A couple of weeks ago, I ran into a woman I knew from a job I had two jobs ago. She’s still employed by the same public employer, but said that morale is very low as the employer has taken to hiring contractors instead of permanent employees. She said that in her dept. and in others, some of the jobs are being combined and outsourced to Shrewsbury, where one person will do it and have no idea about the needs on the other sites. As for the contractors, she said that they’re full time, but don’t get any benefits such as paid sick time, vacation time, holidays, health insurance, etc. The unions have complained and have threatened to sue the employer because more and more of the temporary contractors are doing the same jobs as the regular employees AND some of the contractors are supervising the regular employees who have been there longer and had had to train the contractors. She said any time the contractors ask for time off, the employer informs the temp agency and they’re told not to go back to that job, and then they have to start all over again with new contractors. Ditto for any contractor who talks to a supervisor and asks to be hired as a regular employee. She said that the money is there because plenty of the big muckety-mucks in upper level administration are getting raises, but the people who actually ensure that the place continues to operate smoothly have had to forgo raises, or when they do get them, they’re 3% spread out over 5 years, while employees’ contributions to their health insurance and life insurance have increased, the cost of parking has steadily risen, etc. She’s biding her time until she can retire, and said that she noticed that the jobs targeted for outsourcing AND for being filled with contractors tend to be those that used to be held by older employees. And yes, this is government, who should not only know better but shouldn’t be resorting to the same methods as the private sector.

  9. Question for Mr. Corcodilos, you’ve made a good bullet point “Ask the employer what the salary range is before agreeing to an interview….”, but as one who’s personally wasted precious time, and/or PTO time, interviewing for jobs with substandard compensation, how to get perspective employers to divulge compensation ranges, and early on in the conversation? While I just flat out ask very quickly “what is the compensation range for this position”?, more and more of these employers come back with “what kind of compensation are you looking for”? My reply is (and with some slight annoyance) “I’m looking for what your compensation range for this position is”? In other words, just answer a legitimate question so we don’t waste our time. If they are still evasive, I just say not interested, and hang up.

    • @Antonio: Thanks for the respect, but please call me Nick. You’re already doing what I recommend: Hang up. An employer that won’t divulge what salary it wants to pay is like a car dealership whose cars have no sticker prices on them — why bother?

      Here’s another kind of response when they turn it around and ask what you want:

      “I assume you have a salary range for the job because you have a budget for it, too. That’s why I’m asking. If I go to a car lot to buy a car, I have a budget, but I don’t disclose how much I want to spend. I look at cars whose sticker prices are in the range I want to pay. I can’t decide whether to look at this job seriously if you won’t tell me the sticker price, or salary range.”

      Any employer that refuses to tell you the salary range of the job is going to mess with you royally during the interview and hiring process. Better to know that now and hang up. You simply can’t have a win-win with a company like that.

      • “Any employer that refuses to tell you the salary range of the job is going to mess with you royally during the interview and hiring process. Better to know that now and hang up. You simply can’t have a win-win with a company like that.”

        The common retort from recruiters/employers is “But, applicants see high number and want that, then get mad when the offer is lower.”

        Well, no sh*t, Sherlock.

        How is this any different when you go car shopping, walk into the Ford dealership, tell them you’ve got $50K to spend, then complain they only show you the F-150’s when the Focus will do. Of course, the sales person is going try to get you to pay as much as you’re willing to spend.

        Bringing this back around, many employers do a poor job in analyzing how much a specific role is worth to them and how much value a candidate brings to the table. On the flip side, a candidate has to show why they are worth what they are asking.

        If the concern is that a deal will fall through, well that’s life (the so called cost of doing business). Additionally, for many jobs, I’d argue that many of the people interviewed could do the job anyways (again, this is poor interviewing on the part of the organization).

        • “…many employers do a poor job in analyzing how much a specific role is worth to them and how much value a candidate brings to the table.”

          Bingo!

          They’d rather pigeon hole every candidate into an ill-conceived salary “range” and then not tell you what that range is (favoring the low side) until they sucker in a bunch of chumps that are willing to waste time interviewing on-site vs. simply answering the basic “What is the salary range” question upfront (phone, email, etc.).

          Typical fly in the spider’s web scenario. Unfortunately, too many candidates play along and get spit out, only to sign up for this game again and again and…

        • @Chris S: I find that the main reason HR demands your salary history is because HR is incapable of judging what you are worth to the company — or what the job is worth.

  10. I love this newsletter and blog because it’s truly the only source of information I’ve found that’s accurate about the job market. That said…. can we please GET REAL about how companies are getting around the whole salary thing? Even when I’m applying as an inside referral, the automated computer system will ask salaries (as well as graduation dates) and you simply cannot move forward without answering. My field is pharmaceutical/device sales and I find this to be a trend unique to my market and tech companies. What can we do about that?

    • @Anna: Thanks for your kind words! I know this seems hard to accept, but you cannot negotiate effectively if the first thing you do is concede and consent to disclose your salary. Every employer will use it to limit your job offer. (If it’s internal, then why are they even asking? They already know! This tells you there’s no integrity behind the demand for your salary information!)

      If “you simply cannot move forward without answering,” then you get off the road you’re on because it’s going to take you to a bad place: Automated, dumbed-down, algorithmic processing of YOU. Don’t apply through the automated system. Go talk to the hiring manager directly. Yes, I know — that may be against the rules and the manager may be very hard to find.

      So let me ask you this, and I mean no disrespect because I’ve worked in one area of sales or another all my life: What would your VP of Sales say to you if you explained that you couldn’t get a sale because the prospective customer’s purchasing department wouldn’t let you talk to the actual customer and decision maker? Should you just tell your VP that this particular account should just be deleted from the target list, because there’s no way you can move forward?

      Job hunting is a lot of hard work, because so’s the job you want. Again, no disrespect. Many people ask the question you’re asking — but it’s the wrong question. People ask it because decades of brainwashing by employers, HR, job boards and, yes, “career experts” have trained job seekers to relinquish their negotiating edge by “filling out the required form.”

      The real question, and your challenge, is how to get to the hiring manager. That’s what we discuss here all the time. Here’s a place to start: https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/5675/getting-in-the-door

      I’m sure others will chime in with their suggestions for you!

      • No disrespect taken! And I have an answer to the ‘what would the VP of Sales say’ and it’s an ugly truth. First of all, pharmaceutical sales has nothing to do with real sales and everything to do with marketing BUT, they still call it sales. This is not to say that this is an easy job. The demands put on the pharma rep are high, they usually carry a heavy administrative load and can and will get terminated if there are any discrepancies with inventory and/or expense accounts.

        The real sales happen at a much higher level, mostly with insurance companies, PBM’s, Hospitals and pharmacies. A ‘drug rep’ used to have more responsibilities and were expected to be knowledgeable on new advancements in medications as well as current insurance benefits, actual drug costs, etc. It is a highly regulated industry where saying anything other than what’s on the marketing piece can get you fired. I witnessed a well versed, polished, extremely professional rep lose her job after 15 years for citing an outdated clinical trial that was only a few months prior used as the main sales aide.

        In recent years, the major pharmaceutical companies (your household names) have taken on the role of ‘patient assistance’. They create these programs that are pitched to the health care providers and offer to assist them through the prior authorization imposed by the insurance companies. Since prior auths take up so much time without a ROI for these medical practices, many are more than happy for the assistance. This is a grey area in which the ‘drug rep’ is tasked with the burden of navigating, putting them at high risk for HIPPA Violations. I’ve also witnessed colleagues lose their jobs over HIPPA Violations when a pharmacy called the rep over a patient benefit.

        Drug reps are paid a salary and receive commissions and bonuses based on sales objectives the sales department sets. In almost every case, being able to meet sales objectives has everything to do with insurance coverage, which is not within the control of the drug rep in the field.

        Between 2007- 2009, the industry purged over 400,000 sales reps and they have never reached the number of reps since. I was laid off in 2009 after 10 years and an excellent track record. Suddenly, the years of experience I had were too many and my salary was too high and the sweet spot was being in your territory for 3 years. Being out of a job for longer than 6 months and you were a leper. I took a job with a device company that was losing steam (because I had no choice) and my sales numbers took a dive as they went out of business. Since 2011, I’ve been through several layoffs and each one takes longer to get back in. I get the sense that these companies batch those of us whom have been laid off in the past because it always seems like we find ourselves job searching around the same time. If it were a matter of networking, believe me, I am so plugged in, I never have a gap in my resume. There simply seems to be no rhyme or reason for the Yo-Yo Lay-offs the industry subjects it’s employees to.

        I know the so called decision makers and when it comes down to it, they really make no decision passed who they want to interview… I know this, because I too held a leadership position in a pharmaceutical company and the person that got hired was ultimately the decision of HR and whatever crazy algorithm they deemed appropriate. I can tell you this much, my former company wanted their reps ‘young, dumb and hungry’ and that was a direct quote from the CEO.

        When asked why would I stay at a company (or an industry) like that, I’d tell you that when all you’ve ever known of the corporate world is that kind of cynicism AND also it’s paying your bills and your healthcare is covered, that sets the standard. I’m aware of how low that standard is but I also get the sense that corporate is evolving in the worst possible way… judging from what I read on these threads.

        I’ve never been on a site such as this where a fellow pharma sales employee has spoken up. Additionally, I’ve never read any solid advice on what to do. Every single job application since 2009 has been online, through a 3rd party ‘staffing agency’ where I understand corporate can get away with skirting around the EEOC. What I don’t understand is how this issue just keeps growing. If one refuses to fill out an application BEFORE a formal interview, you simply do not move forward. The video interviews leave a candidate fully exposed to identity theft because companies have no small print about what they do with your video and what’s worse, the AI used to conduct these video interviews is biased to females and anyone with a dark complexion. I’m not making this up… almost sure I read an article about that very AI issue on this bog. If not, I can find it and pass it along.

        • Video interviews are nothing more than a way for a company to check off a box and say “We interviewed x number of people including y women and z minorities.” They can show they met EEOC requirements and saved time paying HR people. If they really are interested in you, then they will get you an in person interview very quickly (even there you might still have to do a video interview anyway, but the difference is you know there is a next step).

          • “…way for a company to check off a box…”

            Exactly.

            Thanks to the political climate and insane demand for “diversity” (band-aid at best) at all costs these days, this is what the employment market has come down to – extreme inefficiency in pure data/paper pushing, staying “busy” for the sake of staying “busy”.

            Result? A cluster-F that consistently scares off A-talent.

        • @Anna: Wow, what a lesson in pharma sales! Thanks for posting it. If I can find some time, I’m going to ping a few people I know in pharma management and grill them (in a friendly way).

          Here are a couple of columns about video interviews:

          https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/9044/hirevue-video-interviews-insult-talent-in-talent-shortage

          https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/13461/ai-robo-interviewer

          • Can’t wait to hear what you learn. In my experience, managers are literally just ‘managing up’. Hate to say it but gender plays a big factor… women are not as well respected as the men are and as they age in that industry it becomes the kiss of death for their career. I worked at a Startup so maybe I just saw it all magnified. When the #MeToo movement hit, you remember that week when the media encouraged people to reveal their stories of harassment on their social media pages, the execs at the company parsed through social media to catch who would become a ‘liability’.

            We had an all day Tony Robins NLP training session once… you know, to see what your personality was and what kind of management style you respond best to. Turns out these tests also reveal what your triggers are… and that personality test was used to help ‘manage people out’.

  11. Please understand I am addressing this solely on a “nuts and bolts” level.
    If you need the money and possibly the benefits, take the job. If the lower salary is enough to get by with, that’s fine for now. What good is self esteem if your broke and behind on bills. Use a pragmatic approach. This is a temporary thing, to get by for now. If this job sucks, plan your exit strategy while you are making money there.
    If later on in a future interview they ask why you took this, it’s simple. I needed the gig.
    Any real professional hiring manager or HR person will identify and agree and put an end to that issue.

    • “Any real professional hiring manager or HR person will identify and agree and put an end to that issue”. In theory, you’re absolutely spot on 100 % right, but in our current society and job market, how many professional hiring managers and HR people have you come across? I would have trouble counting the number of such people on one hand. I can tell you unequivocally having sat across the table from hiring managers, business owners, and especially HR types that there’s absolutely no quarter held for “victims of circumstances”, “casualties of war”, or “I needed to make the bills”.

      • “…but in our current society and job market,…”

        Correct again Zoli.

        You’re preaching to a choir that l-o-v-e-s theory over reality, feelings over facts.

        • You got it Chris!! We share a consonant ground. We’re both “realists”, and we know the “games” these employers pull. Like I say, give integrity and a good faith effort, but walk when you must. I’ve been criticized on this site (whatever), but many of these “employment experts”, IMO, espouse unicorns and rainbows, and have evidently never suffered job lose, long term unemployment, or toxic employers. Live in Munchskin Land, or live in the real world.

  12. Exactly! I have been pondering these concepts about job hunting, screening, interviewing and the entire can of worms . . .reflecting on my own interactions with the HR-gatekeepers, managers, and the like. There is a lack of integrity and grace shown the candidate as though the corporate decision-makers have no clue about real life and common situations. I speak of lay-offs, downsizing, ageism, and strange things that simply shouldn’t happen to any earnest candidate/employee who’s just trying to make an honest living. Do these people live in a bubble, or it doesn’t make sense until it happens to them?

    I’ve been thinking about “group-think” collectivism and how most companies are run with this very toxic principle having been the victim of this ideology (more like high school mean girls) and I see the ineptitude of the job-hunt. Dealing with HR, recruiters, and filling out online apps only reinforces my suspicions all along — no one really appreciates or “gets” my story, a mere resume cannot convey the true nature of my skills, work history including gaps, emotional intelligence, and overall quality of work. Why is this? Because I’m just another (fill-in-the-blank) and this stereotype keeps me easily pegged. HR and recruiters have nothing vested in me personally since there are potential candidates waiting in line to jump through their hoops. They really don’t care.

    BTW, I never do one-way videos since I think an interview is a two-way conversation, not some recorded thing where I don’t see who is judging my facial mannerisms and voice inflections to determine potential suitability for a job. And, as someone else mentioned, what happens to said video years down the line and in whose possession does it remain? There’s some serious breach of privacy going on with these ridiculous screening novelties. In addition, I don’t do personality tests, either.

    If only more people had the insight to stop and think about what’s being asked of them and simply say no and walk away, maybe companies would stop using these “tools” and actually bring people in for an interview simply based on a resume and a phone screen with the hiring manager – NOT an admin support person given the outrageous task of being the first, and most important, gatekeeper.

  13. @Anna: As far as I know, for EEOC considerations it is still “illegal is illegal is illegal” whether in person, online, or carved on stone tablets (and I first learned about the EEOC in the 70’s in college). Now, managers might think that posting a job online excuses them from EEOC considerations, but it is more that the police + Feds cannot review every page of jobs on the Internet simultaneously. They are just lucky, for now.

  14. I’ve had 3 jobs over the years where I wound up getting paid more than what the employer advertised the job for. What is weird is that I wound up leaving those jobs after about 6 months because the jobs (and managers) turned to be intolerable.
    I am a business analyst with about 15 years experience in financial services. I got these jobs through answering ads (which I know is not the best way). The first job I got told me the salary after the first interview. They seemed to like me and asked if I would come in for a second interview. I told the HR person that the pay was a little low and if they would consider bumping me up another 10%. HR said they would need to see if it would be possible. After a day they called me up and said they would increase the salary to what I asked. I interviewed some more people and they made me an offer which I took. After about a couple of weeks, my manager just became impossible to work for. It seemed like everything I did was wrong but I trudged on. After 6 months my manager gave me a horrible review. She said that I wasn’t learning fast enough and that I would not get a pay raise. After that there was a reorg and my manager reported to someone else. All of a sudden I became a star employee. My manager said that she wished she could have more people like me. I wound up finder a better job and quit.
    More recently, I applied for a job (again answered an ad) where they told me a salary that was lower than what I wanted. This time the recruiter managed to get the company to raise my offer salary 30% because of my experience. I thought I was doing fine. I had no problems. My manager never gave me any criticisms. After about a month, the company had me report to someone else. Suddenly, I couldn’t do anything right. The new manager criticized everything I did. He gave me new duties that was outside of my original job description. I still managed to do everything I was asked but it still wasn’t good enough. I asked for meetings with the new manager but he refused to see me. When it was time for my review, I wound up getting a very negative job performance rating. Everyone in that department got a raise except me. I wound up quitting the next month.
    I am wondering if these managers felt that I was being overpaid. Would this have happened if I would have accepted a lower salary? Is there anything I could have done differently? Are there any red flags to look out for?

  15. Hi,

    I’m almost at the end of my career,
    I can tell you, after an incredible IT life,

    you’re fired for “loss of motivation” after the loss of 2 relatives <1yr

    You're hired as a trainee at 50yo and
    MUST accept or Nothing Man,
    you reduce it by 30K EUR/yr

    Now 57, started computing at 12yo PET Commodore…
    Pro IT in 1987,

    just saved 633 Polar Bears by closing my linkedIn acct ( it became a non ashamed FB mirror like, tired of it )

    I still LOVE my job

    and prefer being a good tech rather than a bad mgr.

    Take care and be strong.

    Dan.

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