Fib to get a raise?

Lots of folks work on contract, not on salary. It’s easy to net out less money when expenses go up and your client isn’t sensitive to it. Should you get paid a higher rate when that happens?

I work as a contractor for a company and I have a pretty good setup. However, my expenses have grown and I feel it’s time to ask for an increase in my contract rate.

I spoke to my immediate supervisor who said, “You will have to talk to my manager. If you were to say that you have another offer, the company would be likely to increase your rate to keep you. The manager would have something to go on to get approval from his boss.”

Now, I didn’t really care for this because I’m not going to lie. I do not have another offer, and enjoy working for this company.

I spoke to my husband and told him I wasn’t too enthused to go my boss’s boss and lie to get a higher rate. He said that I should just tell the truth and be myself. I smiled, because that isn’t the problem. Schmoozing someone who I may lose respect for — that is the problem.

What would you do?

I agree with you. Do it honestly. But that means being ready to show the boss’s boss a brief analysis and business plan. Showing how your expenses have grown is good… but what’s really good is showing how you contribute to the bottom line and how you will help with the company’s success. In other words, show a benefit to the company for the extra pay. It’s a healthy thing to sit down and work this out now and then. You might be able to figure out new ways to be a better worker who contributes more to the business. That’s what work is all about.

If you can’t figure out how to increase your value to the company in exchange for the higher rate, get your boss to help you out — or the boss’s boss. Try this: “I don’t expect you to pay more unless I can do my job in a way that adds more value to the business. Can we talk about the company’s objectives? It would help me to understand where the opportunities are to boost profitability. I might be able to offer ideas on how my job could return more on the investment.”

You get the idea. Nonetheless, the expenses argument might work by itself because it is valid… Use your judgment… but don’t stop thinking about were you fit in the profitability equation.


Job Board B.S. Abounds

Hey, guess what? The recession is creating a boom for “career resource sites” like HotJobs, Monster, Indeed and others. People are “flocking” to these web sites in record numbers.

No kiddin’, Dick Tracy. And desperate rats will gnaw off their own legs trying to escape pain.

eMarketer Digital Intelligence tells the story in a new report, Consumers Flock to Career Sites, but gets so excited about big-percentage traffic spikes that it doesn’t bother to ask, Do these career sites actually work?

The answer is, No. eMarketer does its clients and audience a disservice when it merely counts the rats. For the sad truth, turn to the CareerXroads 8th Annual Sources of Hire Survey. Go to page 19 and read the top paragraph. CareerXroads bears witness to all the gnawed-off legs. The big job boards don’t work.

But the media hungrily pick up the Job Board B.S. because there’s so much of it being delivered by “research firms” like eMarketer.

The big job boards remain and continue to be a waste of time and a national disgrace. But suckers are born every minute in Human Resources departments, and yes, Virginia, rats do indeed gnaw off their legs just as job hunters flock to the job boards without asking does this shit work?


Those lazy-ass women… workin’ in the coal mine?

Thanks to Mike Urbonas for sharing this “… my ass!” moment…

Mike Stankus, sales guru over at STM360, did an informal survey asking, Does work need to be your top priority? It seems Jack Welch thinks it does, and lazy-ass women who don’t give it all up for the corporation deserve what they get.

Stankus quotes Welch: “There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.” (Jack Welch’s stock is lookin’ more like GE’s…) Then Stankus comments: “He [Welch] was referring to women who take time off to have/raise a family, basically saying that you can’t get to the top if work is not your top priority.”

But the juice in Stankus’s post is a tasty little informal survey he did. Read the results for yourself. The question he posed: “Would you hire someone for a critical sales/sales management position if they told you work was NOT their first priority?”

Yeses outnumbered nos 5 to 1. Are there just a lotta politically correct managers out there who — unlike Welch — would kill off their companies just to be nice to employees?

Shucks, no. I think there are just lots of managers who realize that 20 hour days don’t translate into more success. Cave men worked longer and harder rather than smarter. They still do. Give it all up for Jack, my ass!

We covered a related topic a few years ago in the Ask The Headhunter Newsletter: Maverick Women Fire Back! (One of my favorite oldies but goodies.) The best I can offer Jack’s acolytes is this: Those lazy-ass women are the canaries of the corporate coal mine… they know when it’s starting to get stinky around the old cave-man clubhouse. But these canaries know enough to leave for better company. (There’s consequences!)


Forum: Should you hide your age on your resume?

The age barrier is something we’ve discussed before. Some employers look at a resume, see lengthy experience, judge the candidate as “over qualified” and toss the paper into the circular file. Dumb, dumb, dumb… but if that’s you we’re talking about, what can you do?

A reader asks The Forum:

Career professionals are telling older and more experienced people that have been “workforce-reduced” to remove information from their resume that makes them look over-qualified. (For example, shorten the work history, take off any graduate degrees unless needed for a particular job, omit industry-specific credentials.) Many experienced professionals are looking for an edge when applying for lower-level jobs and seem to be taking such advice. The goal of reducing the information on the resume is to get to the interview and then sell yourself to the hiring manager.

How do HR professionals view candidates that try to look less experienced? Do you think that this approach is a valid way to get to an interview? Thanks!

Should you mung your resume to… ahem… appear younger, less experienced and less intimidating to an employer? You guys go first… but I can’t wait to dive into this one. (And if you work in HR, what do HR professionals think of this approach to getting an interview? And why does HR avoid “over-qualified” applicants? Is less better? Do “career professionals” really tell people to devolve to get hired?? Can you be too good-looking, too smart, too experienced, too willing to take a lower salary? What is this world coming to?)


How to Say It: Last words in the job interview

Your job interview is almost over. You want to stand out, to be memorable to the hiring manager, to close the deal, to get an offer… What should you say?

That’s the topic of the August 4, 2009 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter. (You don’t get it? Then you… don’t get it… So get it. It’s free.)

If you missed the newsletter, I’ll post my suggestion about this baffling challenge. But first I’d like to hear from you: What do you say at the end of your job interviews to cinch the deal?


LIVE Ask The Headhunter WNYC Radio – July 30

Whew… it’s been a rush of a few days… Wednesday at Fort Dix with 1,000 soldiers returning from Iraq… yesterday in Manhattan for the fourth Ask The Headhunter segment on New York Public Radio with Brian Lehrer. This episode was more fun than usual because we did it in the studio with a live audience — they asked some great questions, and so did folks calling in.

We closed the WNYC series with Odds and Ends: Closing the Deal — Should you disclose your salary to an employer?

Brian and I focused a bit on advice for military in transition and took a call from a former Marine who has been in the job market for a year — but these tips apply to anyone looking for a job:

  • Can an employer ask you for a pay stub from your last job?
  • What should you do to follow up after an interview?
  • Should you always negotiate for more money?
  • And more… here’s the audio from yesterday’s show:

Many thanks to Brian Lehrer and his fine staff for their hospitality! And special thanks to those listeners who responded to my little on-the-air recruiting experiment: I presented three searches I’m working on and asked interested listeners to e-mail me their resumes. I was stunned by the volume and quality of the responses! One of my clients exclaimed, “People who listen to public radio are the kinds of people we want to hire!”

[Please note: The job openings I discussed on this radio program are no longer available.]


Mentors for Soldiers

On July 29-30 the US Army is welcoming almost 1,000 troops returning from Iraq at Fort Dix in New Jersey. They need mentors to help them back into jobs.

These soldiers will start their re-entry into the work force at a special two-day Career Fair. I’m happy to be giving the keynote presentation to help put them on the right track. Many other volunteers will be providing coaching and advice at that event, too.

The logo of Fort Dix features a soldier and the phrase The Ultimate Weapon. The Army gets it — It’s all about the people, not the hardware.

Once they leave the Army, these troops will be The Ultimate Workers.

It won’t be easy to do Q&A with 1,000 soldiers during a 40 minute presentation on July 28. So I’m inviting the troops to post their questions, comments, (rants!) on this blog thread. I invite Ask The Headhunter readers to join me in mentoring soldiers — putting our heads together to offer advice, guidance and any help we can.

Soldiers in transition: Please post your questions below in the Comments section. We’ll do our best to help and mentor.

Welcome home!


How to Say It: I want more money

Now we get to the juicy part of every job interview… the part where most job applicants blow it. Read my lips: After an employer makes you an offer, you cannot just ask for more money without explaining why more money for you is good for the company.

Duh… Yet job candidates sit there and say, “Uh, you ought to raise the offer because it’s not enough. The salary surveys say a job like this pays 20% more than you’re offering me…”

And when the savvy employer responds, “Oh, yeah? Show me the exact same job as this one that pays 20% more,” you look like an idiot. Because no salary survey describes the exact same job you’re talking about…

In this week’s Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a reader asks:

I’m considering a position, but I have no idea how much such a position ought to pay. My last employer compensated me at approximately $60K plus stock options, etc. How can I figure this out?

If you read the newsletter, you know what my advice is. I’ll post part of it here soon… but I’d rather hear your suggestions first. (Even if you want to suggest that I should sit on my advice and rotate. ;-)

The reader who submitted this question hopes you have a good suggestion regardless… (But do me a favor, subscribe to the newsletter — it’s free — and at least we’ll all be on the same page the next time we do one of these.)


Forum: Re-starting after bankruptcy

In the Readers’ Forum section of this week’s Ask The Headhunter Newsletter there’s a question from a reader that fits into a category I don’t use on this blog: “There but for the grace of God go I…” Maybe I oughta add it.

I went through a personal and business bankruptcy. I’m gradually getting back up on my feet. I’ve never had financial problems before, but the economic times hit me hard. Now I need to jumpstart the rest of my life. How should I handle this when a potential employer asks me about it?

If several things were to get very weird all at once, it could be any one of us asking this question. You go belly-up financially, but you finally get an interview, and the employer wants to know more. What do you say? How do you handle it?

Managers — Under what circumstances would you still hire someone who went bankrupt?


LIVE Ask The Headhunter WNYC Radio – July 23

We’re at it again today, Thursday July 23, 10:40am ET, on WNYC public radio: LIVE Ask The Headhunter on the Brian Lehrer Show. Join us! (And save $10… )

****UPDATE: Here’s the audio of today’s event. (How’d it go? Listener rylee from manhattan said: “I love this segment, very helpful. If you could find more experts like this guy, it would provide a very enlightening discussion.” Thanks, rylee!)

WNYC is at 93.9 FM, 820 AM — and “streaming live” on the web at This is part of a weekly Ask The Headhunter Series during July…

This week’s topic: How to Work With Headhunters.

This is a call-in show — Bring your questions! The last two weeks, we got so many calls that we’ve decided to extend the Ask The Headhunter program with a LIVE online chat today…

****UPDATE: Man, did we get questions today…! I type at 120wpm and my fingers are toasted…. The chat transcript is here (click the “replay” button when you get there…) In the meantime, I’ll take more questions here on the blog for those whose questions didn’t get answered.

And for more about headhunters… check out How to Work With Headhunters — instant delivery via download (PDF format). Do they recruit you then ignore you? Do they frustrate you? Don’t know how to find a good one? Want to know what makes headhunters tick so you can leverage better job offers? Learn how to separate the job from the offer… Check out the intro, table of contents and sample sections here.

And for WNYC listeners… here’s a special discount code to save you $10 on the book: tenoffnync