Category Archives: Counteroffers

Everyone wants a better bargain

Desert, Drought, Landscape, Sand, Tree, Nature

Buzzards circle overhead. Struggling across the desert mile after mile, a hiring manager finally can walk no further. He starts to crawl. A candidate drives up in a jeep with 100 gallons of water. He offers the hiring manager a ride to a hotel and all the water he can drink if he’ll split the cost of gas. The hiring manager says, “I’ll only pay you for the water. You are going that direction anyway.” The candidate shakes his head and drives off.

Everyone wants a bargain. It is just a fact of life that candidates want more money and hiring managers want to pay less. Your lifestyle is affected if you earn less. Thus is the lifestyle of the hiring manager. Managers are evaluated based on overhead. Even if they are rewarded on output, they want to cut overhead. It is their nature.

There is no magic chart that tells what you should be paid as an employee. I know one programmer who got a 40% raise when he finally realized he was worth more. He went to his manager and said, “Everyone else on my team is earning $50,000 per year. I’m better than most. Why am I earning so little?” What bothers me the most is that the manager and the employee felt good about the raise. How about a bonus to make up for the previous years? 

Even if you are the only person in the country who can save his company, the owner is going to look for a bargain. They just do. In the same vein, you will want a raise immediately after finishing training the company pays for. For some reason, a man dying of thirst still wants a bargain on a bottle of water. That’s why you have to be worth 10 times as much to be paid 2 or 3 times as much. 

Something To Do Today

Where have you been out-bargained in your job search? What can you change about you, to be a better bargain?

Dangers using the job supermarket

Job Supermarket

When I was in Spain in 1977 I knew of no supermarkets there.  You had to go to a small store and ask for exactly what you wanted.  The owner would bring out what you asked for from behind the counter.  There were no food aisles to roam.

By 1979 supermarkets were taking over the country.  Huge places filled with choices.  You could literally make shopping an all day event, and forget to come home with what you needed. Then you would go to that local store and ask the owner for what you forgot, if the store was still in business.

Now let’s talk about the job supermarket.

In 2003 and 2009 jobs were few and far between.  Candidates were happy to accept any job offer if they were unemployed for a few months.  Employers were being very picky.  Salaries were often dropping.

In 2005 and 2014 a job boom started.  Employers were starting to beg for workers in 2007 and 2015.  People who couldn’t get a job in 2004 or 2010 were getting multiple offers.  People fed up with the way they have been treated for years are changing jobs.

Unfortunately in 2007 and again in 2015 some people are going job hunting, changing jobs, and forgetting to improve their situation.  Employers get very wary of people who hop between jobs

The moral:  Be careful you don’t make it impossible to get a great job because you were seduced by sparkling packaging on inferior jobs in the job supermarket. If you aren’t careful the stores you could have gotten a job in will be like the stores in Spain, they’ll be out of business as far as you are concerned.

If you go out and quickly change jobs only for a small salary increase, you will probably be disappointed.  By the time you figure out why you are disappointed, it will be too late to switch jobs again.  Two new jobs within a year just doesn’t sit well with most employers.

Don’t lose your head.  If you want a raise, tell your boss without threatening him. Show him what others are earning.  Educate him. Don’t forget to listen to him.  He may tell you a few things you need to fix to be worth a raise. Giving your boss a month or two to fix a problem gives you more time to improve your marketability.  Figure out what will really be a job improvement.  Take control of where you want to go instead of letting 50 sparkling job ads seduce you.

As the next few years continue to heat up, use the opportunities available to get where you would like to be. Don’t settle for a raise.  Demand an opportunity in your current job and your next job.

The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created, created first in the mind and will, created next in activity.  The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination. (Schaar)

Something To Do Today

In your job journal make two lists.  1.  The things you like about your job.  2.  The things about your job that could seriously be improved.

Next write down what can be done in this job and in searching for a new job to seriously improve your situation.


Next:     Rigor Mortis – signs of job death

Later:    Resumes: trash or treasure

6 real reasons people turn down jobs

Too bad.  When someone gets a job offer and turns it down, it disappoints the folks who made the offer.  Here are 6 real reasons people turn down jobs.

Will the folks who made the offer learn from it?  Will they even listen if you tell them why you turned down the job?

I am in favor of giving the real reason you turn down a job, not just the one that makes you feel better.  If you give the real reason the facts may change, then they can give you a call and a chance to reconsider.

The best example is when you just didn’t like one person you talked to.  Once that person is gone, it may become the perfect job.  If you let them know the truth, they may call you back in when they fire that person.

Anytime you do turn down a job, be polite.  You know how.


Your job search: the poker game

If you look at every job search decision, action, and result as a measure of your worth, you are setting yourself up for massive failure.  In this article a world renowned poker player talks about evaluating decisions based on the information you had at the time you made the decision.

There may be absolutely nothing you can do to win a job you are perfectly qualified for.  If one of the other candidates is married to the boss’s daughter, you lose.

In survival, you control what you can control, and let God take care of the rest.  In job hunting, interviews, negotiations, and job performance, you control what you can control and let go of the rest.  You can’t win every hand.

This is a great article on poker and business.

Give up and go elsewhere when things are bad

I found a great job for someone and was told”

“If I leave, deliveries will stop, sales will stop, and a lot of people will be out of work. I’m going to have to turn down this job.  I owe it to my boss and coworkers to see them through these hard times.”

Is this you? What’s next?  Layoffs 3 weeks later.  Suddenly it really is self sacrifice because you are laid off.  And you may lose the house too.

First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. (Greek proverb)

I am not saying to abandon ship when you are needed.  I am saying that you must be aware of what really is happening.  You finding a new job may free up enough money to save another person’s job.  The shock of your resignation may be what finally gets through to the big boys that things are going badly.  Sometimes a company is going bankrupt no matter how heroic everyone is. Reality is not always what you think it is.

When business is bad it taints your whole outlook.  You see problems everywhere.  In your distorted world, no business can be thriving.  You are wrong.  Some are growing.  Don’t be afraid to join them. I guarantee that you are replaceable. If not, the problems are so severe you should leave anyway.

There is an alternative. A while ago I was talking to an accountant at a company that was in bankruptcy.  He said, “I am earning more money than ever before.”  They REALLY couldn’t afford to lose him, so they gave him bonuses and guarantees. If you are the hero, make sure you are compensated and protected.

When business looks bad, it may be time to leave.  Don’t let the lens of self sacrifice or fear fool you.  Many times what is best for you, leaving, is also best for the company. If you really are indispensable, get paid and protected for it.  If they might fire you for asking to get paid for your risk, you are not indispensable.

Something to do today

Is business bad?  Find someone you trust who has business experience.  Talk with them about whether you should stay where you are or find a new job.  You may just need an outsider’s perspective.


Coming up

How to ruin a phone interview

Start a new job excellently

New and better or cheaper

How everyone else sees you

The difference between fertilizer and ****

Salary toys

It’s not how much you make, it’s….  okay, so it is how much you make.

Have some fun and compare what you make to the rest of the world.  It can be an eye opener when you play with minor variations in titles.  is a great place to go looking for good jobs. Monster and CareerBuilder are fine too.

Then go to and find the range of salaries for that job.  They have neat graphs that show you the range of salaries and what percentage of people get the high or low salary.

Add Senior or Chief to your title and see what that earns you. will help you compare the salary and cost of living in different locations.

Have fun.  If you don’t like what you see, figure out how to fix it.  If you are overpaid, figure out if you are worth it.

Something to do today

Have some fun with salary toys.


Coming up

Working for the Fortune 50

Scrabble and muck and get ahead

When to give up and go elsewhere

One way the economy is really affecting hiring that is critical, but few notice

10 years ago the average car buyer visited 4.1 dealers before buying. Today he visits 1.7 dealers. The buyers are better informed. They can even find the dealer invoice amount, dealer only incentives and other bargaining information before they buy. The speed of decision making has dramatically increased.

3 years ago companies we deal with sometimes took months to consider who exactly they should hire. There was no hurry. Candidates were plentiful and not moving into new jobs quickly. Slow hiring was not a problem.

Now the need to fill particular jobs is more acute. I’m talking about the highest demand jobs.  Even in this economy there are critical jobs that desperately need to be filled. Companies need to hire quickly.

Even after an offer is accepted, more candidates are being courted by the company they are trying to leave and the companies they turn down. That courting often continues for months after they start their new job. For these critical jobs, 20% or more of the people that accept a job, get stolen by someone else before they start.  The speed of decision making is increasing as well as the need for good decisions.

Companies are less and less likely to seriously consider you unless you are serious about a move. They won\’t allow you two weeks to decide if you want a job. If the company waits that long then they may lose their two backup candidates. The companies just can’t wait.

Since companies and candidates are moving faster now, I\’ll give you some guidelines about how you can make decisions quickly over the next few days.

Something to do today

You are at least considering leaving your job. Write down why. It will help organize your thoughts.


Coming up

How to make a quick decision

Support net preparation

Personal brainwork

Job research

Company research

Why would your boss think you are as bad as a cheating husband?

This may be counter-intuitive, but when you try to leave your job, your boss looks at YOU as the cheating husband.  Your boss sees YOU as the betrayer no matter how many times he has failed to follow up on his promises. He may have not given you any raises in 4 years, but he sees you as the person who is making his life miserable.

Your boss sees himself as the righteous WIFE in this story when you quit.  If you agree to stay due to his pleadings, pay raises, promotions, and cajoling, he absolutely loses his trust in you.  Here is how he feels.

Your boss thinks he is the wife in this example

Your husband asked for a divorce last week. He quit. He has been dating another woman who is so much nicer than you. He is cheating. He told you about her looks, personality, family, and friendship. He was preparing to move out until last night. You begged him to stay for the kids’ sake. You agreed to change the way you treat him. You will start exercising, get a facelift and breast implants. He finally agreed to dump that floozy. It is so nice to have him in your arms again. He’s yours. (Remember, you are the husband, he is the wife who is getting surgery to get you to stay.)

It’s two weeks later. He needs to “work late” for the second time this week. Can you keep yourself from calling his office?

He’s gone on 3 overnight business trips this month. Are you going to check the credit card statements when they come?

You called at 3 pm and the receptionist said he is out of the office. You really want to get an ankle bracelet to track him, don’t you?

Your boss

When you tell your boss you are quitting, and he sweet talks you into staying, he has already lost faith in you. The next time you have a dental appointment he is going to wonder. When a big opportunity comes up he’ll remember that you took an extra half hour at lunch one day last week. He’ll give the big project to someone else who he is sure will stay in the company and finish it.

Once you give notice you are quitting, leave. Come back in 6 months if you were wrong. Then your boss will know that your commitment to your new employer was firm, but things didn’t work out. When you accept his pleas to stay, he knows you just screwed the other company. He’ll be wondering when you will screw him.

That’s real life.

Something to do today

Prepare a resignation letter that only says: Thank you for the chance to work here. My last day of work will be xx/xx/xx.

Now practice this phrase 20 times: “Let’s not talk about why I am leaving, let’s talk about how I can make the transition easier on you.”


World destruction by accident

The smartest guy in the room

Humility and job suicide, there is a difference

Sample resignation letter and comments


Name of Person Resigning To



City, State  ZIP


Dear Boss,

Please accept this letter as my official notice of resignation. I appreciate the work we have been able to accomplish together at [company name], but I have now made a commitment to another organization and will begin with them in two weeks.

It is my intention to work diligently with you to wrap up as much as possible in the next two weeks to make my resignation as smooth as possible. If you have any suggestions on how we can best accomplish that goal, I hope you will share your thoughts with me, as I am eager to leave on the most positive note possible.



Sign your name here

Type your name here

This sample resignation letter has been used by hundreds of candidates that we have placed.  It is a very professional way of telling your employer that you are leaving, that you resign.  This letter informs them of your decision to leave, thanks them for your learning experiences, tells them why you are leaving, and states to them your last day of work.  It also informs them that your decision is unchangeable and that you will assist them after you leave should they need to call on you.

Your employer can react to your resignation in a number of different ways.  I caution you on this because we have helped all of our candidates through the resignation process.  One reaction can be “You picked a fine time to leave” or “What did I do to you?”  Another reaction is “What company are you going to?” or “What are they offering you?  Perhaps we can match their offer.”

When the “guilt laying” occurs or if they try to flatter you by offering more money to stay, you must understand that your company doesn’t want to lose you.  It means they’ll have to spend time and money to find your replacement.  And that can be a real pain.  But the truth is they can live without you.  The reasons you are leaving are not going to change because you accept a counteroffer.  The other two reactions may be no reaction at all, or you may be terminated on the spot.  If the latter should happen (and it does happen), call your recruiter or new employer immediately and arrange a different start date.

Please call your recruiter after you have given notice.  This call can relieve any stress you may have felt prior to resigning.

Remember, people give notice every day, and employers expect it.  Many employers handle it as professionally as you do. The ones that don’t?  That just means you were right to leave.

Texas Hold ‘em salary negotiations

Some people object to my open and honest style of negotiating.  They tell me that Texas Hold ’em is the ultimate negotiating style.

Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards.  I got a full house and four people died. (Steven Wright)

In this salary poker game you have some cards only you can see. You share some more cards with all the players.  You put on a personality at the table.  You try to look as harmless or intimidating as possible. When you get your cards you do your best to give small signals of fear, lust, greed or anger.  You design your signals to stampede your competition into doing something foolish.  If you have a great hand you try to appear weak so others will bet stupidly high.  If your hand is weak you consider bluffing and making others think you are much stronger.  Or you fold and stop betting.  You wait for a better hand.

In poker there is only one winner.  You are out to defeat everyone else and amass all the chips.  It is a game for the proud, powerful, greedy, deceptive and analytical folks.  Sure, it can be played for penny ante with friends, but that is not how the game of legends is played.

Do you really want to start a job with those attributes pinned to your shirt?  My biggest objection to poker style negotiating is that someone starts out losing.  Someone starts out feeling like they pulled off a quick trick on the other guy.  What’s next?  Do you want to pull another trick?  Stick it to them again? Bluff them?  Intimidate them?

I don’t gamble.  I don’t like tricking the other guy.  I put all my cards on the table and try to figure out what will work best for everyone.

Remember, the way you negotiate is the way you will be perceived by your new boss.  Do you want to come in as a poker player who always hides his cards, bluffs when he can and goes for all the chips?  Or do you want to come in as a team player?

Place your bets and play your cards.

Something to do today

How about starting salary negotiations where you already work?   Time to write your accomplishments for the week and month in your job journal.  Make a report for your boss that gives him all the information he needs for his reports to his boss.


Tomorrow:     A crippled ace

Later:              An ace who learned

My former boss is killing me