Tag Archives: negotiate

Demand attention from the hiring manager

A giant cockroach steals the hero’s gun and swallows it, So the hero taunts the cockroach until it eats him. A few minutes later the cockroach explodes and our hero is standing there holding the huge gun the monster ate a few minutes before. Men In Black was a lot of fun. In that case the only way to save the world was to survive in the stomach of a giant bug.

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There has to be at least 5 great job hunting analogies there. Create your own, then read mine. I bet mine is different.

The giant bug wants nothing more than to get into its spaceship and get away. Of course the earth will be destroyed if it gets away, but that is not the bug’s problem. The two puny humans must do everything they can to keep it from leaving. They taunt it, harass it, insult it, and step on small earthly cockroaches (relatives and friends) to get it to delay its departure. They figure out what the bug can’t ignore and get it to come back and deal with them.

Hiring managers are like giant cockroaches. They just want to hide in their offices and get away from you. You are a waste of their time unless you tell them something that proves they need you. They would rather have their receptionist shred your resume than take the time to talk to you. Take three lessons from the way the Men In Black fought the giant bug:

  1. You have to find the right words
  2. You have to engage them in conversation
  3. A relative or friend may be able to get them to talk to you

Over the next three articles I will show you how to do each of these things. The giant cockroach, the hiring manager, will give you all the hints you need. I’ll show you what those hints are.

Something to do today

What do you need to do to get a hiring manager to need to talk to you?

How to negotiate a fair non-compete clause

I was cursing non-competes again yesterday.  Non-competes are those contract clauses that can keep you from earning a living.  Here in PA, lawyers cannot legally be held to a non-compete.  The rest of the world can.

The ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas [and] the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market. (Oliver W. Holmes, dissent in Abrams vs US, 1919)

What a non-compete really did

This happened.  The perfect manager had accepted the job.  He planned with his new boss how they would take over the market.  He tendered his resignation and got ready to shake the world.  Then he and his new boss got a phone call.  It was from a lawyer at his old company, always bad news.  “If you go to work for the new company and work anywhere within 150 miles of our office, we will start by getting an injunction to shut you down.  Then it is going to get nasty.”  That was it.  The opportunity evaporated based on a non-compete clause.

I am told that in Tennessee, if you sign a non-compete, you better be willing to live by what you signed.  In California they say non-competes are rarely enforceable.  No matter where you are, it is better to change the non-compete before you sign an employment agreement rather than try to get out of it later.

I’m getting old and disagreeable.  I would only sign a non-compete that says,

“You are not allowed to help steal customers you worked with directly for one year.”

I would also demand this qualifier,

“If the company cuts my pay, rearranges my bonuses so I earn less, or fires me for anything besides dishonesty, I can work for anyone I choose.”

In reality, you will never see those clauses in a contract.   Too bad.  It would make signing the contract much easier.

Never be afraid to cross out the non-compete clause before you sign a contract.  It will give your hiring manager or the HR person a heart attack.  That’s a great way to start negotiations, seriously.  If you have any questions, cross it out and tell them you either have to cross it out or let your lawyer look at it.  That really is the way I would negotiate.  Their lawyer looked at it, why shouldn’t yours?


Tomorrow:     Sand in the gears

Later:              A resume planner

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle