Smaller Firms – Larger Opportunities

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You’re considered cream of the crop, you’re on the market ready to be given the perfect opportunity; but how do you know you’re making the right choice? Many candidates nowadays do not know or see the potential in certain firms that supply them with offers. Some candidates just see the number of zeros after the dollar sign, but they do not know what each offer has the potential to become—situations like these plague the job market today. Rita Keller, an award-winning and widely respected voice to CPA firm management, observes that “We are facing the hottest job market in decades and high performers are looking for new opportunities.” In other words, top talent are losing out on great prospects because they are not aware of the opportunities that working at a small to mid-sized firm can lead to. “They think a small firm is the 2nd tier firms they might have heard of… firms with 800 or 1,000 people” Rita states, “[We] want graduates to come to smaller firms.” Sometimes smaller firms are off the radar and that’s where firms like Premier Financial Search (PFS) come in. We have been recruiting for seventeen years and cover the local (small, medium and large) and regional firm market. Read more

Great Expectations: Recruiters and Candidates

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Although I’m not a lonely old woman locked away in her spider-web adorned mansion wearing her wedding dress, I can be the key to your future success and fortune-your benefactor of sorts. However, Pip had to uphold to the high standards of elite London society before he could come into his fortune, just as candidates have expectations they must fulfill when working with recruiters. Likewise, recruiters have standards they need to maintain with their candidates.

As Pip learns, achieving nobility does not only include mastering the mannerisms and frivolities of the upper class but also maintaining one’s integrity and personal values. Both sides of the equation, the candidate and recruiter, expect trust and sincerity to achieve their goals. Unlike the mystery behind Pip’s secret benefactor, honest communication is essential to a good relationship with your recruiter. In a business world that is as ruthless and exclusive as high society in the Victorian age, there are certain expectations that must be attained in order to succeed. Read more

Salary Expectations…and Disappointments

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You have eagerly awaited June all year. You have been a stellar employee. This year, you have not only met your job responsibilities, but you have also exceeded them. You have worked hard and you are certain that your hard work will pay off. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Hard work equals pay off? Your boss approaches you. You’re confident, as you should be. Why wouldn’t you be confident? You have done everything you were supposed to and more. “Congratulations,” your boss tells you, giving you a firm handshake, “we are giving you a raise.” Your face lights up. You’re elated. But, then he says, “You’ll be getting…,” and as he rattles off some numbers, your smile disintegrates. “THAT’S IT?” you feel like yelling, but you don’t. “Again, we really want to congratulate you. Good work,” your boss says, generically, “you deserve this raise.” You think to yourself: deserve what? “You’re barely giving me anything!” you want to yell. Instead, you shake his hand again, and walk back to your office. You’re disappointed, as you should be: you worked hard this year!

[creativ_pullright colour=”blue” colour_custom=”” text=”Review is often a disappointment.”]

Your expectations are high, for valid reasons, but they’re crushed as soon as your boss approaches to give you his supposed good news. Maybe you wanted a leadership position that you were qualified for, but just didn’t get. Maybe you wanted a raise, but there just wasn’t enough money in the budget. Maybe you wanted just a little more recognition and appreciation. Instead, here you are, feeling completely undervalued. Does the firm not see all of the hard work you’re putting in? Do they not understand the sacrifices you have made in order to put in this hard work? If they’re not respecting you now, might they eventually let you go? Worst of all, are you merely a standard employee…are you replaceable?

You begin to feel helpless. You begin to feel stuck. You will never get the raise you deserve. You will never be paid for overtime. You will never get enough vacation time to go away with your family. In her novel, The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath wrote, “If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.” Is that the key to your success? Should you lower your expectations in order to be happy? Maybe. If you do not expect that your hard work will pay off, you will not be disappointed when it doesn’t. But, is this really the best way to live? Instead, maybe you should look at this situation differently. Rather than alter your expectations, consider altering your bosses’ actions. Instead of lowering your expectations, let your boss meet them. Be happy not because you expect less, but because you are getting what you deserve. But, what if your boss cannot meet your expectations? While reducing your likelihood for disappointment is in your control and is thus the easier option, is it worth the cost of not getting what you know you deserve?

While many others are in your shoes: disheartened and undervalued, you don’t have to feel this way. Some firms, potentially including your own, do not have the budget to give you what you deserve, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t receive the benefits that you know you have earned. At PFS, we work to match you with a firm that WILL value you in the way that you are entitled to. What’s important to you? Is it that raise? Being paid for overtime? Not working as much overtime? An extra week for vacation? Please, tell us. We want to match you with a firm that will show their appreciation for your hard work.

Review doesn’t need to be a disappointment!

Instead of the conversation mentioned above, imagine this. June is approaching. Your boss tells you to come to his office. While part of you thinks, “here we go again…” remembering the trauma of your previous mismatched expectations and disappointment, the other part of you is still hopeful. Again, you know that you have done a good job. You have, again, both met and exceeded everything your boss has asked you to do. You secretly know that you deserve that higher raise, the vacation time, the pay for all that overtime you have been doing. “Come on in,” your boss tells you, as you look at down at your shoes, fearful of disappointment. “We are so proud of all of the work you have done here. You have exceeded our expectations and we could not value you more. In exchange for all of your hard work, we would like to give you a raise,” your boss says. You clench your teeth in anticipation, but as your boss recounts your bonus offer, your teeth unclench. Are you hearing him correctly? Are you really getting the raise that you deserve? Is someone actually recognizing your hard work and commitment? Are you finally working for someone who appreciates you as his employee? You shake your bosses hand; you are delighted: your expectations have been met.

You may be happy in your job. That’s great. We are genuinely thrilled for you. However, if you’re unhappy, if you have ever questioned your happiness, or even if you are happy now but later find yourself unhappy, talk to us. Let us help you find that happiness, that appreciation, that respect, and that raise. Consider this: is your firm giving you the compensation and respect that you deserve?

The Counter Offer: Blessing or Curse?

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It’s that moment right before the fight begins, when the two contestants are circling around each other, staring into their opponents eyes, trying to psyche each other out. You and your boss feel the tension, but have been skirting around each other for months now, avoiding the problem. But then you make the first move… you throw a left swing at your boss by telling him you’ve received another job offer. You take momentary pleasure from seeing your boss scramble back onto his feet after the blow. A time out is called and the air is still, but the suspense is palpable. Thoughts of manipulation and mind games run through both your heads. Then your boss fakes a move, leading you to think that his stomach is wide open for your next swing. This is the counter offer. But then right as you start your swing, his knee comes up nailing you (in a very sensitive area) and knocking the wind out of you. You’re down, and unable to get back on your feet. This is the result of falling for the counter offer. While counter offers should be approached as simple business deals, it is often hard to avoid the emotional manipulation they present. They have a certain lure to them and come rife with guilt, greed, fear and hurt pride. In a world where money has become the primary motivation behind so many undertakings, can you truly afford the counter offer?

On the outside, a counter offer looks like a shiny new toy under the Christmas tree. Especially in this market full of doubt and insecurity, more people might be apt to accept the counter offer. The risk of starting all over again with a new company may not seem worth it. It is easier to remain in your comfort zone and avoid change-including the pain of packing up and moving all of your belongings. There’s an emotional aspect to the situation as well. Seeing your boss beg for you to stay and offer you a raise is bound to touch upon your pride. Your boss may tell you that this was a raise/promotion he was planning to give you soon anyways, or that he can’t afford to lose such a valuable member of his team. Therefore, you should be prepared for the counter offer upon resignation. This will allow you to think clearly and avoid making a decision complicated by emotions. Consider why you were searching for another position in the first place. If your motivation wasn’t purely money but instead lack of advancement, or even just an ill-fitted environment, don’t be fooled into thinking these things will magically disappear with a raise of your salary. Really think… will more money fix the problem?

Really think… will more money fix the problem?

However, there is a good chance that your boss isn’t thinking about you when making his counter offer. Your boss is probably thinking about how his performance and next raise will be harmed by your resignation. How he may not have time to find and train a replacement before the end of tax season, or even how finding a replacement might jeopardize his much anticipated Hawaii vacation. Now that he knows that you are not loyal to the company his intent will only be to keep you short term. Buying your time now means that he can let you go according to his time table and not yours. In a few months after the busy season is over, or after he’s found a suitable replacement, he may let you go with little or no notice. 85% of employees who accept counter offers are gone within eighteen months. Your boss now understands that money is your primary motivation and that you can be bought at the last minute. You’re perceived as a risk, but also you’ll be expected to justify your raise and work harder.

Hal Reiter, journalist for Forbes says that

“in [his] 25 years of experience, [he] has learned that accepting a counter offer is usually career suicide.”

Once your boss learns of your disloyalty you will most likely no longer be considered for career growth or advancement. And when it comes time to scale back, you may be the first to go. Emotionally it is an insult to your pride and honor. It can affect the way your coworkers view you, and hurt your relationships with them. And honestly, if you have to threaten to leave in order to get a promotion or a raise, it may be time to rethink the company you’re working for anyways. Also, where is all this money coming from all of a sudden? How come one day you’re worth $40,000 and the next you’re worth $52,000 without doing anything but threatening to resign? In reality, the raise is only temporary until your company is ready to fire you. By accepting a counter offer you’re burning many bridges. You’re no longer on good terms with your boss, but also with the company who made you an offer. So when your current boss lays you off (most likely in the near future) there is no chance of you finding a job at the other company.

Many recruiters also keep a blacklist of employers who have accepted counter-offers in the past. This information can be an obstacle to getting any job in the future.

“Remember: Recruiters never forget a buy back.” (Reiter, Forbes).

Accepting a job counter offer can haunt you for the rest of your career. I would suggest talking to your boss openly BEFORE you accept any other offers. Let him know you have issues with your current position. Clearly lay your problems out in front of him. Let him know that you are considering looking elsewhere if you can’t find solutions to your concerns. Your boss won’t feel threatened and may be much more flexible in helping you. If you find that your list of cons about your current job is much longer than the pros, it is probably time to find a new position and resign. But, BEWARE: don’t let the wrath of the counter offer ensnare you!