Your Prospective Employees Are Choosier. Here’s How to Provide What They Want


More than 40 million people left their jobs last year, and there the term Great Resignation was coined. Then a rush of other names followed: The Great Renegotiation and the Great Reshuffle, for example, as employees found better ways to earn a living, attain higher pay, enjoy flexibility with stability, and expect more from their employers. 

Across the country, workers have been flooded with opportunities as companies were and still are adapting to the workplace changes demanded by employees–a new culture for work in and outside the office. Things have pivoted as employees now have shifted the power of the hiring process, telling their employers precisely what and how they want to show up in their role–or shall I say, how they want to remain remote. Either way, employees of this generation are tactically using their bargaining power to exercise their expectations for a higher quality of life.

During an interview experience with a company, I sat in on a 1:1 with a contracted employee who was being considered for a full-time position after several months of working with a temp agency that matched her skill sets to the role’s responsibilities. Interestingly enough, the prospective employee did not shy away from being very direct with her expectations around pay negotiation, a requested sign-on bonus, and additions to the benefits package being offered. Quite impressive to say the least. The potential talent sought what she needed as opposed to committing herself to the confines of companies centered around their own needs instead of those of the employees. Competition for talent is still fierce and employees should still be working in their power, even in the strength of basic negotiations. 

The lesson in this is there are things you can negotiate in a potential position other than salary way before adding your signature to a job offer. You’ve proved your skills as a professional and successfully demonstrated your value to a new employer–now what? Consider introducing discussions about potential benefits and work-life balance priorities that are most important to you. 

  1. Nailed your interview after applying for multiple positions and navigated a multitude of skill tests but haven’t heard back from the hiring manager? Tempted to do a follow-up? Go with your gut and press send. Draft an email briefly reminding the hiring manager why you are a great fit for the position. Open up with a thankful note to share your appreciation for the opportunity and the interviewer’s time then begin to lean fully into  your interest in the position. Then, incorporate the goals of the company, with clear expectations of your goals and interest for yourself. In closing, set yourself apart from other candidates, and invite them to ask additional questions about what you can bring to the opportunity. You can also ask for a timeframe to hear back from the hiring manager. Remember, this is about you.

  2. Have you been to the gas station or grocery store lately? Inflation is rising faster than pay for many Americans. Sure, a potential employer may state that your base salary is non-negotiable, but that does not mean you can’t ask for a variation in financial compensation. Because you are a part of the top talent pool, hiring managers are looking for enticing ways to secure new hires. Ask for the bonus, if you’re planning to take the plunge from your current position into a new role. Your experience is valuable, and companies will pay. 

  3. Money is a great motivator. But let’s also think about longevity and upward mobility in your career. Now that you’ve followed up because you’re by far the best fit and you’ve requested that a potential employer compensate you generously for your value to the company, what complements a solid offer more than anything else? The ability to develop a career plan centered around growth. You’ve been hired for a midlevel position but you strive to be in a leadership role? Ask the employer for a career development plan based on an opportunity for advancement in the first six to 12 months of your tenure. This plan should be based solely on your goals and professional development over time, be it the skills you’ll need to advance, training, or more detailed performance feedback. Moving forward and possibly onward is what building your repertoire of experience is all about. 

  4. Take the rare opportunity to set your expectations during the hiring process. The demand for talent affords your chance to prioritize your wants and needs. No longer do employees have to stay silent about what they need for development, quality of life, or financial compensation. Leading into a new role is a huge change–ensure that the terms are centered around you.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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