Your character and your reputation

The current job market is absolutely tilted in favor of the job seeker.  Especially in Colorado, where the unemployment rate is barely measurable, most early and mid-career candidates can name their price and perks. This phenomenon also leads to some bad behavior that during the recession (you remember the recession, right?) would have never taken place. To springboard us into this discussion, let me tell you a story about Karma.

I was enjoying a birthday celebration with my family a couple of weeks ago.  I was hanging out with my son and cousins on the deck while my niece and granddaughter played in the yard below. My son was throwing peanuts at the girls because he’s THAT uncle – and the girls were screaming and giggling below. All of a sudden his beer tipped off the ledge and landed upside-down onto the ground below. In unison, everyone on the deck proclaimed – KARMA!  Now, Karma doesn’t always respond that quickly – but she does respond.  Let’s begin…..

1. Ghosting

This is a relatively new horrible behavior that has found it’s way into our society. Ghosting is setting an interview and failing to attend it – or calling when you are to be there and cancelling. Or sometimes accepting a position and then not showing up. I have no idea who the parents of these people are. These are simply unacceptable behaviors for professionals who are trying to grow a career.

2. Making unrealistic and unreasonable salary demands

You may have done a poor job of negotiating your current salary. Or, you may have been with your current company for a long time and have fallen behind the market in your compensation. However, you can’t hold a future employer responsible for this. If you are currently paid under-market, you may have to make it up in a couple of steps. Either over a year or two with a couple of job changes, or by negotiating a 6-month salary review in your next role. It’s unreasonable to expect that your next employer will give you a 25 percent increase because you didn’t negotiate well for your current salary.

3. Treating your network like a transaction

This happens with nearly 100 percent of my coaching clients. A mid-career executive finds themselves unemployed so they immediately begin connecting with former colleagues who have moved on successfully in hope of landing a cool new role. But, the unemployed professional hasn’t talked with these colleagues, or responded to their LinkedIn requests, or bothered to attend any of the company’s alumni happy hours for the past 4 years – because they have been “too busy.” Your network consists of real humans who are worthy of your respect and a healthy connection. If you treat the people in your network like a transaction, they aren’t likely to be there when you need them.

4. Accepting a counteroffer

I’ve mentioned this in the past – but one more time. NEVER accept a counteroffer.  It’s like telling your current employer, “I don’t like my job and I’ll walk across the street for more money, but since you’ve offered to pay me more to stay, I guess I’ll stick around until you find someone to replace me and let me go because I’m likely to quit again anyway.” AND, it’s bad character.

5. Failing to follow up and follow through

If you tell an interviewer that you don’t know the answer to a question but you’ll find it and follow up – then FOLLOW UP. Offered to deliver code samples? Do it. If you say you’ll call next week to check in on the status of the search – DO IT. The interview process is a series of evaluations. Can you answer technical questions? Can you present with confidence? Do you show up on time? And finally, do you follow through on your commitments?

When the job market is as favorable toward candidates as it is today, it’s easy to relax your behavior and pretend it doesn’t matter. BUT, in fact, it matters more, because then NEXT time you are looking for work, it will be during an economic downturn – and you’ll need every positive connection you can get!  For more thoughts on how to land your dream job visit us here!