With unemployment at an all-time low, there’s no denying it’s a job seeker’s market. Gone are the days when employers had the upper hand and could leave job seekers hanging for days or weeks – often never to be heard from again.
If you’re a job seeker, it may be tempting to “ghost” a prospective employer – disappear from the hiring process without any explanation or communication. If you’re no longer interested in the job or you get a better job offer, why spend the time or energy responding to an employer you don’t plan on pursuing? In fact, a survey conducted by B2B ratings and reviews company Clutchfound that 41 percent of job seekers believe it’s reasonable to ghost a company.
The thing is, this hot economy won’t last forever, and the last thing you want to do is burn bridges with any company.
“While it’s a candidate-driven market, industry professionals are well connected and do share their experiences. Candidates who ghost one employer could be blacklisted from others,” says Heidi Lynne Kurter, CEO and founder of Heidi Lynne Consulting. “Many times recruiters handle recruiting efforts for multiple companies. Ghosting one company without explanation could tarnish [the job seeker’s] reputation, hurting their ability to get other positions.”
This is especially true for smaller industries, according to Michelle Delgado, content developer and marketer at Clutch. “After speaking with recruiting experts [during my research], I learned that ghosting is most damaging in small industries with high turnover, such as media. In these fields, hiring managers change jobs relatively frequently and candidates may run into them again.”
So, instead of ghosting employers, here are some ways you can handle the situation with respect – and set yourself up for future success.
Put yourself in their shoes Wendy Toth, editor-in-chief of the career blog PowerSuiting, says to think about the situation from the hiring manager’s perspective. “They are understaffed and overworked. They spent hours putting together a job description, sifting through resumes and interviewing candidates. After all that, they made a bet on you. They see you as someone they’d like, not just to work with, but to spend every day with. They like you. Why take someone who is already on your side and turn them against you by denying them an explanation?”
Take a minute to communicate
“While employers have been known to leave job applicants hanging due to the sheer volume of responses, most reputable companies generally communicate (one way or the other) with all applicants who have committed the time to interview, “ says Susan Hosage, senior consultant and executive coach at OneSource HR Solutions.
“Candidates who have made it to the final stages of the process owe the same respect to the company,” she says. “Notifying a hiring manager or HR professional that you aren’t interested in pursuing the opportunity can be as simple as sending an email or making a phone call that you are withdrawing your candidacy or that you have decided to go in another direction with your next career move. The few minutes it takes to close this loop will be time well spent that can have lasting positive effects should you cross paths with any of these decision makers in the future.”
Provide feedback It can be incredibly frustrating for job seekers to be turned down by a company but not receive any type of feedback about why they didn’t get the job. Knowing where you may have potentially stumbled during the interview can help you learn and grow. Companies appreciate that same honesty from candidates. “Offering feedback is incredibly valuable as well,” Kurter says. “If something during the interview process turned you off, be sure to express that so the company can work to improve that moving forward.”
Leave the door open When communicating to the employer, let them know that while this opportunity may not be right, you’d love to stay in touch and potentially be considered for future openings. You could even go so far as to connect with them on professional social networking sites to keep the relationship going.
“Make sure to leave the door open for future conversations, even if you don’t think you’d ever speak with them again – you never know where they might end up and what kinds of opportunities may arise,” says Dan Clay, a career consultant and author of “How to Write the Perfect Resume.” “Turning down employers with tact and professionalism is crucial for maintaining a stellar reputation, which will keep you in the good graces of people who may end up hiring you later on. Plus, it’s just the right thing to do.”
In today’s tight labor market, employers in many industries are struggling to fill open positions. It’s a job seeker’s market, and having the upper hand means having a better opportunity to successfully negotiate salary. Yet a recent many workers do not negotiate for better pay when they are offered a job.
The thing is, employers are often willing to at least entertain a counteroffer. Most employers are willing to negotiate salaries on initial job offers for entry-level workers. In fact, many employers will offer a lower salary than they’re willing to pay when they first extend a job offer to an employee, so there is room to negotiate.
“Savvy recruiters and employers are not surprised when the leading candidate negotiates,” says Nicholas J. Daukas, Managing Partner at human resources consulting company KardasLarson, LLC. “When the leading candidate is knowledgeable in what the market will likely pay the role, then the candidate will not appear to be asking for an amount that is not reasonable.”
Here, we lay out some do’s and don’ts for successfully negotiating your salary:
DO check your attitude at the door
“Before you do anything else, check in with your attitude as you enter a salary negotiation,” says Denise Dudley, author of “Work It! Get In, Get Noticed, Get Promoted.” “Remember that this is not necessarily an adversarial situation … In theory, and most likely in reality, you’re both on the same side, so start with a cooperative attitude. There’s nothing wrong with showing a little enthusiasm, even. Behave and speak as if you believe your salary negotiation is going to be a pleasant, successful endeavor—and it just might turn out that way.”
DON’T forget to do your research Andrea St. James, director of the Career Development Center at Western New England University in Springfield, Mass., says that while you’re conducting pre-interview research, you should also be researching salary ranges for the position. “You should be prepared to know what the average starting salary is for that position, in that specific location, and for someone with your experience level.”
DO consider your take-home pay “Your base pay is not your take-home pay,” Dudley says. “You will have taxes, insurance, public transit charges, gasoline bills, parking lot fees, toll road tariffs and all sorts of other potential requirements that will eat away at that salary number, and you can definitely use this information as a negotiation point. There’s nothing wrong with explaining to the hiring manager that, after taxes, insurance, etc., your take-home pay ‘won’t actually cover the median cost-of-living requirements of my local area.’”
Dudley recommends using one of the many cost-of-living calculators on the internet to give you a sense of what your take-home pay will be before agreeing to accept a salary. “It’s possible that by explaining ‘deduction realities’ to your hiring manager, you just might nudge the base up by a few dollars – and every little bit counts toward a victorious negotiation.”
DON’T think you have to give an exact number St. James says it’s always beneficial to start by stating your salary request in the form of a range. “That way you do not price yourself under or out of consideration, and also show that there is room for negotiation.”
DO ask about benefits Salary is just one factor in the total compensation package, so don’t just get caught up on the number. “Don’t forget about benefits and other variable compensation programs like bonuses, and even sign-on bonuses,” Daukas says. “The ‘total compensation’ (base salary, benefits and other variable pay) amount is critical when making an informed decision.”
To that end, remember that benefits can always be negotiated too, especially if there isn’t much wiggle room with your salary. Elene Cafasso of Enerpace, Inc. Executive Coaching recommends trying to negotiate benefits such as vacation time, personal days, bonuses and stocks. “Assume everything you care about is at least worthy of discussion. If you can’t get everything you want right now, ask for a review in three to six months.”
DON’T accept the offer on the spot “You’re not required to accept, reject or counter a job offer on the spot,” Dudley says. “It’s perfectly OK to thank the hiring manager, and then let her know you’d like some time (not more than 24 hours) to consider the offer and get back to her with either your acceptance or negotiation requests. Just make sure you respond in a timely fashion, or you might lose the offer.”
Today’s workforce is evolving in many ways. For example, many workers – particularly those newer to the workforce – are choosing a bunch of side hustles over one full-time job. Others find themselves working several jobs involuntarily out of financial necessity; according to the latest BLS jobs report, 4.6 million people were employed part-time for economic reasons.
Whatever the reason, finding a way to juggle more than one job and be successful while doing so can pose challenges. Hear what career experts, as well as people who’ve dealt with such a work schedule, have to say about how best to juggle multiple jobs.
1. Manage expectations “The first [tip] is to manage expectations by ensuring each employer is fully aware of your availability and commitments,” says Ben Taylor, founder of www.homeworkingclub.com and a “serial solopreneur” who’s been juggling multiple commitments since 2004. “While it’s great to be flexible, overcommitting yourself can eventually lead to you either letting one of your employers down or losing all semblance of work-life balance.”
2. Get organized Taylor says it’s also important to get – and stay – organized to keep your sanity and your ability to do the jobs well. He suggests using a software tool to do just that. “This only needs to be something like Microsoft Outlook or an Apple Calendar, but by linking it to your smartphone and ensuring it’s constantly up to date, you can ensure you don’t drop the ball and are always able to quickly check your availability.”
3. Adopt a schedule
“Parkinson’s Law says that work expands to fill the space it is given. That means the schedule you make – whether it is what days or hours to work, days you are going to complete major projects, or days to take off – is critical to your long-term success,” says Conor Richardson, CPA, author of “Millennial Money Makeover: Escape Debt, Save For Your Future, and Live the Rich Life Now” and founder of MillennialMoneyMakeover.com. “Be realistic with how much you want and need to work. Once you finalize your schedule, you will become remarkably accustomed to the routine, and success will follow.”
4. Don’t take on more than you can handle
Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com, says that when juggling multiple part-time jobs, it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew. “Do not try to take on so much work that the jobs start crashing into one another or pose a conflict of interest. Work hard, but know your limits to avoid burning out and gradually becoming less productive.”
5. Keep every commitment At the same time, if you say “yes” to a job, you should see it through. “Juggling part-time jobs requires dedication and discipline. The important thing here is keeping every commitment,” says Christopher K. Lee, founder and career consultant at PurposeRedeemed.com. “If you find that you’re often late or scrambling, take a step back. Evaluate your priorities and determine what you may want to cut back. Focus on excelling at a smaller number of activities. Those successes will take you further in your career than a bunch of mediocre performances.”
6. Limit your commute
“If you want to work multiple jobs with equal focus and attention, limiting your commute time should be your first priority,” says Ketan Kapoor, CEO and co-founder of online assessment platform Mettl. “Try to stay close to your job location and make sure every job you work is at a nearby location to each other, so you kill less time commuting and [spend] more time working. It can be a few blocks away, but shouldn’t require you to commute from one corner of the city to the other. Following this approach can also help you keep your energy levels in check.”
7. Choose jobs that use different strengths
Kapoor also suggests choosing jobs that are different in nature from each other. “Even when you work multiple jobs, your different employers won’t be very considerate about that fact,” Kapoor says. “In other words, you can’t compromise on any crucial aspects required to excel at that job. Therefore, you must keep the job nature different from one another. For instance, if one requires extensive mental inputs; the other one can be a bit mechanized in nature with some degree of physical activity.”
8. Give yourself a break “Resting is a vital part of success. Scientific literature tells us that employees need vacations to recharge and be at their best when they are in the office,” Richardson says. “This is especially true for someone juggling different workplace dynamics and environments. The key is to understand the benefit, mentally and physically, that you gain from taking the time to wind down, assess and recover. You will thank yourself later.”
World-famous chef Julia Child didn’t make her debut on “The French Chef” until the age of 51, Laura Ingalls Wilder (of “Little House on the Prairie” fame) published her first book at age 65, and the late actor John Mahoney was 53 when he landed the role that would make him a star – as Martin Crane on “Frasier.”
Clearly, success can come at any age; however, that doesn’t make finding a job after the age of 50 any easier. It’s sad but true that although age discrimination is illegal, it still exists. Many employers have preconceived notions about older workers. Among the most common: They cost too much, they lack motivation, and they either don’t understand or fear technology.
Despite research that dispels these myths, these negative stereotypes persist; however, they needn’t hold you back. If you’re over 50, the key to a successful job search is not only to disprove the negative stereotypes that exist, but to show employers the benefits your extra years of experience can bring them.
Make over your CV and cover letter
Don’t give employers the chance to immediately dismiss you based on your age by “age-proofing” your CV. There’s no need to mention every job you’ve ever had. Limit your work experience to the last 10 – 15 years and keep it relevant to the job you’re hoping to land. (This may mean created different CVs for different jobs.) If you have a college or professional degree, leave the dates off your resume.
Your cover letter is critical, as well. Review these cover letter tips for older job seekers to learn what to include in your cover letter, how to showcase your skills, and how to effectively market your candidacy to employers.
Highlight what sets you apart
Your experience and years in the workforce give you critical life skills, talents and abilities that younger workers don’t have. Emphasizing these strengths can set you apart. These strengths include (but certainly aren’t limited to) your problem-solving skills, work ethic, good judgment and leadership. Come up with concrete examples of times you’ve displayed these skills to help prove that your experience is an asset.
Address employers’ concerns
When interviewing (and even when writing your cover letter), address any concerns an employer might have about hiring someone over 50. Talk about your flexible management style, technological proficiency, ability to learn new skills and the willingness to work for a younger boss. Before going into an interview, come up with concrete examples of how you’ve mastered new technologies, how you’ve worked with and for younger generations and how your management style has developed through the years.
Conducting a successful job search
Many 50-plus job seekers are finding themselves in a job search for the first time in years – even decades. If you fall into this category, and are unsure how to go about your job search, consider the following:
Expand your network: While a lot about the workplace has changed since mature workers first entered the workforce, one thing remains true: the adage that “it’s who you know” still applies. The benefit of being a job seeker over 50 is that you probably have a well-developed professional network. Reach out to your network to let them know you’re looking for work, ask for referrals, and be open to making new connections. Also, take advantage of social media to build your network and accelerate your job search.
Focus on small companies: If you’re over 50, you might find more opportunities by focusing your search on a small company. Not only are there simply more small companies around, but small companies tend to be less concerned with age and more concerned with finding individuals with great experience who can help them grow their business.
Whatever you do, don’t give up. With the unemployment rate at 3.9 percent, it’s a job seeker’s market, and you have more to offer than you know.