Monthly Archives: November 2015

Is Your Job Going Nowhere? Then It’s Time to Take Action

It is possible that at some point in your career you may begin to feel blocked, stalled, or going nowhere in your job or with your employer. When that occurs you can use it as a time to reflect and redirect your focus, or you can become frustrated and do nothing to change the conditions. Taking no action may seem like the easiest option as it requires little effort on your part. You can talk to your colleagues and friends who may side with you in your feeling of frustration and perhaps the unjust nature of your present circumstances. But that can only intensify the negative feelings you are experiencing, which does not resolve anything for you in the long run.

Any time you believe you are not getting the results you hoped for, whether or not you have tried to improve your performance, outcomes, or attitude about your job, you can use what you are experiencing now as a warning sign. This is a mental wake-up call that indicates your career plan needs to be adapted or altered in some way. It could be an internalized belief or expectation that needs to be adjusted, or it may mean your career plan is due for a reevaluation if you are unable to change the circumstances surrounding your current employment. When you experience a feeling of being held back or stuck, it is time to create a new strategy for your career development and professional self-improvement.

What are Your Career Goals?

If you are feeling something negative about your job it can be difficult to look beyond the current circumstances. One suggestion is to take another approach by itemizing the goals you have established for your career, and if you have done this already it will serve as a needed reminder. Perhaps you aspire to change jobs, learn a new skill, pursue professional development, or change careers altogether. Whether it is simple or complex, write down everything you are interested in as a career goal or series of goals. This will allow you to begin to take some form of action now and it will help you to not forget about your career plan over time.

Once you have made a determination of what it is you aspire to do, regardless of the level of perceived complexity, you can evaluate where you are in relation to where you want to be – both short term and long term. Often when people feel stuck it is due to not thinking past where they are now or how to get to where it is they want to be. Part of the problem may be due to the nature of your goals, especially if those goals are no longer relevant or not specific. You don’t need to have all of the details or a clear picture of your career future; however, develop enough of a description to establish a working baseline. For example, if you aspire to become the manager of a department and you believe progress is not being made towards that goal, you can evaluate the steps you’ve taken and then determine what steps are needed to work towards making this goal a reality.

Time for a Career Check-Up

Now that you have a greater awareness of your career plans, and you are able to provide a general description of those plans, it is helpful to now conduct a check-up. This will be a self-analysis of your goals, mindset, attitude, and the potential to realize completion of your goals. This will help you create a disposition of action and that can help you think of your career from a positive perspective, which encourages growth and development.

  • Are my aspirations easy to translate? Everything you want to accomplish or become needs to be translated into a goal if you are going to give yourself the best possibility of realizing its successful completion. This transforms a career need or a professional desire into an actionable item, something you can add to your weekly to-do list. From that point you can use short term goals as stepping stones or checkpoints along the way to completion of the full long term goals.
  • Are my career goals realistic? Once you have established your goals it is important to assess the feasibility of each one. A goal that is not realistic may soon be forgotten or eventually discarded. This does not mean you cannot reach beyond what you are currently capable of doing or discard dreams for something new. Just be certain that if you do want to stretch your abilities you have built in steps or short term goals that are based upon acquiring the knowledge or skills required through training or other forms of professional development.
  • Do I have a self-improvement mindset? Your mindset will ultimately determine how much effort you put into working on your goals. For example, if you believe that circumstances happen to you – for whatever the reason – this can create a resistant disposition towards your self-improvement. A more productive mindset to develop is one of acceptance, which means that you are in control of your outcomes. Once you view your progress from that perspective, or at least your future actions, you need to then itemize your strengths and areas of needed development.
  • What is my attitude about my progress? Every job has value and provides an opportunity to learn, even if you are utilizing the same skills and performing the same duties each day. Your attitude can either assist you (if you believe you are in control of your career) or create a barrier (if you feel helpless and have no control over what takes place). When it comes to your career it is important to remember that you always have a choice as to what you can do or should do. If you maintain a positive attitude it will help to improve your outlook and outcomes in the long run.
  • What do I believe about my own potential? One of the most damaging things you can do to your career development, and it is something you need to constantly be on the lookout for, is to accept any form of negative self-talk, fear, or self-doubt. There are certain to be times when you may question a decision you’ve made or an action you have taken; however, the key to maintaining progress is not dwelling on those questions. Self-doubt can minimize your belief in a capacity to learn or change. While you may be thinking about negative consequences, ask yourself why you would allow yourself to continue with that focus. It can only slow you down and create a self-imposed limitation. In order to make progress in your career, believe in your potential and ability to reach your goals.

Time to Make Changes

The benefit of conducting a self-analysis is to gain a clearer picture of your career and develop a long term view, which can help you become focused on future possibilities rather than immediate circumstances. Then you can evaluate your current position from a developmental perspective, considering your desired next step or series of steps and what you will need to do to work towards completing those short term goals. This also helps you determine if in fact you are being held back and if so, you will not allow it to create negativity and instead you can become proactive. It may be a result of not making progress, not being adequately prepared, or having a job that is not aligned with your career plan. More than likely some form of change is needed and that is what you need to pinpoint to begin to move forward and relieve any feelings of frustration. For example, you may determine after completion of your analysis that the only way you can move forward is to make a change in your job duties, move to a different department, or find another job altogether. No matter what you decide after your evaluation, you will find it helpful to determine what changes or improvements you can begin to work on starting now.

Act with Confidence and Purpose

Some people have a need to do something in order to feel that they are gaining control of their career while others use current conditions or circumstances to dictate their actions. Being proactive and waiting for the perfect conditions can create long-term delays and analysis paralysis, while reactively and emotionally responding to intolerable circumstances may create negative feelings of desperation, frustration, anger, or hopelessness. What makes matters worse, from a perspective of your attitude and mindset, is finding out that the actions taken have not produced the desired results or produced acceptable outcomes. In contrast, if you are afraid to act due to some form of fear that can also intentionally hold you back from experiencing the progress you want to make. The challenge for many then becomes a matter of knowing when and how to act.

You will likely find that when you have a well-defined career plan, one you have described through a series of steps, you are developing a stronger self-awareness about your abilities and capabilities. This renewed self-confidence will allow you to monitor your progress as you work towards completion of short term and long term goals, and you view action from a perspective of making carefully guided progress. With a future focus you know where your career is headed, what you are learning along the way, and what is needed to support your purposeful steps forward. If you discover that your job tasks or circumstances are beyond what you can change, you know that it is time to redirect your effort to a more productive path. When you maintain this future focus you can prevent yourself from feeling that your career is stuck and not progressing. This will help you to sustain a positive attitude with a concern for self-improvement and ongoing professional self-development.

About the Author:

Dr. Bruce A. Johnson has developed expertise with adult learning through advanced education in the field of adult education, along with his work as an instructional designer, online educator, college instructor, professional writer, published author, and corporate trainer. Dr. J has been involved in teaching online and on-ground classes, curriculum development, and online faculty development.

To learn more about Dr. J’s work as a professional resume writer, please visit:

Dr. J has authored the following publications:

Appreciative Andragogy: Taking the Distance Out of Distance Learning:   Appreciative inquiry has been translated by Dr. J for use in online classes as an instructional strategy. This is useful for academic and workforce educators, and applicable to any class or subject. Order your autographed copy today:

Be Prepared to Teach Online: Strategies from an Online College Professor:The topics in this book include adult learning basics, developing a virtual presence, feedback and grading basics, developing a supportive mindset, online instruction basics, plus much more. Purchase your copy today and consider it to be an investment in your ongoing professional development.

Skills and Strategies Online Students Need: Written by an Online College Professor: This is a collection of the basics needed to succeed as an online student. There are seven chapters in this book: online basics, learning and outcomes, a virtual school, communication, emotional intelligence, performance, and motivation.

Discover Your Personal Best through a Positive Mindset Tune Up: This is a book that does not have to be read from cover to cover. It is meant to inspire you and help to distract your thoughts when there are moments of doubt, fear, or questions. This book will help you tune up your mindset and stay focused on discovering your personal best.

Originally Posted On Linked In By: Dr. Bruce A. Johnson


The Power of 10 Disruptive Ideas for Overhauling the Hiring Process

To be 20% better, all you have to do is be more efficient doing what you’re now doing. To be 100% better you have to start over.According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 280 thousand jobs were filled in May 2015. Sadly, according to the Gallup Group, 70% will be disengaged within six months. This seems like a pretty screwed up situation to me.

This past month I spoke with hiring managers in the pharmaceutical, insurance, gaming, social media, hospitality, advertising, software and data analytics industries. They all complained about the same things. Most needed to see at least 6-8 candidates before making a hiring decision. They were dissatisfied with their recruiters and HR departments and were unhappy with the quality of the candidates they were seeing and hiring.

I told them all of these problems were their fault.

Then I said there is a solution. But it isn’t about being 20% better at hiring, it’s about being 100% better. To be 20% better, all you have to do is be more efficient doing what you’re now doing. To be 100% better you have to start over. Given this premise, here are some ideas on how to start over.

The Power of 10 Ideas for Making the Hiring Process 100% Better

  1. Ignore those who won’t throw away their old habits. Doing the wrong things faster will just screw things up tighter. Process redesign is the key to better hiring, not process efficiency.
  2. Challenge hiring managers to eliminate the use of discriminatory hiring tools. Rather than relying on ill-defined jobs and skills-laden job descriptions, ask hiring managers to define the actual work a successful person needs to do to be successful. Defining real job needs has been shown to be the number one predictor of on-the-job performance and increased engagement, job satisfaction and motivation.
  3. Benchmark the internal promotional program for hiring people from the outside. By definition, people who are promoted into bigger jobs based on their past performance have less skills and experiences than listed on the typical job description. Why not assess outside people the same way based on their past performance in comparison to the performance requirements of the job? (Just ask these two questions to figure this out.)
  4. Have hiring managers prepare 2minute videos describing why their job represents a career opportunity. Forget traditional job postings. Instead drive potential candidates to the video and if they’re interested ask them to apply using a non-resume.
  5. Have candidates prepare a 3-minute video of their unique expertise. This is a non-resume idea that could be used to get non-traditional and semi-interested passive candidates into your prospect pool. To standardize the responses ask those interested to describe their most significant accomplishment related to some critical job need.
  6. Redesign the apply button. In a recent post I suggested making the apply button easier to find but harder to push. The idea was to slow the process down, convert strangers into acquaintances and focus on past performance doing comparable work as the criteria for moving forward.
  7. Don’t let anyone unqualified apply to a job. First change the definition of “qualified” to “those who have done comparable work.” (See Point 2 above.) This change opens up the pool to a different and more diverse group of performance-qualified people. Then use a video, non-resume and bigger apply button to screen people in, not out.
  8. Reengineer the job board thinking attract-in vs. weed out. Rather than emphasize must-haves describe what the person will do and learn and could become if successful. This will attract a new type of candidate – those who are looking for career opportunities, not lateral transfers.
  9. Make hiring managers responsible for hiring top talent. Despite the lofty goal of talent is #1, as far as I’m concerned if hiring managers aren’t evaluated and rewarded based on the quality of people they hire, hiring top talent is just talk. Here’s are 10 things you can do to get hiring managers to take ownership of the hiring process.
  10. Insert a high potential override switch into the process. Even if hiring managers are held responsible for hiring, they will often focus more on their personal short-term needs rather than the long-term company objective of hiring for potential. In this case a few senior leaders need to be able to veto short-term hiring decisions.
  11. Stop using behavioral interviewing and competency models. These are the problem not the solution. (Review point one if anyone disagrees.) Instead ask the most significant accomplishment question for each performance objective in the performance-based job description. (I know this is #11, but consider it a bonus idea.)

There’s too much short-term thinking involved in hiring people for the long term. The solution starts by defining the real work that needs to done; finding and hiring people based on what they can do, learn and become, not what they have; and making hiring managers personally responsible for fielding a great team. If this is not their number one performance objective, hiring top talent is not number one at your company. And making it number one is not about doing it faster, it’s about doing it differently.

Originally Posted On Linked IN By: Lou Adler

7 things to do to get ready for your job search

This is a resource that I’ve posted as a permanent fixture to my website. Just thought I’d post it here too as a resource for my LinkedIn peeps!  Find even more info about resumes and job searching on my website  –

1. Update your résumé. While ideally your résumé is customized for a specific job,having an up-to-date résumé targeted for a specific “type” of position is the next best thing.

So if you’ve taken on additional responsibilities in your current job, or you’ve changed your job target, or you’ve added new training or educational credentials, now is the time to talk with your résumé writer about updating your résumé. (And if you don’t have a résumé at all, now is definitely the time to put one together! A professional résumé writer can help!)

2.   Develop — or update — your LinkedIn profile. A LinkedIn profile doesn’t replace the résumé…it complements it. Someone looking for a candidate with your skills and experience might conduct a search on LinkedIn and find your profile. Or, someone in your network might be interested in recommending you, and forward your LinkedIn profile URL. So make sure you have a LinkedIn profile — and make sure that it’s updated. (Yes, this is something your résumé writer can help you with.)

3.   Know what you’re worth: conduct salary research. One of the most often-cited reasons to consider a job search is to increase your salary. But how do you know what you’re worth? There is more salary research data available than ever before. Websites like and can help you see how your current salary and benefits package stacks up.

4.   Build your network. It’s estimated that 40-80 percent of jobs are found through networking. Networking effectiveness is not just about quality — although that’s important. It’s also about quantity. It’s not just about who you know. It’s about who your contacts know. Many times, it’s the friend-of-a-friend who can help you land your dream job. Grow your network both professionally and personally. You never know who will be the one to introduce you to your next job opportunity.

5.   Manage your online reputation. More and more hiring managers are checking you out online before they interview you. What will they find when they type your name into Google? How about if they check out your Twitter profile? Or find you on Facebook? Now is the time to conduct a social media assessment and clean up your online profiles.

6.   Define your ideal job. “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” That line, from Alice in Wonderland, is important to remember in your job search. If you don’t know what your dream job looks like, how will you know how to find it? What job title and responsibilities are you interested in? Do you want to work independently, as part of a team, or both? Do you like short-term projects or long-term projects? Who would you report to? Who would report to you? Answering these questions can help you define your ideal position.

7.         Create a target list of companies you’d like to work for. Like your ideal job, you probably have a preference for the type of organization you want as your employer. Things to consider include: company size, industry, culture, location, and structure (public, private, family-owned, franchise, nonprofit, etc.). Once you’ve made your list, look for companies that fit your criteria.

Originally Posted on Linked In By:  Michele Angello

Recruit with an Agile Mind-set

Have you noticed more of your job offers being turned down? Have you noticed more people responding favorably to counteroffers and staying in their current jobs? Have you noticed that fewer people are out of work and, if they are out of work, they are out of work for far less time than a few years ago?

In 1972, I started working for an employment agency. It was my first job out of college and I was paid $125 per week to find programmers for the agency’s clients.

Salaries sound low by today’s standards—a programmer who had two years of experience with the hit technology of the time (COBOL in an OS environment) earned $12000; if he had a degree (in 1972, it was almost always a “he”), he earned $12500.

It sure seems like salaries have gone up since those days and, in some respects they have. Salaries are a lot higher than then. Yet, accounting for inflation and higher levels of skills required, salaries in most fields have declined. Even in actual dollars, salaries in most fields haven’t changed in almost 15 years. Companies that were paying $90000 in salary to fill a position in 1998 are paying the same salary today as then. Is it any wonder that job hunters are finding little difference in jobs and deciding to stay where they are?

Oh, you say that you offer a better career path than the current employer. Job hunters have heard enough stories about career paths winding up being non-existent to learn to disregard them. Even when they exist, the promise can end when the manager who made it decides to change jobs.

So, how do you attract and retain talent?

No matter how often people say they don’t change jobs for the money, most of them change jobs for the money. They hear a message in how they are perceived by the amount above their current salary they are offered.

Offering a person earning $78000 a $2000 raise or a $200000 person a $5000 raise normally will not secure the new employee . . . without a lot of talking to, promises and other phony baloney. Even if they do join, the new hire will be susceptible to the siren call of the next inMail, online ad they read or next call they receive from their old friend, the recruiter.

What can you do?

Improve salary scales across the board in your new budget. Without starting with your existing staff you are inviting them to be poached by others.

Some years ago, a large New York employer faced with losing large numbers of their staff in a hot technology, increased salaries by 40%, effectively pricing their people out of the job market. In ensuing years, the staff received very modest increases but couldn’t leave because they were priced out of the market.

Five years later, as the technology started to become less important and more commoditized, their salaries were now in line with the market and they could afford to lose people and did. With that first wage increase, they bought staff stability in a critical area at a critical juncture.

John Assunto
Originally Posted on Linked In By: Jeff Altman

How to Negotiate when it comes to Salary

Whilst it’s important to recognize that most of us go to work each week and month to pay the bills in life I wanted to provide you with some great tips on how can you each manage a new employers expectations when it comes to negotiating your salary at a job interview. Whilst I agree that it is not wise for a candidate to bring up salary at an interview but if you are asked the question by an employer during an interview it’s really important to not only answer the question but also to make the employer feel you are there to fix their problems and know your value to be paid fairly for doing such a role.

If you want to know where most people mess up when negotiating a suitable salary, it’s in their failure to make it clear during the actual face to face interview process that they understand their worth and are looking to create a long-term and successful engagement and partnership with a business. You are forming a mutually beneficial and trusted relationship and partnership.

Remember you don’t want to work for the company, you want to work with them and that means helping them understand up front not only what value or worth you can bring, but that you’ll want to be paid according to market rates for the value and key skills that you actually can bring to the team.

Ask yourself what problems can you potentially solve for the employer and ask at the interview what their pain points are. By understanding this in as much detail as possible, you can then demonstrate how you are the right person to fix these issues, solve their headaches and problems thus making them more open to negotiate with you at the end of the process should you be successful. Based on your skills and previous experience how your experience, knowledge and expertise can solve these issues and ability to then demonstrate what you have done in previous roles before that was so successful.

Then ask yourself given your new understanding of the role and the ongoing issues what is the value that you are worth to fix these issues. In fact, if you ask employer questions about the work, their existing challenges and what you’d need to do to make their lives better, it usually impresses the recruitment manager. The fact you know to ask these questions implies you have a handle on their problems and more important how to actually solve them.

Don’t be afraid to give an actually salary bracket and explain to the employer that for the right role you would be willing to negotiate based on the types of projects and challenges the role will bring to your career and the overall company package and additional benefits that they offer. Tell them it’s not always about the money but also a culture fit too. This way you are actually letting them know that if they decide to hire you and move onto an offer stage there will be a discussion around their entire employment package and how matches with what you need, what you have discussed and been honest about to the employer to make the new partnership seem suitable, not just how much they will pay you each year.

Always remember that negotiation is a meeting of two minds so be clear in your mind about what’s important and what you are not willing to negotiate on to make it easier to decide once an offer comes in.

Once you and the potential employer have had the whole salary discussions take a moment again to move the conversation back to their individual pain points and needs and requirements for this role. Make sure you tell them just how you would be excited to leverage your current skills and expertise to solve them. Ensure that you do show your enthusiasm about working for them in a long-term capacity for a permanent role. Given how much they are going to spend on hiring you, which if via an agency can cost tens of thousands of dollars, coupled with actual time investment with you at the beginning on their side they do want to know you genuinely do appreciate the opportunity to potentially work with their existing team and culture.

The more you can help them see that you actually do listen and more importantly do fully understand the challenges they are struggling with and how you can solve them in a way that will help them justify your salary, the better the negotiation will work in your favor. This is the time when you get them to actually understand and know they really can’t succeed without deciding to hire you. This is really the best position that you want to be in when negotiating a salary for a great new role.

When a job offer comes in always take your time to think the offer over. By time, I mean a day or two at the most. If the offer is lower than what you expected then to start with then do not worry, it’s an opening offer; most employers unless in the Government or Education sector can increase on an initial offer they are just testing the water. They will usually tell you up front if this is not the case on the first salary offering.

If however, you do feel you do deserve more, build up a suitable and adequate business case. Just like a business case that you would do at work. Make sure you ask yourself why should you get a higher salary? Have an explanation ready to justify your specific reasons behind this. Then, ask to speak to the recruiting manager personally over the phone or in a face to face meeting and state your case to them.

Mention to them your financial commitments and expectations and be clear about this. If they are unable to meet your current salary needs because they do not have the funding approved or adequate budget then always make sure you have a backup plan. By this mean that you could ask for more annual leave allowance or a different start or finish time or additional flexibility about working from home. Think of things over than salary that would be nice to have in a role.

Alternatively, another option might be that you could get in writing that they’d do a salary review in 3 Months’ time instead of the usual 12 Months. I firmly believe that as long as you can get them to agree to some additional provisions and benefits that can help you offset the lack of an increase in pay. One thing not to do is to go back and forth with negotiations, sending a variety of emails, it’s better to be done on the phone; or face to face; many a times in my recruitment career I have had job offers pulled by a client through a candidate unwilling to make their mind up. Know your value, explain what salary you are seeking and why and stick to this figure.

Once you start your new role I would advise to be very intent and deliberate on your overall efforts in the first year or so to remove the pain points that were discussed at the initial interview. Hopefully this will then lead to a successful partnership and maybe even a promotion. If you would like any help improving your existing Professional Resume in order to get shortlisted for interviews, cover letters for job specific applications or improving your Linked In social media brand and profile then contact Judi at Roo Resumes or the team today. Simply visit our website for a full list of who we are, why we are great and what we can do to personally assist you in your professional career. Good Luck!

Judi | Senior Resume Writing Consultant | Roo Resumes

John Assunto
Originally Posted on Linked In By: Judi Roo

How to choose the right recruitment agency?

Knowing how to choose a recruitment agency is important for employers and candidates. Companies that prefer to outsource their employment search and screening process will consider points like price, reputation, references, process from the employment agencies. Some of these factors are also important for job seekers, who will select employment agencies that will understand their unique skills and actively promote their services.

Here I will limit myself to the employer’s point of view.

The best relationship a business can have with it’s search firm is based on true partnership, which makes the time you spend on selecting the right agency even more important. Deciding which Recruitment Agency to work with is often a difficult and always a significant business decision. A good recruitment agency can add value to your recruitment process by introducing a strong candidates and again to note that it is very important for any business to keep in mind that a poor choice of recruiter can even damage your brand and your business.

So what are the important issues when it comes to selecting your recruitment agency?

There are a lot to consider, but here are a few of which I think they are worthwhile to think about.


Never make a decision based on price only. Obviously most companies have to deal with (restricted) budgets and don’t want to exceed it, but that doesn’t mean the lowest priced staffing agency is always the best option for you. The cost of a wrong hire can be enormous. As you can read in detail in one of my previous blog’s on this subject; a study by the U.S. Department of Labor estimated the cost of a wrong hire to be 30% percent of the employee’s first year’s salary, and this is only the direct cost.

For a recruitment agency, finding the right candidates is their job, it’s what they do. This means that a team of staffing specialists is using their expertise to shortlist suitable candidates for your company while you can focus on your daily core business. The amount you spend on ensuring your company hires the right candidate the first time, every time, is money well spent, preserving your budget and mitigating headaches over the long term.

Market image/reputation

Before you decide on a staffing agency, always independently check its reputation. It’s easy for a staffing firm to say they’re the best, but can they back it up? To get the best candidates, you’ll need a staffing firm that’s been in business long enough to develop rapport with and respect in your industry. Those are the firms that attract the most skilled candidates.

The best firms have access to candidates you don’t. This includes professionals who may not have seen your job posting – or passive candidates who aren’t actively looking for a new job but are open to the right opportunity. That part of the market is where you want you recruitment firm to be, searching for your company for the best talent!


My strong advice is to never include multiple agents for one position, they will offer the best candidate to the client who pays the biggest fee or provides the most volume in terms of work. Always put quality in favor of quantity.


Ask for references. If they are good, people will be very happy to tell you so.

Who are you dealing with?

Meet the consultant in person and make sure he/she is actually also doing the search for you, instead of delegating this to a desk researcher or junior consultant. What is his experience in the relevant sectors? What is his seniority level in order to be able to deal with senior management profiles for your company?


Think long term. A good agency will work at building long term relationships. It’s a small world. Your reputation must be protected by the agent who is describing your company and the job to potential employees now and in the future. A good reputation can be long in the making but sadly quick to lose.


Discuss the interview and selection procedures. A good agency will support and advise you with regards to the relevant market information such as remuneration advice and employment issues

There is a whole army of recruitment firms out there, but not all agencies are the same. The best ones will offer commitment, value for money and the ability to really trace the best talent for you. Finding the perfect partner is never easy but definitely worth the effort.

John Assunto

Originally Posted Linked In By: Jan Piet van der Plank

You don’t get the salary you deserve – you get what you Negotiate!

10 ways to negotiate your new salary package

You don’t get the salary you deserve, you get what you negotiate!

Most want a jump in their salary when they are changing jobs. Often, this is one of the major reasons why people keep changing jobs. Getting annual raises in the 3% range gets employees looking for bigger pay packages outside their company and that alone makes this salary question pivotal when changing jobs. Even otherwise, everyone wants to get the best deal when it comes to their new salary.

So, what is the strategy for getting the best package for yourself when you are lined-up for an interview? Here is the script that I recommend to my clients:

  1. Shift Mind-set:Change your mind-set of pivoting your current—or last—salary to what you should be getting in your new job. Most assume that by disclosing their current salary truthfully will not get them what they deserve in their next job, so some even prevaricate during the early stages of their interview process and set themselves up for a failure; others obfuscate, or evade. Honesty and trust are important in all matters to a recruiter when it comes to screening a candidate for an opening. With this in mind reprogram your mind-set to getting a compensation package based on the value you’ll create in your next job and not on what you made in your last.
  2. Build Trust:Thus, when the recruiter asks you during the initial phone screen, So, Jim, what salary are you looking for if we were to make you an offer? Instead of blurting out a number (NEVER do that!) just tell them without any hesitation: Mary, my last year’s W-2 reads xx. Just tell the actual numbers as they are printed in that official IRS (tax) document. This does two things: It has instant credibility, and second, you develop immediate trust with Mary, a very important first step in getting Mary to champion you throughout the interview process. Regardless of what you want in your new job Mary will now feel comfortable presenting you to the hiring manager if that figure falls within her threshold numbers. Once again, this has nothing to do with what you want to negotiate. If Mary insists on your answering that question, just say, Mary you already know what I make now, so you go from there. Avoid throwing out a number at any cost.
  3. Exploit Value:As you make your rounds it is unlikely that you’ll be asked the salary question again, unless you are in the terminal stages of the process and the hiring manager directly asks this question. If this comes up early in the process just respond by saying, I already told Mary my most recent compensation and I want to wait to decide on a fair number until after I fully understand what I would be doing in this job—once again, you are focused on your salary being tied to the value you plan to deliver. Remember, the fact that you are making selection rounds implies that you meet their salary thresholds. So, relax until they are ready to make you an offer.
  4. Employer First:If the interviews have gone well and the hiring manager brings this salary topic it means that you have become a contender for that opening and that they are ready to make you an offer. At this stage it is best, once again, not to throw out a number, but to ask: So, Sally, what position are you offering me (do not assume that the job you applied for is the job THEY have in mind for you. If you have done well and positioned yourself correctly you may even qualify for the next higher level)? If it is the same job, then ask what salary range their company has for that job. If Sally does not want to disclose that then say, You already know my current compensation, so why don’t you come up with a number as a starting point and let me think about it; I know you’ll not disappoint me! Always let them come up with that number first.
  5. Total Package:If you have stock options and bonuses as a part of the last year’s compensation carefully translate those numbers into actual monetized reality, so that your variable and equity compensation can be structured. Sometimes, at this stage you have the latitude to create a new mix of at-risk and fixed compensation (bonus and equity components are considered at-risk elements of a salary package).
  6. Be Cool:Do not react to any numbers they throw at you as you are concluding your interview rounds (hiring manager or the HR person). Thank them and smile! When they ask you if these numbers are workable it is best to say that they are a good starting point (make sure you use this or a similar response at this stage) and that you would like to see the entire offer in writing so that you can decide how this package stacks up. Some companies do not formalize an offer until after you agree to the numbers first. In that case tell them you would think about it, get all the elements from the HR, and then plan to call them back in a day or two.
  7. Now Negotiate:After your research on market salary points, how your discussions during the interview went, and your assessment of how you are going to create value in your new job, call the last person with whom you had this discussion and tell them that after careful consideration you have decided that the numbers need to be revisited. Then ask, Is this something we can discuss now? Most companies have room in the first-round numbers.
  8. Titrate Numbers:Take the most important item from the package and tell them that your first preference is to see that number moved up (either give a percentage or give a range). If that is only partially possible then move on to the next component (bonus or equity) and then discuss these at-risk components so that they make up for what you did not get in the first round. Focus on only one element and nail it down before moving on to the next one. Limit these to two or three components and quickly converge on a final package. Do not haggle. If you feel you are still shy of your goal, then ask if they can now sweeten the deal with a sign-on bonus. Once you get to this point ask if what they have agreed to is their best and final offer. This is an important question to ask, especially if you are still coming up short from what you had in mind.
  9. Now Close:Once you see the tone of the exchange at this point quickly decide if you have reached the limit of their patience and stop. Decide if you can live with the package and then agree to accept it. Say, can you now put this in a formal offer, so that I can sign it and send it back with a start date?
  10. And, Finally:If none of these approaches work after they give you the salary package and they come back with a “Take it or leave it” response, you can decide if you want to accept what they presented. If you do accept then there is still a chance for you to present to your boss right after you start your new job a studied 100-Day roadmap as a part of your first year plan and tie its success to your review and salary at the end of the first year. I have done this successfully with my clients, even when they got what they negotiated at the outset.

An appropriate salary package is never what you deserve; it is what you negotiate! If you valued this post, pleaser do share and follow me. Do go to www.learn4s.comfor details of our practical Negotiation skills workshop.

John Assunto
Originally Posted on Linked In By:  Norman Murray

13 “Unusual” Master’s Degrees

13 “Unusual” Master’s Degrees The first Master’s degrees were awarded as early as the 12th century and were probably based on degrees given by Emperor Justinian to students at his academies in Rome and Constantinople in the 6th century.

The original three: The European universities of Bologna, Paris, and Oxford, were the first institutions to offer Master’s degrees in fields such as the arts, law, medicine and theology. At that time, a Maste’’s degree from one university would not necessarily be recognized at another.

Modern Times: 688,000: Number of master’s degrees awarded each year by U.S. colleges and universities.

Here are the most popular master’s degrees by gender:

Most Popular Master’s Degrees for Men:

1. Business Administration and Management 22.3%
2. Electrical, Electronics & Communication Engineering 2.8%
3. Education Leadership & Administration 2.7%
4. Business/Commerce 2.5%
5. Education 2.2%
6. Accounting 2.0%
7. Public Administration 1.6%
8. Computer Science 1.5%
9. Mechanical Engineering 1.5%
10. Computer & Information Sciences 1.4%

Most Popular Master’s Degree for Women
1. Business Administration 11.4%
2. Education 5.1%
3. Social Work 4.2%
4. Elementary Education 3.8%
5. Curriculum and Instruction 3.6%
6. Educational Leadership & Administration 3.3%
7. Special Education 3.0%
8. Counselor Education/School Counseling 2.6%
9. Nursing/Registered Nurse 2.1%
10. Reading Teacher Education 2.0%

But not everyone is interested in earning the “most popular” degrees.

1.Master of Science in taxation Golden Gate University, with campuses in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Golden Gate University has the largest and one of the most respected graduate tax programs in the country, stressing real-world education and practical application of concepts and practices.

The Facts:
GPA requirement: You can be accepted if you earned a 3.0 GPA in any undergraduate degree program.
Specializing in: Focus your success with the specialized knowledge of a tax professional

  • Master of Science in Taxation
  • Master of Science Financial Planning and Taxation
  • Certificate in Taxation
  • Certificate in Advanced Studies in Taxation
  • Certificate in Estate Planning
  • Certificate in International Taxation
  • Certificate in State and Local Taxation

Tuition: based on the total course cost for a 3-unit course: $2,775 per 3-unit course. The total cost would also include room and board, books and personal needs.

2. MFA in Puppetry Arts U. of Connecticut at Storrs

Who says you have to leave your puppets in a childhood box locked away in the attic? Not the University of Connecticut, which offers an MFA in puppetry arts, where you can take courses ranging from trends in contemporary American puppet theatre to advanced hand puppet theatre.

The Facts:
Where: Earn the degree at the school’s Department of Dramatic Arts, in Storrs, Conn.
How: Call for application and audition dates.
Tuition: $5,112 per semester for Conn. residents, if registering for nine or more credits. Out of state students pay tuition of $13,266 per semester for nine or more credits.

3. Master of Arts in Thanatology Hood College, Frederick, Maryland

While the word isn’t common, it studies the most common thing in the world: death. This master’s degree, offered by Hood College, , prepares students to work with the terminally ill and to be death educators. The program is 39 credits and includes classes such as THAN 523 (dying and principles of care for the dying) and PSY 501 (theories of personality). Common places of employment after graduation include hospitals and nursing homes.

The Facts:
GPA requirement: The applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with at least a 2.75 cumulative grade point average and meet specified program requirements in a discipline of study.
Tuition: $360 per credit hour
For more information, go to

4. Master of Science in Grain Science Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas

Wonder how cereal is made? Study grain science at Kansas State University, and you’ll never have to wonder again. Courses in this program include cereal science, bakery layout, management applications in the grain processing industries and pet food processing.

The Facts:
How to enroll: The Departmental Graduate Program Committee has established the following course requirements for admission to its Masters and Doctorate programs.

  • Mathematics, including College Algebra, Calculus and Statistics
  • Chemistry, including Biochemistry and Organic Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biological Sciences

GPA requirement: Applicants must have a 4-year undergraduate degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Kansas resident: $6,829 a year
Out-of-state: $18,122 a year

5. Master of Arts in Folklore University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California

If you want to establish your bona fides as a folklorist, this master’s program at the University of California at Berkeley will fit the bill. The description for a course on the role of monsters (zombies, cannibals, etc.) in folklore contains the following, “This course seeks to investigate our endless fascination with, attraction to, and revulsion at awesome spectacles – displays of the marvelous and the monstrous.”

The Facts: GPA requirement: The minimum graduate admission requirements include a GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 and enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.
Tuition: $7669 (residents), $15,220 (non-residents)

6.Master of Gaming and Casino Management Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pa.

Several schools offer degrees in hospitality management but there aren’t many master’s programs, and fewer still that offer the gaming and casino specialization. Gaming is actually a rapidly growing industry in the U.S. but the number of real facilities still numbers in the hundreds.

The Facts:
GPA requirement: Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher in the last two years of undergraduate work. Graduate work should have a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Tuition: The rate for the academic year 2013-14 is $1,085 per credit. This program consists of 45 credits (15 courses).

7.Masters in Plant Science – Turfgrass Management University of Rhode Island, Kingston, R.I.
Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

This degree provides the educational underpinning for professional sports field managers, golf course managers, and managers in many other commercial horticultural ventures. The professionals in this business make football and baseball stadiums useable during and after horrendous weather interludes. URI and Ohio State University both offer masters degrees with specialization in turfgrass management.
GPA requirement: URI: To be accepted into a degree program, applicants must have maintained an average of approximately B (3.00 on a 4.00 scale) or better in their undergraduate work.
Ohio State: minimum undergraduate GPA is a 3.0.
Tuition : URI: Rhode Island residents, $12,4350; out of state, $28,016; New England regional, $20,610. Ohio State, $12,200 for Ohio resident; $29,512 for out of state resident.

8.Masters in Range Management University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho

The care and feeding of agricultural land has extended to grazing land for years, but only after millions of acres of arid pastureland in the West and Southwest was left barren by overgrazing. Today the University of Idaho is one of several schools in agricultural states that have rangeland management degrees.

The Facts:
GPA requirement: All Graduate School applicants must possess a Bachelor degree and have a minimum overall Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 grade scale.

Tuition: 7586, Idaho residents; $20,662, nonresidents.

9.Masters in Global Apologetics Liberty University, Lynchburg, Va.

From the catalog: “the…program provides students with in-depth study on the doctrines, views and lives of people from the 12 major world religions. Through this program, students will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to personalize the Christian message for effectively and passionately reaching our increasingly diverse world with the gospel.” Liberty University was founded by Jerry Farwell.

GPA requirements: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.00 (on a 4.00 scale)

Tuition: Seminary Master’s tuition: $330 per credit hour. Tuition for seminary students enrolled in nine to fifteen credit hours may qualify for the Seminary Tuition Cap ($2,200 for 2013-2014).

10.Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) – Blacksmithing: University of Southern Illinois, Carbondale.

There are dozens of crafts centers and art academies that teach basics of metalsmithing. There is only one established university in the country, however, with a Masters in Blacksmithing. The program was founded in 1968; since then it has grown in breadth to include the complexities of fine metalwork and craftsmanship.

GPA requirements: 2.7 (on a 4.0 grading scale) on approximately the last two years of your Bachelor’s degree.

Tuition: $11,820, resident; $29,950, non-resident.

12.Masters in Meat Science: Iowa State, Ames, Iowa (note: several other universities in the livestock states offer this degree, including Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Colorado State)

Meat science only becomes a science when the hormones enter the food chain, the preservatives are injected into the packaging process and the e coli bacteria appear in the processing plants.
Tuition: $8,880, resident; $21,190, non-resident.

13.Masters in Depth Psychology The Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, Ca.

This degree is offered with three areas of specialization. The program begins with some baseline education on Jungian and archetypal studies and launches from there, “…To study community and ecopsychology in the light of liberation psychology… innovative group approaches [include] council/circle, appreciative inquiry, theater of the oppressed…community dream work, liberation arts, restorative justice, [and] somatic approaches to trauma healing.”

GPA requirement: No mention of GPA. But applicants must have a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree from an accredited or state-approved institution of higher learning. Applicants must also demonstrate aptitude in the following areas: a background in psychology through formal coursework or personal study and experience; a background in interdisciplinary studies, such as the humanities, sciences, and social sciences; a demonstrated interest and ability in scholarly research; and a familiarity with the perspectives of depth psychology, such as psychoanalytic, Jungian, and archetypal psychology.
Tuition: $26,484

Bonus (non USA): MA in The Beatles, popular music and society Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, England

No list of unusual college degrees is complete without this degree offered by Liverpool Hope University. It might not be on your home turf, but they grant you a master’s for studying The Beatles, yeah, yeah, yeah.

The program examines the significance of the band’s music and, according to the school’s website, “by doing so it will suggest ways to understand popular music as a social practice, focusing attention on issues such as the role of music in the construction of regional identities, concepts of authenticity, aesthetics, meaning, value, performance and the use of popular music as a discursive evocation of place.” It’s a one-year program if done full-time and two years if done part-time.

Admission requirement: American applicants should have qualifications equivalent to either a first class honors degree from a UK University, or a second class honors degree and a Master’s degree with Merit or Distinction from a UK University.

Tuition: 4,800 U.K. pounds or $7,387 (as of June 6)

All of these non-traditional graduate degrees can lead to promising careers.

Celebrities with not-so-traditional Master’s Degrees 1. Peter Weller:
Peter Weller’s best known for RoboCop and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension also got a master’s degree in Roman and Renaissance Art from Syracuse University, in 2004.

2. David Duchovny:
Before “Californication,” “The X-Files,” and “Twin Peaks,” David Duchovny earned his master’s in English lit from Yale.

3. Dolph Lundgren:
Graduated from Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology before heading to Australia and picking up a Master’s in Chemical Engineering from the University of Sydney.

4. Kristen Chenoweth:
Kristen is a classically trained opera singer who has a master’s in opera performance from Oklahoma City University.

5. Sigourney Weaver:
Although she would later be immortalized in the Alien franchise Sigourney Weaver started her professional life with a graduate degree. She earned a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University’s School of Drama.

6. Ron Silver:
Ron has had a long and varied career on TV and in film, and he was also a prominent political spokesman before succumbing to esophageal cancer in March 2009. He studied Spanish and Chinese at SUNY at Buffalo, and went on to get a master’s in Chinese history at St. John’s University.

7. Hill Harper:
The skilled CSI: NY actor holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University.

Overall source for the list:

John Assunto
Originally Posted On:

It’s Not Just What You Answer, It’s How

In leading a client service line, McKinsey Digital, that is at the intersection of strategic consulting and on-the-ground assistance to clients, we are looking to build a team that is willing to take significant risks and create what cannot be mined from supposed “best practices.” But at its core, besides content expertise, there are four indelible traits I look for:

  • The curiosity and tenaciousness of a good journalist that must get the real, full story. Yes, data and analytics are important, but you need to get out, talk to people, and be able to ask the right questions to truly diagnose the client’s situation
  • An entrepreneurial streak to push the art of the possible in coming up with solutions and ideas, but also the realism to understand the unmovable constraints that have to be considered
  • The sense of second and third order implications of ideas. Thinking through the ripple effects on people’s jobs, on policy decisions, on incentives, and most importantly, on our client’s customers
  • The comfort to be on stage in a variety of challenging situations, ranging from one-to-one counseling, to group facilitation, to major presentations. Often, motivation for our clients requires a bit of theater, and at a minimum, a sense of conviction and energy that has to be palpable when you walk into a room

So while McKinsey famously uses case interviews in recruiting, the key for me is not looking just for a candidate’s answers, but seeing how they work through the ping pong of the discussion, ask questions, explore options, and consider implications. I also want to see real leadership on a resume and will challenge interviewees to describe the details of how they moved people’s opinions. Consulting is profoundly a people profession. How people both relate to and lead others is an absolutely critical success factor.

Over time, I have found that the best candidates go with the flow and push back as much as they try to take what I give them in the discussion. I want to bring on people who will help me learn and raise the average of my teams. Lately, it seems many of those whom we are bringing on have started their careers in digital agencies, learned the content, but then realized that their clients need something bigger than what the agency offers to make the real changes that will move their businesses. These candidates know the mechanics, but are pushing themselves to address the strategy, organization, and process changes their clients need. That entrepreneurial spark is what we look for, and then we need to explore whether the recruit has those core traits I described above. We are seeing some great young talent and are excited at how we’ve been growing.

John Assunto

[Image, ed_needs_a_bicycle, Flickr]
Originally Posted On Linked In By: David Edelman

Passive Candidates are Reactive: How to Get in Front of Them

“Passive candidates”. It’s quite a misnomer when thinking about the connotations of the term. Yes, they are not actively engaging the market, most likely because they already have a satisfying job. But we at WorkTies call them “reactive candidates”. They react to opportunities that interest them enough to consider, even while employed. And because they already have a satisfying job, these reactive candidates are likely to be talented enough for other jobs. So, as a recruiter, you would like to tap into this pool of candidates. However, cold calling all employed professionals of a specific job title on LinkedIn is a very inefficient way of doing it. Below, I detail some tips and advice.

Be where they areUnlike active candidates, reactive candidates do not frequent job hunting sites. They read blogs that interest them and help them do their job better. Instead of posting to Indeed or Monster, you should find them wherever they frequent. If you happen to be recruiting in an area that you are unfamiliar with and don’t know where to start, do one of the following until you find the right publications:

  1. Use to find some of the top posts and blogs in a specific Work field (or use one of the other tabs if it fits better). Another aggregator is, as well as for magazines. With any of these, you will generally find links to the top publications in a particular industry.
  2. Simply Google the field or skill (e.g., “sales”), followed by the word “blog”, “tips”, or “news”.
  3. On, there might be specific section(s), called “subreddits”, that cater to the specific field (e.g., marketing). Search for that by Googling the field (in this case, marketing) followed by the word subreddit. Alternatively, use this spreadsheet ( to find the right subreddit. Make a copy onto your own Google Drive and re-sort it by industry, subscriber count, or any other column that you want. Once you find the right subreddit(s), look through the headlines to find links to blogs and news publications (you can also sort the subreddit by most upvoted stories submitted).

Outside of digital marketing, there’s also the set of field events that brings together industry professionals in one place. For conferences and expos, browse through or search on Google and save some of these events onto your calendar. Look into having a booth at one of these or even hosting / co-hosting one. Posting at any of the above destinations will get you better results with reactive candidates than job search sites, and even cold calling.

Get out there and stay out thereAccording to a blog post by Dr. John Sullivan in ERE Media, the top 10 percent of candidates are often gone from the marketplace within 10 days. I’m not sure what that technically means as I don’t have the exact methodology or his definitions in that statement, but we can go further to say that plenty of talent are never even “in the market”. Timing is everything, and you will reach many reactive candidates at a time when they are less open to new opportunities. Therefore, not only should you engage professionals wherever they frequent, you must do it consistently. Coordinate with your marketing department to get the best bang-per-buck for each event and online campaign, as well as to stick to a marketing calendar that doubles as a candidate engagement calendar. Consider services and solutions that help with engaging audiences through brand management and brand communications management. Examples include Jobvite Engage or ThisMoment’s employment branding solutions. While we have to recognize the reality of budget constraints, it makes sense to put as much muscle behind candidate marketing as we do customer marketing.

Maximize efficiencyWhile the above might sound effective if done well and consistently, time is a finite resource and you have other things to do. So how do you maximize efficiency?

  • Hire a recruiting coordinator. Your time is worth a lot, and that time is better spent on better sourcing and not scheduling. One company told us that they utilize recruiting coordinators to manage administrative functions such as scheduling, data entry, and reporting. Through simple training, these functions could also be done by administrative assistants or interns. In this case, the company went further and taught the recruiting coordinator to do some basic screening and sourcing. This saves the recruiting manager time and saves the company money.
  • Be smart about timing. For example, use LinkedIn to see how long a candidate has been at her job, and if she’s only been there less than three months, it’s unlikely that she’ll switch. Recognize industry-wide trends. For example, in many industries such as finance, hiring cycles coincide with the months following college graduation because of 2-year programs that start and end in the summer. Bonus season is effective for two reasons: it is typically the time that employees can become most disgruntled, and secondly, employees wait until after they receive their bonuses before leaving their job. (Full disclosure: My company, WorkTies, created an engaging mobile- and web-based job search app so that we make it easier for talent to opt into jobs, taking the guesswork out of whether a candidate is looking for a job. It’s about cutting the time spent on uninterested candidates by matching you with relevant AND interested candidates.)

Finally: Do NOT start them from the beginningYou’ve identified your top talent and have connected with them, and now you are bringing them into your company’s interview process. Great! What’s the first work of order? Get them to apply to the job through the online application so they can get into your system, right? Wrong! Sure, you want them to fill out the paperwork, but this is an opportunity to make a talented (but reactive) candidate feel like he is skipping the line. Even if your hiring process for him is largely the same, having the process start differently for him is enough to signal that you really value the candidate. Conversely, consider how a candidate would feel if she heard, “We picked you out because you are special, but start at the back like everyone else.” Make her journey seem like it’s a head start. Reduce frictions. Take a look at the below screenshot.

Remember this multi-page behemoth? All applicants hate this. All of them. Yes, this should not stop anyone from seriously considering a job or taking a job offer, but it is definitely a negative point. Even if you owned the nicest restaurant in town, you wouldn’t force your customers to come in through the kitchen entrance, would you? When attracting talent, don’t start in the negative. Take out as much friction as you can in order to make the hiring process seamless to the talented candidates. If you have to utilize this system (I understand it can be quite helpful administratively), at least introduce it much later in the process. Or, use that recruiting coordinator I suggested earlier to help fill out some of it with information already provided by the candidate, then pass off the login for the candidate to complete. In a different article, I’ve characterized the absurdity of including a cover letter as part of the application process. For top talent, who should feel like they are getting a head start, the absurdity of the cover letter rings even more true. Moral of the story: if you put your candidates through rigmarole, they will feel like they are rigmarole, and that is how they will think about your company.

Hopefully this has been helpful. Please leave any comments or contact me at feng.hong, followed by

John Assunto
Originally Posted on Linked In By: Feng Hong

About the author

Feng Hong is currently VP of Business Development at WorkTies, a talent sourcing technology platform. He works with industry leaders and high-growth companies to provide them with talented candidates while improving their recruiting process. Prior to WorkTies, Mr. Hong was an investment professional working with enterprise software and HR technology companies. Mr. Hong has a background in finance and marketing, graduating magna cum laude from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is passionate about mentoring students and professionals in their career paths.