Category Archives: Candidates

Beware of the Counter Offer…

Counter Offer Acceptance

Road to Career Ruin
by Paul Hawkinson
reprinted from the NATIONAL BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT WEEKLY
from the publishers of the
Wall Street Journal: Dow Jones & Company Inc

Matthew Henry, the 17th-century writer said, “Many a dangerous temptation comes to us in fine gay colours that are but skin deep.” The same can be said for counteroffers, those magnetic enticements designed to lure you back into the nest after you’ve decided it’s time to fly away. The litany of horror stories I’ve come across in my years as an executive recruiter, consultant and publisher, provides a litmus test that clearly indicates counteroffers should never be accepted…EVER! I define a counteroffer simply as an inducement from your current employer to get you to stay after you’ve announced your intention to take another job. We’re not talking about those instances when you receive an offer but don’t tell your boss. Nor are we discussing offers that you never intended to take, yet tell your employer about anyway as a “they-want-me-but-I’m-staying-with-you” ploy. These are merely astute positioning tactics you may choose to use to reinforce your worth by letting your boss know you have other options. Mention of a true offer, however, carries an actual threat to quit. Interviews with employers who make counteroffers, and employees who accept them, have shown that as tempting as they may be, acceptance may cause career suicide. During the past 20 years, I’ve seen only isolated incidents in which an accepted counteroffer has benefited the employee. Consider the problem in its proper perspective.

What really goes through a boss’s mind when someone quits?

  • “This couldn’t happen at a worse time.”
  • “This is one of my best people. If I let him quit now, it’ll wreak havoc on the morale of the department.”
  •   “I’ve already got one opening in my department. I don’t need another right now.”
  •  “I’m working as hard as I can, and I don’t need to do his work, too.”
  •  “If I lose another good employee, the company might decide to ‘lose’ me, too.”
  •  “My review is coming up and this will make me look bad.”
  •  “Maybe I can keep him on until I find a suitable replacement.”

What will the boss say to keep you in the nest? Some of these comments are common.

  • “I’m really shocked. I thought you were as happy with us as we are with you. Let’s discuss it before you make your final decision.”
  • “Aw gee, I’ve been meaning to tell you about the great plans we have for you. But they have been confidential until now.”
  •  “The V.P. has you in mind for some exciting and expanding responsibilities.”
  • “Your raise was schedule to go into effect next quarter but we’ll make it effective immediately.”
  • “You’re going to work for who?”

Let’s face it. When someone quits, it’s a direct reflection on the boss. Unless you’re really incompetent or a destructive thorn in his side, the boss might look bad by “allowing” you to go.  His gut reaction is to do what has to be done to keep you from leaving until he’s ready. That’s human nature. Unfortunately, it’s also human nature to want to stay unless your work life is abject misery. Career changes, like all ventures into the unknown, are tough. That’s why bosses know they can usually keep you around by pressing the right buttons.  Before you succumb to a tempting counteroffer, consider these universal employment truths:

  • Any situation in which an employee is forced to get an outside offer before the present employer will suggest a raise, promotion or better working conditions, is suspect.
  • No matter what the company says when making its counteroffer, you’ll always be considered a fidelity risk. Having once demonstrated your lack of loyalty (for whatever reason, you’ll lose your status as a “team player” and your place in the inner circle.
  • Counteroffers are usually nothing more than stall devices to give your employer time to replace you.
  • Your reasons for wanting to leave still exist. Conditions are just made a bit more tolerable in the short term because of the raise, promotion or promises made to keep you.
  • Counteroffers are only made in response to a threat to quit. Will you have to solicit an offer and threaten to quit every time you deserve better working conditions?
  • Decent and well-managed companies don’t make counteroffers…EVER! Their policies are fair and equitable. They won’t be subjected to “counteroffer coercion” or what they perceive as blackmail.

If the urge to accept a counteroffer hits you, continue to clean out your desk as you count your blessings.

Digital Staffing is your ultimate resource for the best and brightest in the Chicagoland area. Because we specialize in IT Recruiting, you can trust you're in good hands.

Interview Tips from AllStaff IT & Engineering

Interview Tips from AllStaff IT & Engineering

Preparing For the Interview

  • Always know the exact place and time of the interview, the interviewer’s full name, the correct pronunciation, and his or her title.
  • An interview is a two-way street.  Know what questions to ask during the interview.  Your questions allow the hiring manager to evaluate your professional and personal needs.
  • Learn pertinent facts about the company, such as annual sales revenue, principle lines of business, and technologies they use.  The Account Representative can provide such sources as the company’s annual report for this background.
  • Visit the company’s website and review it thoroughly.
  • Bring several copies of your resume to the interview (make sure that it is the same as the version originally presented to the client by AllStaff IT & Engineering).
  • Find out why the hiring manager is interested in your qualifications.  Your Recruiting Representative can assist you in identifying your most marketable skills and attributes relevant to the assignment.
  • Determine how the opportunity will affect your immediate and long-term career development.

Interview Questions and Statements

Questions and statements you should expect:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Tell me about your background, accomplishments.
  • What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
  • How would you describe your most recent job performance?
  • What interests you about our opportunity?
  • How do you stay professionally current?
  • What outside activities are most significant to your personal development?
  • Tell me about a specific time when you felt you made a personal sacrifice for your job.
  • Give me an example of a time when a co-worker, employee, supervisor or client tried your patience and you became angry and/or frustrated.  How did you handle the situation?
  • Give me an example of some of the things you have done in the past to ensure deadlines and standards of quality and accuracy have been met.
  • Tell me about a recurring problem in your area of responsibility.  How did you identify the cause and ultimately solve the problem?  What did you do to prevent this problem from continuing?
  • In your current position, have you found more success working as a part of a team or alone?  Why?
  • What do you consider your greatest career accomplishment?  Why?
  • Where do you see your career in 3 years?

Be prepared to ask questions, such as:

  • What would I be expected to accomplish in this position?
  • How would you describe a typical day or week in this position?
  • What is the company’s management style?
  • How do you think I fit the position?
  • What is the current status of the project?
  • What are the greatest challenges in this position?
*Remember that a lack of questions may be mistaken as a lack of interest

Interview Do’s & Don’ts

  • DO dress professionally. The interviewer should be thinking about what you say, not what you’re wearing.
  • DO put your phone on silent mode and keep it out of sight.
  • DO plan to arrive on time or a few minutes (no more than ten) early.  Late arrival for an interview is never excusable.
  • DO fill out the application completely, if the interviewer gives you one.
  • DO conduct yourself as if you are determined to get a job you are discussing. Never close the door on the opportunity.  Enthusiastic feedback can enhance your chances of being considered further.
  • DO attempt to structure all of your comments in a POSITIVE manner.
  • DO greet the interviewer by last name if you are sure of the pronunciation.  If not, ask him or her to repeat it. Smile!  Shake hands firmly.
  • DO wait until you are offered a chair before sitting.  Sit upright, look alert and interested at all times. Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Relax!
  • DO speak firmly, clearly and loudly enough to be easily understood.
  • DO speak with tact, maturity, and courtesy.
  • DO look each interviewer in the eye while speaking.
  • DO follow the interviewer’s leads, but try to get the interviewer to describe the position and the duties to you early in the interview.  That way you can apply your background, skills, and accomplishments to the position.
  • DO make sure that your good points come across to the interviewer in a factual, sincere manner.  Stress achievements.
  • DON’T chew gum or smoke even if the interviewer does and offers you gum or a cigarette.
  • DON’T look at or use your phone.
  • DON’T answer with a simple “yes” or “no”, but don’t over-answer question either.  Describe the attributes and experience that relate to the situation honestly and succinctly.
  • DON’T make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers, management, or co-workers.
  • DON’T bring up compensation or benefits (your recruiter will negotiate the best compensation for you).  The first time an employer asks about compensation, say “I’m here because I’m interested in the opportunity.  I’m making x now (or was making x at my last position), and I’ll consider your best offer.”  If the employer persists, make sure you cite the same range that your Recruiter cited when he/she presented you to the client.
  • DON’T offer opinions unless your opinion is requested.
  • DON’T act or speak in any way that might be construed as overbearing, overaggressive, or egotistical, and don’t use foul language.
  • DON’T convey a persistent attitude of “what can you do for me?”

Closing the Interview

  • If you get the impression that the interview is not going well and that you have already been rejected, don’t let your discouragement show.  Your perception of how well the interview is going may be different from reality.
  • If you are interested in the position, let the interviewer know.  The interviewer will be impressed with your enthusiasm
  • Thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration.
  • Call your Recruiter immediately after the interview.
  • Be sure to send a thank-you email or letter to the interviewer within 24 hours.
  • Don’t be too discouraged if no immediate commitment is made.  The interviewer will probably want to communicate with other people in the company or possibly interview more candidates before making a decision.

Digital Staffing is your ultimate resource for the best and brightest in the Chicagoland area. Because we specialize in IT Recruiting, you can trust you're in good hands.

IT & Engineering Resume Writing Tips

IT & Engineering Resume Writing Tips

Think of yourself, your skills, experience, education, work ethic, personality, etc. as a unique product/service that you have to offer.   You are the “Seller”.  Employers have needs for employees with specific skills, experience, etc.  They are the “Buyer”.  You want to find the Buyer who will give you the best “Price” (salary and benefits) for your product/service. Now, think of your resume as the advertisement for your product.  It’s not the story of your life or even the story of your career.  Its purpose is to show the Buyer how you might fill their needs and create enough interest that they would invite you for an interview.  Keeping this in mind, the resume needs to be concise, factual, easy to scan for the important information and visually attractive. 

General Resume Writing Ideas

Employers receive hundreds of resumes a day, so they will spend about 20 seconds deciding whether or not to keep each one.  Your resume needs to make a great impression.

Follow these general resume writing guidelines for best results:

  • Resumes should be no longer than 2 pages!
  • Make sure there are no spelling, grammar or capitalization errors.  Check the correct spelling of technical terms.  Don’t rely on spell check.  Spell check cannot tell if you mean “there” or “their”, so will not catch the error as long as the word is spelled correctly.
  • Use a font with “feet” such as Times New Roman or CG Times rather than straight-line fonts such as Arial.  The eye flows more easily over fonts with feet.  The size of the font should be 11 or 12 points.
  • Use bold, italics and capitalization sparingly to highlight different sections or separate jobs.  No one wants to read an entire resume in italics.
  • There should be lots of white space on your resume.
  • Resumes should not be written in first person (e.g. I did this) or third person (e.g. Mr. Smith did this).
  • Be consistent in tense and style throughout resume.
  • Be HONEST – truth in advertising.  Employers will often hire candidates who don’t have all of the required skills or education, but if they catch you falsifying information, it’s over.
  • Just as advertisers need to customize their message for different buyers by emphasizing different benefits and features of their products, you may also have to customize your resume for various openings.  Go over job ads carefully.  If a skill is listed in the job ad and you have experience with that skill, make sure it is in your resume.

Contact Information

  • Make sure your name is prominently displayed.
  • Use only the phone numbers that you want potential employers to use.  If it’s risky to get calls at work, don’t list your work number.
  • This is not the place to use your “cute” e-mail address such as babycakes@aol.com or flemdog@yahoo.com.   Set up a separate e-mail address that is some version of your name.  Don’t use your work e-mail address.

Objective

The objective hurts more than it helps and it takes up valuable space, so it’s best to skip it.  The ideas and issues that would normally be addressed in an objective could be addressed in the cover letter.  If you feel you must have an objective, make sure it is specific and pertains to the job for which you are applying.

Work Experience

This is the most important section of your resume, so it should also be the most prominent section and should start on the first page of your resume.

  • Jobs must be listed in chronological order with the most recent job first.
  • The name of the company, job title and dates of employment should be clearly displayed.
  • Dates should be written in months and years.
  • If you worked at a company as a contractor, that should be indicated.
  • Be specific about what you accomplished at each job, not just your responsibilities. Try to show how you saved time or money, improved processes, etc.
  • Be sure to note how you used the major technologies at each job.  Many companies use software to scan resumes and if you don’t include the key words they are searching, your resume may be overlooked.
  • Don’t assume a technical person will screen your resume.
  • Use strong action words to describe your work such as designed, configured, installed, created, supported, etc.
  • Use bullet points to make your resume easy to scan.  Each job should have at least three bullet points, but not too many.
  • Only include the last 10 years on resume.

Education

  • Recent grads can display Education before Work Experience.
  • Indicate degrees earned as well as the name of college or university and major area of study.  Year of graduation is not necessary.
  • If you are currently working on your degree, indicate your major area of study, name of school and “Degree expected in Month of Year”.

Summaries and Accomplishments (Optional Section)

It’s better to list specific accomplishments under the job in the Work Experience section.  If you feel you must have this section, keep it brief and specific.  If you describe yourself in terms of soft skills, be sure to have examples to back up your claims.

Skill Summaries (Optional Section)

This can be useful to list a lot of key words in a small area, but it is important that your resume shows major skills within the Work Experience section as well.  If you want to use this section, keep it brief and specific.  Make sure the names of all products used are spelled correctly.

References

  • 99% of applicants include the line “References available upon request”.  This really isn’t necessary. Employers assume that you will provide references or you will probably not be considered for their job.   Leave out this section – it will save a bit of space.
  • Do not include the actual references on your resume.  You should bring a list of reference names and phone numbers with you to interviews and be prepared to give that information at that time.
  • It’s a good idea to contact your references ahead of time to get permission to use them as references and make sure they will say positive things about you.

Personal, Hobbies and/or Interests (Optional)

There are pros and cons to using this section.  How you spend your time reveals a lot about your interests, beliefs and character.  Generally, this information is beneficial because it shows that you are a well-rounded person and have interests outside of work.  If you and the screener have similar interests and beliefs, it can be a plus.  If the screener does not share your interests or beliefs, he or she may subconsciously reject your resume even though you may be qualified for the role.  Just be aware of what you are revealing and determine if you want employers to be aware of your interests and beliefs at this point in the process.  Information such as your age, marital status and information about children is risky.  Employers cannot ask this information, so there is no need to share up front.

Digital Staffing is your ultimate resource for the best and brightest in the Chicagoland area. Because we specialize in IT Recruiting, you can trust you're in good hands.

IT & Engineering Candidate Testimonials

IT & Engineering Candidate Testimonials

John S.

Project Manager Contrator

"I was recruited by Digital Staffing (now AllStaff IT & Engineering) for a position at a local bank. During our initial conversations I was immediately struck by both how knowledgeable they were about the job market and the care they put in to screen my resume to ensure I would be a good fit for the open position. Digital Staffing did such a great job of matching me with a client that my contract was extended twice. I would not hesitate to recommend Digital Staffing. They are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable firm that can provide exceptional service to both organizations looking to augment their staff and to anyone who might be looking for a contract position."

Siraj C.

"Thanks Digital Staffing (now AllStaff IT & Engineering). Your team did an outstanding job in preparing me for the interview process. From start to finish, everything was on time and professional. I really appreciate it."

Jim K.

Candidate

"I have just recently had the good fortune of working with Digital Staffing (now AllStaff IT & Engineering) over the course of the last couple months - and can tell you that I was very impressed. They are an experienced and resourceful firm that knows how to get the job done. Their abilities are outstanding - allowing them to prosper in some very diverse and difficult situations. I would not be in the position that I am currently in - if it were not for their outstanding skill set. I would enthusiastically endorse Digital Staffing and give them my highest recommendation."

Digital Staffing is your ultimate resource for the best and brightest in the Chicagoland area. Because we specialize in IT Recruiting, you can trust you're in good hands.

IT & Engineering Job Opportunities

AllStaff IT & Engineering Job Opportunities

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    Digital Staffing is your ultimate resource for the best and brightest in the Chicagoland area. Because we specialize in IT Recruiting, you can trust you're in good hands.