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Tips on changing jobs

#1 Tips on changing jobs
04/01/2008 10:54


OK, so you're an experienced hire who is happy with his current job but is feeling underpaid. If it were't for the pay, you'd certainly stay put (but... the company is doing badly and your personal billings have been way down lately, so a pay rise simply isn't goint to happen). Reluctantly, because you do feel a lot of loyalty to your employer (it's a close-knit team, and you like the work as well as the people), you've brought yourself to the stage where you're interviewing with other companies. They're really quite different to what you're used to - big, flashy receptions... hierarchical... cubicles and people eating lunch at their desks... and intense, high-pressure assignments. You've been out of the job market for some time - You was fortunate to find somewhere you liked many years ago, and basically you've stuck there since.

So, the question is: What questions should/would you be asking (of yourself, potential employers, recruitment agents, and anyone else for that matter), what thoughts should be running through your head, what important points/tips/pitfalls should you be aware of and basically what things should/could I know to make life easier at what is in fact one of the most difficult life decisions you've ever had to make (I know that sounds dramatic, but we're talking about something that will have a major impact the majority of your waking hours)?

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#2 RE: Tips on changing jobs
04/01/2008 10:56

anon to anon (#1)

* "you were" - sorry for the typo.

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#3 RE: Tips on changing jobs
04/01/2008 14:19

MCon to anon (#1)

its really down to personal choice, and what your priorities are, and if financial gain outweighs working for a firm you actually believe in. having said that, there will be other smaller firms out there who have a great culture, pay well, and dont work you into the ground in the same way larger consulting firms can. i'm an ex-consultant myself, but i have friends at Qedis and the Structure group who are very happy and well paid, they're both smaller firms who seem to be doing well

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#4 RE: Tips on changing jobs
04/01/2008 15:59

Panter to MCon (#3)


The very 1st thing I would suggest is that you buy a book by Max Eggert, called “Perfect Interview”, isbn: 1905211740. This is excellent on 3 fronts: 1. it gets you to really think about what you want from a job; 2. it gets you to work out how best to put this across to a prospective employer; and 3. it has very effective advice on how to negotiate your salary.

Unless your present company can make you a Partner of some sort, the only way to increase your feelings of contentment and your salary is to find out what others in the market will offer for your services.

On that note, I would be REALLY interested if anyone has successfully negotiated with their employer, in a similar position, without having to actually look for another job.

Other suggestions:

- If you like the co and are seriously thinking of joining, insist on talking 1-to-1 with someone within any prospective co, who is at your level and doing a similar job. Ask them questions about the working culture and terms and conditions etc

- Remember that any interview discussion can be important later. E.g. if it is agreed that you will not need to travel on Sundays or Fridays, you can remind your employer of this later. My tip would be to announce any such discussions to as many people as possible as quickly as possible, once you start! The other side of this is to be as upfront as possible, at the interview, about what you will and won’t accept

- The recruitment agent works for the employer. Use this knowledge to your advantage, tell them what you need them to know and treat them as professional intermediaries who know what they are doing

- Be VERY clear what salary and benefits you require. Do not discuss this with the recruitment agent except to tell him/her how much you want and to ask whether the job you have been put forward for pays this much. Do not tell anyone how much you earn now. No one needs to know this, at any stage

- Take control of the whole process and present a very confident front to all other parties, regardless of how you actually feel

Good luck!


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#5 RE: Tips on changing jobs
04/01/2008 17:06

anon to Panter (#4)

Panter and MCon - thank you for your advice, I really do appreciate it.

Panter - Re: salary negotiations, I think I've already made some big mistakes. Your advice is completely sensible, however during one interview in particular (the one I'm most interested in), I was directly asked what I currently earn, and I couldn't wriggle out of answering the question. I tried talking around the question, but ultimately they got the information they wanted (although I did exaggerate bonus element a little). The new job is far more pressurised and demanding than my current one. I don't want to be constrained by my current salary for exactly this reason... it's not comparing like with like. Yet, because they work hard and I don't want them thinking I'm a slacker or won't fit into their environment, I don't feel like I can directly say to them "well yes I earn £X, but I want at least double my salary because a) I'm slightly underpaid for my level of responsibility at present, and b) this new job is a lot more stressful and involves substantially longer hours". If you were me, how would you recover from this situation?

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#6 RE: Tips on changing jobs
04/01/2008 18:49

Panter to anon (#5)


You have undermined some elements of your negotiating position but all is not necessarily lost!

As you realise, it is not relevant to a new employer (or agent) what you earn now, only what the job is worth. Any co. is looking to give you the smallest possible salary to get you and keep you motivated for as long as possible and at least until the inertia sets in.

The question is – what salary will you actually accept from the new co? If you won’t leave your current co for less than £x, they will have to come up to that level to tempt you away. In my view, you now need to impress upon them – whenever you get the chance – where that bar lies. If they realise you will stick to your guns come what may, they will up any offer or throw you back in the sea to try your luck elsewhere.

Always remember that there are more jobs out there – like houses. You’ll find one at the right salary, just take your time!


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#7 RE: Tips on changing jobs
07/01/2008 09:51

anon to Panter (#6)

Thank you Panter. I guess my worry is that, when interviewers invariably ask the "What are you on now?" question, I get somewhat pigeonholed by my current (low) salary. Basically, there's almost a sort of implicit assumption by employers during negotiations that the number of hours you work and the type/quality of work you do is worth nothing to you at all! It's very frustrating.

Your advice is really helpful - do you have any other general tips? Thank you.

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#8 RE: Tips on changing jobs
07/01/2008 10:31

Mars A Day to anon (#5)

When you take the tactic that the new job is more stressful/demanding/pressurised you raise questions about whether you are cut out for it; similarly when you say you are underpaid, this can be read as undervalued in the market, and raises the question why have you not moved before? Etc etc.

A good tactic is to respond to salary questions by stating (regardless of whether it is accurate) "I am in advanced discussions/have been approached about a role with a competitor paying £x so I would be looking for a competitive offer at circa £x from you also".


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#9 RE: Tips on changing jobs
07/01/2008 10:47

anon to Mars A Day (#8)

Nice one! This is dynamite stuff. One other point though - in addition to the slight boo-boo I made about revealing my current salary to the prospective employer, I did also answer the question "Are you interviewing with anyone else" with "no", but I guess that can switfly change if necessary (I can just say I got a phone call and something interesting came up).

Incidentally, if they try and pressurise me into revealing who the competitor is (you know how persistent some people can be), what do I say then?

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#10 RE: Tips on changing jobs
07/01/2008 11:10

Mars A Day to anon (#9)

Just politely decline to identify the companies in question. Stand your ground on this one. You can - if you so wish - add a little flavour (depending on the role you are interviewing for) by giving a little information away e.g if you are interviewing with ACN then you could mention that you have 'advanced discussions' in play with another 'major systems integrator' or suchlike etc etc. Add a little more power play if pushed by saying that either you identified this opportunity (the other one) through your own contacts, or that you were approached (either direct for through a headhunter), so it begins to build some personal brand equity in you - i.e. you are in demand, and they will pay £x which suddenly becomes the market rate.

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#11 RE: Tips on changing jobs
07/01/2008 11:39

also to Mars A Day (#10)

the weakness in your profile is that you are seemingly moving at a time when your personal performance is not at its best. The salary side is fine. I changed job under similar circumstances couple of years ago. My salary had not moved much as the company was not increasing salaries much due to poor company performance. I told the interviewers exactly what I was earning (they may ask for proof!) and then did as Mars suggests. Also, "I am due a salary review is a good line". Ultimately, paying you 10% more than you get now is no good at all - you would probably get that by staying put! They have to be competitive with other offers you get in the market

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#12 RE: Tips on changing jobs
07/01/2008 16:22

Mars A Day to anon (#9)

If you get to the point where you need to inflate your current remuneration then make sure you 'lose' the P45 - blame the Royal Mail - and get a P60 or whatever it is called, the form to generate a new one. Yes you will pay higher tax until a new code is issued but you get that back and the higher salary. To use this strategy you will need to be comfortable your reference will not contradict you though.

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