Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Integrity and Values

As many of you know, I've had a fair share of good, and unfortunately, bad employers. I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I definitely know a thing or two about when to run...and honestly, I've made the correct decision only a few times. But here are a few words of advice to look out for:
  • You don't have the job until it's in writing....and you pass a drug test. In the past, I've had recruiters tell me they will hire me, and I'll never hear back. Be excited that they may want to hire, but remember, nothing is for sure until you get that job offer in writing.
  • When a recruiter yells at you, reconsider employment. The goal of the recruiter is to weed out recruits and encourage their best candidates to accept employment. Remember, it's a marketing scheme. When you interview with a company, the recruiter should represent the company in the best light. If they aren't treating you with respect (without even hiring you), how will they treat you later?
  • Know the laws of the land. I've accepted employment with a group that ended up doing some border-line, if not, illegal things. For instance, not paying the last paycheck, forcing us to work through lunch, and again, and not treating their employees with respect. My former coworkers and I joke about how awful it was, but all of us have learned not to put up with it. Know federal and state employment laws and make sure to know the terms of your contract if you need to quit.
  • Be aware of too-good-to-be-true "promises" made by a recruiter. There's a good chance it's not competitive.  I know of one company (not to be named), that will say to its recruits, "Well you will work more hours, but we pay you better than other companies." Or one line close to my heart is, "Well, we are paying for your housing, so we're reducing your pay." Sounds like a good deal? Don't sign the employment contract right away, and make sure to ask your friends about their perks and pay ranges. 
  • Rash decisions can be bad decisions.  If a recruiter is having you make an employment decision within a few hours (this has happened to me), they probably aren't respecting your time; it's more likely that they procrastinated and have to make up for it by using you.  Think the decision through and ask your parents, friends, professors, and advisors if it's a good idea or not. 
  • Never say, "I need to talk this through with my parents," although you probably will. You are a grown adult.  Say instead, "I need to think this through, I'll get back to you by ____ day."
  • And finally: if a company is unwilling to negotiate until it comes to the final point where you are denying employment, be wary. This has happened to a friend of mine and me on two separate occasions.  Both of us mentioned our intentions very clearly from the beginning: "If I can't do/go/get ______, I'm not going to accept employment."  These particular companies said, "There's no way we can do that," although it may be very reasonable (like location, increased pay, job duties- minor items).  It got to the point where I said, "I cannot accept for insert reason here. Thank you for the opportunity."
I will mention that in the day and age, it's hard to be picky, and you may have to grateful. But think your decisions through. Know what the competitive rates are (ask your friends or more experienced students), and know your qualifications. Also, know that it may be hard to find another job. So make sure to think it through!


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