Finding the right job is like finding the right spouse. Sometimes you get lucky and find the right one right away. But you can’t just take the first one that comes around just because, you have to make sure it’s the right one.
Early in this job search my husband interviewed with anyone who’d see him. He got a myriad of offers, but knew before the interview was even over that he would not be taking the job. Once during such an interview he stopped the interviewer and asked, “no, how is this not a pyramid scheme?”
“We’re multi-level,” was the reply.
“Right. How is that not a pyramid?”
“A pyramid is illegal, sir. We’re multi-level.”
Did you know that many financial advising firms are multi-level? Did you know many mortgage companies are multi-level?
You can’t just take the first job offer because it’s a job offer.
Through an old friend my husband got hooked up with someone in a big pharmaceutical company who liked my husband so much she determined to help him work in her company. With her name and recommendation on his cover letter he applied for a variety of positions, and with her research he was able to email some of his future interviewers before they had a chance to call him. His application process was immaculate and the interviews were stellar. He sent courtesy post-interview emails and made follow-up phone calls. Then he waited. And waited. and waited. When the call finally came we were just relieved to get an answer one way or the other. The HR representative apologized for the two week delay but they had really struggled in filling the position. Ultimately they decided to hire someone else, as my husband had only inside sales experience and they thought the Senior Sales Manager should have some outside sales experience, but it was such a difficult decision because they really liked him. They thought he’d be perfectly suited for their standard sales position and would call him as soon as such a position opens up. Senior Sales Manager?! Well, duh! No wonder he didn’t get the job! He thought all along they were interviewing him for the regular position.
One day we came home to a message on the machine from a large company to which he had applied two months prior. As the executive recruiter got to know my husband he shelled out all sorts of compliments and was eager to get my husband on staff. We researched the company and they checked out — they looked great! — and we began considering what it would be like to move back to Michigan and pay hundreds less on a mortgage than we currently do in rent. My husband had originally been quoted a very low number as his base pay, but when he objected, the recruiter said he’d work on a relocation bonus and a higher base pay. When the official offer came the minimum pay (it’s actually not a base) was not only pallatable, but superstar-fantastic! Clearly there had been a typo. I thought perhaps an extra zero had been added in the calculations, making the yearly salary a very beefy six-figures. Because my husband is honest he called the company to alert them that they should re-read the salary paragraph on the first page. The revised offer came back not as I had hoped, with the zero fixed, but back to the original quote. (The problem, claimed to be a software error, was obviously human. The low salary number had been imputted as the bi-weekly pay. Changing $24,000/year to $24,000 every two weeks with a yearly salary of over $600,000!) After extending our response deadlines and renegotiating they were only able to cough up a $2,000 relocation bonus (not even enough for the truck!) and nothing more for the minimum pay. We had to decline, that was not a liveable offer.
It’s hard to turn down a sure thing. It’s even harder to turn down two sure things in one week.
I was at the zoo with Stacey and the boys, and we were talking about the job search. She suggested the staffing agencies, having worked there herself at an earlier part of her life, and thought my husband would be a great recruiter. She mentionned one company in particular and I said, “I know I know that name. In fact, I believe I sent my husband a job posting of theirs this morning, remembering what you had said about him being a great recruiter.” He hadn’t, of course, had the chance to apply for the job yet, but he had applied through them for another position earlier for which he was totally over-qualified. They held on to his resume and when I returned from the zoo there was a message on the machine from them, asking him to consider their internal position.
I don’t want to get all Hocus-Pocus, but the timing of this opportunity popped up right as my husband was praying that if the job in Detroit that didn’t seem to pay enough wasn’t the right thing for us could the right thing please pop up soon or else we’d have to take the job in Detroit?
After weeks of interviews (a string of four), more background checks, endless phone calls and emails, and a break for a regional conference, he finally got the job. And instead of being in the batch of new recruits at some of those other jobs, he is the new guy, the one they wanted for the one opening. And they offered him a base pay of more than we’re getting at our current job, with commissions and a full benefits package.
It was totally worth waiting three and a half months, and turning down all those sure things for this. And it just further proves how alike we are, my husband and I: neither of us felt right about our first offers.