Dear J.T. & Dale: I had an HR screening interview with an organization where I have many relationships. The compensation for the role is way less than my current salary. The C-level executive is a friend. Should I contact her to find out if there is negotiation room? — Clare
J.T.: The best thing to do is to first ask the HR person if they know of any wiggle room on the compensation. Because all salary approvals will go through HR, going to the C-suite first will feel like you went around them. Now, if HR says the salary is non-negotiable, then go to your C-level friend and let them know about the situation and how you were told there is no room for negotiation. That way, they can go inquire at the higher level and possibly change it, but at least you followed the protocols and didn’t alienate HR.
DALE: My own view is that HR is there to help the management people accomplish their goals, and what we want is for an executive to make hiring you a goal. HR can, however, be an obstacle in a case like this; after all, to bring you in at a salary far above the established pay grade could have a domino effect where suddenly a lot of other people will feel severely underpaid. (How will those others know? In this “connected” world, it’s always wise to assume that everyone will eventually know everything.) So, here’s the solution: You want to visit with your executive friend and explain that you’d love to work there, but not at the job that’s currently open. Your goal here is to have a new job title/description based on what you have to offer. I know this is possible because I managed to accomplish just such a switch early in my career. I had a job that was a dead end, and when I explained the dilemma to an executive with the company, he basically asked me what job I’d like. I described it, and, bang, that became the job description for a new position. Then, we decided together on a job title. Applying this to your case, it isn’t that the open job doesn’t pay enough, it’s that the higher-paying job hasn’t been created yet.
Dear J.T. & Dale: A preferred company just posted multiple openings for the same role. On their jobs page, it lists about 20 positions all with the same job title. Could this be a fluke? If not, should I only apply to one or should I apply to all? — Nico
J.T.: Is it possible that each job is in a different location, hence the multiple postings?
DALE: Could be, although I would guess this is just a computer-assisted screw-up. It could be something like when you’re online and you try to sign up for an email alert and the site doesn’t seem to be working but later you discover that you signed up five times. Or, it could be an old-fashioned beginner’s mistake, like some intern was told the company needed to hire 20 new employees so the intern posted the same job 20 times.
J.T.: I suppose there’s no point in trying to figure out what went wrong. But, it might be an opportunity: Try to find who was the recruiter that posted the jobs (sometimes she/he is listed), and message them on LinkedIn asking if they meant to have 20 jobs and ask if you should apply to all or just one. That way, you will know what to do AND can start a conversation with the recruiter that might get you noticed faster!
DALE: Great idea. And, if there isn’t a name associated with those postings, you might still send a note to someone in the company’s HR department, asking who to ask.
J.T.: If you can’t connect with anyone, then apply to just one job to start. The Applicant Tracking Systems usually can tell when people have applied multiple times, and it can be annoying to HR to get so many applications by you.
Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten is founder of The Innovators’ Lab and author of a novel about H.R., “The Weary Optimist.” Email questions to jtanddale.com, or write in care of King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (c) 2022 by King Features Syndicate Inc.