Author Topic: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?  (Read 6782 times)

caracarn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1534
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Ohio
Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« on: February 25, 2016, 11:19:44 AM »
So I am curious if anyone has had to deal with this situation.

In my search for a new job, I am focusing on what I think would be considered values that go well with this blogging community.  The salary I get paid is no where near my most important concern.  I just want to do great work and help my employer accomplish great things and in understanding that realize that I will be more likely to do that in a project management type of role rather than a senior leadership role.  The challenge I am running in to is that I am having a hard time getting people to believe that. 

I get that this is driven by the common consumer belief that there is never enough, that we all want more, and to not want that is somehow broken.  So has anyone else gotten the, "You've had all these high level roles, why do you want to do this?" or "Why are you OK making less money?" and how have you overcome that?  I have been explaining that my passion is much more in line with a direct contribution to results (getting things done) than in just thinking about what can be done or overseeing how money and resources are used three levels removed.  I have gotten responses after getting to the final stages that I am "overqualified" or "you absolutely would rock the job but we think you'd be bored" and I just can't seem to get past that. 

So from Mustachians how do you get people to understand that you just know what enough is and that you are not some sort of mutant?
« Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 11:41:35 AM by caracarn »

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3056
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2016, 11:28:29 AM »
Maybe try requesting something in lieu of the higher salary you could otherwise command? "I really value time with my family, so I would like to start at 3 telecommute days per week." Something like that so you can get more of what you want and you don't baffle them.

trashmanz

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2016, 04:08:23 PM »
Or maybe you can say you prefer to grow up to the role.  What they might be hearing is that you want to avoid responsibility and skate by.  If you frame it that you are ok starting lower and working your way up as you learn the business they might be more receptive, then just prove your worth in that particular role once you get your foot in the door.  Its all mind games. 

caracarn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1534
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Ohio
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2016, 08:40:11 AM »
Thanks for the replies.  I certainly agree it is all mind games.  I do think I certainly present that I am willing to come in and work up, but as time goes on and offers do not come just things like "overqualified" it has be second guessing if I'm making it seem like I really want something more but I'm taking this and therefore they feel I will not be happy in the role and then leave if nothing opens up. 

That's the challenge I am trying to overcome is to make them understand if I applied for the job I'm perfectly happy doing the job I applied for.  There are no ulterior motives.

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3216
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2016, 11:38:20 AM »
I don't think hiring managers and recruiters are going to get what you're talking about. Those people are in that role because they buy into cultural norms of always working. It's more possible if you work in IT. I think a start up would be excited about you. If you are already FIRE, you could start your own business.

Parizade

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1028
  • Location: Variable
  • Happily FIREd
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2016, 11:47:49 AM »
I recommend that you work on a good "elevator speech" that  describes exactly what you want and why in a few sentences. Write it, edit it, rewrite it, practice saying it in front of a mirror. Try to anticipate follow up questions hiring managers might have and write up clear, succinct answers.

Memorize them all, practice again in front of a mirror before every interview. If you have taken the time to craft a paragraph that delivers exactly the message you need to deliver, and you can deliver that message with calm, clear confidence, you will probably convince your audience that you know want you want and can deliver what you promise.

AZDude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1298
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2016, 11:58:56 AM »
Maybe try requesting something in lieu of the higher salary you could otherwise command? "I really value time with my family, so I would like to start at 3 telecommute days per week." Something like that so you can get more of what you want and you don't baffle them.

Yep, explain why you want the lower role and less responsibility in a way they can understand and relate.

"I have invested wisely and do not need a high salary. Right now my free time, happiness, and my family are more important to me than a leadership role."

Or something like that.

Papa bear

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1421
  • Location: Ohio
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2016, 12:11:42 PM »

I don't think hiring managers and recruiters are going to get what you're talking about. Those people are in that role because they buy into cultural norms of always working. It's more possible if you work in IT. I think a start up would be excited about you. If you are already FIRE, you could start your own business.

That's a very broad generalization there and is anecdotal at best.

To the OP, I'm assuming you are looking for positions outside of your current company. As such, a recruiter or hiring managers' concern with an "overqualified" candidate is that you will leave for greener pastures as soon as that position comes by. (Not saying this is warranted, as anyone would leave a role of there was a "much better" opportunity).

Basically, you need to do everything you can to convince those people recruiting or hiring you that you have other reasons for taking a job.   There has already been good advice in this thread on ways to do that; to reiterate, make it clear that salary is not your concern, that you value a work life balance, managing processes at this point in your career is more fulfilling than managing people, the company culture is what is important, you want to see value in what you do, you want to have a sense of purpose in your job, etc. 

Have these answers and your responses well thought out and rehearsed.  Make it well known up front in the recruiting process that this is your intent.  Quell their concerns before they need to even formally ask.

You will still run across people who will question your sincerity or discriminate against you.  The recruiter or hiring manager could also be using "overqualified" as an easy excuse when they hire someone else. 

Keep pushing to find something that you really enjoy. It will be out there. 


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Gone Fishing

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2801
  • So Close went fishing on April 1, 2016
    • Journal
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2016, 12:15:56 PM »
What they might be hearing is that you want to avoid responsibility and skate by. 

+1

A couple years ago, when I was getting close enough to FIRE, I decided to tell a few recruiters I might be interested in a part-time gig that would allow me to semi-FIRE.  Crickets.  I even went to a former co-worker who was in a position to hire.  Despite the fact I had worked with him directly for years and knew the quality of my work, he said outright that it sounded like I didn't really want to work anymore.  Regardless of whether or not it is true, they want new hires to appear "hungry" which translates into their mind as motivated.  They truly think that someone looking to downshift must not be very motivated and/or damaged in some way.  It'd probably hurt to do so, but if it were me, I might sandbag my resume a little, state my previous salary as confidential, and just throw the appropriate number out there for desired compensation.   

Jacana

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 188
  • Location: Back in the DMV :(
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2016, 02:48:02 PM »
When I was asked the dreaded overqualified question, I was able to get away with a response along the lines of "yes I have good qualifications that are relevant in a, b, and c that I believe make me an excellent candidate, but I lack experience in x (a specific and important part of the job) and I want to learn x. I am not afraid to start lower and work up to gain that experience." I got all 3 jobs that asked me that, so there must have been something to it. I don't know if it will work for you though.

With This Herring

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1207
  • Location: New York STATE, not city
  • TANSTAAFL!
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2016, 05:22:08 PM »
I've never done that before, but:

"Been there, done that, bought the tee shirt.  Bob/Sue/Tim, I've been C-class, but I found that I really missed getting my hands dirty.  I know how to do big picture, but I want to work a step down and be able to personally direct a project/team.  Besides, my wife/husband/SO/scapegoat would kill me if I took another role where I'm on-call even for my nights and weekends/vacations.  I'm not looking to use this role as a springboard back to CXO; I'm hoping this position will be the last one I ever take.  Can Company, Inc. use someone who will be an excellent project manager and have the know-how to give the CEO what (s)he needs from this team?"

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3216
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2016, 07:13:23 PM »
Quote
That's a very broad generalization there and is anecdotal at best.

I disagree that my experience is anecdotal, as I have talked to around 100 recruiters and hiring managers over the past 8 years. I even dated 2 different recruiters. Recruitment, I know.

Part time work/ downshifting is waaay looked down upon in our society. There was a recent Ted talk about how 75% of the wage gap between women and men is due to women downshifting mid career.
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/14/on-equal-pay-day-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

I'm not saying you can't do it, just that it will take awhile, and most aren't going to get it.

Papa bear

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1421
  • Location: Ohio
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2016, 09:05:17 PM »

Quote
That's a very broad generalization there and is anecdotal at best.

I disagree that my experience is anecdotal, as I have talked to around 100 recruiters and hiring managers over the past 8 years. I even dated 2 different recruiters. Recruitment, I know.

Part time work/ downshifting is waaay looked down upon in our society. There was a recent Ted talk about how 75% of the wage gap between women and men is due to women downshifting mid career.
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/14/on-equal-pay-day-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

I'm not saying you can't do it, just that it will take awhile, and most aren't going to get it.

I don't disagree with you that there will be a reduction in pay with part time or a reduction in job duties.  Where I take issue here is your generalization that recruiters and hiring managers immediately look down upon those persons that want flexibility, balance, or downshifting and that IT would be the only exception.  Your personal experience is anecdotal.  Dating recruiters and chatting to them on the phone does not make you an expert in the field. 

There are many industries, companies, and managers that not only accept alternative schedules but encourage it. Yes, you will run into those organizations with cultures that demand always upward movement and 80 hour weeks.  IT is no different.  In fact, I see less flexibility in IT than other industries. 

To the OP's specific issue, moving from senior leadership to an individual contributor,  isn't that uncommon.  Managing people, long hours, and stress is not something that everyone enjoys long term.  Most people, managers, and recruiters get this.  But there WILL be concerns.  There will be questions about taking a reduction in salary, giving up power, etc.  Companies will protect themselves to make sure they don't make a bad hire. They want to make sure someone they hire will won't leave for another role.  In some situations, a downshifter isn't a good fit. Companies are looking for up and comers for certain positions.  Maybe they are anticipating a retirement, promotion, or termination where they are looking for the backfill.  This doesn't mean that there is a country wide culture issue with someone with the desire to downshift! 

All of this is from my many years working in third party staffing and recruiting, both in management for fortune500 staffing firms and my experience as a partner in a firm. 

Good luck to the OP.  You can find a new opportunity that meets your goals.  Keep your head up and stay at it.  There are many organizations that get it.






Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

clarkfan1979

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2045
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Pueblo West, CO
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2016, 01:59:07 AM »
People who "don't need the money" might not be good workers. They are much more likely to tell the boss to F-off. My dad is retired and lives in South Florida. Many retired folks seek part-time employment, but have problems finding such employment. The companies know that they cannot exploit them. They will call bullshit. They would rather employ a lost 25 year old that really needs the job to pay all of their bills.

desk_jockey

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 297
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2016, 02:45:57 AM »
Have you thought about looking for contract work?   Your hourly rate can be the same or higher than your previous rate, so it might be easier to justify to recruiters, but overall it still a lower cost to the companies because they don't have the matching half of social security or the costs of the benefits.   Then you can be more flexible with your time with reduced hours per week or projects that are intermittent full time.    Exflyboy can give you tips on the latter.

MandyM

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 544
  • Location: Lexington, KY
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2016, 07:26:10 AM »
What they might be hearing is that you want to avoid responsibility and skate by. 

+1

A couple years ago, when I was getting close enough to FIRE, I decided to tell a few recruiters I might be interested in a part-time gig that would allow me to semi-FIRE.  Crickets.  I even went to a former co-worker who was in a position to hire.  Despite the fact I had worked with him directly for years and knew the quality of my work, he said outright that it sounded like I didn't really want to work anymore.  Regardless of whether or not it is true, they want new hires to appear "hungry" which translates into their mind as motivated.  They truly think that someone looking to downshift must not be very motivated and/or damaged in some way.  It'd probably hurt to do so, but if it were me, I might sandbag my resume a little, state my previous salary as confidential, and just throw the appropriate number out there for desired compensation.

I agree. Also, I know that in my field (engineering) people are generally promoted from within. So any person they interview for even an entry level position is looked at through a lens of whether they can be trained to move up the ladder. We aren't just filling a position, we are looking at long term growth. If that is the culture in your field, it will be difficult to convince a company that you are going to be a good hire. Not impossible, but difficult.

Maybe you can focus on using your background to mentor employees below you so that they can excel? Present how you envision using your experience in a different light.

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3216
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2016, 07:40:20 PM »
Quote
Where I take issue here is your generalization that recruiters and hiring managers immediately look down upon those persons that want flexibility, balance, or downshifting and that IT would be the only exception.  Your personal experience is anecdotal.  Dating recruiters and chatting to them on the phone does not make you an expert in the field.

I didn't say that recruiters and hiring managers "immediately" look down on people, nor did I ever say that I was an expert. But my experience is more than anecdotal. I have talked to people about their own experiences, and it's a topic of interest that I have researched.

It would be helpful if the OP said what field they worked in so they can get more specific advice, I can only speak to the fields I worked in which are IT/Finance/Accounting/Retail/Law/Psychology and non-profits.

But I agree it will take effort. I also don't think its worth the effort to convince anybody. Just move on.

ETA: I do about 6 extensive interview processes a year where I have to sit in people's office's, over and over again. So I'm not just chatting on the phone.

« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 08:11:04 PM by mozar »

caracarn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1534
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Ohio
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #17 on: February 29, 2016, 06:49:45 AM »
Thanks all for the discussion.  I will take what I can and make improvements.  A lot of what was said, like having answers ready I have been doing, I do think it is just a question of finding the right opportunity, but that is taking a long time.  To answer the question of what field I am in it is IT.  I have been a Manager or Director for fifteen years at this point and that is what I am trying to overcome.  I am also applying for those roles, but the reality is that those roles are few and far between especially in my area of the country and as I think I mentioned we really would find it very, very difficult to relocate at this time.

I have addressed the concern of coming in and leaving for greener pastures.  It helps that no job on my resume was less than five years and so I point to that as examples of my lack of job hopping and I have one that was thirteen years and that was a layoff after company sales fell almost 75% otherwise I might still be there.   Having hired dozens of people myself, I THINK I know what to avoid to make it possible to be misunderstood as "not wanting to work", which is certainly not the case, I just know that I am very good at project management and making sure that all the things that need to get done, do.  My higher level experience helps me identify things that others may overlook because I have "been there, done that" and know where the hidden traps lay in almost any type of undertaking.  I've had outside implementers tell me on more than one occasion that if I had not been on the project and caught the gaps that we would have missed the go-live date so I am confident my value gets seen and is there, but obviously a new employer with no history with me just has to weight my explanations and see what they think of them. 

My current role is not a ton of hours (usually about 45-50) but I do know that others may be demanding much more where projects managers tend to have to work overtime when the project is getting to the launch stage.  I also am confident that I can get things done much more quickly than others with less experience so plowing through tasks is not hard for me. 

I am trying to explain what I am asking in a clearer way, but most responses are in the ballpark.  It is explaining that my desire for a lower role is not because I do not want to work, it is that I am more passionate about more hands-on activities rather than just managing form afar, but I am not opposed to moving up again in a new organization, so I am definitely not talking about in no way wanting to manage people again, just wanting to take my skills and use them as effectively as I can for the benefit of my organization.

I am not anywhere near FIRE.  That may be a dream that is not possible for me having come to MMM late in my life and having a big family with expenses that go with it. 

I think that covers most of what seemed to be gaps in my story from those who answered.  Thanks again and I look forward to more discussion! 

Axecleaver

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3334
  • Location: New York
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #18 on: February 29, 2016, 07:30:38 AM »
This is very common, the phrase you're looking for is "individual contributor." For example, "I'm looking to get back to my engineering roots and be an individual contributor to the team. While I'm a good PM, I miss the work I used to do with (tech)." Consider looking for team lead roles, those are good half way points between PM and engineer where you won't have to worry so much about the "overqualified" problem.

The other route is to look into boutique consulting firms. These places love to find guys with a ton of management experience and put them into consulting roles for high dollar verticals. Lots of travel, though.

nobody123

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 519
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #19 on: February 29, 2016, 07:42:06 AM »
I've had friends in IT get to the management ranks then decide within a couple of months that it wasn't for them and have no trouble getting back into a technical / PM role.  I think what you've got going against you is that a "Director" title is one of those milestone jobs that people work many years to get.  Giving it up voluntarily strikes me as odd, and I know the reasons why you want to. 

Perhaps being in management for 15 years leads them to believe that your "hands-on" skills are a bit rusty.  I would emphasize recent PM activity that you've done (perhaps mention how you've been grooming your PMs) to make sure they know you can still actually do that job.  If you don't have a PMP certification, go get one so you can brag about how you just went to get it.

Also, if you're interviewing manager is a director / manager who is younger than you, they might be threatened that you are actually angling for their role and just using this lower position to get your foot in the door.  I don't know how you'd combat those insecurities. 

I don't know if you're in an IT company or in IT for a company.  If you're in IT for retail, apply for IT roles in manufacturing, for example.  Then you can say that you don't know enough about the new industry to be comfortable in a senior leadership role, but you're willing to work your way up in exchange for broadening your experience.  Then, once you have the job, just turn down the promotional opportunities if they arise.

Slow&Steady

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 699
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #20 on: February 29, 2016, 10:01:11 AM »
I would probably say something like.  "After working in XYZ position for # years, I have realized that although I can complete XYZ job very well it does not provide the fulfillment that I received when I did ABC job.  # years ago I did ABC job well enough that I was promoted to XYZ position, mostly because I enjoyed that positions so much.  I would like to be able to work at a position similar to ABC that provides the fulfillment I used to receive from my work.  I understand that taking a position similar to ABC might require a decrease in pay from XYZ position."

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7831
Re: Anyone had to convince an employer of enough?
« Reply #21 on: February 29, 2016, 04:08:10 PM »
It's fun.

A former boss moves pretty seamlessly between senior engineering and VP (and everything in between).  He finds the engineering work to be a lot more fun.  Then the companies like him and he ends up getting promoted.