Monday, July 28, 2014

How much time can I request to decide on a job offer?

This week we had a candidate receive an offer.  She wanted more time to consider her decision than what was stated in the offer.  Our candidate wanted to know if she could ask for more time.

Some of our clients want an answer 48 hours from extending the offer or the offer expires.   Often candidates don’t feel this is enough time.  

Sometimes candidates are considering multiple opportunities and want to wait for a second offer to compare.

Sometimes candidates are traveling or have family traveling that they need to discuss the decision with.

There is usually a great sense of urgency around an open position with our clients.  It is very typical for 2 to 3 days to be the expected time frame for a decision.

If relocation is not required this should be plenty of time to decide.

If relocation is involved we recommend entering the interview process anticipating an offer and doing much of the deliberation ahead of time.  The interview process usually takes at least a couple of weeks.  This gives you time to do some research:

·         Review the housing market, review the school systems if you are moving children. 

·         Make sure your family and the people the decision will impact are supportive. 

·         Allow an extra day to look at an area during your on-site interview trip. 

·         Do your homework on the company.  Research the health of the business, the culture and their reputation as an employer.

·         Review the cost of living and establish the salary range and title you are open to accepting.

This way when an offer is extended you have already evaluated most of the factors and you have a day or two to make sure you are comfortable now that it is a reality.

If you want more time to compare a competing pending offer, it can be a bit sensitive.  You do not want to offend the company that was first to extend.  I do believe honesty is best.  When our candidates are in this position we ask them to be candid about the fact they are exploring multiple options from the beginning.  Then if we ask for a time extension it is not a complete surprise.  We are honest that the candidate is anticipating an additional offer and wants to compare both opportunities in their entirety to select the one that is the best long term opportunity for them.

We have never had an employer withdraw an offer when a candidate asks for more time.  We have had them say no.  That the original date is firm.  Many of our clients have extended the timeline by a few days.  Depending on when the offer is extended we have seen our clients occasionally allow candidates to consider an offer over the weekend and request a decision Monday morning.

What do you think is adequate time do decide on a job offer?  Have you ever asked for more time?


Monday, July 21, 2014

The seven year itch

Let’s face it. Most people in the fashion industry both love, and hate it. Every friend, client, and colleague I have had who works in the fashion industry have talked about the phenomenon. It’s a fast-paced, crazy business. It pays almost nothing when you start your career; you work twice as much as anyone you know (with the exception of investment bankers), and you are doing administrative work. The flip side: you get to travel the world, potentially meet celebrities, and expense a good amount of your dinners (because you are working until 9pm).

When you advance in your fashion career, both the benefits and drawbacks amplify. Your travel takes you to more desirable places. You are solving problems and potentially leading a team. There is more exposure to both senior management and celebrities (which sometimes are one in the same), but you are now held accountable to execute the corporate or their personal direction.  You are required to make the impossible happen with an impossible time frame.  Although I have heard many a colleague utter the words ‘I’m not paid enough for this”, the fact is, they are being paid handsomely. Yes, the pressure and the pay amplify as you advance into your career.

There is something that happens around year seven (and continues to happen about every 2 years thereafter). People start to wonder “Is fashion the right industry for me?” We’ll call this the seven year itch. Whether a designer, a merchant, a marketer, or product developer; many in the fashion workforce will at some point in their career question if they want to continue in the industry.
The dream begins to emerge. Yes, I can see it now: A nine to five job, no crazy people, and clear expectations. When I walk out the door, the job doesn't follow me. I can see my significant other and kids if I have them. I can commit to dinner with my friends without fear of having to cancel for a last minute emergency about a button.

This is where many find themselves at a decision point: continue in the industry with a life of chaos, or find an alternative career that can give you a more balanced life. How can you decide what is the right move? The key is to have a clear vision for your life. Once you have that, list the trade-offs and determine what is most important to you. All options should be considered before making a potential life-changing move.

What do you love about the industry? What drives you crazy about the fashion industry? When can you build your vision to guide your decision making?

If you are looking for someone to guide & help build your vision, consider a career coach. To learn more about career coaching, go to

Monday, July 14, 2014


Keep Calm and Carry On was a motivational poster produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for the Second World War. (Wikipedia)  It has recently been routing as a graphic trend on social media and is showing up on T-shirts and all kinds of products.

The Definition of Calm varies as an adjective.  My favorite is:  not showing or feeling nervousness, anger, or other emotions.  (Google definitions)

I completed references on a candidate this week and every single reference said consistently that the candidate was calm in all situations.  Through all of the conversations this calm was a quality that was highly valued and admired by the candidate’s colleagues.  Whether they were her executive leaders, cross functional partners or people who reported to her.

It made me think about my verbal and personal communication style.  I don’t think most would describe me as calm but it is something I am going to strive for.  It is unrealistic to think we can go through our careers without feeling anxiety, frustration or anger.  But a calm manner is always well respected.  That is not often true of the other emotions when they are visible in the workplace.  Does visible frustration, anxiety or anger add any benefit to a meeting or dialog?

There are many resources out there on how to stay calm.  Travis Bradberry wrote a great article for “How Successful People Stay Calm”.  

How would your colleagues and family describe your manner?  What are personal adjectives that come to mind when you think of your colleagues.  Do you think calm is a valuable quality?  Many people in our industry look for “passion” in candidates.  Can you be passionate and calm at the same time?  Kate and I would love to hear what you think as I strive to master calmness. The mental state of being free from agitation, excitement, or disturbance. It also refers being in a state of serenity, tranquility, or peace.  (Wikipedia)