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The Greenline Report

News for Your Career in the Electronics Industry

April 2007


Counteroffers: The grass may not be greener
Abridged: Wall Street Journal Online Take the money and run, or take the money and stay?

It's a choice you may well face at one point in your career: Whether to jump to another company that's trying to seduce you with a fatter paycheck and better perks, or use the job offer as leverage to push your current boss into producing a package that would make it worthwhile to stay.

For most employees, this sounds like a dream scenario, allowing them for once to turn the tables on an employer and come out ahead. But it's a path fraught with risks, and employees looking to play the make-me-an-offer-I-can't-refuse game must tread carefully.

"It can be done," but "it is sort of a dicey and delicate thing to deal with," says Bill Coleman, senior vice president of compensation at Salary.com, a Needham, Mass.,-based online provider of pay information. "It's the equivalent of holding a gun to your employer's head," adds Steve Hall, director of professional recruiting at FGP International, a staffing and executive-search agency in Greenville, S.C.

The Worst Case
Recruiters caution against doing it without thinking about consequences first: Don't say you're thinking about leaving unless you mean it, because your manager may call your bluff. "Sometimes when you go to your boss and tell them you got a better offer, they wish you luck," says Mr. Coleman.

If you're prepared to proceed, job experts recommend that you be as specific as possible with your current boss on what it would take you to stay. Robin Ryan, a career coach based in Newcastle, Wash., says it's important to do this because in these types of negotiations time is often an issue -- the outside company that is trying to lure you wants to hear back soon, and your current boss will need at least some time to see if the offer can be matched. "There's usually a time crunch," says Ms. Ryan, so "phrase it in a way that states what you want" -- for example, saying "for me to stay here I need a $12,000 raise or that title that I've been wanting."

For employees who want to stay with their current employer, provided that a competing offer can be matched or even topped, career experts recommend giving their supervisors ammunition they can use to help sell an improved compensation package to their higher-ups. Ms. Ryan recommends that employees spell out the value they add to their organization and why it would make sense to keep them, even if it takes a raise or promotion. Tell your manager, "These are the three things I'm going to work on the next six months that are going to add to the bottom line," she says.

Ms. Ryan recalls a woman working as an office manager for a hospital clinic who had an outside offer and wanted to see if her boss would match it. "She told me, 'I really would like to stay,' " Ms. Ryan says. "I told her, 'When you talk to the person you must tell them why you're worth it.' " The woman took Ms. Ryan's advice, writing a letter that highlighted her contributions to the company, and she ended up keeping her job after her employer countered by offering a salary increase.

Getting the Boss on Board
It's important to justify why you're seeking a counteroffer -- and get your boss on board with that rationale -- because even if one is made and you stay, you could still be viewed with suspicion. Your managers and fellow employees may question your loyalty to the company.

"Companies don't like to be fired, they like to do the firing," says Mr. Hall, FGP's recruiting director. "Anytime you show up late in the morning, anytime you're not viewed as a team player, there's tremendous resentment by the boss," Mr. Hall says. Perks you negotiate as part of the counteroffer could make co-workers jealous. "If you're now getting Friday afternoons off, you're going to be resented by your teammates," he says.

If a counteroffer does surface, employees should think before taking it. It's natural to view salary as the ultimate reason for employment, but there are many reasons aside from pay that make employees think about leaving a company. So even if your current boss matches that rival offer, it's wise to think about the other, less tangible qualities that make one employer more attractive than the other.

Kimberly Walker, division director at the Chicago office of Creative Group, a staffing service owned by Robert Half International Inc., says employees should review all the reasons that originally made them consider leaving before accepting a counteroffer. "It's not always compensation," she says. "Is that really the reason why you're unhappy? It might be that there's not more of a challenge from a work perspective. Counteroffers don't always address all of the issues that prompted a person to seek other employment in the first place."

Mixed Message
Sometimes a counteroffer sends a different message than the one intended. Mr. Coleman, at Salary.com, recalls an incident that occurred several years ago when he was working at another company. "I had had a performance review and was told I was doing very well, everything positive, 'you're a keeper,' that kind of thing. I questioned my salary, and I was told budgets were tight. Completely coincidentally, I got a call from a recruiter with an opportunity. I went on the interview and got an offer that was effectively a 35% salary increase without negotiating," Mr. Coleman says. "I went back and gave my notice. Within half an hour the salary was matched." Mr. Coleman was taken aback at his employer's abrupt about-face just weeks after being told that tight budgets precluded a higher salary. "I questioned the previous conversations," says Mr. Coleman. "I felt like I was being cheated and lied to." So he left.

Don't Burn Bridges
It's also important not to burn bridges. If you take a counteroffer from your current employer, the other company that was recruiting you may feel it was used as a negotiating pawn. Reputations can be lost in these types of situations if officials of the other company feel you weren't honest with them, recruiters warn.

When negotiating a counteroffer, many employees will try to milk the situation for all it's worth. But that, too, can be a mistake. The tables could turn again, and someday, if the job market cools, you could find yourself at your boss's mercy -- and he or she may remember you played hardball earlier.

"It's a tough balance to achieve," says Mr. Coleman, since people want to be paid what they're worth. But he cautions against asking for so much that you price yourself out of the market. If your boss agrees today, your high pay may be held against you when raises or bonuses are parceled out in the future -- or even when it's decided who will lose their jobs in a round of layoffs. Over time, says Mr. Coleman, "companies generally tend to take outliers and put them back in line.

What makes a resume scream: Don’t hire me.
Abridged: Fortune.com NEW YORK, NY -- How much personal information should you include in a resume? The question evidently baffles lots of people. "Your resume speaks volumes about you," notes V. Michael Prencipe, a principal at HR Staffing Solutions. "Unfortunately, sometimes it screams, Don't hire me."

Prencipe also counsels against saving your resume with unprofessional names like 'ssseexxxyyy_2006' and sending it as an attachment. He cautions against listing your reply e-mail address as something like 'bruceypants@' - and yes, he reports, those are both real-life examples, as are countless resumes that detail the reasons why job seekers were fired from previous jobs (which is information not suitable for resumes).

As for personal information like hobbies, number of children, or any of the other myriad extraneous details that job hunters often feel compelled to list, Prencipe says: Don't. He's even seen at least one resume referring to a job seekers divorce complete with the reason for the split-up. "This is way, way too much information," says Principe. He suggests you adopt this simple motto: "Professional, yes. Personal, no. Enough said.”

Tax deductions for 2006 job search expenses
Abridged: PRNewswire PARSIPPANY, NY -- There are several deductions that can be claimed on your tax return if you spent time job searching in 2006, including: unreimbursed expenses for travel, tolls, parking, long-distance phone calls, career counseling and preparation of a resume (typing, printing, copying and mailing). "These kinds of items are deductible provided the job you are seeking is in your present field of employment," notes Mark Steber, Vice President of Tax Resources, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service."You can deduct these expenses whether you were offered the job or not."

Many people use the services of an employment or outplacement agency. It is possible to deduct fees you pay to these organizations, if you are looking for a new job in your current occupational field. Some common deductions include moving household and personal items to accommodate a new job, traveling to a new home (accommodations but not meals) and parking fees, tolls, gas and oil expenses for a vehicle (using the moving mileage rate of 18 cents per mile for a 2006 tax return.)

Finally, keep in mind that there are situations where job expenses cannot be deducted. These include cases where taxpayers are looking for a job in a new occupational field, expenses for first-time job seekers and situations where there is a large gap of time between the start and stop date of your last position. When preparing your 2006 taxes, don't forget to check with your tax preparer on which job search expenses you can deduct.

Liar, liar, pants on fire... (common resume lies)
Abridged: Forbes.com NEW YORK, NY -- From foolish fibs to full-on fraud, lying on your resume is one of the most common ways that people stretch the truth. The percentage of people who lie to potential employers is substantial, says Sunny Bates, CEO of New York-based executive recruitment firm. She estimates that 40% of all resumes aren't altogether above board.

One of the most common resume lies involves playing with dates to hide employment gaps. Bogus college degree claims are also prevalent, even though it's one of the easiest items to check. Another widespread set of tall tales is embellishment of experience and accomplishments. Some job hunters will say they were paid a higher salary at a previous job to get more money. That's why companies and recruiters are now more commonly asking for a recent pay stub or tax return. Imagine talking your way out of that.

As a matter of fact, almost 40% of human resources professionals surveyed last year by the Society for Human Resource Management reported increased time spent checking references. So think twice before you ship off your next half-baked job application. Even if your moral compass doesn't keep you from deceit, the fact that human resources is on to the game should. Just remember, whenever you tell the truth, you don't have to remember what you said.

Beware: Scam costs job seeker $1,800
Abridged: Chicago Sun Times LAS VEGAS, NV -- Like many people, Kelley Wilson just couldn't afford to lose $1,800. But that's what happened last month when Wilson fell victim to a scam involving cashier's checks & job sites that federal investigators say is sweeping the nation.

In Wilson's case, she was contacted by a company called Global Consumer Services, which found her resume which she had posted online. The company told her that she had been hired to be a "mystery shopper'' and that her job was to test the MoneyGram wiring system at a Wal-Mart. Global Consumer sent her a cashier's check for $1,800, which she deposited into her account.

Wilson then wired $1,620 to Canada, used $30 to pay the wiring fee and kept $150 as payment for completing a report about the transaction. But days after she deposited the check and wired the money from her account, she found out her bank balance had been sapped. She also had a hard time reaching people at Global Consumer. Federal and state officials issued an alert about the scam.

Online Advertised job vacancies up to 3,141,800
Source: The Conference Board NEW YOUR, NY -- In January 2007 there were 3,141,800 unduplicated online advertised vacancies, according to The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series released January 31st, 2007, which measures more than 1,200 major Internet job boards and smaller niche and regional job boards

Those advertised vacancies include 1,987,800 new ads that did not appear in December, as well as reposted ads from the previous month. In January 2007 there were 2.1 advertised vacancies online for every 100 persons in the national labor force. "January's job vacancy data points to a labor market that is definitely holding its own," said Gad Levanon, Economist at The Conference Board.

Of the 3 million plus job ads, the top ten occupations in demand were: Management (354,800), Business and Financial Operations (277,900), Office and Administrative support (257,200), Computer and Mathematical (256,200), Healthcare Practitioners and Technical (239,400), Sales & Related (166,000), Architecture and Engineering (165,200), Production (56,500), Installation, Maintenance & repair (49,100), and Transportation and material moving (48,500).

We need your help; listed below are five very rewarding positions that we need qualified referrals for. If the person you refer for one of these five positions is hired we’ll send you a $100.00 gift card. For a complete list of all open jobs please visit us at http://www.greenlinegroup.net/jobs.htm

Director of Engineering (Southwest US & Europe)
Multiple Positions
Responsible for all engineering activities, including technology road maps, research and development, processing engineering, product engineering, and revenue generation for a Printed Circuit Board facility. Requires a Bachelor's Degree. Direct manufacturing experience a big plus.

Department Managers – Imaging & Mechanical (China)
Multiple Positions
Supervisors and coordinates the activities of all personnel engaged in the manufacture of printed circuit boards in their department. Take action to resolve technical and/or personnel problems that may adversely affect schedule/quality performance. Enforce shop rules and safety practices in accordance with Company Policies. Assure product quality goals are met or exceeded.

Process Chemical Engineer – Plating (Midwest & East Coast)
Multiple Positions

Primary responsibility is sustaining of processes in the Plating area in support of the manufacturing of printed circuit boards. Responsible for production support, process evaluation, and improvement of manufacturing processes utilizing statistical experimental methodologies, DOE (Design of Experiments), project management for capital equipment justification and installation of high velocity production systems. Interfaces with manufacturing, engineering, suppliers, and customers. Specific expertise in electrolytic and electroless plating techniques desired. Requires exceptional, demonstrated ability in both technical circuit board technology techniques, and general communication and leadership skills. Bachelor or Master of Science in Chemical Engineering, Industrial / Manufacturing or related field preferred with 3-5 years experience in circuit board manufacturing.

Quality Engineer - (Canada)
Review, handle and provides technical support to external and internal customers for quality issues and facilitate the corrective action implementation. Provide supervision, and assigning and supervising work direction of others.

Managing Director (Europe)
Managing Director is responsible and accountable for the coordination of the operational activities associated with the manufacturing of Printed Circuit Boards to meet or exceed requirements of quality and delivery performance to the end user.

Duties include but are not limited to:

  • Achievement of production goals through managing improvement in production output, including researching and developing methods to ensure and increase efficiency and productivity.
  • Analyzing the manufacturing process and developing, staffing and scheduling routines within the process to meet output requirements and analyzing and eliminating non value added activities.
  • Establish, monitor and maintain performance measurements in yield, manpower and throughput, ensuring they are visible throughout.
  • Working with counterparts in Engineering and Quality through participation in daily Materials Review Board (MRB) to review process performance measures and discrepant material reports and develop corrective action plans to reduce manufacturing costs and improvement  through-put
  • Participate in quarterly quality reviews, in addition to the continuous collection of data on problems and issues to be prioritized and solved.
  • Sign off on process deviations and Engineering Change Notifications (ECN’s)
  • Approve all new and revised process instructions
  • Maintain positive rapport with all support groups through a teamwork approach
  • Select develop train and appraise all members of production management staff
  • Actively participate to ensure compliance of quality programs throughout manufacturing
  • Other duties and projects as assigned.

Please take a moment and email us with an updated resume if you have not done so recently. resume@greenlinegroup.net

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