Entry-Level Finance Jobs: 5 Steps to Secure Your Future

Entry-Level Finance Jobs: 5 Steps to Secure Your Future

So you’ve landed your first job after graduation, and your finance career is preparing to launch, congratulations! Keep in mind that your first job is but one step toward a successful, long-term career in finance. Along with working hard on the job, you should take additional steps along the way to reach your goals.

1. Continue learning and achieving education toward additional degrees and/or certifications. Kudos to you for receiving your 4-year undergraduate degree, that’s one of the first steps that you need to take if you want to get ahead in the finance industry. But learning doesn’t stop with your first diploma.

Depending on which career path you’re traveling down, you will need additional coursework, degrees and certifications to advance to the top finance and accounting jobs. Want to secure that senior financial analyst gig? An MBA can help you get there. Is the certified public accountant (CPA) route in your future? Plan on studying for your CPA exam, now.

Interested in working in investments and selling securities? You’ll need to study for and pass your series 7 and 63 exams as required by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Other finance jobs require additional certifications, too, and FINRA has clearly established guidelines and regulations for professionals working in these roles . Your employer typically will sponsor you and have a process in place to help you to attain these goals.

2. Strive to get assignments on high-profile projects and with the top teams. If you want to stand out, you need to continually prove yourself as someone who contributes in a big way. Those are the people who put in the long hours and are resourceful. Learn everything you possibly can about your employer’s business.

Do your research and find out what you can do to position yourself as a change maker who can get things done and contribute to the bottom line. Keep your ears open, ask questions and try to spend time with influencers so you hear about the hot projects or assignments first. That way you can raise your hand when teams are set up or assignments are dealt.

3. Build a strong digital presence and be visible online. It’s smart to make your mark at the organization where you start out, because it might put you in line for promotion. But if you plan to seek out opportunities with different companies in town or across the nation, you need to promote your personal brand online.

Take the time to develop a robust profile on LinkedIn and join groups for finance professionals. Post content, comment on group discussions and connect with people who work at companies you would like to associate with. Combine this with a professional Twitter profile and take part in online forums and discussions about the finance industry regularly. Just be visible. This is also a good time to clean up your digital profiles so your past life doesn’t come back to haunt you (you know those pictures we’re talking about).

4. Attend finance industry networking events on a regular basis. While what you know can help you get your foot in the door early in your finance career, it’s who you know that will help get you a promotion or a better job somewhere else.

Build your network of professional relationships outside of the office by attending networking events and volunteering to organize or help out at future get-togethers or charitable activities. Networking groups provide an excellent opportunity to meet new people in the finance industry and stay on top of the latest news.

5. Don’t burn bridges. Even some of the best and brightest people have been fired or left positions on “not the best of terms” – do the names Steve Jobs, mayor Michael Bloomberg or super bowl winning coach Bill Belichick ring a bell? Losing a job can happen to anyone. And just about everyone has dealt with some backstabbing at the office.

Take the high road and know that everything isn’t always going to come up daisies or go your way. If you have a negative experience with a company or individual, try to suck it up, keep any vitriol to yourself and move on. The pain will ease over time, and your grace under duress will impress.

Remembering the Golden Rule doesn’t hurt either. Treating everyone the way you would like to be treated is never a bad idea. The person you do a bad turn to today, may be the person who decides whether you get hired, fired or passed over tomorrow.

Photo Source: Shutterstock


FINRA Registration and Examination Requirements. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority website. Available at http://www.finra.org/industry/compliance/registration/qualificationsexams/qualifications/p011051. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.

How to have a Successful Phone Interview

Phone Interview SkillsWith the increase in the amount of companies willing to hire the right candidates from outside of their region, as well as using phone interviews to avoid wasting valuable time on in-person meetings that aren’t worth it, interviewees are now seeing more and more requests for the initial interview to be over the phone.

Many job seekers find it difficult to be able to provide a quality phone interview, but with the right skills the process becomes easier. Whether it is because they can’t see the expressions of the interviewers after each answer, or because they’re worried about the possibility of a bad connection, there are ways to make sure that these mishaps are avoided.

In-person interviews give the interviewee the opportunity to gauge how the interviewers are feeling about them so far, and adjust accordingly. For example, if the job seeker gets the impression that the interviewer is confused by an answer based on their facial expression or body language, they can offer to explain it further. Phone interviews don’t allow you to pick up on these cues, but these interviews do have benefits.

Have everything in front of you

One of the most important things is to never be caught off guard. Print out your resume, as well as some notes that highlight your skills even further. Give yourself reminders about how your expertise made a difference in your previous positions, along with more in depth details about your previous tasks and responsibilities. Preparation is one of the many phone interview skills that can help you land your dream job.

Having notes will help you say everything you’d like to in order to prove you’re a great fit for the position. Keep in mind that although they cannot see you during the interview, you should avoid reading off sentence after sentence because it will make you seem rehearsed and inauthentic.

Utilize your computer

Have your computer ready, so you can pull up the company’s website, as well as have a search engine ready in case you are asked any unexpected questions.  The company’s website should always be up,  as you will likely be asked questions that test your company knowledge.

Be free of distractions

Whether you are at your office or at home, it is important to make sure that you are free of distractions. When you have noise in the background it can be difficult for both you and the interviewer to focus and they won’t want to waste their time conducting an interview that irritates them. Make sure you put the pets away, have someone monitoring the kids and create a quiet space that gives you the chance to enhance your phone interview skills.

Bring energy

It is easier to sound bored than it is to sound motivated and excited during a phone interview. It’s important for you to express your emotions verbally. Sound passionate about your work and how you can apply your skills to enhance their success. A great tip is to smile. Usually, when you smile your tone becomes energetic and the interviewers will pick up on that and note that if they hire you, you’ll bring positive energy into the office.


Many companies are choosing to do phone interviews prior to in-person interviews because they don’t want to waste their time on candidates that are clearly not a good fit for the company. Look at phone interviews as a screening process; you have to utilize your phone interview skills to convince them that you are worth making it to the next round. Be professional, prepare yourself and give them as many reasons as possible for why you should take over the position.


Should I Take a Job Offer with a Low Salary?


You can use all the tips you want to negotiate a higher starting salary for a new job. But sometimes, even the best negotiator runs up against a company’s budget limit.

So, what do you do when you’ve got a potentially good job offer, but the salary just isn’t good enough? Many would cut and run, but some job seekers are leveraging the negotiations to ask for other benefits instead of higher pay.

Alex Gedaninik, founder of the tech company Problemio, needed a day job while building his company but wasn’t happy with the best salary offered by a potential employer. As CBS News reports:

When he saw that they couldn’t meet him halfway, Gedaninik requested something that would dramatically improve his quality of life (both personally and professionally) but would cost the company nothing. “I asked to have a four-day workweek, in addition to being able to choose my task, because many of the tasks of this job overlapped with my business. So essentially I ended up working four days a week with some of that time still devoted to my business.”

You can check out the full article here.

Would you consider taking a lower salary in exchange for better benefits? What would you ask for instead?

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Brazen Life

Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, we offer edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!

Who Should I Put for My Job References?


You will probably be asked for references before you receive a job offer—sometimes as early as at the screening interview, sometimes when you interview with the hiring manager, and sometimes only when an offer is extended “subject to a satisfactory check of references.”

It isn’t unusual, however, for people to be hired without a reference check, particularly if they come to the organization through a referral, if they’ve previously held a part-time job at the company, or if the hiring manager is in a hurry.

In any case, your references are valuable to you, and you need to treat them with respect. Obviously, it’s a good idea to begin, early in your campaign, by asking potential references for permission to give their names. If they grant it, express your appreciation, offer to send them your résumé, and, if possible, meet with them or discuss your campaign strategy with them by phone.

You should try to develop a list of five or six references, although you may use only two or three of them in any one situation. These might be former managers, professors, friends of your family who know you well (but not family members), or people who know you through community service. Ministers, rabbis, and the like qualify if they can attest to your service to the community or the congregation or otherwise provide insight into your manner of overcoming obstacles.

Try to develop a list that can provide various perspectives on your accomplishments, and remember that what hiring managers are trying to assess is how you will perform and behave on the job.

Because your references are doing you a favor, you don’t want to abuse their goodwill. This means making sure they’re not called too frequently. If they have been called three times already, and you need to use them again, you should call them, thank them for their efforts on your behalf, apologize for any inconvenience, explain the circumstances, and ask whether they are still willing to help. This will help you avoid having your references go flat.

You should also take steps you can to prevent their overuse in the first place. If you’re asked for references early in the interviewing cycle, you can mention who you would use and what they can confirm about you, but say you would prefer that they not be contacted until a later stage in your discussions. Explain that you want to be fair to your references by not having them called too often and that you are having discussions with several organizations.

When the time does come to provide contact information, say that you wish to call the references first to provide them some understanding of the position you are discussing and to introduce the person who is calling.

This approach has multiple advantages. It gives you a chance to prime your references. It shows the hiring manager that you treat people with respect. It delays the reference checking until late in the process when the company already has decided you are the right choice. And it indicates that you are giving consideration to several companies and positions—raising your worth as a candidate.

When you do reach the stage of providing contact information, be sure to call each of the references you will give. Explain to them who might be calling, what the position is, why it relates to your goals, and what you think the person calling might be interested in knowing. You can also request that the reference confirm or emphasize certain characteristics.

A week later, ask your references if they received a call. If so, find out what the caller seemed to be interested in, and seek recommendations from your reference on what clarifications you should make with the employer.

For example, your reference might indicate that the caller said, “He seems likable, but I’m not sure he’s persistent enough to follow through when the going gets tough.” The reference might not have been able to address the caller’s concern based on what he knew about you, but you—now knowing the concern—could find a way to introduce more evidence regarding your persistence when the going gets tough.

If your references have not received a call after a week, check in with the hiring manager to see if there is anything you can do to make it easier to get through to your references—find out when they will be available or ask them to call the hiring manager on your behalf.

Bear in mind, though, that the hiring manager may already be satisfied that you’re the right person. Or on the other hand, the manager may be having discussions with another candidate and holding you in reserve. Either way, your thoughtful persistence will leave a positive impression.

If you must provide a particular reference—your most recent manager, for example—but feel that the person may give you a mixed review, have a discussion with that person.

Find out what he or she sees as your strengths and weaknesses. Try to show them how you are making the most use of your strengths and that you are either working on your weaknesses or choosing a path that doesn’t emphasize them.

Ask for the person’s own suggestions. It’s pretty unusual for a person to give a weak endorsement of someone who is listening to his or her constructive suggestions.
At the same time, it’s important for you to prepare a hiring manager to hear an unfavorable reference if you think this may be a problem. By doing so, you get to tell your side of the story, and the manager won’t be hearing for the first time that someone thinks you made a mistake or didn’t handle your job or a particular situation well. Here’s an example:

“There is one reference I’m giving you that may not be as favorable as the others. Let me explain why. When I was hired by Security Services, I was told to notify my supervisor immediately if a dangerous situation seemed to be developing in the mall. I did so when after the July Fourth event, the crowds seemed to be getting thick, and a few troublemakers were starting to stir things up. I immediately told my supervisor of my concerns about the developing situation, but he took a wait-and-see attitude. Later, when trouble broke out, he seemed to want to pin the blame on me for not telling him soon enough. I don’t wish to make an issue of it, but I thought you should understand some of the background.”

Your ability to follow through and address outstanding issues will impress not only the recruiting manager, but also your references—smoothing the way for your next job search.

How to Look for a New Job Without Losing Your Current One


Interviewing for a new position while still employed can be tricky. Randomly showing up to work in a suit. Printing out resumes on the company printer. Inexplicably stepping out for personal calls. It all makes you look a bit erratic—and your intentions to move on could cause you to lose good standing with your current company.

After some careful reconnaissance of our own, we’d like to offer some critical advice for keeping your desire for greener pastures on the down low. Bear in mind: in the case you don’t land that job, you’ll still have to look your boss in the eye.


Discretion is the name of the game when it comes to communicating with potential employers and arranging interviews.  One cardinal rule of job seeking on the sly is to not give out your work email and phone number during the application process.  You should also be wary of checking your personal email at work, since many employers can now track every move made on their network. A good idea is to use your PDA to check email and speak with employers on your lunch break.

If a recruiter calls when you’re sitting in your cubicle, don’t mysteriously rush out to take it. “Let the call go to voicemail,” says Robin Ogden, career counselor and cofounder of FiredUP Careers. “If you’re not in a place where you can sell yourself in a professional way, whether it’s at work or a baseball game, you should not take the call.”

Another red flag that you’re looking to jump ship is dressing in a full suit when you’re usually more the business casual type. “There are only so many times you can say, ‘I just went to a funeral,’” says Lou Adler, president of The Adler Group, a training and consulting firm. “Make a quick change somewhere, and keep it confidential.”


Arranging an interview during the workweek comes down to careful preparation and consideration. It’s generally best to take personal time so you’re focused and ready to perform.

If you can’t arrange to leave work, another option is to meet for a few hours before or after. And don’t be apprehensive about explaining that you don’t want to use your employer’s time to handle personal business—the interviewer will appreciate your discretion, and most likely accommodate your work schedule. “The employer that is interviewing you is making judgments about how you’re handling the whole situation, because you might be working for them soon,” says Ogden. Your tact in this situation will not go unnoticed.

There are very few times you need to be fully transparent with co-workers and reveal that you’re interviewing for other positions. One instance where you’ll have to disclose your intentions is if you need a reference for your current position. Both Adler and Ogden recommend using a trusted colleague who isn’t your direct manager. “Maybe there’s a manager in another department you are close with,” says Ogden. “If you feel they’re a confidant, you can ask them to be discreet and confidentially be your reference.” Always ask your reference to provide a private number for the recruiter to call, not just their work extension.

You may have to fully ’fess up, however, if your boss directly asks if you’re interviewing. In this case, you shouldn’t lie. Instead, it might be a good time to let him know why you’re searching for new jobs and why you’re unhappy in your current position. It’s a tough conversation to have, but could initiate a dialogue to help resolve problems that made you want to leave in the first place.

What Should I Expect During an Exit Interview?


When an employee leaves your company, whether it was on your terms or theirs, it’s important to understand exactly what went wrong. Enter the exit interview. This is your opportunity to find out what’s working in your company and what isn’t. Exiting employees can tell you exactly which issues need your attention.

Here are five best practices for conducting exit interviews:

1. Determine goals before the interview.

Before you do anything else, you need to decide what you want to get out of the interview. There are a number of reasons to conduct exit interviews.

Some of these include: to end on good terms with the employee; to better manage future employees; to improve recruitment; training, and on-boarding practices; to pass information on to successors and replacements; to increase employee retention; or even to retain the exiting employee.

Before every interview, make a list of the specific goals you want to achieve.

2. Be tailored, but consistent.

Obviously, every exit interview will be different. They need to be tailored to the employee who is exiting. These employees will come from all different departments and seniority levels within your company, so these factors definitely affect the process. That being said, it’s also important to have a consistent system for conducting these interviews.

It’s a good idea to have an employee pretty high up in the chain of command conduct these interviews. Choose someone who has a hand in many departments and oversees a majority of your employees. This allows for the process to be efficient and consistent. If one person handles all exit interviews, they can make better decisions about the feedback and areas to improve. Additionally, all exit interviews should have the same format before tailoring them to the interviewee.

Once you decide the goals of the interviews, who will conduct them, and how they will be formatted, this policy should be documented.

3. Make it a conversation, rather than an interview.

Exit interviews aim to uncover honest feedback from exiting employees. The best way to achieve this kind of feedback is to make the interview less formal and more conversational. The conversation should focus on the exiting employee’s contributions to your company in addition to the feedback you require. An exit interview will be more beneficial when your employee feels appreciated. This will give them more motivation to offer you advice for the future of your company.

4. Ask for valuable feedback.

Going back to those goals you established, it is important to ask exiting employees for valuable feedback. This could involve recruitment, on-boarding, training, benefits, culture, work load, and many more things. Cover all of these areas in order to see the full picture. Look for the good and the bad. Find out exactly why your employee decided to leave (it may be different than you thought). There might be problems you didn’t even know existed. Ask the interviewee to be honest and constructive for the benefit of future employees. Hopefully they can provide you with valuable insight.

5. Finish on a good note.

At the end of the exit interview, it’s important to say thank you and wish them luck in future. Hopefully, you can end on good terms with the employee. It’s important for both parties to avoid burning bridges.

Record all the feedback you receive and compare it to other exit interviews. If you notice a prominent issue, take steps to make immediate changes. It’s important not to put off these changes because they could end up following though the cracks.

Hopefully, with increased changes as a result from exit interviews, you can increase retention in the future.

What are some other best practices you recommend for the exit interview?

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommended.

How Should I Include my Salary History in a Cover Letter?


Providing a salary history can be tricky, because it serves as an early screening tool for recruiters and a strong indicator of what your next salary should be. By revealing your past salaries, you’re essentially plotting the course to your next one. And your potential employer may not have the same destination in mind.

Just like all money conversations, discussing salary can be awkward if you don’t approach it with confidence. To make sure you know what you’re talking about when it comes to salary history, we talked to Paul Barada, salary and negotiations expert for Monster.com and president of pre-employment screening company Barada Associates Inc.

If you’re applying for a job that specifically asks for salary history on the application, don’t ignore the request or put ‘not applicable.’ An incomplete application is the quickest way to the trashcan, says Barada, so don’t give the hiring manager an easy excuse to throw yours away.


If you’re asked to outline your salary history, include a separate sheet from your cover letter and resume devoted to salary. Include all fulltime, professional positions you’ve held post-graduation (no need to include short-term, hourly stints like serving tables, transcribing, etc.).

The best way to organize your salary history page is to state your position, employer, time spent in the position, and then your annual salary. (See below for an example.) This is a great way to show how your salary has steadily increased with your professional status—and what you expect your next salary to be.

Second-Year Audit Associate
Deloitte and Touche LLP, New York, NY
8/2008 – Present
Starting Salary: $45,000
Ending Salary: $55,000

This is an absolute no-no: Lying about your salary will discredit you as a candidate and burn a bridge with the potential employer. Barada says it’s simple to check up on an employee’s salary history, and many employers will ask for a copy of a recent pay stub or W-2 form to verify past payments.

Barada says companies check up on salary history more often than you’d think. “A company asked us to do a report on a candidate, and the applicant had about 20 years of professional experience, but he lied about how much money he was making at his last job,” says Barada. “He would have been hired if he’d been honest, but he didn’t get the job. The $5K he lied about wasn’t worth it.”


If you’re apprehensive about sharing your salary because you think you’ll get less than you’re worth, include what you expect your new salary to be. For each advancing position, it’s fair to assume you should receive at least a 10- to 15-percent increase in salary.

Take a candidate making $40,000. When applying for a new job, this candidate could state in her cover letter “My most recent salary was $40,000, but my anticipated salary is negotiable within the $45,000 to $50,000 range.” Most people change jobs because they have more experience and want to make more money—and there’s nothing wrong or unethical about asking for a bump in pay to reflect that. Just make sure your desired salary is realistic: That $40,000 candidate should not be requesting a $75,000 salary if her experience and skills don’t warrant it.

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at WetFeet.

Should You Admit Mistakes During Job Interviews?


You’re getting ready for the interview of your life. Your resume and cover letter are safely ensconced in your briefcase. Your shirt’s pressed. You look great, you feel great, you are great!

Of course, this is the mantra you’re repeating to yourself as you anxiously wait for your name to be called by the receptionist. Suddenly, you’re in. You give a nice, firm handshake to your interviewer and take the hot seat. Here’s where the real work begins.

Making a First Impression

How do you make yourself appear to be the ideal candidate without being smug? Will they like you? Are they going to do a background check?

Here’s what you need to come ready to do in order to make a good first impression:

  • The most important factor in any job search is knowing why you’re the perfect person for the position. You should come prepared to convince the company that what you have is what it’s looking for.
  • You should never speak ill of previous co-workers or bosses; airing your dirty laundry in a job interview is a surefire way to not get hired.  If you’ll do it to your ex-employers, what’s to stop you from eventually doing it to the company interviewing you?)

However, even if you’re the perfect person for the job, your past may reflect the bumpy road it took to becoming you. People make mistakes. If you own up to those mistakes and, more importantly, learn from them, you will be a better employee in general. When you admit your faults in an interview, you’re showing you’re self-aware and honest.

Employers want to hire real human beings, with both strengths and flaws. Heidi Fuhrman, Director of Possibilities at the League of Innovators, says, Past mistakes don’t typically lead to a job, but being transparent in an interview about your record provides an opportunity to discuss what you’ve learned. You don’t have to pretend to be perfect, but characteristics of transparency and personal growth are attractive attributes that can redeem the past.

Admitting Your Faults

If your past is less than ideal, keeping something from a potential employer can be detrimental to getting hired. Most companies screen potential candidates prior to employment, so it’s important to share this information beforehand. (This includes checking out your social media profiles; even if you maintain these as private, many companies now pay to have open access to view your friends-only version.)

The interview process is also a great time to discuss anything on your record and explain either how you’ve changed for the better or why there’s an error present. My company participates in a program that aids in transitioning ex-convicts back into society. Their past transgressions are obviously more public than others might be, but their transparency allows us to have an open conversation about expectations and habits. Employers appreciate the opportunity to have a candid discussion with you about what they’ve found  and your willingness to participate proves to them that you’re cooperative and trustworthy, two positives on your side.

Your work ethic and abilities are shaped by your past. Additionally, many employers (rightfully) believe that past behavior is a good indicator of future performance. You should admit when you’ve done something wrong, but also explain what you are doing or have done to change for the better. If the flaws are exposed and on the table, we can then focus on  and exploit  the strengths without confusion, says Matt Roberts, COO of Molding Box.

Failure is something that enables each of us to grow as people. Even  the most successful people in the world have failed. You will learn more about yourself, and what you’re made of, in the process of picking yourself up than you ever will from not putting yourself out there.

The fact is no one is perfect. When a company is seeking to hire a prospective employee, it’s looking for people who are teachable and want to do great things. If you’ve found the perfect job that’s the sum of all your abilities, don’t be afraid to own up to your mistakes and embrace them. Being an open and self-aware book may just earn you your dream job.

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Under30Careers.

How Do I Negotiate My Salary?



Probably the worst part of the interview process (if you’re lucky enough to get this far), is the negotiation stage. As a college student or recent graduate, entering this stage is known to produce large amounts of sweat, anxiety, hives, you name it.

When an employer makes you an offer, instead of agreeing to the initial amount right off the bat, there are a few things you can do in order to increase your chances of getting the best possible salary.

First, before any salary conversation happens, figure out what the average salary is for the role and make sure it applies to the city you’ll be working in. A salary for an accounting job in New York City can be vastly different from an accountant’s salary in Omaha, Nebraska. Use sites like Payscale and Glassdoor for this information.

Next, figure out what you need to earn in order to live. Consider health and car insurance, phone bills, food expenses and anything else that plays into your daily or monthly living expense. Once you tally up your bills and know how much you’ll need to pay on top of commuting expenses or rent, negotiating is going to be something you’ll need and want to do for your own good.

After figuring out a fair salary amount, plan to aim a little higher when talking to a potential employer. This will give you the best chance of getting offered the salary you are comfortable making.

All this preparation will help you get into the right frame of mind for the actual salary discussion that usually sounds like this:

Employer: “We are prepared to offer you X amount per year.”

Job Candidate: “Oh, okay. That sounds good to me. I accept.”

Do NOT be this job candidate. Sure it feels great to be offered a salary at all, especially when it’s your first job out of college, but keep in mind that there’s always room to negotiate. Most employers expect it.

So here’s the alternative route to take using your research and the awkward pause strategy:

Employer: “We are prepared to offer you X amount per year.”

Job Candidate: Initiate awkward pause and reply, “I’m really excited about this opportunity and working at this company, but I was hoping the salary would be higher. The amount I have in mind is X.” (Remember, this is the higher amount, not the actual amount you’re aiming to get. You’re hoping the employer will come back with an amount closer to your goal number.)

Here’s where a longer, 30-second awkward pause comes into play and it’s going to feel like a Mexican standoff because neither you or your potential employer will want to be the first to speak. As painful as it is, bite your tongue, embrace the silence, and let the employer come back with the first response.

Typically, the employer will say something like this:

Employer: “I’m not sure if we can do this but I’ll talk to my superiors and get back to you.”

This is a good thing. It means your number is going to be considered. Even if the employer comes back and says they can’t do it, remember that there are other things aside from salary that can be negotiated, like work flexibility and time off.

Lets be honest, no one enjoys the awkward pause but it has been known to work in the job candidate’s favor more often than not. It shows an employer you know what you want, you know what you’re worth, and you’ve done the research. Stay strong in your negotiation talk and prove to an employer that you’re worth every penny!

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at WetFeet.

How To Deal With a Slacking Coworker


A new study found that a whopping 93 percent of American workers are getting dragged down by a slacking coworker, according to a Vital Smarts study. Come on, we all have one of those in our office. He shows up late, slacks off and really lowers the bar for your team.

You try to ignore him, but he’s like a plague to your career:

  • You can’t focus on your own work as well as you’d like.
  • You lose respect for management for lack of accountability.
  • It’s a bummer and it can hurt your morale.

If the slacker is truly impeding your growth opportunity at your job, it’s time to bite the bullet and do something about it. But confrontation is hard.

I mean, you’re not his boss. You might experience backlash. That’s probably why only 10 percent of employees actually speak up, according to the Viral Smarts study – even though their slacking colleague is costing you an extra 4-6 more hours of work each week!

Okay, enough is enough. We spoke with some experts on how to deal. Have you tried this approach?

[Check out: CareerBliss Guide: Coworkers and Bosses]

1. “I noticed that you’re kind of distracted”

Dianne Sikel, business building strategist suggests that saying this may cause him to reexamine and change his behavior. Here’s what you should say, according to Sikel:

Is there anything you need to get off your chest or you want to talk about? You know, since we work together, we affect each other in many ways. I am here to listen if you need a friend.

Being there for the slacker as a friend is a great way to avoid accusation and still see if he’ll open up to you about why he’s not stepping up. Or, it will help him realize that he is slacking off if he’s been oblivious to it.

2. Share Facts and Describe the Gap

If your slacking coworker simply doesn’t want to be buds, it’s time to lay down the law loud and clear. Tell him exactly how he’s falling short — maybe not too brassy, though.

In order to do this in a non-threatening or accusatory way, “make it safe and don’t start by diving into the issue,” says Joseph Grenny, coauthor of New York Time’s best seller “Crucial Confrontations.”

Be nice and talk about your shared goals. (Then, it’s time to give it to him straight … Just kidding!)

“Start with the facts of the issue and strip out accusatory, judgmental and inflammatory language,” Grenny says. “Then, describe the gap between what was expected and what was delivered.”

3. Give Him a Chance to Share His Perspective

“Ask if he or she sees the problem differently. If you are open to hearing others’ points of view, they’ll be more open to yours,” Grenny says. This way, you’re not just talking at him.

4. Bring out the Big Guns: A Tactful Chat With Supervisor

If you have run the gamut of nice approaches, and he’s still shrugging shoulders, it’s time to report the issue – but do it like you’re walking on ice (very carefully).

“Don’t let it be a whining session about I’m doing more,” Kelly Walsh, owner and president of 1SmartLife says, “but more one of I’m working 60 hours per week, I’ve talked to Joe and he hasn’t been able to assist me and I’m concerned about being able to do my best work for you.”

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at CareerBliss.

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