Karma’s a Beach — A Summer Blog

The concept of karma is not new – in fact, it’s one of the oldest ideas known to humanity. The idea that what we do today affects us tomorrow is as true today as it was at the beginning of time.  Bad karma can haunt you and good karma can help you… this is particularly true for IT professionals hunting for their next position.

The next time you are on the hunt for a job, please keep in mind that what you do and even what you don’t do can come back to bite you in your “you know what”!  This blog will cover a few scenarios that can just as easily be turned into bad karma or good karma.

First, when you begin your job search you will need to speak to “gatekeepers”.  These are very important people that guard the hiring manager from unqualified candidates.  Gatekeepers can be HR professionals, internal recruiters, or agency recruiters. This is your first opportunity to build your karma – being impatient, rude, withholding information, and/or lying will result in the bad kind of karma.  You will risk suffering the immediate effects of your mistakes by being excluded from the next round.  However, you also risk feeling the karmic retribution many years down the line because recruiters remember first impressions.  So, how do you build good karma?  As always, just be honest and treat others as you would like to be treated.

Secondly, once you commit to an interview it’s very important to honor that commitment. You would be surprised how many candidates think that missing one little phone screen is “not that big of a deal”.  As it turns out, the law of karma suggests that it is a huge deal. You never know where a hiring manager may end up. They could ultimately end up at your dream company with a vague memory of the candidate that blew them off lingering in the back of their head.  The good news is that this mistake is very easy to avoid – use common courtesy.  If you are going to miss an interview or be late, call the recruiter or manager as soon as possible. Even though the call may be uncomfortable, it will not be nearly as uncomfortable as running into a manager with a grudge against you later in your career.

Third, once you receive an offer you must act carefully and deliberately. As companies move their prospective employees through the hiring cycle, they become more committed to the possibility of becoming teammates. As a result, rejection at this point hurts the most and is remembered the longest. It’s an unfortunate reality that candidates sometimes get an “okay” offer from one company while they are still waiting on a “great” offer from another. This is a difficult position to be put in and how you react is key to whether you build good karma or bad karma. Going MIA on the first offer while you wait for the second one is bad, trust me. I’ve been on the other side and it can be very stressful, especially when the position is mission critical. Accepting the offer (even verbally) and then declining a few a weeks later when you get another offer is very bad. This is the quickest way to burn bridges in your professional network; if you do this I can promise that the manager you burned will not only remember your name but will also have no hesitation to tell other managers your name and what you did.  So what’s the way to get out of this tricky situation with good karma?  You have to tell the truth, even if you think it will initially upset your recruiter or other contact. Your decision will affect many people (not just your primary contact) so you have to be clear and honest. In the end the hiring manager will understand if you decide to decline his or her offer and accept one that is better suited for you. They may be disappointed, but they will appreciate your honesty and ability to handle the situation professionally.

Over my years in the IT staffing industry I have seen and heard a lot, but I cannot think of one situation where being honest and respectful has resulted in bad karma. If you are unsure of how to react to a situation you should always think about the long term consequences, not just the short term ones. It’s the long term that matters because that’s where you’ll have to face your mistakes from the past. It really is a small world, so please think twice before you act, because Karma’s a beach.

-Lynn Bailey

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