When Leaving a Company: How to Say Goodbye Gracefully

When Leaving a Company, knowing how to say goodbye gracefully is important. What are the do’s and don’ts of an exit interview?

When leaving a company, leave them with a smiling

When Leaving a Company, there are things to do and things not to do.

Using these techniques will reduce the stress for you and avoid burning bridges with the company you are leaving.  First, here are some things to do when you leaving a company.

Do prepare for the things to do in an exit interview.

Despite what some headhunters will tell when they are preparing you to leave your current company, there are benefits to attending and even excelling in the way you handle your exit interview.

Before resigning, weigh the pros and cons of leaving your current company.

Once you are committed to leaving, give the company two weeks’ notice.  Two weeks’ notice is common courtesy.  You owe your company no more.

Also, before you resign, remove your personal property from your workplace and download or delete your personal files from the company computers.  You do not want to run into your company holding your property until someone gets around to doing an inventory of what belongs to you and what belong to your employer.

Do prepare to return company property.

When you go into an exit interview, bring the company property to the interview: e.g., keys to a company car, company laptop, mobile phone, etc.  Since you have already recovered all your property, put the burden on your employer to give you an inventory of any other property they believe that you need to return.  You may not have to offer to turn over the property during the exit interview.  However, having it on hand will make things simpler if your company decides to walk you out the door.

Do prepare for questions that you have about compensation and benefits you receive when leaving. 

Prepare for to discuss compensation due you upon leaving the company: unpaid vacation time, unpaid bonuses, and unpaid salary.  Your company should explain to you what money you have coming and when they will pay you.

Know the questions you need answering in transitioning or continuing your health benefits after you leave the company.

“COBRA generally requires that group health plans sponsored by employers with 20 or more employees in the prior year offer employees and their families the opportunity for a temporary extension of health coverage (called continuation coverage) in certain instances where coverage under the plan would otherwise end.  Department of Labor (http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/health-plans/cobra.htm)”

As you will discover from the DOL website, your employer owes you information on the way that your benefits extend beyond your employment.

Using these techniques will reduce the stress for you and avoid burning bridges with the company you are leaving.  First, here are some things to do when you leaving a company.

Do be positive but firm in your resignation.

Politely explain that it is time for you to move on.  Thank your employers for the support they have given you.  Ask for your employer’s’ direction about how you can transition your material and responsibilities smoothly and promptly.

When Leaving a Company, avoid some things.

There are things not to do in an exit interview to make sure that you leave on good terms.  Somewhere down the road, you may find that the company you are leaving will help you with a strong reference in seeking another job.  Avoiding these things will make you exit go more smoothly.

Don’t discuss counter offers.  

One of the purposes of an exit interview is to prevent losing employees who are critical to the company at the time.  I emphasize “at the time,” because people known for disloyalty have a mark against them in future evaluations and layoffs.  Counter offers can drag out the length of the exit interview, perhaps into days.  Counter offers just increase the stress in your exit interview.  As I have written elsewhere, they are offers that are too good to accept.

Don’t make the exit interview a gripe session.

If you are unhappy with the people or practices of the company you are leaving, an exit interview is not the time to express them.  The time to express your concerns is before you start looking for another job and you can still make a difference at your current employer.

Don’t discuss your new job.

Don’t say where you are going to work or how much money your new employer is paying.  Avoid giving any details about the function of the new job or your capacity in the new job.  The information about your new job is confidential information between you and your new employer.

Don’t be rude or disrespectful.

Whether you are going through an exit interview with your supervisor or an HR person does not matter.  Remember that the person who is conducting the interview is simply doing a job.  They are not your whipping child.  They are human beings you may or may not like.  However, being rude or disrespectful will not help you garner respect from people who may read or hear about the interviewer’s experience with you.

As I said in the first paragraph, somewhere down the road, you may need the people involved in your exit interview to help you find your next job.

Negotiations: Why do Americans struggle to negotiate?

Negotiations: Sometimes all you have to do is ask.

Negotiations: Why do Americans struggle to negotiate?

“Focus on interests, not positions.” Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury

Negotiation is a skill.  You can learn it.  A few negotiation skills can help us in all aspects of our lives.

In some countries, people regularly negotiate retail prices.  Yet in America, many people are frightened of the idea of asking for people to negotiate with them over a price.

If you have been a tourist in Mexico, you have probably had firsthand experience in negotiating prices.  Shop owners will gladly to let you pay the marked retail-price.  However, many merchants in Mexico are open and apparently expecting to negotiate a price.

In the United States, our prosperity and our retail culture diminish our negotiation skills.  Most shoppers are not going to negotiate pennies, nickels, and dimes for individual products.  It’s just not worth their time.  Most retailers are not going to negotiate pennies, nickels, and dimes for individual products either.  It is, in most cases, not necessary based on their business model.

The result is that in our culture, consumer skills of presentation and negotiation atrophy.

Sometimes, all you have to do is ask.

However, shrewd shoppers operate counter to our culture.  They often negotiate the price of mismarked advertised prices.  They also negotiate with retailers to match the prices of other retailers offer.

Retailers want your business.  They especially want your business if you are a local regular customer.

I am one of those rare Tab Cola drinkers.  Coca Cola makes Tab Cola.  The product is such a slow seller that most retailers carry it only on customer request.

The local Coca Cola bottling company sold twelve packs of Coca Cola product in every brand except for Tab Cola.  They shipped Tab Cola in six packs only.  Because of the packaging, the Tab Cola cost almost twice what other colas cost.

Since I regularly bought Tab Colas, I worked out a deal with the local Coca Cola bottling company and a local supermarket chain that enabled me to buy two six packs of Tab Cola for the same price of a twelve pack of the other Coca Cola products.

I got what I thought was a fair deal.  By solving a customer problem, the bottling company generated goodwill with the local retailer.  The retailer won, because Coca Cola worked with them to compensate for the cost difference.

The negotiation took a little bit of time, but I buy the product regularly.  It was worth the time to work out the deal.

The Seven Steps of a Persuasive Presentation


Giving a persuasive presentation just got a lot easier

7 Simple Steps for Creating a Persuasive Presentation for Any Situation

Dan Pink has an excellent book preparing presentations: To Sell is Human.

When I worked at Procter & Gamble, I took a sales training course that included a presentation model that works for any situation.  Procter & Gamble titled the model the 5-Steps to persuasive selling.  Xerox had actually developed the original course as the 7-steps to professional selling (PSS).

Let us say that tomorrow you have a meeting.  This meeting could be a job interview.  The meeting might be with your board of directors to discuss a new direction for your company.

Here how the process works.


The night before your meeting, you review the material you will present.  You might have a few notes on your laptop or you might have a slide presentation.  The important thing is that you have prepared what you will need for this meeting.


When your turn to present material begins, you greet the person or people in the room.  Perhaps thank them for meeting with you.  During this part of the presentation, you introduce your subject.  Your audience has a certain need or problem, for which you have a solution.  The subject of your presentation is a summary of the needs they have.  You might provide them with some additional information on your subject.  While you want to gain acceptance of the ideas you are presenting, the most important thing is to demonstrate that you have their interest foremost.  You are there to help them.


In a brief, easy-to-understand statement, you give a recommendation for a solution to their need.  Allow your audience to participate.  Ask questions.  They may have objections to your idea.  Let them get comfortable by raising objections.  Treat the objections as questions and provide answers.


You might provide a schedule of events, prices, and who will do what.  Help your audience see that your plan is thorough.  Give them the details they need to know.  Help them be comfortable that they can trust that your plan will accomplish the goals you have established.


“Sell the sizzle, not the steak.”  This part should have no more than three statements as to how your plan gives your audience the benefits of solving their problems.  Keep it brief.


This is the close.  This is where you request approval of your plan.  I recommend that you layout easy steps that may provide options, and do a trial close on an assumptive choice.  For example, you might say, “Should we start to work this afternoon or first thing tomorrow?”


This part may require a little bit of discipline.  When you have left your meeting, you should do a personal review of the meeting.  Review any notes you have taken.  Write follow up correspondence.  Schedule the next steps you need to take.  Notify others who might be involved of what you accomplished in the meeting and what they can expect going forward.

The Things to Understand About a Job Offer

The Things to Understand About a Job Offer

The things to understand about a job offer

A job offer is more than an invitation to go to work for a company.  Depending on the company and the type of job, a job offer includes these elements.

  • Salary, Bonus
  • Benefits to include medical/dental benefits, vacation, paid holidays, retirement, profit sharing, stock plan
  • Job title
  • Job function
  • Quality of your supervisor
  • Location of the job

Federally Required Employee Benefits

The federal government requires all companies to provide some benefits.  Companies with an effective human resources program give people information on the federal benefits as part of the job offer.  Here is a list of those benefits:

Disability Insurance

The following states and territories require businesses to provide partial wage replacement insurance coverage to their eligible employees for non-work related sickness or injury:

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island

Leave Benefits

The majority of common leave benefits offered by employers are not required by federal law, and are offered to employees as part of the employer’s overall compensation and benefits plan. These leave benefits include holiday/vacation, jury duty, personal leave, sick leave and funeral/bereavement leave. However, employers are required to provide leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Family and Medical Leave

  1. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles employees up to have 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave during any 12-month period for any of the following reasons:
  2. Birth and care of the eligible employee’s child, or placement for adoption or foster care of a child with the employee
  3. Care of an immediate family member (spouse, child, parent) who has a serious health condition
  4. Care of the employee’s own serious health condition
  5. FMLA requires group health benefits to be maintained during the leave as if employees continued to work instead of taking leave. FMLA applies to private employers with 50 or more employees, and to all public employers. Visit the Department of Labor’s website for more information.

Social Security Taxes

Every employer must pay Social Security taxes at the same rate paid by their employees.

Workers Compensation

Businesses with employees are required to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage through a commercial carrier, on a self-insured basis, or through the state Workers’ Compensation Insurance program. Visit the Workers’ Compensation page for more information.

The Things to Understand About a Job Offer

Understanding the job offer

Before you sign an offer letter, understand your job offer. Ask the hiring company to help you with things you do not understand. Talk with your confidential mentor and friends and with your spouse before signing a job offer letter. If you are looking at a job offer right now, congratulations and good luck with your decision.

How To Negotiate A Job Offer

How To Negotiate A Job Offer: An Outline for Getting What You are Worth.
How To Negotiate Awesome Job Offers

Employers are more open to negotiating a job offer when they can see that there is a real shortfall between what they have offered you and what you have in your current job.

The simple way to approach the matter is to make a straightforward presentation of the facts involved.

Employers do not want to go back and forth over negotiations. Before going to the hiring company with counter offers, you need to make sure that you understand the offer and that you understand how it compares with what you want.  List the offer items in a column.  Then create a second column to list the details of your current or desired offer.  Create a third column to list the details of the job offer.  Create a fourth column of the things you would like to change.

Items Current Job New Job Desired Change
Job title
Start date
Unpaid bonuses at your current employer
Reimbursement for business expenses
Benefits: deductibles, costs, coverage, start of coverage
Cost of commute
Retirement plan
Profit sharing
Stock options or grants
Other Items

Now that you have everything on paper so that you can understand how the offer compares with what you want,  simply create a list of things that you want changed and present your list to the hiring company.

Ask yourself whether you will accept the offer if the hiring company changes the offer to fit your needs.   If the answer is that you will accept the offer, present your list to the hiring company and state that you will enthusiastically accept their offer if they can adjust the offer.

“The World’s Noblest Headhunter”

Jobs: How to Negotiate Anything from Pay Raises and Promotions to Job Offers

Jobs: How to Negotiate Anything from Pay Raises and Promotions to Job Offers

How to Negotiate Pay Raises, Promotions, and Job Offers

Whenever you negotiate anything, do your research.  For example, when negotiating a pay raise, research the salary range of your job.

If you have an open, comfortable relationship with the human resources, simply ask for the salary range for your job.  Some companies publish internal information on salary ranges.  Some companies even post salary ranges on public job listings.

If you have the actual amount of the salaries in your company, ask for the pay raise in the increments of pay.  If your company pays once a month, ask for a monthly pay raise that matches what your company actually pays for a month of work.  If your company pays you once each month, you get twelve payments a year.  If your company pays every four weeks, you get thirteen payments a year.  Knowing the difference is important.

The arithmetic works like this.  A monthly salary of $1000 per month is an annual salary of $12,000.  A four-weekly salary of $1,000 (4 X 13 = 52) is an annual salary $13,000.

Knowledge from the Internet

On the Internet, you can research salary ranges for your job.  Some companies do not show their compensation ranges to their employees.  To learn the value of your job, click on the “Salaries” tab at the top of the page on JayWren.com.  You will find a custom search engine built on multiple compensation sites.

Negotiating promotions is a fundamental part of your career.  If you want your career to grow, make promotion negotiation an ongoing progress.

  1. Watch for internal job postings.
  2. When you see internal job postings, check your skills and education for a match.
  3. If you do not have skills or education for a job that you seek, get them.
  4. Apply for positions you would like to have.
  5. Ask your supervisor for support in applying for a promotion.
  6. Periodically update your supervisor on your accomplishments.
  7. If proper, discuss your accomplishments with other managers in the company.
  8. Treat everyone with respect.  Your coworkers may someday be your boss.
  9. When you go in for a performance review, write your own review of your performance.  Give a copy to your boss.
  10. Do your research.  Network within your company.  Say great things about yourself.

When you interview, you are negotiating for getting a job offer.  Some people start negotiating the terms of an offer before they even get an offer.  You should know the range of compensation and the details of a job during the interview process.  However, before you can negotiate the amount of a job offer, you must first go through an interview process and get an offer.  In other words, you are negotiating for an offer.

Apply the same principles of any negotiation in the interview process.  Do your research.  Show the hiring managers how their company benefits from hiring you.

Layout the Details

To prepare yourself for negotiating the details of a job offer, you can use a comparison chart.  You can use nearly any word processing document or spreadsheet to create this table.  You can use a pen and paper as well.

Here is a sample:

Details Current Job Job Offer Difference
Health Ins
Dental Ins
Life Ins
Job Title
Job Function
Job Interest

Once you have created your comparison table, you can begin a meaningful negotiation.  If you believe that your table can help you as a presentation in your negotiation, you can give a copy of the table to the hiring manager.

Image: Sam Ladner/Flickr

Should You Discuss Your Income?

Should you be prepared to discuss your income?  My answer as a veteran headhunter is that you should discuss your income only if you want to get an interview.

I have placed 100’s of applicants with dozens of companies. I never referred an applicant for an interview without first knowing that person’s income.

What are you really keeping to yourself?  At one time this advice may have had some basis for negotiation purposes, but today there are plenty of websites that have nailed compensation for every possible position in every possible location.  Right here on JayWren.com, I provide employers and job seekers with a free salary custom search feature built on a database of compensation sites.

For nearly every job seeker, discussing income is private matter.  Many employers have a company policy that instructs their employees never to discuss their income with anyone inside or outside the company.  These are solid, meaningful, valuable policies that benefit the company and benefit the employees.

However, if you intend to leave your current employer, you will need to work with hiring managers and perhaps with headhunters who will need to know your compensation.  Many of these hiring managers work for companies that have policies that require applicants to provide a truthful statement of their income.

Why burn bridges?  The interview process can be costly to recruiters and to hiring companies.  If you make $150,000 a year and you require $300,000 to accept a job, put that information out there before you have your first interview. If you plan on running a lot of people through an expensive, time-consuming process to spring a fantastic compensation negotiation on them at the finish, you are more likely going to burn a bridge than double your income.

You can double your income.  I have placed people in positions where these people have doubled their income.  Small growth companies often offer large performance-based and stock-connected compensation packages.  I have helped a lot of people pay off their home early.  The way to go about doubling your income is to work with a recruiter who has the connections that will enable you to accomplish your financial goals.  The best way to help that recruiter is to start by telling the recruiter where you are financially and where you want to go.

The people to whom you discuss your income needs to be people you know you can trust to keep that information to themselves except when you have given them explicit direction to discuss the information with a specific employer or explicit circumstances.

If a hiring manager or headhunter calls you and you have no interest in making a job change but would like to begin to develop a relationship so that you can have people to contact for future needs, you are smart to avoid a discussion of income. These people have no need to know your income until you get serious about making a job change.

“The World’s Most Noble Headhunter”