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“I Had NO Idea!”

I remember being a young coordinator happy to have my first real job out of undergrad. I interviewed successfully, got my offer letter and had been on-board for about a year. It was annual review time. I had filled out my employee portion and my manager completed hers. I had my note pad, my copy of the review and my pen. I believed I was prepared as I went in to the meeting.

Boy was I wrong!

In the midst of our conversation, she began to expand on the survey results sent to the managers and executive recruiters I was supporting. I was lost – completely in shock. The last thing I remembered hearing was “the survey results from the managers you support showed a 4 out of 5 in blah…blah… blah.” All of a sudden it was as if the volume got turned down.

Did she just say survey?!  WHAT SURVEY?!?!  Nobody mentioned a survey!

I must have looked like those Kanye West memes we all see on social media. I was so confused and then frustrated.

There was an entire part of my annual review that I was not privy to. It was kept from me throughout the hiring process, hidden over the course of my entire first year then sprung on me like a horrible surprise.

Needless to say, I did not trust the company or my managers very much after that.

While I understand that realistically, feedback is going to be collected, if there is a survey going out to managers that impacts bonuses and increases, new hires and existing employees have a right to know.

Below you’ll find a list of 5 things all hiring managers should be discussing with their candidates before they’ve accepted an offer and signed an offer letter.

  1. KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators)

Most companies use KPI’s to measure performance. These are always tied to the core competencies of the job itself. For example, if you’re a Hospitality Manager, one of your KPI’s would be guest satisfaction. If your guest satisfaction ratings are high, it may be determined that you are a good hospitality manager. There’s usually a few KPI’s that are used to measure the performance of any one person and these should be shared early on. New hires (and existing employees) should be aware of the ruler they’re being measured against.

  1. Bonus Structure

Unfortunately, quite a few companies are guilty of extending offers with bonus plans without fully disclosing the bonus structure. They may simply say “we’re offering you $60,000 with 20% bonus,” or “your bonus structure will be discussed after you’ve started.” This is such nonsense! What if the bonus is based on something I disagree with? Maybe the offer will lose its luster once I hear the details of the bonus plan. Candidates have the right to make intelligent informed decisions about their offers. Withholding this information keeps them from doing that. They’re essentially accepting an offer blindly which is not good.

  1. Career Development Path

When people accept an offer to join an organization, they do so (usually) with the intention of growing with that company. They want to be promoted. They want to learn new things and be appreciated. Explaining the career development path outright gives your new hire something to look forward to. It gives them a reason to invest in you the way you’re investing in them. Without this information, new hires see the opportunity in front of them as only a stop gap – a stepping stone to their next great opportunity outside of your company.

  1. Pay Increases

How would you feel if you accepted an offer to join an organization and had no idea you were eligible for pay increases every year? What if you knew you were eligible, but had no idea how it worked? I highly doubt you’d be OK with that. Some managers keep this information a secret because they don’t want new hires focusing on the money which is ridiculous. The money (their salary, bonuses, etc.) was a significant part of them accepting your offer to begin with. Also, unless you plan on stealing their increases year after year, they’re going to find out anyway. Be honest about any opportunities they have to earn more. It only makes you more attractive as an employer.

  1. Annual Review Process

This is huge. While there are some organizations that do not engage in annual reviews, many still do. With this, it is important to provide as much insight into the annual review process as possible. Summarize it nicely in the offer letter. Talk about it opening during the interview. Invite your candidate to ask any questions that they may have. Break the wall down and be open about this. Let your candidates, new hires and existing employees know exactly what to expect.

Transparency breeds trust. Disclosing these things early on will give your people the direction they need. They will know what is expected of them and won’t feel like they’re coming in to work every day, being tested on stuff they were never taught.

If you’re reading this and you’re a job seeker, ask about these things during your interviews!

Ask “How is success measured here?”

Ask “What is the annual review process like?”

You have a right to this information so ASK!


Thank you for reading my post. My name is Pamela Shand and I want the best for you in your career. It is my hope that you find everything you read here helpful in advancing your career. If you did, feel free to follow my blog for future articles. I regularly write on resume building, interview success and various ways to unravel common and not-so-common career snags.

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