Job advice

Jason Messer offers tips on changing jobs in this web exclusive

What is the number one excuse for a job candidate not making it to the interview?

Jason Messer
Jason Messer

“My car broke down,” says Jason Messer. “You’d never believe how many cars miraculously break down on the day of an interview. Someone should really do a research paper to see if there is some cosmic disturbance that breaks down cars on interview days.”

Seriously though, Messer says, “a lot of people get cold feet.” Recruiters sometimes liken the job search process to dating, he says: “You’re in a relationship, but you’re not exactly happy. You’re not sure whether to continue to work at it, or break it off and look for something new.”

Hesitation, second thoughts for some job seekers

Curious about their potential elsewhere, these employees apply for jobs, but when they succeed in landing an interview or even the job itself, reality sets in, and they start having regrets. “What can make some people waver at the end is the thought of leaving not just the company and the work but all the relationships they’ve built.”

Messer, who specializes in helping companies fill IT, finance, and accounting-based positions, has a few rules for going about the job search with grace.

Advice: stay positive, avoid counter offers

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Messer offers career advice through a blog, a newsletter, and tweets at

For example: “Never badmouth your previous employer or co-workers during the interview. Rather than coming off as a whiny employee, present yourself as looking for a new opportunity and that you did the best you could at your old job.”

When quitting, he adds, always give the courtesy of a two-week notice at minimum. “Always try to leave your employer in the best situation possible — you might need their help someday, and it will also show your new employer that you won’t leave them in the lurch.”

Lastly, avoid accepting counter offers. “Counter offers tend to be very counter productive,” he says. “Companies will give you a quick increase to retain you, but your co-workers, when they find out, will feel resentful, and your managers will doubt your loyalty to the company” — all of which would make your work life quite stressful.”

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