How to Have “The Talk” with Your Boss

rsz_maven_-_134.jpg

We can't promise it won’t be awkward, but taking these steps should make your exit a lot easier.

-by Jaclyn Westlake, Founder of The Job Hop

Getting a new job is super exciting. Telling your boss about said new job? Not so much. Whether you’re desperately sad at the thought of leaving your awesome manager or can’t wait to never see your nightmare of a supervisor again, chances are, you’re going to have some serious anxiety about giving notice. Being nervous about quitting is totally normal, but if you take the time to prepare in advance, you’ll be just fine.

Since we’re pretty sure you might be feeling overwhelmed by this whole giving notice thing, we’ve broken down the right way to have “the talk” with your boss into six simple steps.

1)      Plan your Talking Points

You can’t just breeze into your manager’s office and blurt out, “I quit.” (Although, if you really can’t stand your job, that might feel pretty cathartic). If you’re serious about making this conversation as comfortable as possible, you’ll need to figure out what you want to say ahead of time.

To start, you may want to thank your boss for the opportunity, express your gratitude for everything she’s taught you, or share how much you’ve enjoyed working with her. If you don’t have a good relationship with your manager, you can breeze over this part with a simple “I’ve really appreciated my time here, but…” Next, think about sharing some insight into why you’ve decided to move on. Were you ready for a new challenge? A shorter commute? A total career pivot? And lastly, your boss will probably be curious about your new role, so you should decide how much (if anything) you’re willing to share.

2)      Prep Your Exit Plan

Finding out that a valued employee is leaving will probably leave your boss feeling a little stressed. Not only will he need to figure out how to cover your workload once you move on, but he’s also going to have to start looking for your replacement. Make your manager’s life (and yours!) easier by preparing an exit plan in advance.

Dedicate some time to thinking about which projects you can wrap up, what needs to be handed off, and when you’d like your last day to be (two weeks from the day you give notice is ideal). Try to be realistic about what you can actually accomplish so that you can effectively manage your boss’s expectations.

3)      Time it Right

When the big day arrives, don’t just pop into your manager’s office to break the news. Request a meeting in advance at a time that’ll work for both of you and follow up with a calendar invite. Getting a meeting request like this may raise your boss’s suspicions, but it’s better than blindsiding her, and she’ll likely appreciate your professionalism.

4)      Drop the Hammer (You Know, in a Nice Way)

In other words, get to the point. Here’s what it looks like.

“Thanks for taking the time to meet with me today. I want to start by telling you how much I’ve enjoyed working with you and that I’ve really appreciated my time here. But, after three great years, I feel ready to move on. It was a hard decision, but I’ve chosen to accept a new position. So, I’d like to formally give you my two weeks’ notice.”

Not so bad, right? Just be prepared for any variety of reactions. Your boss may be incredibly supportive, seem completely indifferent, or totally freak out. And that’s OK. Try to remember that his reaction isn’t about you; everyone responds differently depending on their personality, management style, maturity level, or the amount of stress they’re under. Keep your cool and stick to your talking points.

Only you can decide how honest you really want to be about your reasons for leaving, and providing candid feedback about your role, the company, or your manager’s leadership style can be really helpful in making future employees’ experiences better. That said, it’s a tricky road to navigate. Regardless of what you decide, try to avoid accusatory statements (“you never appreciated how great I was at calendaring!”) or feedback that’s less than constructive (“I hate it here”). The goal is to have a positive, straightforward conversation.

5)      Re-focus the Conversation

Once you’ve delivered the big news, it’s best to steer the conversation toward what comes next. Start by saying something like, “I want to do everything I can to make this transition as seamless as possible. Can we discuss what that would look like? I have some ideas I’d like to share if you’re ready.”

Demonstrating your commitment to a smooth transition should help to ease your manager’s stress – and it’ll make you look super professional, too. It’s a classic win-win.

6)      Breathe a Huge Sigh of Relief

Regardless of how your boss took the news, it’s over! You did it. Now it’s time to get to work on your transition and make the most of your last two weeks on the job.

 

There’s no way around it: giving notice is kind of scary. But, if you take the time to brainstorm an artful plan of action, breaking the news to your boss will be way more bearable.

Admins on the Rise: Palo Alto Happy Hour

Maven Recruiting Group hit the town last night in Palo Alto to enjoy a beautiful evening with our community of administrative and HR professionals in the Peninsula and South Bay.

As a part of our Admins on the Rise event series, we had a blast hanging out with longstanding candidates and met some amazing new talented admin & HR pros, all over yummy wine and snacks on Vino Locale's outdoor patio. (If you haven't checked out this adorable wine bar, head there immediately)!

At Maven, we work with some of the best, brightest, and most innovative administrative and HR professionals (and companies in the Bay Area who happen to also be good people!), and we feel pretty lucky to have them in our Maven community. Stay tuned for information about our next Admins on the Rise event coming this Fall!

Admins on the Rise: Palo Alto Happy Hour!

Maven is hosting a happy hour on Wednesday, June 14th, at Vino Locale in Palo Alto (near Caltrain!) from 6-8pm.

Join us for a #winedownwednesday with apps and wine plus mingling with your favorite recruiters and the Peninsula admin community. Click on the flier below to sign up on Eventbrite (donations optional, benefiting the Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative (BAWSI)) - we hope to see you there!

An Ode to Admins

With Appreciation for our Executive Assistants, Admin Assistants, Receptionists, and more!

Dear Admins: you are the best part of our day.
Without missing a beat, you make troubles go away.
From fixing our laptops when they have some sort of bug,
To lending a sympathetic ear or giving a hug.
You are the glue that holds us in place,
And you always do it with a smile on your face!
We walk in the door and you’re the first one we see,
When we need supplies, you know exactly where they’ll be!
(Of course! You ordered them before we ran out, just in time,
Really, it seems like you’re reading our minds!)
You’ve got the hook-ups for all of our vendors,
From cleaners to movers to IT to menders.
You’re a calendar wizard with juggling meetings,
You own social media, from Facebook to Tweet-ings.
When booking travel, you get us right where we’re going,
Plus all the stuff you do without us even knowing!
The office wouldn’t be the same without you at the helm,
You’re the best of the best, the queen/king of our realm.
We hope you know that we see what you do,
From the bottom of our hearts, we really thank you!

* * * *

(And what would this be without mention of Maven:
We’re your recruiting matchmakers, your new-job safe haven.
We believe in you, in all this, and in so much more,
So let us help you find a new job or Bay Area company you adore!)

Maven Events Recap

Admins on the Rise: Changing Industries

For anyone who’s ever tried to break into a new industry or role, you know that change can be hard! Even when you are confident in your ability to ramp up in a new industry, it can be difficult to communicate how your previous experience applies. Plus, is the grass really greener in that other industry?

Seeking to understand how people have successfully approached these transitions, and what they found once they got there, Maven hosted an event on March 29th called Admins on the Rise: Changing Industries. We were honored to have over thirty executive assistants in attendance, including our esteemed panelists:

  • Jill Agnello, Chief of Staff at Viator
  • Mackenzie Allen, Executive Assistant at Founders Fund
  • Leigh-Ann MacMullen, Executive Assistant at Nerd Wallet
  • Maria DeFelice, Executive Assistant at The Information

We traded stories, advice, laughs, and numbers while also raising money for a worthy cause, The Women’s Building in San Francisco.

Here’s what we learned.

Figure out your audience and speak to them directly

Mackenzie: “Ask yourself, who is my audience, and how can I speak their language?” She thinks about what they’re looking for and specifically draws out what she’s done that relates from her experience. Start-ups are looking for someone good with change and willing to get their hands dirty; finance CEOs are focused on someone they can trust to deal with confidential information. “I’m guessing at what my audience wants to hear, but it’s educated spaghetti.”

Maria: Do your homework: reference an article about the industry or research what the CEO is interested in, and it shows that you care. “It pays off ten-fold.”

Leigh-Ann: “You may not have the title, so dig into the experience you do have, and show you have the chops to handle the role.”

 

Your future is in your hands

Jill: Certain aspects of the EA role are the same in all industries, but that’s just the baseline. “You’re in control of your trajectory, and it’s up to you to take it by the reins.”

Mackenzie: “Find the pieces in each industry that pique your interest.” Ask yourself what the gaps are in the company and how can you create value. For Mackenzie, at her previous start-up role, this meant taking on marketing. And now, at the VC firm, she’s working with business development. “That’s how my role starts to shift.”

 

Mad Men or The Office, you decide

Jill: “Finance was fabulous to me.” They compensated her well, paid for tuition reimbursement, and she enjoyed being part of such a polished EA group, but it was much more hierarchical and buttoned-up. She wanted a “change of space” by moving into a more creative environment. With a start-up, it can be a scramble to figure things out, but her new role has “a flexibility and adaptability that finance didn’t.”

Maria: “There is something beautiful in knowing you are going to get an answer to your ten questions” with an established company, but “start-ups have more flexibility with what you can do.” Working in start-ups and finance can be equally fulfilling, but they are completely different roles in many ways.

 

Best piece of advice for those about to take the plunge

Maria: “Create an Excel pie chart of how your executive uses their hours in a week; figure out where they’re spending their time and what they need to do differently to accomplish their goals. Also, knock on the door ten minutes and five minutes before the end of a meeting.”

Leigh-Ann: “Talk to your boss about work styles and the best ways to communicate with one another.”

Mackenzie: “Figure out the bigger level of what they’re working on and what they want to achieve long-term, then help them navigate towards that vision. Surround yourself by people who are the best at what they do.”

Jill: “Find a way to break the ice. These roles can be intimidating and you might feel timid, but have confidence and rib them with a little something that pulls them down to earth.”

 

Thank you again to all who participated and attended!  Admins on the Rise: Changing Industries helped us better understand the ins and outs of industries and, most importantly, gave us tangible tools for navigating our own transitions.

We at Maven are happy to provide a space and programming where admins can continue to learn from and support one another. Stay tuned for details on our next event in June 2017! 

Special thanks to Scott Roeder of Oh Snap! for photos and Eisen Tuazon for videos.

Cheat Sheet: What You Need to Know to Nail a Last-Minute Interview

For weeks you’ve been actively sending your resume out and applying for job openings when (finally!) you get a call from a company who wants you to come in for an interview—today! Because you still have to do your current job today, you have exactly an hour to prep. How do you get ready for this?

You obviously don’t have time now to do exhaustive in-depth research, so you’ll need to prioritize and nail the basics. As an agency recruiter, I know firsthand what an employer actually expects you to know when you walk through the door for an interview—both when it's been scheduled in advance or when it's been arranged at the very last minute.

In this scenario, after you Google directions and figure out exactly how to get there and how much time you’ll need (better to give yourself extra minutes so you don’t run the risk of arriving late), here’s what else you can do with your limited time.

 

The People: Who Are You Interviewing With?

Names and titles can be a blur, particularly if you’re hearing them for the first time. Write down everyone’s name and check out their LinkedIn profiles. This may help you find commonalities or shared interests that could be helpful in building rapport. If the company website has an “About Us” page, read through it and memorize key facts, names, and titles.

 

The Organization: What’s the Latest News?

See if there’s a Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, Instagram handle, or Twitter presence, and pay attention to anything striking. For example, did the company just secure another round of funding or launch a new CSR initiative? Knowledge of these types of items can be good conversation starters, particularly when you don’t know as much about the organization as you would if you had more prep time.

If nothing of note stands out on social media, you can do a simple Google News search with the company name, or, if they have a press page, you should be able to find recent coverage or press releases.

 

The Product: What Is it Selling?

Make sure you’ve tried the product and know what it’s about. In an ideal world, you’re applying to companies you admire or already have some familiarity with. But, if you’ve been sending out tons of applications and the interview happens to be at a company you’re less knowledgeable about, use 20 minutes to take a high-level stock of what your potential future employer does.

Nothing’s more annoying or disheartening to a hiring manager than to see that the interviewee has no idea what the organization does. It’s OK to ask for clarification about the company’s product or to probe for more info during the meeting—after all, this person knows he or she just called you in—but the expectation is that because you applied for the position, you have a baseline understanding.

 

The Culture: What’s the Dress Code?

The biggest way to signal you don’t understand your potential employer is to arrive in an outfit that totally clashes with its culture. Don’t arrive in a very formal and conservative look if you’re interviewing with a scrappy tech company. Likewise, you’re not going to want to go straight from your bare-bones startup, where your uniform is basically jeans and a T-shirt, to a law firm.

If you have no time to change, remain calm and do the best you can. Freshen up in the bathroom at your office, make sure your shirt’s tucked in, double-check there’s nothing in your teeth. If you can’t dress the way you would’ve liked, you can at least make yourself look as polished and put together as possible.

And if your outfit’s completely off-base, let the hiring manager know that you're aware. It’s as simple as saying, “As you may know, I was invited at the last minute to interview today, and didn’t have time to change. I definitely recognize that this is a formal work environment [or a casual one], and will be more appropriately dressed the next time. “

 

The Candidate: What Do You Have to Offer?

During your commute—whether you’re driving or taking the bus—take advantage of the minutes leading up to your arrival. Spend a few minutes thinking through your work history and career trajectory. Can you recall a specific example of an achievement you’re proud of, a challenge you overcame, and what and how you learned from those experiences? You better believe someone in the interview is going to ask a question that prompts you to connect the dots and demonstrate your value.

Remember: This person’s on your side and he called you in at the last minute because he’s very interested in meeting you and moving you through the process. The last thing to do before you step into that room is take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’ve got this.



And if the worst-case scenario happens and you bomb, fear not. Even a bad interview isn’t always the end. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-written thank you note. In this letter, along with thanking everyone for their time, you can address the parts you fumbled over. Explain that you while you weren’t able to articulate a response on the spot, after having some time to think it through, you have an answer you’d like to share now. That small gesture often leaves a lasting impression.

Maven Events: Fostering the EA Community through "Admins on the Rise"

Maven’s CEO and Founder Jessica Vann said it best: “Executive Assistants have the best seat in the house,” and at Maven Recruiting Group’s Admins on the Rise event last Thursday night, we all had a front row seat to four incredible, distinguished Executive Assistants who shared their career journeys, best advice, and thoughts on the vital (although sometimes misunderstood) role.  

Maven hosted more than thirty up-and-coming Admin and Executive Assistants who enjoyed the company of other EAs, sharing stories and getting to know one another, before sitting down for a discussion with our four panelists, led by Jessica:

  • Angela Wiley, EA to CEO at Equinix
  • Grant Boles, EA to private investor
  • Sharon Heiny, EA to CEO, Metromile
  • Crystal Le, EA to Co-Founder/CTO, stealth-mode startup

This event was all about community: not only building up the admin community, but also giving back through Maven-matched donations to Students Rising Above. (Thanks, everyone!)

Here’s what we learned:

Look for authenticity

Sharon: Be authentic, and ask yourself: are they bringing their authentic selves to the interview, also?” Make sure that your prospective new employers give you more than just the elevator pitch; look for that enthusiasm from them.

Play to your strengths

Crystal repeated, “Lean in to your strengths.” It’s important to think of your strengths as a multiplier and use them to catapult you into the role of your dreams.

Build meaningful and lasting relationships

Grant noted that relationships have been key to forwarding his career: if you “follow good people, that will usually lead to good things.” It is crucial to always be building relationships with your executives, your internal team, and outside resources like recruiters. “It can pay dividends over the course of your career” and open doors you didn’t know existed.

Ask for what you need

Angela noted that communication is key. She recommended immediately taking a leap of faith by asking the hard questions early – “this sets the bar for the future relationship.” Ask for what you want, even if you don’t know how to get there; “if you don’t ask, you’ll never get it!”

Practice your poker face

Early in her career, Angela learned: “Never let ‘em see you sweat.” No matter what happens, you must have that poker face and the courage to always say “okay, I’ll take care of that for you.”

Listen and know when to escalate

Sharon brought up that, as Executive Assistant, she’s the “less intimidating one here, the one they can tell their gripes to. I’m that voice for my peers.” Similarly, if someone is three times removed from the CEO, but has great advice or feedback, she can take that up for them.

 

Thank you again to all of those who participated and attended! Admins on the Rise was a reminder of how crucial and influential the roles of Executive Assistant and Admin Assistant are in a company, and how important it is to build our community and encourage each other. Admins always provide great support to their executives, and we’re happy to provide a space where admins can support each other as well.

With the success of Admins on the Rise, we’re excited to announce that our next event for the Maven community will take place in February 2017. Keep an eye out for the date and details!

photos and video by Eric Ward, AXOM: ward@axom.tv 

photos and video by Eric Ward, AXOM: ward@axom.tv 

How to Decipher Your Offer Letter

Be Honest: You’re Still Not Sure What Vested Stock Options Are

-by Jaclyn Westlake, Founder of The Job Hop

 

You’ve polished your resume, networked your tail off, and interviewed like a champ, and now all of your hard work has finally paid off in the form of a brand new job. Scoring a stellar offer is a pretty great feeling, but deciphering all of the legalese that will probably pop up in your official offer letter can be a real buzzkill (what the heck is profit sharing, anyway?). While reading the fine print of your offer letter might sound pretty dull, you’ll find tons of useful pieces of information about the terms of your employment, benefits, and stock options if you take the time to look.

Read on for the lowdown on what you’ll probably find in your next offer letter – and what it all means.

 

The Basics

First and foremost, your offer letter should include the details of your employment. To start, you’ll want to be sure that the content of your written offer lines up with what was discussed throughout your interview process. This will include your job title, salary, pay frequency, start date, work schedule, and who you’ll report to.

You’ll also want to keep an eye out for conditions of employment like references or background checks. These contingencies essentially give your future employer the right to rescind your offer if something fishy pops up in your background check, you get a less than stellar reference, or fail a drug test.

 

The Perks

Your offer letter should contain loads of juicy details about paid time off, benefits, and bonuses. You’ll want to be sure that you understand the full scope of these benefits, so there are no surprises after you start your new job. Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll want to know:

1)      Health Benefits: What Do You Get and How Much Will It Cost?

Most employers will offer some combination of medical, dental, and vision insurance – but the details of these benefits offerings can vary quite a bit.

·         Which insurance providers (i.e. Blue Cross, Kaiser, Delta Dental, VSP, etc.) does the company work with?
Some companies offer a couple of different plan options, while others may only have one available. You’ll probably want to set aside some time to confirm which providers your current doctors accept.

·         How much will each plan cost you?
Some extra awesome employers are able to cover 100% of their employees’ insurance premiums, while others pass a portion of the total cost onto you. Be sure to clarify what your monthly employee contribution will be so that you can budget accordingly.

If you’re hoping to add a partner, child, or other dependent to your insurance plan, you’ll want to request details on how much each additional person will cost you each month. Your rate may be different than your partner’s.

·          When are you officially eligible for benefits?
It’s common for there to be a brief waiting period between your start date and the day your coverage begins, so it’s important to be 100% sure that you know when your benefits officially kick in so that you can arrange interim coverage if needed.

2)      Bonuses: Discretionary & Performance-Based

Extra money is always fun, but figuring out when and how you’ll get your bonus can get a bit confusing. Understanding the difference between a discretionary bonus and a performance-based bonus is a good place to start.

A discretionary bonus is variable and completely up to the discretion of your employer. In other words, you may get a generous lump of cash one year and nothing the next.

A performance bonus is based on specific criteria; like how many deals you close each year or whether or not you successfully complete a product launch. If you meet your goals, you can expect to receive your bonus.

3)      Vacation, Sick & PTO

Thanks to the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, most companies with a presence in the city have to offer their full-time employees at least nine days (or 72 hours) of paid sick time each year. Some companies choose to roll this time up into Paid Time Off (PTO) and allow their employees to use their sick time however they’d like. Others keep sick and vacation time separate. Getting clarification on how your new company handles PTO will help you to budget your time off.

 

The Nitty Gritty Legal Stuff

Here’s where things get a little tricky. Unless you went to Harvard Law (we’re looking at you, Elle Woods), chances are you’re probably not familiar with the legal jargon that you’ll come across. Let’s be real - does anyone really know what at-will employment means? Lucky for you, we do!

1)      At-Will Employment

In a nutshell, at-will employment clauses enable you or the company you work for to end your employment at any time with or without cause. In other words, your future employer can fire you whenever they want. This may sound a little scary, but this clause applies to you, too! It’s also your right to peace out on your new job at any time for any reason (“you only brew Keurig coffee here? I quit!”). Not that you would leave without giving any notice – you’re way classier than that.

2)      401 (k): Profit Sharing & Employer Match

Companies offer 401 (k) plans to help their employees save for retirement. These plans allow you to transfer a set amount of money from each paycheck (before it’s taxed) into an investment account. The money you accrue in your 401 (k) won’t be taxed until you withdraw it. Some employers also offer profit sharing or an employer match (a.k.a. free money!) as an added perk.

Profit sharing plans are essentially discretionary employer contributions. Your company may decide to share a portion of its profits with their employees. This amount will vary depending on how well the organization is doing financially and is generally a small percentage of the company’s net earnings.

As the name suggests, an employer matching plan means that your employer will match a certain percentage of your annual 401 (k) contributions. For example, your company may match 50% of your total contributions for up to 4% of your annual salary. This means that if you earn $50,000 a year and contribute 4% of your salary ($2,000) to your 401 (k) account each year, your employer will also contribute 50% ($1,000). Pretty cool, right?

3)      Stock Options, RSUs & Equity  

Public Companies (Organizations Already in the Stock Market)

When a company says that they offer stock options, they really mean that as an employee, you will have the opportunity to purchase a certain number of shares of company stock at a set price (typically at or below current market value) at a pre-determined future date. For example, if your new company’s stock currently sells for $15 a share, your company may give you the option to purchase a pre-determined amount of stock for $10 a share after a certain period of time (there’s typically a waiting or vesting period before you can exercise your stock options). This could mean instant capital – if you’re able to buy 50 shares at $10 a piece ($500 total), and the shares are actually worth $15 a piece ($750 total), you’ll have instantly made $250. Just bear in mind that if you sell your stock, the profits will be taxed as a form of income.

Restricted Stock Units (or RSUs) are a grant of company stock that will be distributed after you’ve met a pre-determined vesting requirement (waiting period). In other words, it’s an I.O.U. from your company and a promise that you’ll get your shares after you’ve been employed for a certain amount of time. The perk of an RSU is that you don’t actually have to purchase the shares yourself – they’ll be given to you. This could mean even more money in your pocket. For example, if each company share is worth $15 and the company gives (distributes) 50 shares to you after your vesting (waiting) period, you would instantly have $750 in capital. Again, keep in mind that this will be taxed if you decide to sell your stock for a profit.

Equity refers to actual ownership in a share of the organization (actual stock shares). In other words, stock options give you the opportunity to purchase stock in the future. Once you’ve purchased (or been given) shares, you will have equity in the company.

Private Companies (Pre-IPO)

If an organization isn’t currently publicly traded on the stock market, they can still offer options or shares (equity) in the company. The catch is, these shares won’t be worth anything unless the company is sold or actually goes public. For example, if your company allows you to purchase 50 shares at $10 apiece, you’ll have the equivalent of $500 of equity in the company, but won’t make any additional capital or profit unless the company IPOs (goes public on the stock market). If your company’s stock sells for more than $10 a share after going public, you’ll gain capital. If your company doesn’t go public but is sold or acquired by another company, you’ll be paid for your shares. This means that if you have 50 shares in the organization (worth $500 in total - $10 apiece), and the company sells for the equivalent of $15 a share ($750 for 50 shares), you’d make $250 in profit.

Yikes! We know this is a lot to take in. Here’s a quick and dirty rundown of everything you just learned:

·         Stock Options give you the opportunity to purchase shares of your company’s stock. This is typically after a set vesting (or waiting period) and generally for a pre-determined price.

·         Shares are the actual units of company stock you may purchase or be given by your employer.

·         RSUs are shares of stock that are given to you by the company (no purchase necessary) after a pre-determined vesting (waiting) period.

·         Public Companies already have stock available for purchase in the stock market. You will earn capital if you purchase this stock for a price that is below market value (at the discretion of your company) or when the value of the company’s stock rises after you’ve purchased it.

·         Private Companies don’t have stock available for purchase in the stock market. They may be pre-IPO (planning to go public) or have no intention of going public. Your shares will be worth money after the company either goes public or is sold.

·          Your stock options will pay off if you work for a public company that either gives you or allows you to purchase stock for below market value or the company’s stock value increases after you’ve purchased it OR if you work for a private company that goes public or gets sold after you’ve purchased or been given shares.

Stock options and equity can be great perks – we’ve all heard stories about employees becoming overnight millionaires when their company goes public – but there are simply no guarantees. Regardless of whether your future employer is pre-IPO or has already gone public, you never know what the stock market will do. While exercising your stock options can be a great investment (or a total no-brainer if your company gives them away), you’ll want to consider your total compensation package (salary, benefits, PTO, etc.) when deciding whether or not you should accept an offer.

4)      Vesting

Regardless of whether or not you’re offered stock options or an RSU, you’ll want to understand how this whole “vesting” think works. Vesting refers to the amount of time you’ll need to be employed at an organization before you have 100% ownership of your shares, 401 (k) employer matches, or profit sharing contributions. It’s basically a waiting period.

Your vesting schedule may state that you have to be employed with your company for three years before you have full rights to your shares. In this case, your options or shares would probably vest (become available to you) at a predetermined rate over the course of your vesting schedule. This means that if you have a three-year vesting period, your options will likely vest at a rate of 33% each year (33% ownership after one year of employment, 66% after two years, and 100% after 3 years). This means that if your employment is terminated before you reach your three-year anniversary, you might forfeit a portion of your options or potential earnings.

Pretty simple, right? Vesting = waiting period. Now the next time your friend says she can’t leave her awful job until next year because she’s not fully vested yet, you won’t have to smile and nod while silently hoping someone changes the subject.

5)      Confidentiality & Dispute/Arbitration Agreements

Confidentiality agreements essentially state that you understand that you’ll probably have access to some super-secret company information over the course of your employment and that you promise not to share any confidential details about the organization or its clients with anyone outside of the company.

Dispute/Arbitration Agreements mandate that any future, hypothetical disagreements between you and your employer would be handled through private arbitration and outside of court.

 

Still have questions? That’s totally normal. Any good recruiter, HR representative or hiring manager will expect you to come back to them with questions, clarifications, and concerns. Just be sure to be specific about what you need help deciphering.

Offer letters contain a dizzying array of information, but it’s nothing you can’t handle! Keep an eye out for the basics, read up on your benefit options, and take a little extra time to be sure that you really understand all of the tricky language you come across, and you’ll be ready to accept that new offer with total confidence in no time. 

The San Francisco Business Times Top 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies list of 2016 just came out – and Maven is number 54!

Founder & CEO Jessica Vann says:

“We are excited to be included among this distinguished list of companies for the 3rd year in a row!  Great companies are the result of great people, and I couldn’t be more proud or inspired by this team!  We deliver great results for our Clients and connect our Candidates to the most exciting opportunities in this market and we have an absolute blast doing it!  Can’t wait to see what next year holds!”

Check out the rest of the winners on the SF Business Times list here: The Bay Area's Fastest-Growing Private Companies of 2016