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Signing a Non-Compete Agreement | No BS Job Search Advice Radio

Ep. 604 Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter discusses his own experience with non-compete agreements and whether you should sign one.


I am going to talk with you about non-compete agreements that reminded of this by a former colleague of mine who is interviewing for a position with another recruiting firm and after multiple interviews, they slipped a non-compete agreement in front of her and asked her to sign it. She took it to an attorney who basically said that this was nonsense, but if they try to enforce she would have to pay to defendant. She of course turned down the job opportunity.

I'm also the mother my own circumstances where, years ago, there was an agency that I was working for, and, after 9 years of working for them, the owner slipped a non-compete in front of me and asked me to sign it. I started laughing at the guy. "Why would I possibly sign this? You're not giving me any consideration for doing that and, I want you to know, I would not a little money to sign this. You will have to pay a lot of money for me to give up my rights here."

From there, I said, "if you want me to leave because you to fire me because I will sign this, I'm okay with that. There are plenty of other agencies that will be happy to have me. It's your choice."

I'm going to tell you that, when you interview, hopefully they tell you early enough in their process that they have a noncompete agreement. If they do, you say, "That's terrific. I would like to take a look at it, have my lawyer look at it to make sure that there is nothing ridiculous and."

"What could be ridiculous?"

"I don't know. I haven't seen your agreement. You and your lawyer has spent time crafting us and you think it's fair to you and I need to have a lawyer look at it to see if it's fair to me, too." Just leave it at that.

If they bring the scene at the very end with a job offer, you have to go insane much the same thing as I suggested before, but then take your time.

Simply say, "I'm on the schedule to meet (him or her) early part of next week. I'm not going to make any decisions until I have a professional look at this because, after all, you didn't write this up. You had a lawyer draft it. I need to have my interests protected, too."

Personally, I'm not a fan of non-competes from a job hunter standpoint. I think it's a signal that the firm has problems and that the only way that they can keep people long term by binding them with the contract that is onerous. The contracts will say that you can't compete with them for one year, 2 years, 4 years, what ever it is , and take away your right to earn a living. Not a good practice for you to engage in because all they are doing is offering you a job and they are basically signaling that everyone leaves us and we want to make sure that you don't compete.

And what is "complete?"

I will pick a name out of the blue. You work for Big Brokerage Firm or Mondo Brokerage Firm and they slipped a non-compete in front of you. Well, Big Brokerage Firm might also on the bank or an asset management firm or an investment bank. They might also own any number of other firms. You will want to see what specifically, the agreement binds you from not doing.

Compete with any business that they are in? If you sign that, that can turn you into a shoe salesman!

Don't sign non-competes without an attorney. Recognize the messages that are in a noncompete.

A non-compete is like a pre-nup. I love you dearly, but in case this doesn't work out I need to make sure that you don't hurt me.

Do you really think employers are trying to help you?

You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell you as much as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. changes that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

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