Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat


Acing a Job Interview


Many companies are going under. People are losing jobs. Some just want to get a better one. Women who stayed home to raise kids are getting back into the workforce. New graduates are looking for their starter jobs. With so many people competing for income earning situations, doing a great job interview is more critical than ever.

If you need a job and are scared, that’s the energy you put out to the Universe.

Fear expresses a lack of faith. Therefore, when you’re scared, the Law of Attraction supports the doubt you feel. If you feel desperate and willing to take almost anything that pays the bills, that’s what you’ll get. Instead, reframe your situation as an opportunity to find a good job that makes you happy. They’re out there! Many people do get them. Not all. But companies are hiring. Why not you?

Focus on doing the best you can to apply to all GOOD jobs and make a fabulous impression on the person you interview with. That shows the Universe you’re serious, and brings better opportunities. That’s why I’m delighted to have an excerpt from the book, No-Nonsense Job Interviews: How to Impress Prospective Employers and Ace Any Interview (Career Press (July 1, 2008) by Arnold G. Boldt, who also wrote No-Nonsense Resumes and No-Nonsense Cover Letters No-Nonsense Job Interviews has all the info you need to make the best impression possible when doing an interview. Besides his own, each chapter has advice from other pros.

In Chapter 7, Simple Truths About Handling the 5 Toughest Challenges, Boldt gives great tips for handling an incompetent interviewer, fielding illegal questions, interviewing on short notice, explaining an extended employment gap and the one I’m excerpting, Premature Salary Discussion. I frequently hear people complain that they don’t know what to say when they’re asked about the salary they want before they get a feel for the job or make an impression. So I chose to reprint how to handle this challenge.

CHALLENGE #5: PREMATURE SALARY DISCUSSION

Several of my colleagues who are experts in the field of salary negotiation claim that whoever first mentions a salary number—the interviewer or the candidate—is suddenly in the weaker position. In general, this is a fairly accurate assessment. Ideally, the salary topic should not be discussed until a job offer is on the table. You have everything to lose if your response isn’t perfectly in tune with what the interviewer has in mind. A common question sprung by many interviewers early in the process is, “What kind of salary are you looking for?”

At this early stage, it is extremely difficult to respond to this question directly and honestly without a high risk of weakening or even torpedoing your candidacy. If you reply with a number that is too low (either because you are too willing to be underpaid, or are worried that asking for too much will price yourself out of the running), you actually devalue your abilities. A lowball reply may even raise suspicion about your motives or cause the interviewer to doubt your understanding of the position. On the other hand, if you reply with a number that the interviewer perceives as too high, you may, in fact, price yourself right out of the market and cause the interviewer to conclude that the organization can’t afford you. Either way, you’ve hurt your chances to get a job offer.

To be fair, some interviewers deliberately introduce the salary question early in the process to instantly determine your level of experience and possibly save everyone time. Some interviewers want to determine early on whether you’ll settle for the low end of the scale. Still others are truly “shopping” among candidates, believing they are acting in the best interests of the organization by seeking out the least expensive candidate available. The best scenario for you is when the interviewer or other decision-maker is prepared to pay whatever is necessary to hire the person identified as the best candidate to get the job done.

Because it’s difficult to determine the interviewer’s motivation when the question is broached prematurely, it’s recommended that you gracefully defer a discussion of salary unless and until a job offer is actually extended to you. How can you accomplish this without appearing insubordinate, overly shrewd, or even cagey? Try adapting one of the following statements to your unique situation—perhaps they will spark your own approach to deferring the salary discussion until there’s a job offer on the table.

* I’d be pleased to consider any reasonable offer. How about if we come back to the salary discussion after we’ve more fully reviewed the details of the position and what you’re really looking for, and after you’ve had the chance to see the value I can bring to this organization.

* Before we talk about compensation, could we discuss more fully your expectations for the position and how my qualifications meet your needs?

* I really need some more information on your expectations for the position before I could speak with any certainty about salary.

* My top priority is finding the right opportunity and a good fit. Once we determine thereís mutual benefit, I would be open to any fair offer.

* Compensation involves so many factors besides salary—for example, vacation time, medical benefits, and tuition assistance—that I would need to understand more about your overall compensation strategy and how this position fits. I’m sure if you decide that I’m the best candidate for the position, we could come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

The next chapter addresses salary discussions and negotiations in much greater detail.
————–
Arnold G. Boldt is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and Job & Career Transition Coach and a managing partner of Arnold-Smith Associates, a career transition consulting firm. Check out No-Nonsense Job Interviews if you or someone you care about is looking for a job.

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