If there’s one topic that can make a job candidate squirm, it’s the topic of compensation.
And let’s just get this out of the way first: frankly, it’s no one business how much your salary was in previous jobs. But, if you tell that to a potential employer, you’re likely to NOT get an interview. However, if you frame your answer just right, you can communicate this very thing to a potential employer and get the job!
One of the easiest things to do when you happen upon the section of “Salary History” on an employment application is to simply write, “To be discussed in confidential interview”. While this may eliminate your application for further consideration, bear in mind that no smart company is going to require you, a complete stranger, to divulge your previous salary to them: another complete stranger. Consider it a blessing that you were eliminated and move on!
If your unwillingness to divulge such personal details didn’t get you kicked out of the applicant pool and you make it to the interview, the question will probably arise again there. So, prior to the interview, make sure you have a firm grasp on what your abilities are worth. In reality, your monetary value at a previous company is only relevant to that particular company’s environment. Your employer compensates you based on your worth to their company. And they can evaluate your worth in a variety of different ways: how much do they need your abilities? How much profit can you add to their company? How much can they afford to pay? Instead of coming up with a specific salary requirement, turn the question around to them and ask, “What is the salary range of this position?” Allowing them to provide you with their expectations, allows you to set your expectations appropriately.
If your interviewer seems unwilling to divulge any salary-related information about the position, you may opt to answer their question in this manner: “While I received X compensation at my previous employer, I have since realized the enormous value they received from the specialized skillset I brought to their company. Based on that, I’ve adjusted my required salary range to between $ X and $ X.” In that one sentence, you’ve politely communicated that know your worth and that you add tremendous value to your employer.
The key to salary question is to always attempt to keep the negotiating leverage in your court. By automatically replying to tough salary questions with exact answers, you give up your ability to negotiate. And, that is an enormous mistake that many make when beginning a new job.
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Many times, the first step to securing a face-to-face interview is the dreaded phone interview. And, many people dread it simply because, since there’s no non-verbal cues to read, they can’t monitor and adjust their demeanor or answers for the best interview possible. All hope isn’t lost, however! There are things that you can do to ace your phone interview.
Since non-verbal visual cues are missing in the phone interview, make sure your tone of voice is appropriate. Be personable, but don’t sound casual, but don’t sound too uptight, aloof or condescending. And for the love of everything good, don’t eat or chew gum on a phone interview!
This next tip may seem the most obvious: be prepared. Part of being prepared is making sure that you ask the employer how much time you should allot for the call. A sure-fire way to make certain you DON’T get a face-to-face interview is to either get interrupted or to cut the call short. Make sure you have enough time to properly communicate why they should meet with you in person.
Another important aspect of being prepared is to know the job description and, prior to the phone interview, know how to communicate your fit (things interviewers really want to know) for the company. Most of the time, no applicant is going to fit every single requirement and companies know this. But, get an idea how you are generally a good fit for the position and during your phone interview, your answer will come easily.
The question regarding salary (salary questions) is likely to rear its ugly head. Make sure you know what the market value of the position is, what your salary expectation is and how you will gracefully broach the subject. Getting this aspect right sends a clear picture to the interviewer that you know how to handle the “tough stuff”.
Make sure you know a little something about the company and can ask intelligent, relevant questions of your interviewer. You may want to clarify the position and you may want to ask questions about the general environment of the company. And, most importantly, when closing the interview, make sure you get a timeline of when they will be back in touch with you.
A phone interview can be nerve-wrecking, but following a few simple guidelines can help you ace it and get your foot in the door for a real, live interview AND onto beginning a new career with the company!
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When you go into an interview, naturally, the interviewer is looking to see if you’re a good fit. And, the way they determine if you are a good fit is based on your responses to the questions they ask.
The last thing a potential employer wants is an employee who lacks integrity. Prove that you are ethical and you are an individual of your word by showing how seriously you take commitments. In addition, never bad-mouth a previous employer. It shows that you lack discretion and an employee who lacks discretion is never a good fit.
Strongly connected to integrity is an employee who is has a superior work ethic. Let your potential employer that you’re excited to accomplish your tasks and that you enjoy being challenged. Employers want to see someone who is proactive in getting things done and most want to hire an employee who thinks out-of-the box.
Since you’ve gotten to the interview, naturally the interviewer knows that you’ve had experience doing the tasks that the job requires, but how well did you do them? During the interview, make sure you highlight the tasks that you excelled at. Did you surpass the level of expectation of your superiors? If so, make sure you communicate that important asset.
The reason every company needs employees is because someone has to take care of all the niggling details. Is that something you excel at or are you someone who rushes through a task just to mark it off your to-do list? If the latter describes you, perhaps you need to step-back and become more detail-oriented.
Companies always want to hire someone who knows what they are good at- and what they aren’t. Face it: contrary to what many like to think, no one can be an expert at everything. Knowing your strengths and weakness is important to you as a person, but moreover is important to a potential employer. Don’t be afraid to let the company know there are things you’re not an expert at. Doing this shows that you are honest and genuine. And a genuine individual is always a great fit for a company.
Lastly, one of the most important things that interviewers want to know is how well you get along with others. Are you high maintenance, confrontational, defensive, or argumentative? Do an honest self-evaluation to see if any of those terms describe you. If so, until you get those negative characteristics in check, you’ll never be a good fit anywhere.
You may be the perfect fit for a company, but unless you effectively communicate that to the interviewer, you’ll never be able to convince them YOU are the one.
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