Job Interviews

3 Tips for Negotiating Salary During the Job Interview

negotiate salary in an interviewCongratulations, you’ve landed an interview! Maybe you’re even on your second or third meeting with a particular employer. As things move along in the process, you’re getting closer to the time of salary negotiation. To ensure that you’re prepared when the time comes to talk about money, check out the following tips.

Let Them Bring It Up.
You don’t want to be the one to broach the subject of compensation. If the employer is interested in you, you can be sure that the topic will eventually come up, so wait for that time to discuss it. That means you shouldn’t list your salary requirements on your résumé unless you’re required to do so.

Stating how much money you want too soon can box you into a figure that is lower than what you might’ve received otherwise, or it can eliminate you from consideration because the amount is too high.

Also, bringing up salary too early in the process is presumptuous and can make it appear that you’re only interested in money.

Do Your Research.
Before the interview, it’s your job to find out what the going rate is for the position you’re being considered for. This figure will vary depending on your location, skills, experience and education.

To get an idea of what the salary for the job will be, do online research on sites like salary.com, salary.monster.com or payscale.com. If you happen to have friends who work at the company you’re interviewing with or know people who work in the same industry, you can get a good idea about what type of salary you can expect.

Researching compensation before the interview is an essential step to receiving a competitive salary. After all, if you don’t know what’s a fair price, how will you know if the interviewer’s offer is one you want to accept?

Don’t Be Too Quick to Accept the First Offer.
Before you shout “yes” to the first number out of the employer’s mouth, take a moment to think things through. Even if you’re satisfied with the offer, it’s best to not be hasty.
Consider asking for a day or two to review the offer before committing. During this time, evaluate the offer and ensure that it’s in line with the position responsibilities and your background.

If the offer seems too low based on your research, try making a counter offer. But be sure you have solid reasons for asking for increased compensation or other perks. Employers won’t be inclined to dish out more money just because you say you “need” it. That’s why you’ll have to be able to explain why your skills and the position responsibilities deserve a higher salary. Chances are, even if the employer is unable to sweeten the deal, they’ll respect you for thinking things through and knowing what you’re worth.

Before going in for an interview, it’s important to know what a reasonable pay range is for the position you’re applying for and to be able to sell your skills to the employer. By preparing for salary negotiations, you’ll increase your chances of receiving the competitive salary you deserve.

3 Interview Mistakes to Avoid

You have been searching for a new job, so you’ve worked on your résumé, applied to a few places and have been offered an interview. Now it’s time to practice your interview skills. To be successful in the interview process and move you from the runner-up to the person who is offered the job, here are some key mistakes to avoid.

Being unprepared. Not being prepared gives the impression that you are not interested in the position or the company. Research the company and be ready to answer basic questions such as: “What do you know about my company?” or “What interests you about this position?” Write down a few questions for the interviewer, and then ask them at the appropriate time. Practice ahead of time how you will answer questions, such as those about your strengths and weaknesses. Role playing with a friend or family member can provide you with the practice you need for a smooth, and slightly less nerve-wrecking interview.

Inappropriate attire. Dressing appropriately is essential for a positive first impression. If you are not sure what to wear, check with the company to determine their dress code.  Then, dress one level above that. For example, if a company’s dress code is casual, wear business casual attire. If you are unable to determine the dress code or are in doubt, wear a suit, because it is always better to overdress than to underdress.

Poor timing. Don’t show up late for an interview; it’s inappropriate and gives the impression that you don’t take the interview seriously or value the company’s time.  Plan ahead, know the route to the location and leave early. If you are unfamiliar with the area, make sure you drive by the day before your interview to ensure you don’t get lost on your way. But, don’t arrive too early. Arriving more than 10-15 minutes early may make it appear that you have too much extra time, making you look desperate. Aim to arrive about 10-15 minutes before the interview, and use the extra time to stop by the restroom to straighten your hair and clothing. If you are going to be late, be courteous to the interviewer, and call them immediately to reschedule.

Preparing and practicing for your interview can help you avoid these common mistakes and can mean the difference between an awful interview and a successful one. You’ll be ready for any interview that comes your way by remembering to plan ahead, dress appropriately and be on time.

Have you made any of these mistakes in an interview? How do you think it effected the outcome of a job offer? What mistakes would you suggest others avoid during an interview?

Part 2: The Importance of Researching a Company Before Your First Interview

On Monday I wrote about what you should research about a company before your first interview.  Today I will discuss the importance of that research as a vital step when preparing for your interview. Being prepared will not only increase your confidence, it will also create a great first impression for the interviewer. Researching a company can also increase your chances of receiving a job offer for the position you want, because you will be able to illustrate your knowledge and enthusiasm about the employer.

Familiarizing yourself with the company shows the interviewer that you are interested in working for the company and care enough to do your research. When you ask insightful questions, the interviewer will take notice.  You will be demonstrating your intelligence and preparedness by responding to the interviewer’s questions with ease.

Knowing about the company will also help you determine whether or not it’s a good fit for you.  Do you believe in the company’s mission and values?  Do the company’s values, morals and beliefs match with your own? This is important because it may be stressful if you accept a position only to find out later that your values and the company’s clash. For example, the research institute you’re applying to work for conducts a type of research that you’re opposed to. If you’d known this fact ahead of time, you may not have taken the position and could have avoided an awkward situation.

It is important to prepare for your first interview, and research should be included in that preparation. You will feel and appear more confident, leaving a better impression to the interviewer and increasing your chances to get the job you want. You will also have the information to make the right decision about a job offer.

How has research helped you land the job you wanted?  What advice can you offer to others in their job search?

Researching A Potential Employer Before the First Interview

Before your first interview at a company or organization you should research your potential employer and be fully prepared. You don’t want to miss out on a job because you didn’t research your prospective employer. But do you know where to look for important information regarding your potential employer or even what to look for? 

Most of the company’s information is readily available to you. First, check out the employer’s website and their competitors’ sites to learn about the industry.  Read the About Us, Facts, and Media Center sections. Find journals, magazines, and newspapers that contain articles about the company, and learn as much as you can so that you will be familiar with the company’s successes and latest ventures. You can search the Internet or visit your local library to access these resources. This will show the interviewer that you care enough about the company to familiarize yourself about it ahead of time.

If you know someone at the company, give them a call and ask them a few questions before your interview. They can give you a personal view on the company, its culture and employees, but make sure to double-check their information. You don’t want to look unprepared by misquoting a fact during your interview.

Here are some key items to research:
• The year the company was established
• Products or services provided
• Mission statement and goals
• Industry
• Business Model
• Profitability of the company and potential for growth
• Corporate culture
• Organizational structure
• Key employees
• Locations, if more than one

Are you going to be prepared with an answer if an interviewer asks, “What do you know about my company?” or “Why are you interested in this position?” These are popular questions, so make sure you know your facts. Remember, research can be time consuming and should not be put off until the night before the interview. Collect as much information as you can about the company, prepare a few questions for the interviewer, and don’t be afraid to ask the questions you prepared. Asking thoughtful questions will show that you have done your research.

Researching the company before your interview can mean the difference between getting the job and not receiving an offer. Research is an important step to increase your chances of landing the job you want. So, take the time to research the company, and you will be ready to tackle your next interview.

Are you prepared for your next interview? What tips or suggestions do you have for others preparing for their first interview?

How to Close the Interview with Confidence

Interviewing for a job is a challenging task. If you’ve done things the right way and thought in advance about how to talk about your qualifications, researched the company, practiced answering difficult questions with a friend, dressed to match the company culture, and arrived promptly, you may already feel pretty confident by the time you shake hands with the interviewer. After you’ve answered the questions, demonstrated your industry and company knowledge, shown you are a good fit for their team, and made the connection with everyone in the room, you may feel you’re on the homestretch to landing the job.

But there’s one last thing you can do to seal the deal before you walk out the door. And it will really set you apart from other candidates. It’s a technique called closing the interview.

In most scenarios, at the end of an interview, if things have gone well, the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions. There are many good ones to choose from. And, even if you think you know everything about the job and the people sitting before you, you should still ask a few questions, because doing so demonstrates your interest in the position as well as your enthusiasm and curiosity to know more.

But if things have gone well and you have connected with the interviewers, there’s one question that should be your final choice for the meeting. It’s a closing question, and it puts you in control, demonstrates your self-confidence, and is a memorable final impression to make.

“At this point, what would keep you from hiring me?”

Most interviewers will be honest with you, and at the very least, you will get some good feedback on how you’ve presented yourself. At the best, the interviewer’s answer to this question will stick in their mind and solidify you as a top choice. Asking this question may be one of the most challenging things you’ve ever done, but having the confidence to close an interview is one of the best ways to stand apart from a sea of applicants and demonstrate that you know you are right for the job.

Age Discrimination – Does This Affect You?

Age discrimination in the workforce is an issue that is not often addressed; however, there are ways to get your foot in the door if you’re a seasoned employee. According to a survey of 168 executives with a median age of 50 conducted by Execunet, a referral network, 74% surveyed are concerned they will be discriminated against because of their age, and 58% believe they have experienced age discrimination in the past. Although age discrimination does exist, it is one of the hardest discriminations to prove, according to research by AARP.

If you find yourself struggling to find a job and think that your age might be a factor, here are a few tips to aide you in your job search.

Start with your résumé. When searching for a job, make sure your résumé offers the most recent and relevant information. Experts advise mature job applicants to reference only the last 10 or 15 years of your job experience. Often times, candidates are overlooked because they have too much experience. Try taking some classes that educate you on the latest technology or trends in your industry, and make sure to list them on your résumé. Also, avoid listing dates such as high school or college graduation, as these can reveal your age.

Update your wardrobe. In an AARP survey, nearly half of the respondents surveyed felt that older workers cannot adapt to change. When you go in for an interview, make sure that not only your résumé reflects your knowledge of current work trends, but your attire reflects current styles as well. This doesn’t mean you have to dress in the latest trends or fashion, but ensuring your wardrobe and hairstyle aren’t aging you unnecessarily is always helpful when searching for a job. This boosts your self confidence, and allows the employer to see that you are up-to-date with what is going on around you.

Sell yourself. Don’t let the age factor get you down. If you show you’re confident and skilled, potential employers will be less likely to consider your age a factor when making hiring decisions. You may feel that younger people are hired to replace older workers, but keep in mind that younger workers feel most jobs are held by people with experience. Instead of focusing on this remember to sell your skills and abilities. Let the interviewer know you are open to training and learning new things. Make sure they know why you’re there and why you’re qualified for the position. Research the company before you interview so you can offer insight on how your past experience can benefit their company. Show enthusiasm and eagerness to learn, but don’t sound desperate.

Network with peers in your industry. You might feel as though you’re too old to network, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Find a local organization that specializes in your desired industry. Get involved within your community and make contacts with individuals that can help you get your foot in the door with companies. By getting your name and face out there with people in your industry, you will not only increase your chances of getting a job, but you will develop valuable and up-to-date information on what is going on in the field.

Age doesn’t have to be a negative factor when searching for a job. It can actually work for you if you follow these tips. Mature workers have confidence and knowledge in a time when we need it the most. With so many workers reaching retirement age, there is a gap in the knowledge between seasoned workers and younger workers just entering the workforce. Utilize your expertise and show how you can be an added value to the company.

How to Write a Post-Interview Thank You Note

Thank You CardLess than 40% of job seekers take the time to send a thank you note after an interview, according to an article by MSNBC. But, this important follow-up can make the difference between receiving the job offer and being written-off as disinterested. In fact, because it’s such a rare step for most job seekers, it’s a very valuable tool to show your professionalism and enthusiasm for a job.

By being one of the few who take this important step, you can increase your chances of landing the job. The tips below can help you craft a winning thank you note.

Follow up quickly. It’s important to send your thank you note as soon after your interview as possible. Mailing it the same day is best. However, if the interviewers will be making a decision quickly, you may not want to wait for the note to arrive through traditional mail. In this case, consider hand-delivering or e-mailing a thank you note to ensure it arrives quickly.

Use correct spelling and grammar. The only thing worse than not sending a thank you note at all is sending one with lots of misspellings and grammatical errors. Before sending your letter, make sure you’ve thoroughly proofread it. If possible, have someone else look it over for errors as well. Rewrite your note if it includes mistakes – don’t scribble them out or use correction fluid. Sending a polished thank you note gives you another opportunity to let your skills shine.

Thank everyone who participated in the interview process. Often, job interviews involve meeting with multiple people. When you send your thank you note, make sure to thank each person you met with. To make sure you have the correct spelling of each person’s name, request a business card during the interview. While it’s best to thank each person individually, it’s also acceptable to send a group thank you. Sending a group thank you note is practical when you met with some of the individuals briefly or only interviewed with them in a group setting.

Restate your qualifications and interest. Not only is a thank you note your opportunity to express gratitude for the time interviewers took to meet with you, it’s also the place to restate why you’re the right candidate for the job. If there are any relevant details you forgot to mention during the interview, now is the time to share them. Also, make sure you end by professionally expressing your enthusiasm for the position.

When you make the effort to thank employers for their time, you set yourself apart from other candidates. By communicating your interest and gratitude in a concise and error-free format, you’ll leave a lasting positive impression.