Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Back to Business

Last week was a light and fun week for many. Yesterday it was all about getting back to business. While coaching a candidate as they prepared for a face to face interview this week, they brought up a couple very good questions. These questions are applicable across the board. I thought that in this week’s blog I’d get back to business and share this coaching experience.

The questions...

1) Do you know what the starting salary is for this position?
2) Is it acceptable to inquire about health insurance, 401K, and other benefits at this interview?

The answers...

At this stage I would avoid any questions regarding salary or benefits. While I realize these are important to you as they are to anyone, it can give an impression to the interviewer that the person asking is more interested in what the company can do for them. While that is true you are interested in knowing that, what they want to hear is what you can do for them. This is not just applicable to this company, this is true with any company and any interview situation. A candidate should concentrate on presenting themselves in the very best way possible. Focusing on how you can help the company achieve their goals is positioning you for a successful interview.

Now if these things are brought up by them, then it is fair game. Otherwise it is something that can be addressed later.

Regarding the salary on this position. The salary they are targeting exceeds where you were in your last role. It will be a financial gain for you should you progress to offer. So please rest assured if you are offered a job after the entire process I’m confident you will be pleased. I don’t like to get into specifics on salary ranges as there are just too many variables involved. And I’m not the one deciding what the salary will be. So I’ve found it best over the years to be certain two things are achieved going into a situation:

1) The opportunity presents a financial gain for the candidate, or
2) We are in what I call the “okay place” where the candidate’s expectations and company’s expectations are in an area where it makes sense to talk.

In your case, again, the salary targeted would present you with a financial gain from where you were at most recently.

Now if someone were to bring up the topic of salary and let’s just say they ask you what your expectations are. Your safest bet is to answer by saying something like, while salary is important to me just like it would be to anyone, I’d first like to be certain I’m the right person for you and this is the right opportunity for me. If after the entire process you are interested in bringing me on board I’d seriously consider your fair and competitive offer for the position.

Hoping you all have a successful and productive week getting back to business.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Turkey

This Thanksgiving is going to be a bit “unusual” for our house. While my wife is off cruising to exotic locations such as Cozumel & Key West, I am home being super dad making certain my daughter gets to school and her basketball tournaments. However, come Thanksgiving Day I won’t be attempting to cook a turkey. We will be eating out to avoid the same fate as William Shatner in this light hearted video (below) about safety with frying turkeys. I know my limitations.

Have a great holiday!

William Shatner & State Farm® present "Eat, Fry, Love," a turkey fryer fire cautionary tale!
(Click to view video)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Damage Control for a Forced Exit

How do you maintain your reputation for future employment if you have gone through a “forced exit”? Damage Control for a Forced Exit by the Wall Street Journal (click on article title to view) has a few strategies to follow in order to “preserve your reputation” in hopes you can land new employment in the relatively near future. Is there anything you would add to the list? Anything you would reconsider?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Watch The Details

Basketball season is now in full swing with my daughter’s team playing in their first tournament of the season this last weekend. While they performed well, the games still could have gone either way. A bad pass here, missed lay-up there. So in practice last night their coach no doubt focused with them on the details. Back to the basics in some respects.

The competition is tougher now than ever. So when you secure an opportunity to interview for a position focus on the details. It’s these details that can make the difference and set you apart from the others.

Research. Get to know the organization and their product portfolio. Being knowledgeable shows the company you are interested.

Prepare questions. Being ready with questions also lets the company know you are interested.

Dress the part. Leave nothing to chance. Wear nice interview attire. Make sure your shoes are clean. Get a fresh haircut.

Non-verbal communication cues. Good eye contact. Firm hand shake. Good posture while seated. If appropriate lean slightly forward at times. Stay engaged in the conversation.

Keep to the point. Don’t go off on a tangent. Stay on task. Answer questions clearly & concisely. However if the question is open ended be sure to provide a thorough answer.

Wrapping up. At the end of the interview ask them what you can expect next. Even if it is a canned response on their end, you are always best to ask.

Thank yous. Yes, still very appropriate. Electronic or hard copy are both acceptable.

So just as the competition in basketball gets tougher and tougher, and the need to focus on the details becomes ever increasingly important, so it does in the job market. Competition is tougher than ever. Get the edge. Do your homework. Be prepared. Don’t get edged out by your competition because you failed to prepare properly.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Scary Insurance Claims

Scary Insurance Claims from Fox Business

Halloween may be over, but the above article (click on title to read in full) still makes you stop and think about the exposure we face as individuals when decorating for Halloween, and what coverage we have for trick or treat pranksters. It makes you think about what the "scariest" part of Halloween really is.