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What is the best strategy when a recruiter asks about your current salary before making an offer?

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What your strategy shouldn’t be: go in with a mindset that goes something like “I wonder what they’ll offer me” or “they should be paying me more than I make now!”, “I’ll negotiate up from whatever they offer me.” That’s a recipe for losing this important part in taking on a new role.
Be straightforward about your current compensation, and ready to talk about your top 3 reasons why you should be paid more in your new role.

Here are some pointers to help you figure out what they are:

1. Research how your current salary stacks up against your peers (i.e. Glassdoor) in the industry. Is it less? Then probably you are being underpaid while still having awesome results – that’s a sound reason to switch. Is it more? Then that might be a sign that your company values your skills more than other companies do! Use that to your advantage.

2. Research the typical salaries for the new role, considering company size, location, seniority etc. If they are lower than your current one, then you need to ask yourself whether this is a kind of position you want to take. However, listen to what they have to say/offer. If it’s higher, then it becomes a valuable piece of info in your discussion for the new position.

3. What’s the difference in responsibilities between the current and the new role? If the new position requires more then there’s a strong reason for you to ask for more salary. If it’s about the same or less, then think about different factors.

4. Is this new role going to challenge you and require more time than the current one? That’s great and you’re ready to go the extra mile, but your potential new employer should too, so consider that as well.

5. The standard of living – if you are moving to a new city, region or country for the new role, then you need to factor the cost of living in, but don’t forget about expandable income. If at the end of the month you’re left with less than what you previously had, and it’s important to you, then think twice.

6. What are the other components of your compensation package? Do they stack up against your current one? If the hiring organization doesn’t have comparable components, you should quantify their value and include that in the salary discussion.

7. Be creative about asking for a higher salary – if the hiring organization has good reasons to not give you a higher salary right off the bat, then fall back to asking for an incremental increase that’s time and legally bound (shows up on your employment agreement). I.e. after 6 months in the role 5% increase, and after 12 months in the role another 5% increase.

Keep in mind, your approach should always reflect (and come from) a genuine desire for both your and the hiring organization’s win.

Photo credit: Photo by Jessica Sysengrath on Unsplash

What do interviewers expect when asking: “Do you have any questions for us?”

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We’ll start with one statement: The interviewers expects you to be genuine.

We know there are probably hundreds of online and printed articles about the smartest questions you can come up with. It all comes down to you and the opportunity in front of you.

Let’s start with you.

There are a lot of things that are important to you, and only a handful that is crucial. Those are typical aspects that reflect what you expect of your life, career, the people or things that make you happy and fulfilled, and not least your health (this is a shortlist, you certainly have your own). You are there because in one way or another the job opportunity you’re interviewing for contributes to what’s critical to you. Once you’ve figured that out, think about what kind of questions you could ask that will clarify whether pursuing the job opportunity will contribute to what’s critical to you.

For instance, you may think: “In the long run, I want to be an outstanding business consultant, however, I don’t have any experience right now, so it’s crucial I get a job that helps me grow towards that ideal role.” so your question for the interviewer might be: “How does the company plan for professional development/growth?

Or you may think: “it’s crucial that I work for organizations that value a healthy culture that encourages creativity, instead of a top-down” so your question to the interviewer might be: “Could I meet some of the people I’d be working with?” If they are open to the idea, it will be a good way to tell what kind of culture you’d be dealing with.

Then continue with them

In the same way, think about what’s important to the company, why have they even posted this job? Is it because they’re growing? Is it because someone left? Is it because someone got promoted? Is it because it’s part of their strategy? Some questions you may ask:

How does this role help the company?

What made the person before me successful in this role?

Why has the person in this role decided to leave?

Or you can direct your question toward the interviewer himself:

What do you like most about working here?

If you were to change anything for the better at this company, what would it be?

Why did you decide to work for this company in the first place?”

You also want to get a clearer understanding of how they thought the interview went:

How do you think I and my qualifications match the company’s and hiring manager’s expectations?

Do your homework

Employers do spend the time to put Job Descriptions together. But that’s not all that they have on their webpage that can give you an idea of who they are and what they do. Their “about” page will help you know how they think, what they value (value/principles), where they’re going (vision), and how they’re going to get there (mission/objectives). Then review their “products/services” section of their website. Is there any aspect in particular that intrigues you? Is there anything that you think might be related to your job?

Ask a few specific questions that will help you have a complete picture:

How do you measure the effectiveness of that product or services?”

I noticed one of your values emphasizes the importance of people. How do I pursue this value?”

How often can someone get involved in corporate social responsibility initiatives?

Notice most of the questions are open-ended. This approach ensures you get the most out of your of conversation with the interviewers.

How they respond is an important indicator of that organization’s values. Did they provide honest and meaningful answers? Were they specific or generic/quoting from a “textbook”? Etc.

So be genuine, be yourself!

 

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What are the best answers for “Why should I hire you”?

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There are many details one could use to respond to this kind of question — for instance, you could highlight quantifiable achievements that match up to what’s requested of you. It’s a bit obvious but they would not have invited you to the interview as well as the other 15 people who have a similar skills set.

However, one of the things that a recruiter will be looking at (we believe the most important) is how genuine you are. We all have different upbringings, life and work experiences, and personalities. Those, combined, are difficult to mimic. Why did you show up for that interview in the first place?

  • Do you need a job?
  • Are you passionate about what this role entails?
  • Do you like their culture and you think you’d fit right in?
  • Are you excited at the growth opportunity in that position?
  • Does the company have a great reputation as an employer?
  • Etc.

These are all real & true reasons. Pick a few and be genuine about your answer.

Do it with a spin (if possible), again staying true to who you are: how does this job play out towards your dreams, your ambitions, and your career? Think of the long run or the well-known “what do I want to be when I grow up” — how this job is a stepping stone towards that (i.e. 20 years from now), and why that motivates you to master the skills required to succeed in this role. Most employers don’t have unrealistic expectations of keeping you around for the next 10 years or even 5 years.

If you don’t yet have a picture of what the long run looks like, don’t worry about it right then, and stick to the immediate things that really pushed you to apply for this job. 

And finally: interviewers are human and will be prone to being subjective. You might have been bright and shiny at the interview, but if the interviewer had a bad day, that could have just been the only reason for a rejection. Pick yourself up, and don’t give up on being who you are all the way through. Adjust the format but don’t compromise the substance.

To summarize: be genuine, paint a broader picture than that job, talk about what drives you to succeed, be genuine about it.

 

Photo credit: Tim Gouw on Unsplash