Take Charge of Salary Questions

Love this article from Lee Miller on Monster.com about dealing with recruiters and salary negotiation:

“Once a prospective employer starts talking money — as in how much you currently earn — it’s hard not to panic. And while it may seem like the only option is to simply answer the question, this is the time to choose your words carefully. In fact, how you respond to those initial salary questions plays a crucial role in determining whether your final pay package is excellent or just enough.

Employers use salary information to decide how much they need to offer to get you to consider the job. By providing salary information to a potential employer, you limit your ability to negotiate a compensation package that reflects your true market value. If you are currently underpaid, providing that information will ensure that you remain so.

The best way to deal with the salary issue is to avoid it. However, you need to do that tactfully and in a way that will not upset your prospective employer. At the same time, if you handle it correctly, an employer trying to recruit you will not want to press the issue for fear of angering you.

If you can delay discussions about salary, or keep them vague, until an employer wants to hire you, you can often get an offer without providing detailed salary information at all. If hiring managers do not have that information, they will be forced to base their offer on your market value rather than your current salary.

The following are various scenarios when your salary history may be requested and possible ways you can respond:

Salary Information Requested on the Application

The issue of what you are earning is likely to arise before you even start the interview process, when you are asked to fill out an application. Most applications have a section that asks for salary history. Many online job postings and ads in newspapers also ask for this information. Some even warn that you won’t be considered if you don’t provide salary information. Sometimes you can get away by simply ignoring the request. Another way to deal with this question is to state that you “will discuss it in person.” Occasionally, you will not be considered for a job if you do not provide this information; more often than not, though, if you have marketed yourself well, you will be able to get an interview without disclosing your current salary.

Questions About Salary from the Interviewer

When the interviewer asks you about your salary, your goal remains the same — delay talking about it or keep the discussions vague. You might try saying something like, “It is not about the salary; it is about the job. If it’s the right job for me and I am the right person for it, salary won’t be an issue.” Then you can turn it around and ask what the employer has budgeted for the position. If you have to talk about compensation, be general and talk about your total compensation. For example, if your salary, potential bonus and stock options are worth $46,000, maximize it by saying something like, “My total annual compensation is in the mid-five figures.”

When the Recruiter Asks

Recruiters generally seek salary information for a different purpose. Since they usually are paid based on a percentage of your first year’s compensation, it is in their interest for the offer to be higher. They want to know your salary to avoid recommending a candidate, only to find out later that the company and the candidate cannot agree on salary. Therefore, the tactics that work with companies to avoid discussing salary will not work with most recruiters. They will insist on having salary information. Providing the information to the recruiter, though, will hurt your ability to negotiate. Remember the recruiter works for the company and whatever you tell the recruiter will usually be passed on to the company.

Even though a company generally has a salary range for a position, it is never set in stone. Once a hiring manager has decided you are the best candidate, he will find ways to pay more, if necessary. The goal is to get all the key players to really want to hire you before talking about salary.”

 

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Interview To Get The Job!

“Go into every interview with the end-goal of receiving a job offer. Make it your decision as to whether you want to work for the company rather than letting the company determine whether you are a fit!

10 Interviewing Tips to Get You the Job image shutterstock 123716446 300x208Job Interviews are not always easy, but there are certain tricks which can be implemented to increase one’s odds of getting the offer and making the hiring manager confident that you are the right applicant.

Here are 10 ways to do so:

1. Positive Energy – People are attracted to those who display positive energy, are upbeat and who are optimistic about their career outlook.

One of the biggest tricks to interviewing is sounding enthusiastic about the position and, by do so ensuring the interviewer that you are interested in the job and are ready to contribute to their team effort.

2. Set firm goals – The best companies set firm goals and do everything possible to obtain them. As a job seeker, you should be no different.

Prior to interviewing, take the time to write down where you want to be in 1 year, 3 years and 5 years. Be specific and map out a step by step plan to ensure that you get there. If we don’t know where we are going, our overall achievements are going to end up a fraction of what they could be. Be focused and tenacious in your goals and let those ambitions be heard by the hiring company.

3. Remember it’s what you can do for the employer – The best way to sell is to talk in terms of what the other person wants.

Take the time to think about what benefits and skills you bring to the table. Read over the job description and envision the concerns and needs of that employer.

By speaking about how you can deliver the desired results, you are more likely to get an offer and, when you do you have more leverage negotiating the salary you want. In essence, give the employer what they want and you will get everything you need.

4. Be approachable and likable – When interviewing, the hiring manager is going to look for intangibles such as whether you are going to fit in with the corporate culture a.k.a. will you get along with the employees and enjoy working there.

The best way to make the interviewer confident that you’ll fit in is to be approachable and likable throughout the interviewing process. Don’t play hard to get, remain easy going and connect with the individual on a personal basis. Remember to smile.

5. Focus – If we are focused 100% on an interview, psychologically we can’t be nervous, tense or judgmental of ourselves. The best conversations occur when both parties are fully engaged and this happens when everyone is focused on only the interview and nothing else.

Leave everything unrelated outside of the room and if you find yourself distracted or getting nervous the simple remedy is to put your mind at ease listening only to what the interviewer is saying rather than what you are telling yourself.

6. Strong mentality – Remember to always approach the interview with fearlessness, optimism and confidence. Don’t be afraid of failure. Rather be honest and authentic; it’s the most anyone can ask of you.

7. Never get discouraged during tough interviews – The best interviewers are going to ask you tough questions. Never take it personally, rather consider it due diligence on the end of the interviewer and be thankful that you are speaking with a hiring manager who knows what they are doing.

When we think upbeat thoughts, the positive energy allows us to focus and come across more upbeat and engaging. If you find your answers slipping, quickly pick yourself up. Everyone gets discouraged; though, when we begin to take difficult interviewing questions as due diligence as opposed to a personal knock, we are more apt to be successful.

8. Be determined to get the job – Luck favors those who are determined to reach a specific goal. As a job seeker, you should have a focus and drive to ace every interview that you go on making sure to leave multiple positive impressions on employees throughout the company.

You should expect to win. When we are focused, driven and expecting success, it comes.

9. Ask the right questions in the right manner – When you ask questions, don’t come across as skeptical or prying, rather ask the questions because you want the information. People don’t like hidden agendas and interviewers are no different. Prior to interviewing, formulate some interviewing questions that you are comfortable with and deliver those inquiries in a non-assuming, intelligent manner.

10. Focus on the positive aspects of the position – Regardless of pay, title or industry, there are both positive and negative aspects to any position. It’s your choice what you focus your attention on and it’s a lot more productive to hone in on the things you enjoy about the job rather than letting the downsides cloud your judgement and outlook.

Take the time to write the benefits of working at the company on a sheet of paper. Everyone likes a sincere compliment and it never hurts to convey those points of interest to the hiring manager.

In the End

You should look at the interviewing process as enjoyable rather than considering it a chore. Think positively, stay focused, follow your intuition and you’re bound to get the position that you want.”

Author:

Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement a recruiting firm based out of New York City.

Handling Office Politics

“Some people steer clear of office politics, but playing the game may be crucial to career success because it offers a way to learn how power and influence are managed in your company.

To get a handle on office politics, observe how things get done in your organization. Ask some key questions: What are the core values and how are they enacted? Are short- or long-term results more valued? How are decisions made? How much risk is tolerated? The answers to these questions should give you a good sense of the culture of your organization.

And don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. If no one knows of your good work, you may lose at the game of office politics when you really deserve to win. Let others know what you’ve accomplished whenever you get the opportunity. Just be careful to avoid coming across as a braggart by exaggerating your successes or taking too much credit for teamwork you participated in.

Learn to communicate persuasively. Develop an assertive style, backed with solid facts and examples, to focus attention on your ideas and proposals. Good politicians adjust their messages for different audiences but do not align themselves too strongly with any one group. While an alliance may be powerful for the moment, new leadership can oust existing coalitions and surround itself with new supporters.

Meanwhile, keep an eye out for any office turmoil that might be directed at you. If a boss or colleague works to sabotage your career – or you perceive you’re being sabotaged – no matter the reason, it can be tough to cope. Complain, and you’re no longer considered a team player or may be accused of imagining the situation. Sit back and do nothing, and your career advancement could be in jeopardy.

If a colleague attempts to denigrate your character, blame you for something you didn’t do or steal credit for your work, make sure to keep your cool. Don’t confront the saboteur. First, carefully weigh the unpleasant possibility that your assumptions about the person are false. Make sure it’s not you that’s the problem. If you’re unsure, consult with a trusted colleague or mentor. Should you then feel certain that you’re in the right, talk to your boss in private about the issue.

  • Tips

    • Don’t be afraid to highlight your own accomplishments to your boss and coworkers. An assertive personality is tough to break down.
    • Don’t go too far down the road of alliances. All it takes is one staffing change to shift the balance of power, so having allies across the board (rather than in one faction) is most effective.
    • Keep a watchful eye of overly competitive coworkers who might delight in your own demise. If power struggles become too much to take, it might be time to look for a new job.

Going forward, you may be able to stop a conniving boss or colleague in his or her tracks by putting every idea, suggestion and accomplishment into a time-stamped document, like an email message. Overall, focus on being true to yourself. After analyzing the political landscape in your company, if you decide the game is one you can’t play, prepare to move on.”

Article Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal

Promotions, Promotions, Promotions!

So you’ve been at your job for a certain amount of time and our ready for a promotion? Here’s a great article I’ve found that will give you some great helpful hints on taking your career to the next level!

“Do you feel like you’re stuck in your current job? Are you ready to move up? It’s tough to climb the corporate ladder, but if you want a job that excites you and pays well, you’ll likely have to make the climb at some point. If you want to get a promotion, you’ll need to be a patient team player while also being an ambitious self-promoter. It’s a difficult balance to strike, but these tips can help.

  1. Work for a company that can give you room to grow. The type of company you work can determine your potential for promotion. When applying for jobs, seek out companies with opportunity for advancement. You don’t have to work for a huge corporation, although these usually offer plenty of promotion possibilities at any given time, but you do want to look for a company that has enough going on so that you can be assured you’re not running into a dead end. Preferably this company will be doing well and growing, though many companies, especially very large ones, tend to grow in cycles.
  2. Concentrate on just doing the best you possibly can in your current position. Excellent performance reviews aren’t sufficient to get you a promotion, but they’re necessary for it. So are good attendance, punctuality, and a willingness to go the extra mile when the company needs it. Showing up 5 minutes early and leaving 5 minutes after your shift can turn into a fortune of extra income over your lifetime when you are the one that gets the promotion.
  3. Make sure people know you’re doing a great job. You don’t want to toot your own horn too much, but you can’t always expect your merits to speak for themselves. Keep in good contact with your supervisor, and make sure he or she knows what you’ve been up to (assuming you’ve had some smashing successes). Don’t be an attention grabber or “brown-noser,” but make sure people know who you are and make sure you get credit where credit is due.
  4. Be popular. In an ideal world, promotions would be based solely on merit. We don’t live in an ideal world, though, and office politics will often play a role in who gets promoted and who doesn’t. Use and develop your people skills. Be kind and helpful to your coworkers, supervisors, and underlings. Develop relationships with people you work with, play golf with the boss, and get to know people (other than your immediate supervisor) who make decisions in the company. Be present at company events and network with people from outside your department.
  5. Make sure the right people know you want a promotion. Don’t be afraid to tell your supervisor about your career goals–most good supervisors will ask you about them and try to be helpful. Continue to do a great job in your current position, and don’t seem fed up with your current work, but let decision makers know if you really want a particular job.
  6. Apply for jobs within the company. These days you can’t just wait for a promotion to fall in your lap. That happens sometimes, but most promotions, especially at large companies, require you to go through the application and interview process, and usually you’ll have to compete with candidates from outside the company.
    • Apply for the right positions. Don’t just apply for any opportunity that pays a bit more than your current job. Look for opportunities that you are genuinely interested in and that you are qualified for. You don’t have to have all the skills listed in the job description, and you probably won’t, but you want to be able to make a good case that you’ll be able to get up to speed quickly.
    • Take the application process seriously. Too often, internal candidates figure they’ve got the new job in the bag, but studies show that as few as 1/3 of internal candidates win the better jobs they seek. External candidates can be extremely competitive because they have no pretenses of security–they want the job, and they know they’ll have to put their best foot forward to get it. In addition, companies sometimes want to bring in new people to bring new skills or perspectives to the organization. The lesson here: don’t be complacent, and remember to “sell” yourself as you would if you were applying for any other job.
  7. Seek out new skills. If you become the best customer service representative of all time, you’re well on your way… to remaining a highly regarded customer service representative for the rest of your career. It’s not enough to be great at your job; you also have to develop marketable skills that prepare you for more responsibility. When you gain skills and qualifications far beyond what your current job requires, your employer may see keeping you in that job as a waste of your talents.
    • Go to school. If you haven’t earned a Bachelors degree, do it. If you have, consider earning a Masters or PhD, but only if one of these qualifications will help you achieve your career goals. Don’t just go back to school for the heck of it. Instead think about what programs will help you climb the corporate ladder. Sometimes specialized professional designations or licenses can be far more important to getting a promotion than degrees, and sometimes you may just need to take some classes to improve your computer skills or accounting ability, for example. There are a wide range of education programs available that allow you to go to class in the evenings or on weekends, and there are also ample opportunities for accredited self-study and online learning. What’s more, your employer may reimburse you for certain tuition expenses, so it may be possible for you to expand your knowledge at no cost to yourself.
      • Learn a second/third language. Due to the increasing globalization of the world in general, more and more companies will be looking for people that know multiple languages. Learning more than one language also means you don’t need a translator, which opens up international posts (such as a manager for an entire continent, as opposed to a state or small country).
    • Take on temporary projects. Temporary projects can be a great way to broaden your skills and network with people from other areas of the company. Many people feel uncomfortable volunteering for these assignments because they can be challenging and can force you out of your comfort zone. That’s the point.
    • Volunteer. If you’re not getting new skills at work, consider volunteering your spare time to a non-profit organization. Large, well-recognized non-profits almost always offer a wealth of opportunities to learn new things, and smaller organizations may also have suitable projects you could work on. Successful non-profits typically look to fill volunteer positions with people who are qualified to do the job, but with a little persistence you should be able to find an opportunity that uses your existing skills and helps you build new skills. Your community involvement can also be a plus toward your getting your promotion.
  8. Get a mentor. A strong relationship with a manager or someone higher up in your department can open a lot of doors for you. For one thing, you’ll likely learn a lot about the organization and about the jobs you might want to get in the future. For another, you’ll have an ally who will be willing to go to bat for you when you do decide to apply for a new opportunity. Finally, your mentor may groom you to succeed him or her when they move up or retire.
  9. Groom a successor. It’s a common paradox: you’re so good at your job that you’re indispensable, but you’re so indispensable in your current position that the company would fall apart if you were to leave that position. The solution to this problem is to take another employee under your wing and train him or her so that they will be ready to fill your shoes if you get promoted. Some people are afraid that their understudy will take their job if they do this, but as long as you’re a great employee and continue to develop your skills, the only way you’ll lose your current job is by getting promoted. Training another employee (or several) also shows that you have management skills and that you care about helping other employees develop their skills.
  10. Develop a new position. If you figure out a better way to do your existing job or see the need for a new position, don’t be afraid to talk to management about creating this position. Since you’re the one who saw the need and, presumably, you’re best qualified for the position, this can help you take on new responsibilities, even if you don’t get a big pay raise at first.
  11. Seek employment elsewhere. If, for whatever reason, you seem to be at a dead end with your current employer, it’s time to look for better opportunities elsewhere. This can be hard if you feel a loyalty to your employer, but you do need to do what is in the best interest of your career or you will become unhappy with your job. Recent surveys show that as many as 75 percent of employees are looking for new jobs at any given time, so you won’t be alone.

Tips

  • If you’re doing a great job and have had rave performance reviews but have still been passed over for a promotion or two, maybe there’s something your manager isn’t telling you. You may want to ask some questions about why you didn’t get the promotion and what skills or qualities the successful candidate had that you didn’t. Be polite and tactful, but try to get real answers. This is not an opportunity to complain, but rather a chance to find out what you can do to get the next promotion you want.
  • When looking for companies that give you room to grow, it’s always a good sign if they mention that they like to promote from within. Don’t take this assurance too seriously, however. No matter where you work, you will probably still have to compete with external candidates.
  • If you have particular career goals in mind–and you should–perform a “gap analysis.” This is an analysis of where your skills and qualifications are at now compared to where they need to be to get to the next level and to achieve your overall career goals. Think about this carefully and honestly, and then work out a plan to close the gap.
  • Try as you might to avoid office politics, at times you do have to take sides. Do so gracefully and reasonably, and be careful not to burn bridges or alienate people.
  • Patience is a virtue, even when seeking a promotion. Be realistic with yourself about your qualifications and job performance, and don’t get frustrated if you get passed over for a promotion. Wait for the right opportunity. But don’t wait forever.
  • Tired of climbing the corporate ladder? Strike out on your own. If you have marketable skills or a hobby which you are passionate about, such as ‘gossiping’ and consider your own show as stand-up comedian.

Warnings

  • It can be difficult to let people know you’re competent and ambitious without seeming arrogant or threatening. You do need to be assertive, however, to get what you want. Just remember to be tactful, helpful, and kind to everyone you work with–not just to your boss.
  • If you apply for jobs willy-nilly, hiring managers may begin to take you less seriously, and your current supervisor may question your dedication to your existing job. The same can be said if you apply for other jobs too quickly. Be patient, and take the time to develop competence in one job before trying to move up.
  • Be careful to set reasonable expectations for yourself. It can be easy to burn yourself out by trying too hard. For example, if you often work more hours per week than you can maintain indefinitely, you may set an expectation in others that you will continue to work those hours.”

 

What Does Career Success Mean To You?

Interesting question, and there is no one correct answer. I’ve been asking family, friends, and complete strangers what their feelings are about “career success.” I’ll be posting them in this post as I receive them. Feel free to add your opinion too! Enjoy!

  • “I think career success is either your happy with what your doing and making a good living, or doing something honorable with your life. You don’t have to be making lot’s of money to be successful in your career. I think being happy with what your doing is the most important.” (Christian H.) 
     
  • “Specifically, it is when you are the unquestionable master of your own time, are making more than $1000 an hour, and are consistently lionized in prominent international publications worldwide for your acumen, insights, and accomplishments. More generally, it means doing enough to attain immortality.” (Nishant K.)
     
  • “When going to work isn’t work, but that satisfies some passion. When you can look back and see that you’ve left things better than they were. Just enough $ to keep body & soul together. Oh, and a yacht…a big, biiig, yaaaacht (said in Eartha Kitt’s purr).” (Treven C., Director of Operations, Squaretrade.com)
     
  • “I think career success is doing something you enjoy and that you are well respected for. ” (David P., Immigration Attorney)
  • “I remember reading a quote when I was in young about how you shouldn’t get a job that requires a new wardrobe. While new clothes are sometimes a necessity for a new job, I think the spirit of that quote is saying that you shouldn’t have to change who you fundamentally are for your job. If you love counting, then accounting might be a great career for you. If you like to work with your hands, then get a job in manufacturing (and don’t take a job in accounting just because it pays more!). Career success means doing what I enjoy and what comes naturally, which for me includes training and instructional design. The days fly by because my work is interesting, and I respect those around me who have chosen a similar profession. Success means having enough money to live for today and plan for tomorrow. It also means having time enough time away from work so that I am refreshed and ready to come back every day for more.” (Kim C., Training Supervisor, Biotech)