Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Dealing with the Salary Elimination Question

There are two phases in a job search. First, you need to get a job offer. The second is evaluating and accepting the job offer. Realize that any conversation or questions about salary before you’ve been offered a job is not the time to negotiate salary. It is time for you to get past this question on your way to getting a job offer. Once they’ve made you an offer it is time to consider it and to negotiate salary and other benefits, compensation and perks. What were are talking about here is dealing with the Salary Elimination Question.

E: Employer
C: Interviewee or Candidate

E: What kind of salary are you looking for?
C: I’m looking for a salary in line with the responsibilities of the position.
Or you could say...
C: I really like your company and all my research leads me to believe that you offer a fair and competitive salary.
E: That’s nice. I really need to have a number; what are your salary expectations?

C: Oh, I’m looking for something in the 45K range.
E: That’s a little higher that we were expecting. Would you take less?
C: I’d consider it.

E: What was your last salary?
Let’s say that you were making a very high salary and due to the economy or because of a career shift you are applying for a lower paying position.

C: Oh, I’m looking for something in the 75K range.
E: That’s right in the range for the position you’ve applied for, but I still need to know your previous salary
C: I am making some allowances for the economy so I’ve reduced my salary requirements. I was earning 110 thousand in my last role. But that was a much different job.
E: Okay, thank you...

The goal here is to get through this question and not to make a big deal about it. Realize that I have refrained from two different responses. First, I didn’t use the word negotiate nor the word negotiation. Negotiate can be seen as an adversarial term. This is not the time to raise eyebrows; it is a time to build rapport. I also didn’t try to take the upper hand in the interview by asking a question like, “What does the job pay?” or “What are you expecting to pay for this position?”  This is a negotiation strategy and not appropriate at this time. Second, I also didn’t say anything that could be seen as desperate for the job. “I’m open, I’ll take anything!” is an absolute no-no! Just be cool and calm, answer the question simply and to the point.

You can also visit: xtranormal to view a movie clip on how this might work.

Just for Laughs!!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Accountability Partners 3-2-1

Last time I brought up for consideration the subject of adding an accountability partner in addition to an accountability group to aid in achieving goals. This time let’s look at a way to keep the phone calls with your accountability partner short and on target. I like 15 minute phone calls... anything more and my ear starts to hurt, and I have other calls to make. Remember the goal of these phone calls with your accountability partner is to keep you on task toward fulfilling your goals. If you take five minutes and your accountability partner takes five minutes, then with a little chit-chat you’ll be done in 15 minutes.  

Keeping to 3-2-1 as a model will help you stay on schedule.

   3 - Accomplishments
   2 - Goals
   1 - More thing
Just like accountability groups the focus is on accomplishments from the last phone call and goals for next time. I like starting with what I accomplished; this helps keep things on a positive note. Tell your accountability partner what top three things you’ve accomplished. Even if you accomplished ten things of note, mention three. This is a quick report and you don’t want to use up your whole five minutes.

After accomplishments move on to your top two goals for today. Saying your goal, or the activity to bring about that goal, out loud to someone has real power to energize your day. Normally, you’ll have more than two things you want or need to accomplish that day, but stating the top two creates clarity in your day. This is also motivating for those things you are less than excited get started on. One of my least favorite, but most important tasks every day is 10 to 15 phone calls to contacts and prospects.

Then move on to one more thing.  This can really be anything you want your accountability partner to be aware of. I might mention something I’m excited about or grateful for. “I have a phone call today with Wendy and I’m looking forward to the progress she is making on her project.” After this one more thing, it’s time for your accountability partner to talk and for you to listen.

After your accountability partner is finished, it’s good to confirm your next phone call or face to face meeting. If you’re doing this in coordination with an accountability group, then you’ll be prepared to report your weekly successes and accomplishments to the group. This will reinforce your activity and efforts with your accountability partner. REMEMBER: This is a tool not a time consuming activity so a little chit-chat to start and to end the session is fine but keep it short and simple

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Accountability Groups & Accountability Partners

Back in 2003, when we first started to employ the concept of "Accountability Groups for Job Seekers" at the College of DuPage’s DEN program, we saw a dramatic shift in folks landing jobs. Having someone or a group to support the job seeker, helping them to hold themselves accountable really affected the participants’ activity and intensity in their job search. While we never quantifiably measured the effectiveness of these groups, it was apparent that folks, who had been in a job search limbo, began getting interviews and job offers.

In 2005 Orville Pearson published, The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Search... where he describes a similar concept he calls "Job Search Work Teams." While not the exact same thing as "Accountability Groups," both possess an underlying principle that people are more effective when they have support and help motivating themselves to do things that are new, uncomfortable, or scary that need to be done. Left alone without support it is too easy for most of us to let ourselves off the hook, and rationalize reasons not to do something.

Not long ago, I met with a job seeker who mentioned to me that he was really working hard on his job search. I asked how he was able to do this and he told me that he was in three different accountability groups. I thought to myself that this went against a lot of what I teach regarding effective activity in a job search. As I drilled down he explained that before he joined the second and third groups, he only worked hard the day before the group met and often let himself off the hook until it became urgent to meet the objectives he’d set for the week. Sadly, he was giving up probably three hours a week in meetings when one meeting would have sufficed.

What he was really looking for was more accountability, more outside accountability. A few months before this meeting, I’d been pondering the idea of Accountability Partners to build on to the Accountability Group concept. Having a workout buddy that shows up every day to workout with you increases one’s compliance to do daily exercise. This same condition could work for job seekers, utilizing a daily 10 minute phone call with your "Job Search Partner."

In fact, this would work with anyone who needs to overcome some resistance in meeting a goal. Sales people, college students, small business owners and people doing their taxes could all benefit from having an "Accountability Partner."

I have used this concept a number of times in my life and my career to help me over the resistance, fear or inertia of doing unfamiliar or unpleasant activities. I suggest creating a bond or contract with another person with similar goals; partners who push each other forward, raise the bar and hold each other accountable will have a dramatic, positive effect in achieving your goals and desires.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

LinkedIn's New Whac-A-Mole Feature

Ever play Whac-a-mole at an arcade or fair? What a fun time, as the little mole pops its head up from any of six or seven different holes on the game, you attempt to smack or whack it down back into it’s hole. In the 90’s it was not uncommon for software companies to have one game available for employees amusement and/or release frustration.

LinkedIn introduced a feature in the last week or so and you may have been seeing it’s effects in your email. LinkedIn Endorsements were announced in late September this year with the tagline, “Give Kudos with Just One Click.” (See LinkedIn Blog)

Scott Kleinberg, of Tribune Newspapers say about LinkedIn Endorsements, “Click. Click. Boom. Show someone you respect them professionally. Endorse them on LinkedIn.Yet, there has been two side effects I’ve noticed. One, what do you do when you get a notification email? Two, when you endorse someone, a window pops up with other connections’ skill, asking if you would endorse them.

The first is easy, thank the person either on LinkedIn in a message or send them a thank you email. This is a great opportunity to further network with them and see what’s going on in their lives. But the second side effect, well that is something else...

This is the Whac-A-Mole game. As soon as you acknowledge  someone’s endorsement,  a window pops up with four people you are connected to and asks “Now it’s your turn. Endorse your connections:” and you can endorse a skill of theirs from their profile. (I have one client that never added Skills & Expertise to their profile and LinkedIn identifed potential skills within their summary and sent me an inquiry to endorse them - very smart technology.) Here is how it is a Whac-A-Mole 

When you endorse one person’s skill, another person and skill pops up. If you endorse all four, then four new endorsements pop up. If you are an addictive person you cannot stop, and you click, click & boom, your connections will soon know how much you appreciate their skills and expertise.

LinkedIn has provided a wonderful tool for people to connect and build relationships as well as providing an outlet for random acts of kindness. However, don’t use the endorsements willy-nilly or it will cheapen the endorsements as a whole. We need the to make sure that people, job holders, recruiters and hiring managers understand that when a prospective candidate has a number of endorsements attached to a specific skill, they can expect the candidate to demonstrate expertise in that skill in the interview.

So be considerate when you endorse someone’s skill. It’s quick and it’s easy, but it’s not trivial. It doesn’t take as long to produce as a recommendation, but it can be just as important to that person’s career future.