3 Salary Negotiation Rules You Should Never Break

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Getting and acing the interview feels like a homerun, but it’s really a third-base play. Stepping on the home plate happens after the offer, salary negotiations and your signature is signed on the dotted line.

Some job seekers are so eager about closing in on the finish line that they may not carefully evaluate and counter the compensation offer. It’s an important final job search stage, so protect yourself and don’t break any of these rules.

You get paid what the job is worth
It’s not breaking the rules for a company to ask what you were paid in your last job. But it’s also okay for you not provide this information. Most recruiters or hiring managers want to know your current or previous salary to make sure the compensation is within a range you will consider. However, that may not be the best approach.

Asking about a candidate’s earning history can also be a way to low ball an offer. A better approach is to ask for an applicant’s salary expectations. That is a fair approach. If you are asked the salary question, it’s definitely appropriate to turn the question around and ask for the salary range for the position. That gives you a chance to decide upfront if that range fits your experience and anticipated comp. You should be paid for what the job is worth in terms of scope of responsibility and experience required, not for your past or present earning power in a jobs that may not be apples to apples.

Consider the complete compensation package
Don’t focus so much on the annual salary number. There are other variables that add up to the total bottom line. Fully paid healthcare benefits, although rare, do happen, and that’s a big chunk of change of over $5,000 for single coverage or double that for family coverage. Get the details of the company’s insurance coverage, including the percent of employee responsibility and deductibles. Life insurance, disability insurance, etc., as well as 401k contributions impact the total compensation. If a company matches 30% of your 401k, that’s a nice deal.

Look at all benefits, such as daycare, free or discounted meals, and stock options before making your decision. Carefully review the stock program, the number of diluted shares and their actual worth. A large number of options can be enticing, but it’s their actual or potential worth per share that matters.

Don’t accept less because it’s a remote job
It’s an error and red flag is a company offers a lower salary in exchange for a remote role. There are some benefits a home-based gig, but you should be paid for the work that you are doing, not where you are doing it. If a company hires the right talent, most employees will tend to work longer and harder at home than in an office where many distractions exist. The company wins. Plus, the company saves on expensive office space that you’re not using, which could be thousands of dollars per month. Be prepared to address that in your salary negotiations.

Coming to an agreement on your value to a company isn’t a fun part of the job search process, but with insights on how to approach the offer stage, you can command the salary you deserve.

Be Prepared for Video Interviews

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It feels great to clear the first hurdle of the job search process and land an interview. It’s your chance to really sell yourself, have an open conversation with the hiring manager and get one step closer to closing the deal on a new opportunity.

Except not all interviews happen in-person or with a chance for a live exchange of information. Some companies are relying more on recorded video interviews to weed through contenders.

There are pros and cons of video interviewing, but don’t let the camera scare you. If a company extends an invitation to interview via a recorded interview, seize the offer and prepare just like you would for any interview.

Advantages
Some of the benefits of video recorded interviews include a more efficient way to conduct numerous interviews and expedited time to hire. Those advantages may seem to fall on the side of the hiring company, but they can be pluses for you as well. You won’t have to wait as long for an interview. Coordinating phone or face-to-face meetings can take days if not weeks at times. Video recorded interviews can shorten that time drastically and don’t require scheduling time on multiple calendars.

You can generally also find a time that works best for you, day or night; choose your own setting; and not have to travel any distance to an on-site meeting. Some platforms also can be accessed on a tablet or mobile phone.

The Downside
Some people may have performance anxiety and worry about how they look on camera. There is generally only one shot to answer a question on some video platforms, and there is not a way to clarify questions or ask for additional information. You also can’t read the interviewer’s non-verbal cues since questions are pre-recorded or in written form. A Skype interview, for instance, is different. That medium does afford a two-way visual and verbal exchange.

The worst part: a video recorded interview can feel a bit de-humanizing and like one more use of technology to remove the real sense of connection and rapport between two people. There is also the chance that video recordings can increase discrimination, giving the hiring company a means of judging appearance rather than qualifications.

How to Prepare
You still don’t want to miss getting your foot in the door, even if that first introductory interview is through a video recording. How can you ace a video interview?

Just like you conduct any interview. Prepare.

  • Find the most comfortable place for to record your interview, preferably a professional, office-like setting.
  • Try out a practice recording of yourself in which you check for lighting, distance from the screen, microphone reception and noise levels
  • Dress like you would for an on-site interview (at least from your torso up)
  • Smile; you’ll look and sound more upbeat if you smile throughout the recording
  • Research the company and prepare for potential questions like you would for any interview
  • Set a time for your recorded interview when you know you will look and feel your best
  • Be natural and use hand gestures just like you would if you were sitting in front of the interviewer

A video recorded interview can feel a bit like creating a video for a dating site, but it’s all about putting your best foot forward. You’ll need to do that if it’s in-person or on camera. Rehearse, set the stage and…and break a leg!

What? Interviews Can Be Fun?

Interviews can be fun

If you dread interviewing for a new job, you are not alone. Interviews may seem like just another annoying and stressful part of conducting a job search, depending on how you think about them. Can you actually turn them into a fun experience?

Yes. And here is how.

Be fully prepared
It’s good common sense to prepare for interviews, but it’s not about just knowing as much as you can to impress your interviewer and strategize how to position yourself for the role and fit with the company. It’s also a way to have done your homework so that you can relax during the meeting time and have an easy, informed conversation. The more relaxed you are, the better impression you will make.

The majority of interview prep time shouldn’t be spent on determining what you will wear. Your interview attire should already be selected and ready to go if you are in the market for a new job. Don’t over prepare, but spend enough time to understand the business and its products/services, its position in the market, the job requirements, and your strengths and qualifications that match up.

Relax
Not to be redundant since this was already mentioned, but being relaxed (but not too much so that you slump in your chair and put your feet on the desk) really helps you focus more on the interviewer, the questions and how to respond, rather than on yourself. Your interviewer will be more at ease too.

Not everyone likes meeting new people, but if you can see the interview as another networking opportunity and chance to get to know the interviewer and the company better, it can be fun. The conversation will flow more smoothly, and you will get a better feel for the company and whether you really want to work there.

Interview like your life is not on the line
No matter how badly you need the job don’t interview like it’s the last opportunity on earth. Desperation is not appealing. It will make you try too hard and prevent you from being your best self. And being desperate is not fun. Hello, sweaty palms, underarm stains and perspiration on your upper lip!

Focus your attention on the interviewer
You don’t have to read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” to know that people appreciate it when you listen attentively, show respect and act with sincere kindness. It’s just good etiquette. Apply it in every interview. Making people feel more appreciated and comfortable will make you more comfortable as well. Leave your ego at the door. You’ll have plenty to say about yourself when asked. Do it humbly.

See every interaction as a gift and opportunity to learn and grow. When you look for the good in all circumstances, your attitude shifts and so does the perception people have of you.

Do the pre-interview work. Show up, and have fun. Be the person you would want to work with.

How to Think Like an Entrepreneur and Add More Value at Work

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No everyone will start a business, lead teams or rise to CEO, but all employees can create a big impact where they work by thinking like an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs are problem solvers. They generally start businesses to solve an existing problem, provide an improvement or innovate for new ways of doing things. That means they are paying attention with sharp awareness to their environment, the way work is done or how to make life better or easier.

Thinking like an entrepreneur, even for the entry-level employee, means looking for methods of doing your own work in an innovative and efficient manner as if you were the CEO, but it also means understanding the bigger picture and not just the role you play defined by your job description. It’s easy to get heads down in an isolated silo and take responsibility for only what you need to get done within your own department. Yet, to add the most value and be seen as a strategic asset, you have to step beyond what you do in the day-to-day. Apply the following seven tips to help:

Seek knowledge about cross-departmental roles and objectives
Ask employees in other departments about their jobs and comprehend what each department’s role is in the organization. How can you work together better or collaborate on issues that impact the entire organization?

Know your product or service
You should get a thorough briefing on your company’s products or services when you join a company. If not, make it your goal to educate yourself and stay abreast of any product enhancements. Think like a product manager yourself. What can be done to improve products or services over time? Always accepting the status quo is no-no for the entrepreneurial mind.

Understand the market you serve
Think outside the organization to recognize the market your company serves and constantly look for economic or social trends that could impact that market. Also, tune in to the customer mindset.

Acquire knowledge about company financials and revenue goals
Just because you don’t have a seat at the C-level table, doesn’t mean you should not be as deeply concerned about the bottom line as company leaders. You’ll feel more engaged and eager to contribute if you take just as much responsibility as those at the top for achieving revenue goals.

Stand in the shoes of your CEO
What is it like to be the CEO? How does he or she have to look at the business to meet revenue expectations and improve the company from both financial and cultural perspectives? See a problem. Present a solution.

Envision the future
Always have an eye on the future and what might be. Imagine the impossible now that could be possible tomorrow. Dream big, about your own role and the company’s growth potential.

Thinking like an entrepreneur with fill you with more passion for the work that you do and make you feel more involved in the success of the company. You will be thinking like a leader, constantly growing and challenging yourself, and increasing your value to the company.

Mobile Job Search Apps for Millennials on the Move

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Image: Pixabay

One of the coolest things about millennials is that they embrace technology to get things done – faster. We could all take a page from their book when it comes to using apps and mobile solutions to help with job searching.

Searching for a job can be like a full-time job itself. It’s no surprise that anything that helps make search processes easier and that can be done on the move appeals to Generation Y. But these awesome tools should be in everyone’s back pocket, regardless of age.

From start to end, there is an app for almost every stage of your search.

Grammarly should be in anyone’s toolkit. Quick and easy to use, it can help catch spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes on resumes, cover letters, thank you messages and follow-ups. Hiring managers will often toss out any candidate who can’t communicate properly and error-free.

For the more adventuresome, creative job seeker, Visualize.me enables users to turn text resumes into infographics in order to express their professional accomplishments in a simple, yet compelling, personal visualization. The jury is still out on recruiters’ preferences for visual resumes, and they aren’t always applicant- tracking-system friendly. But they’re cool to look at and can grab attention.

Have both job search and applications done for you with Fridayd, and keep your search organized in one place. On a mobile device, it’s just tap, touch and you’re done. You can decrease online job search time to 30 minutes or less per week.

Get help connecting to the right recruiter or hiring manager using Mentat. One of the best ways to get noticed is to send an email to the right contact after applying online. Mentat can help identify the best person to reach out to.

The go-to for checking out company reviews and ratings is Glassdoor. It’s especially useful for interview research and understanding how happy employees are with CEOs and the company’s culture. Glassdoor also lists job opportunities. Check it out.

There really is an app for everything. You can prepare for interviews and practice responses to interview questions with the Interview Prep Questions app.

And when it’s all said and done and you’ve landed your dream job, there is the Spafinder Wellness 365 app to help you find a massage and take a deep breath, or an app to treat yourself to almost anything.

App up your job search!

 

 

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The One Most Often Overlooked Interview Question

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Job seekers prepare for every interview question imaginable and have their own long list of questions to ask in return, omitting one that they frequently fail to address: “What is the office space like for this position; where will I sit?”

Most job seekers are concerned about job requirements, salary and benefits, not taking into account how the physical environment can impact job satisfaction and success. And, then there is the eagerness to simply land the offer and not wanting to appear too particular or pushy in the interview by asking about office details.

If you are not offered a tour of the facility before the offer phase, ask for one. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the full picture of your potential work experience before deciding to join a company. Ask if the person filling the role will have a private office, a cubicle or sit in today’s more trendy open shared space. There are pros and cons for each, but it can be a shock going from an office with a door to a large, wide-open room with no dividers.

Rare is the employee who wouldn’t opt for a private office, but there can be advantages to working in cool, Silicon Valley-style office without barriers, including increased transparency, collaboration and team cohesion. Truth be known, however, the greatest advantage for companies that build open-plan offices can be cost. Fewer walls and cubicle dividers mean less expensive construction.

But the true costs can be the exact opposite of the intended benefits: more distraction, lower productivity, increased illness spread through close contact, conflict among employees and decreased morale.

If you love the new opportunity but the workspace isn’t ideal, you may be able to use it as an additional bargaining chip. It could help you negotiate more remote work time, for instance, as a tradeoff.

Take your new work environment into serious consideration before signing on with a company. It can impact more than your ability to produce optimally and succeed, including taking a toll on your emotional and physical health.

 

 

 

 

Tips on Sidestepping the Salary History Question: New Legislation Helps

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In the recent past, some cities and states have already passed legislation to prevent employers from asking job candidates their salary history. It’s a great move for a couple of reasons.

Originally designed to promote equal pay for equal work, such legal measures go beyond attempts to narrow the pay gap for women in the workplace. All job seekers, regardless of gender, should understand how unfair the salary question is and know how to avoid it, especially in cities and states yet to prohibit it.

Your current or past salary has no bearing on what you should be paid in a new position. Period.

What should determine your salary?

The scope of responsibilities in the new position combined with the fair market value for the geographical region in which you will work should be the first factors in deciding salary. Next, levels of experience and expertise weigh in to setting compensation for a role.

Don’t go into an interview without knowing your worth based on market research. There are plenty of online tools, such as PayScale and Glassdoor, to help you calculate your value. But better yet, if your region doesn’t have legislation banning salary history questions, employ some sidestepping strategies.

Many companies request current and past salaries in their online applications. Leave that section blank if it is not a required field. If it is mandatory, you won’t be able to leave that field incomplete, but you can try using all zeros to bypass the system, leaving that question for later in the interview stage.

It’s true that some companies like to have your salary history to make sure your salary expectations don’t exceed their set range for a position and that time isn’t wasted interviewing non-viable candidates. The assumption is that a candidate with a higher salary won’t be satisfied receiving less. That’s not always accurate, however. Many employees find job satisfaction in the work that they do, not just the compensation they receive. An employer can avoid this altogether by being upfront about the salary range for the position. You can then indicate if that range is acceptable to you.

Your first interview with a company will most likely be a screening call with a recruiter, who in most cases will inquire about your salary. You’re in the hot seat. How do you respond without angering the recruiter by withholding information? You can kindly answer the question with some variation of the following:

  • Don’t provide your current salary, but rather provide the recruiter with your salary requirements. What you require and what the hiring company is willing to pay are the only aspects that need to be considered in ascertaining if your salary expectations are a fit for moving forward.
  • Ask for the salary range, or provide a range in which you are willing to consider for the role.
  • Provide a range for your current salary just like the hiring company does for the position they are trying to fill. There is nothing wrong with stating that your existing salary is in the fair market value range for the scope of your responsibilities and that your salary expectations are based on the job requirements and your level of experience. A company worth joining will compensate its employees accordingly.

No one likes the salary question or the salary negotiation stages of job searching. Companies in the know and those that compensate fairly will avoid asking for salary history and instead pay for the value of the job and the experience of the person filling it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Your Storytelling Could Impact Your Job Search

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If you’re sad on the inside, don’t expect to show up happy on the outside.

It’s an amazing phenomenon how our inside world gets projected outwardly. We seemingly communicate the way we think and feel not just in words and non-verbals by the way we carry ourselves, facial expressions and overall body language, but also in the confidence, energy and well-being we exude without our knowledge. What’s even more interesting is that it’s hard to mask a negative self-perception with external appearances. What’s buried inside leaks out subtly in expressions we may be unaware of and that others pick up on.

It’s almost as if there is an invisible communication and energy field that operates of its own accord and relays the context of our inner dialogue – the story we inwardly tell about ourselves.

Most people can relate to the following experience. You’re miffed at a friend, colleague or spouse, without his/her knowing that you’re angry. You camouflage what you are thinking with a smile and pleasantries and act as if nothing is wrong. Yet, tension builds. You can feel it, almost cut it with a knife. You can’t swim out of the undercurrent of your thoughts and feelings. They can pull you under even if the surface looks calm.

Our self-narrative is especially important when we seek a new career opportunity. It says more about us than we can say with words.

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This is more than just self talk, though. The inner ongoing story of success or failure we choose to feed ourselves creates the way we feel, and those feelings turn into an identity we relay to others, despite what our words, credentials and crisp new suit might say to the contrary.

Get yourself in the right frame of mind by adjusting your vision of yourself for your job search. Keeping a positive self-image when a job search goes on and on can be challenging, but job seekers need to be vigilant about how they interpret, judge and speak to themselves about the circumstances surrounding their search.

If you have to tell yourself a story about yourself, tell a good one!

It’s the one everyone else will hear too when they look at you.

5 Tips for Measuring a Company’s Engagement…Before You Take the Job

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Fifty-one percent of employees in the U.S. are actively looking for a new job. That’s more than half, according to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace report. And that’s huge.

The biggest cause: employee engagement, or lack thereof. Seventy percent of U.S. employees are not engaged at work.

Disengagement can be an individual employee’s problem, for a number of reasons, such as personal challenges outside of work that serve as distractions, lack of interest in the work performed, ability to perform job functions, etc., but more often than not, employee engagement is a companywide issue related to culture, a mission employees can embrace, communication, management style, workplace recognition, opportunities for growth and simply having the right tools and resources to perform tasks optimally.

As a job seeker, a hiring company’s track record on engagement is an important element to consider in choosing to team up. You are more apt to work to your full potential at a company with a high level of engagement. But how do you measure employee engagement before you accept the offer?

Pose the Question

Ask the recruiter, the hiring manager and anyone who interviews you specifically about engagement and what the company does to promote it. Gallup has twelve questions companies can ask employees to help measure engagement:

  • I know what is expected of me at work.
  • At work, my opinions seem to count.
  • I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  • The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
  • At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  • My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  • In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  • I have a best friend at work.
  • My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  • In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  • There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  • This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

You won’t ask these questions, but they give you a good idea of what you want in an engaged workplace. You can ask related questions, such as how the employees are recognized, how performance and progress are measured, how employees feel about and embrace the company’s mission, what the company does to create a shared vision, and how employees are mentored or developed.

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Turnover Rate

It’s an old, but not outdated, question to ask. It can be an indicator of troubled waters within. Don’t stop at asking for the rate alone. Ask about underlying causes.

What’s a good turnover rate? It’s not one-size-fits-all and depends on the industry. The hospitality and restaurant industries have higher turnover rates in general as a result of the transient nature of the workforce. For example, high school and college students may fill hourly, unskilled labor positions. Turnover rates may be 16-17 percent for all industries as an average, but hospitality may have as much as 37 percent. If you are considering a professional role in such an industry, you can drill down and ask about turnover rates for their management workforce instead.

Employee Reviews

People talk, and in the age of social media, they have a platform to be heard. Glassdoor gives employees the opportunity to rate an organization. Keep in mind, however, that a disgruntled employee or even a job candidate may give a skewed review. Look for a repeated theme of negativity. Additionally, a small number of reviews won’t give you an accurate picture. Five reviews won’t tell you as much as 150 will. Look for other clues too on other social media platforms. A search on Twitter with a hash tag in front of a company name may reveal some surprising insights.

Ask Insiders

Ask existing contacts at the hiring company about their personal experiences, and more specifically ask about their sense of engagement. Do your networking homework and find other contacts working for the organization who may be willing to have a conversation with you.

The Golden Cup

Check a company’s awards and accolades for being a best pace to work and awards for engagement. Some awards and winners include:

Achievers Engaged Workplace Awards

Gallup Most Engaged Workplaces

Fortune Great Place to Work

Glassdoor Employee Choice Awards

Additionally, most local and regional business journals and newspapers host awards for best workplaces as do industry associations. Bear in mind that such awards are achieved through employee surveys and feedback. An award may measure many aspects of workplace, though, such as benefits, and may not measure true engagement, so use multiple channels to gather information on engagement to get an accurate account.

Moreover, just because a company is not on an award list, doesn’t mean it is not a great place to work or that it doesn’t have an engaged workforce. Companies apply to awards; they are not nominated by the award-granting entity.

Yep, You Should Still Complete a Job Application

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Over half a decade ago, it was predicted that résumés were dead and applying for jobs would be a waste of time. Instead, networking would win you a new job and social media profiles were the new résumés.

Today, résumés are still requested by most companies and the majority of those companies still require that job seekers complete an application, primarily online. Where was the forecasting miss?

Many hiring companies do enable applicants to apply and populate online application fields by applying with a LinkedIn profile. That has made the process easier in some respects, but it also means that applicants have to have a glowing LinkedIn profile that is complete and details work history and accomplishments. The assumption was that every professional would have a LinkedIn profile leading to the death of résumés. As it turns out, five years later, that is not the case.

According to LinkedIn at the time of this writing, a high number of professionals have a LinkedIn profile, but many profiles are still incomplete and lack summaries. That in itself makes it challenging to rely on LinkedIn solely as a résumé replacement.

Additionally, employers need to collect more information than what a LinkedIn profile provides for EEOC compliance and non-discriminatory hiring practices, permissions for background and credit checks, and data for their human capital management systems once an employee is hired. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are necessary to streamline and ensure consistency in recruitment and data capture. Having candidates complete application also means that every applicant is fairly asked the same questions.

So résumés haven’t gone away, nor have applications. In fact, new ATS solutions have continued to emerge on the market. Changes will occur, but those changes will primarily be enhancements to improve the user experience in completing applications and to make solutions more mobile. The ATS, however, is still the mainstay for organizing recruitment data.

The truth is that job seekers can’t abandon application completion as a part of their job search. It is true that more and more job deals are created and sealed through networking, but in reality a job search needs to be a three-pronged approach to make it really effective. That means efforts need to parsed out to searching for opportunities, completing applications and networking.

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To really increase your odds of getting the interview, still apply to a position online, but then devote a significant portion of time to discovering who the hiring manager is for a role plus other contacts who work for the company and can facilitate an introduction or serve as a referral. Then reach out. Get your application noticed so that it doesn’t fall through the cracks in the ATS’s or résumé bot’s automatic sorting and ranking. Sell yourself. Don’t depend on your application alone to get you noticed.