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It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.
– Tony Robbins
This post is part one of a three-part series based on chapter 17 of my new book, Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview.
The moment when you’re offered a job can be a mini-whirlwind of excitement joy, relief, nervousness, you name it. You may be tempted to scream “YES!” – quickly, before they can change their mind!
Many a job seeker has done exactly that, only to think later, “I sure wish I had thought about … (negotiating the starting date, the salary, leaving early on Tuesdays? the potential offer from that other company?) … before I said yes.”
Do yourself a favor. Have a plan for handling this important turning point in your career.
When you receive the offer, chances are that one of the following will be true for you:
Is this company financially stable? Any chance of layoffs in the next year or two?
Is this the right company culture for me?
Is there anything about the work schedule, the commute or the working conditions that’s going to get old fast?
What effect would this job have on my long-term career path?
Can I live on this salary?
Will I need to relocate? Will my family and I be happy in the new place?
Can I afford to wait for a better opportunity?
If so, I suggest you give an answer like this:
“This is a very exciting offer! I so appreciate it! Of course, it’s a very important decision, so I’d like to give it some careful thought. How soon do you need my answer?”
If you plan to negotiate, ask for a meeting:
“Is there a time tomorrow when we could meet to discuss the details of the offer?”
Whether you agree on giving an answer by Thursday, or meeting tomorrow at 1 pm to discuss details, immediately send an email confirming what has been agreed.
We’ve all heard that it’s important to get a written offer letter (and to make sure all the details are as agreed). But that’s not the only point that needs to be confirmed in writing.
Opportunities have been lost because both parties were not clear about the next steps. “We didn’t hear back from you (within the timeframe we assumed you understood), so we had to move on.” Whether you’re asking for time to think, for an answer to a question, or for an opportunity to discuss (negotiate) details of the offer, make sure the next step is confirmed in writing.
Keep a pleasant tone about it. You’re simply being thorough and professional for the benefit of all concerned.
Did you know that most employers expect some negotiation when they make an offer? If you’ve never negotiated your salary, benefits or other aspects of a job offer, stay tuned for the next two posts in this series. Or get my book, Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview, on sale now from Emerald Career Publishing.
You had a job interview but you didn’t get the job. Just forget about it, right?
Not completely. I found a surprising fact in a CareerBuilder study from last year: 54% of employers re-engage with past candidates who were not offered the job. I take that to mean they consider them later for another opening – or even for the same one.
I’ve seen this happen. One job seeker I coached, let’s call him Steve, was disappointed by an interview rejection involving an instructional designer position. Three weeks later he received a call from the company. The candidate they had selected had accepted the job but backed out at the last minute to accept another offer elsewhere. Was Steve still interested? He was! He started two weeks later in this job, and it was a major leap forward in his career.
This isn’t the only scenario. In other cases there may be additional positions that open up in the coming weeks or months. So when you hear “no,” think of it as “not right now.”
Here’s how to keep yourself open to opportunities post-interview:
For more tips about interviewing, read my book, Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview or contact me to see if one-on-one interview coaching could help you get your new job faster.
Saying “yes!” to a job offer sets the clock ticking on a crucial moment in your career. What can you do to start out on the right foot, maximize good relationships and minimize stress as you make your job transition?
This post is an excerpt from my recently published book, Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Job Interview, available in eBook and paperback formats from Amazon.
Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.” – John Dewey
From the moment you accept a new job to your first glowing performance review on the new job, career transition can be a bit of a roller coaster ride – exciting, hectic, even stressful. You get caught up in the whirlwind of that. But it’s also an important moment for some conscious career management.
Career management means realizing that although your new job is at XYZ Inc., your real, lifetime employer is You Inc., and you’re the leader of that enterprise. You
Speaking of marketing communications, during this job search, did you find yourself thinking “I wish I had done (X) before I needed to start looking for a new job”? Did you wish you had…
…Kept track of accomplishments and kudos on the job, as “resume material”?
…Taken home copies of your performance reviews?
…Kept your resume and LinkedIn profile updated?
…Built a network and stayed in touch?
…Stayed on better terms with past employers?
If so, plan on taking these steps as you go along, so next time it can all be easier and even more successful!
Let’s look at some specific actions that will support your career as you’re leaving your old job and getting ready to start your new one.
Before giving notice, make sure you have the new job offer in writing, including the start date. If you have any doubts whether that job will really be there – for example, if the company is undergoing extreme turmoil – clarify that with your boss-to-be before you give notice. New jobs have been known to vanish between the offer and the start date.
Gather resume-fodder details while you still can. Giving notice doesn’t necessarily mean the company will want you to stay, and you may suddenly lose access to your computer and hardcopy files. So before giving notice, and without violating agreements or ethics, gather up information that may be helpful in your next job search, such as copies of your performance reviews and details about your accomplishments (how much you increased sales last year, etc.).
Be clear what’s yours and what’s theirs. Does your LinkedIn profile belong to you, even though your employer helped you set it up and it’s connected to your business email address? Do you own your customer contacts or not? Disputes have arisen over these types of information.
Give notice verbally and in writing. Break the news to your supervisor first, in a private meeting, and agree on how and when the announcement will be made to others. Then write an email or letter stating briefly that you are resigning and when your last day will be. Stating why you are leaving is not necessary, but do include appreciation and thanks, even – or especially! – if the vibes are not gloriously warm.
How much notice should you give? Two weeks’ notice is standard; offering less is generally considered unprofessional. You might even want to offer more if leaving in two weeks would cause a hardship for the team. But don’t let it drag on and on. Your future is with the new company, so put that relationship first. Also consider your own needs for rest and recuperation. You may need to negotiate with both employers to get some time off in between. Enjoy some time off if you possibly can! Starting a new job takes a lot of energy.
Go out on a positive note. Past employers and co-workers are VIPs in your career network for many reasons – as sources of references, recommendations and information; for their influence on your reputation; and hopefully even as friends. So treat them well. Be willing to train your replacement. Create documentation for the next person in the role. Share all those tips nobody knows better than you.
Continue and nurture relationships with the people you’ve met in your search. Share your good news with everyone who helped you in any way. Maybe treat somebody to a meal to celebrate together and show appreciation for their support. Don’t be one of those people who only get in touch when they want something.
Update and improve your LinkedIn profile now; this is the very best time to do it. A year or two from now you may be looking at new opportunities, but spiffing up your profile at that point may arouse suspicion. Doing it now is safer, and will also help you look good to new colleagues who may be curious about you. Ask for recommendations from people at the job you’re leaving, especially your former boss. (Aren’t you glad you were nice on your way out?) Add your new job, either right before you start or, if you have any doubts about whether it will work out, after you’ve been on the job a little while. Don’t put it off too long.
File away notes for your next job search. If you’ve created various versions of your resume, gathered a lot of useful information about companies and job titles, and so on, you may want to refer to these items at some point in the future. Put them where you’ll be able to find them.
If you’ve read this book, I’m guessing you work hard – and strategically – for what you want, and that you’re also smart about seeking out new knowledge and outside expertise to support your efforts. These qualities will serve you well in your new workplace.
Your first days and months on the job will be about forming relationships, learning, and making a point of achieving early wins to quickly establish yourself as a valuable team member. All of that is beyond the scope of this book, but much has been written by others about making a great first impression at your new job and ensuring that the crucial first few months will be evaluated positively.
May your new job and your career be a rich source of everything you want from it, whether that be exciting challenges and growth, making a difference, prosperity, security, camaraderie or appreciation. I wish you “all of the above”!
To really stand out in a job interview, you need to know your the top 5 (or top 3 or whatever) “selling points” – the qualities or facts that will make the interviewer’s eyes light up – and to proactively emphasize them right from the start.
In a new podcast on CareerCloud, I discussed how to identify your unique selling points and make them work for you, powerfully. Listen now.
This post is an excerpt from Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Job Interview, available from Amazon as a softcover or eBook.
Sometimes the question is phrased a little differently: “Tell me about a time you had to work with someone you didn’t like, or who didn’t like you.”
However the question is asked, don’t project an image of yourself as someone who dislikes or is disliked by others. Reframe it as a situation where it was a challenge to work effectively with someone.
This question requires you to say something negative about a co-worker, which is generally a no-no in interviews. So be tactful by not giving any information that could identify who this person is.
Take an emotionally neutral tone. Resist the urge to kvetch, even if the interviewer encourages it by offering you sympathy.
Avoid characterizing the co-worker in judgmental terms like “Nothing was ever right as far as he was concerned” or “She wasn’t a team player.” Instead, describe the specific behavior objectively: “He would often make negative comments about team members” or “We needed her to provide a report every Monday, but it usually wasn’t done until mid-week.”
Be very brief about the difficult behavior, focusing primarily on what you did to make the best of the situation and how well it turned out. Treat this as a success story, emphasizing the positive results.
If you weren’t able to get any positive results, tell a different story! Remember, this question is not about the other person, it’s about you and your ability to collaborate with or manage others, to manage your own emotions and behavior, to resolve conflicts, and to use discretion and fairness in discussing a difficult situation.
To read the other posts in this series, visit my helpful job search blog.
For a more complete interview guide, read Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Job Interview.
And good luck with your interviews!
How do you answer the interview question, “What are your salary expectations?” This post is the fifth in a series of excerpts from my upcoming eBook, Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Job Interview, available from Amazon.
Answering this question too specifically can lose you a lot of money, or an opportunity. Naming a figure that’s too low can result in a lower offer, or even loss of the opportunity if your answer creates doubt about your value. A figure that’s too high can immediately disqualify you.
This is one of the few questions where formulaic, memorized verbiage may be the best approach.
First, as soon as you apply for a job make sure you understand the range of typical salaries for the position and geographic area, because this may be one of the first questions you will be asked in a phone screen, which could happen at any time.
You can research salaries via websites like Salary, Payscale, Glassdoor, Indeed, CareerOneStop, JobSearchIntelligence, a simple Google search, and sometimes via word of mouth. Use more than one source, since a broader range may give you more negotiating flexibility.
When the question is asked, respond with “Can you tell me what range you have budgeted for the position?”
If they tell you a range, say something like, “That seems like a reasonable ballpark. I’m sure once we agree I’m the right person for the job, we’ll be able to agree on a salary that’s fair.”
If they won’t state their range and put the question back onto you, say something like, “I’ve done some research and I’m seeing salaries anywhere from X to Y. I’m sure once we agree I’m the right person for the job we’ll be able to agree on a salary that’s fair.”
Earlier posts in this series explored the common interview questions “What are your weaknesses?”, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”, “Why did you leave your job?” and “What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made on the job?” For more posts like these you can subscribe to my helpful job search blog.
For tips on dozens of common interview questions (and some not-so-common ones) and much more, check out my book on Amazon.
Thea Kelley brings extensive expertise and credentials to her work, serving clients in the San Francisco Bay area and throughout the United States. Click here to read her bio.
Copyright © 2017 Thea Kelley
Copyright © 2012 Thea Kelley