Jan 20

Interview: The Salary Expectation

It is important at the interview stage of the recruitment process to be somewhat flexible in respect to your desired salary. One doesn’t want to appear greedy or overly focused on remuneration.  On the other hand, you shouldn’t go into an interview with absolutely no idea what the salary range is for the position and/or what you expect as a starting salary.

The company already has a salary range in mind, so your reply should be focused on demonstrating your value to the company. The employer is making an investment in you, so they will expect a reasonable return on their investment. You should already have done your research so that you are aware of the standard industry salary for the position. Provide additional background information to prove your value if you feel you belong in the higher end of that range. Take the opportunity to explain how well your skills and experience match the company’s requirements and focus on specific areas where you exceed their requirements.  If you have had additional training or professional certifications above and beyond the minimum requirements of the job, highlight them.  If you have additional skills or experience that would allow you to be a resource to other areas of the company, mention them.  There is no reason you shouldn’t ask for what you feel you deserve, but you should be prepared to justify your expectations.

It’s possible you are less concerned about salary than you are about benefits and perquisites.  There is nothing wrong with negotiating a total compensation package that places more emphasis on benefits or vacation days than on salary.  Most employers expect the hiring process to be a bit of a negotiation, and many employers may be more flexible in benefits rather than base salary.

A confident, well-researched approach may give you the edge over another candidate who hasn’t done their homework or hasn’t fully proven their worth.

What To Do After A Job Interview

After an interview, it is advisable to keep yourself fresh in the mind of the interviewer(s). Here are some tips on how to do that.

Remember, you do not want to be perceived as a nuisance, so ask about their preferred method of follow-up communication and whether it would be acceptable to contact them in a few days.

If an interviewer asks that you follow up by phone in a week or on a specific date, respect their wishes. Calling earlier may be perceived as desperate, impatient or disrespectful.

Send a Thank You note to each of the interviewers one day after the interview. This will give a positive indication of your interest level in the position you have applied for and can be an excellent way to showcase your written communication skills. Such a letter could also be used to convey any important information which you may not have had the chance to impart during the interview.

Where Do You See Yourself Five Years From Now?

In an interview, the question of where you see yourself five years from now may be one of the trickiest to answer. It seems like every employer asks it, and there is no standard or “best” answer.

It’s wise to avoid giving the impression that the job for which you’re being interviewed is merely a “stepping stone” to something better–but you also don’t want to seem as though you lack initiative.

One way to handle the question is to impress upon the interviewer that you are flexible.  You might explain that you hope there are opportunities to learn and grow that will allow you to contribute even more to the company.  You understand that it will take time and hard work, and hope that the company will reward you by encouraging you to learn new skills that keep your job interesting and lead to advancement.

Above all, don’t make it sound as though you’ve memorized a speech. Be natural and honest, with a healthy dose of confidence.  You’ll find that most interviewers prefer a candidate who sounds genuine and seems at ease during the interview. Above all, be yourself.

Good luck!

The Dreaded “What’s Your Greatest Weakness?” Question

We have all heard it, “What do you consider to be your greatest weakness?” Yet few people appear to be prepared for it.  Let’s address that now.

There is, of course, no right answer. It is more a matter of how one answers the question. One of my clients answers this question with, “My greatest strength is never to discuss any weaknesses I may have.” I would not recommend that for everyone.

Avoid the answer, “I am a bit of a perfectionist,” as every interviewer has heard this standard reply many times.

The best way to answer this question is to choose something relatively minor, or one which you have overcome with diligent effort. When you name something, make sure it isn’t a skill or requirement which is essential to the position for which you are applying. Having told them your weakness, immediately go on to tell them how you recognized it in yourself and what you are doing about it. For example, “I am a nervous public speaker, but I have been attending Toastmasters and am gradually gaining confidence.” Or, “I have a tendency to get distracted by e-mail, phone calls, etc. when I have a project due, so I have learned to silence my phone, close my door and give myself time to focus on the task at hand.” Always end on a positive note.

Turn a weakness around and make it your strength.  Your next manager will respect you for it.

The “What’s Your Greatest Strength?” Question, And How To Answer It

“What is your greatest strength?” is one of the most common questions asked in an interview. Here are some tips on answering this question.

Consider the answer to the question prior to the interview; you should expect the question and the interviewer will be expecting a considered answer.

Focus on a few strengths which you consider would give you the best chance of being offered the position. Choose skills from the job requirement’s mandatory/essential skills and preferred skills list.  If the job listing mentioned “working as a member of a team,” give an example of how you were able to bring the team together on a particular project and keep it on track in pursuit of a common goal.  If you take direction well, mention your ability to follow instructions to the letter which contributed to excellence in your last job.

Be prepared to give specific and detailed examples of when you demonstrated these skills and how. This is no time for false modesty. Show the interviewer that you know what your strengths are and that you know how to use them.