early in your life that it doesn’t score many points for you at this stage of
Have a recent example ready that demonstrates either:
quality most important to the job at hand; or
quality that is always in
demand, such as leadership, initiative, managerial skill, persuasiveness,
courage, persistence, intelligence, etc.
enthusiastically, you could be perceived as a loose cannon in a larger company,
too entrepreneurial to make a good team player…or someone who had to settle for
the corporate life because you couldn’t make a go of your own business.
paranoia of a small company indicating that you may plan to go out on your own
soon, perhaps taking some key accounts or trade secrets with you.
perceived as a security-minded drone who never dreamed a big dream.
this company’s corporate culture before answering and…
honest (which doesn’t mean you have to vividly share your fantasy of the
franchise or bed-and-breakfast you someday plan to open).
formal, military-style structure, minimize any indication that you’d love to
have your own business. You might say,
“Oh, I may have given it a thought once or twice, but my whole career has been
in larger organizations. That’s where I
have excelled and where I want to be.”
everybody’s-a-deal-maker variety, then emphasize that in a firm like this, you
can virtually get the best of all worlds, the excitement of seeing your own
ideas and plans take shape…combined with the resources and stability of a
well-established organization. Sounds
like the perfect environment to you.
to indicate that any desires about running your own show are part of your past, not your present or future.
dreamer who failed and is now settling for the corporate cocoon…or the restless
maverick who will fly out the door with key accounts, contacts and trade
secrets under his arms just as soon as his bankroll has gotten rebuilt.
Match what you want with what the position offers. The more information you’ve uncovered about
the position, the more believable you can make your case.
generalities, not highly specific
strong believers in goal-setting. (It’s one of the reason they’ve achieved so
much). They like to hire in kind.
could be a big turnoff to may people you will encounter in your job search.
life: career, personal development and
learning, family, physical (health), community service and (if your interviewer
is clearly a religious person) you could briefly and generally allude to your
spiritual goals (showing you are a well-rounded individual with your values in
the right order).
you wish to accomplish along the way, time periods you’re allotting for
accomplishment, why the goal is important to you, and the specific steps you’re
taking to bring it about. But do this
concisely, as you never want to talk more than two minutes straight before
letting your interviewer back into the conversation.
best answer weave them around the three most important qualifications for any position.
the person do the work (qualifications)?
the person do the work (motivation)?
the person fit in (“our kind of team player”)?
and hard-changing executives in marketing-driven companies, feel that good
salesmanship is essential for any key
position and ask for an instant demonstration of your skill. Be ready.
important secret of all great salesmanship – “find out what people want, then show them how to get it.”
this to me,” you are going to demonstrate this proven master principle. Here’s
prospect before he sells anything. If I
were selling this, I’d first get to know everything I could about it, all its
features and benefits.”
stapler like this. The best way to do
that is by asking some questions. May I
ask you a few questions?”
you didn’t already have a stapler like this, why would you want one? And in addition to that? Any other reason? Anything else?”
good supply of staples?” (Ask more
questions that point to the features this stapler has.)
citing all the features and benefits of this stapler and why it’s exactly what
the interviewer just told you he’s looking for.
consider a reasonable price for a quality stapler like this…a stapler you could
have right now and would (then repeat
all the problems the stapler would solve for him)? Whatever he says, (unless it’s zero), say,
“Okay, we’ve got a deal.”
interviewer tests you by fighting
every step of the way, denying that he even wants such an item, don’t fight him. Take the product away from him by saying,
“Mr. Prospect, I’m delighted you’ve told me right upfront that there’s no way
you’d ever want this stapler. As you
well know, the first rule of the most productive salespeople in any field is to
meet the needs of people who really need
and want our products, and it just wastes everyone’s time if we try to
force it on those who don’t. And I
certainly wouldn’t want to waste your time.
But we sell many items. Is there any product on this desk you would very
much like to own…just one item?” When he
points something out, repeat the process above.
If he knows anything about selling, he may give you a standing ovation.
is your most important negotiation. Handle it wrong and you can blow the job
offer or go to work at far less than you might have gotten.
remember these five guidelines:
bring up salary. Let the
interviewer do it first. Good
salespeople sell their products thoroughly before talking price. So
should you. Make the
interviewer want you first, and your bargaining position will be much
your interviewer raises the salary question too early, before you’ve had a
chance to create desire for your qualifications, postpone the question, saying something like, “Money is
important to me, but is not my
main concern. Opportunity
and growth are far more important.
What I’d rather do, if you don’t mind, is explore if I’m right for
the position, and then talk about money. Would that be okay?”
- The #1
rule of any negotiation is: the side with more information wins. After you’ve done a thorough job of
selling the interviewer and it’s time to talk salary, the secret is to get
the employer talking about what he’s willing to pay before you reveal what you’re
willing to accept. So, when asked about
salary, respond by asking, “I’m sure the company has already established a
salary range for this position.
Could you tell me what that is?”
Or, “I want an income commensurate with my ability and
qualifications. I trust you’ll be
fair with me. What does the
position pay?” Or, more simply, “What does this position pay?”
beforehand what you’d accept. To
know what’s reasonable, research the job market and this position for any
relevant salary information.
Remember that most executives look for a 20-25%$ pay boost when
they switch jobs. If you’re grossly underpaid, you may want more.
lie about what you currently make, but feel free to include the estimated
cost of all your fringes, which could well tack on 25-50% more to your present
age…number and ages of your children or other dependents…marital status…maiden
origin…birthplace…naturalization of your parents, spouse or
children…diseases…disabilities…clubs…or spouse’s occupation…unless any of the above are directly related
to your performance of the job. You
can’t even be asked about arrests,
though you can be asked about convictions.
most interviewers are well aware of these taboos. Yet you may encounter, usually on a second or
third interview, a senior executive who doesn’t interview much and forgets he
can’t ask such questions.
you can assert your legal right not to answer. But this will frighten or
embarrass your interviewer and destroy any rapport you had.
answer the question straight forwardly if you feel the answer could help
you. For example, your interviewer, a
devout Baptist, recognizes you from church and mentions it. Here, you could
gain by talking about your church.
diplomatically answer the concern
behind the question without answering the question itself.
friendly, smiling question of your
own on whether there’s a concern that your age my affect your performance. Follow this up by reassuring the interviewer
that there’s nothing in this job you can’t do and, in fact, your age and
experience are the most important advantages
you offer the employer for the following reasons…
you plan to have children?” you could answer, “I am wholeheartedly
dedicated to my career“, perhaps adding, “I have no plans regarding
children.” (You needn’t fear you’ve
pledged eternal childlessness. You have
every right to change your plans later.
Get the job first and then enjoy all your options.)
fear that you won’t perform well. The
best answer of all is to get the job and perform brilliantly. All concerns and
fears will then varnish, replaced by respect and appreciation for your work.
illegal question. It’s secret
because it’s asked only in the interviewer’s mind. Since it’s not even expressed to you, you
have no way to respond to it, and it can there be most damaging.
mother returning to your professional career, or over 50, or a member of an
ethnic minority, or fit any of a dozen other categories that do not strictly
conform to the majority in a given company.
handle the job?”…”Is he or she a ‘good fit’ at a place like ours?”…”Will the
chemistry ever be right with someone like this?” But the interviewer never raises such
questions because they’re illegal. So
what can you do?
doesn’t ask an illegal question doesn’t mean he doesn’t have it. More than likely, he is going to come up with
his own answer. So you might as well
help him out.
obviously can’t respond to an illegal question if he hasn’t even asked. This may well offend him. And there’s always the chance he wasn’t even
concerned about the issue until you brought it up, and only then begins to
But what you can do is make sure there’s enough counterbalancing information to more than reassure him that there’s
no problem in the area he may be
child and you need a cane to walk. You
know your condition has never impeded your performance, yet you’re concerned
that your interviewer may secretly be wondering about your stamina or ability
to travel. Well, make sure that you hit
these abilities very hard, leaving no doubt about your capacity to handle them
“normal”. Make sure, without in any way
seeming defensive about yourself that
you mention strengths, accomplishments, preferences and affiliations that strongly
counterbalance any unspoken concern your interviewer may have.