Prepare, Prepare, Prepare - 3 Key Words Before Interviewing
Getting Through the
The information in this particular section is broken down into
two parts. The first part deals with the interview process itself--the
phone interview, the face-to-face interview, how to dress, etiquette,
questions you may be asked and questions you will want to ask, how
to write an effective thank you letter, and important information
on what hiring managers say disqualifies candidates (you'll definately
want to read this one). The second part moves you through the next
phase--evaluating the offer, salary negotiations, how to effectively
resign without the hassles, how to navigate your way through a counteroffer,
and a little piece on culture shock after you actually make the
transition to the new company. Please feel free to e-mail us or
contact us if there is any other information you would like to see.
You've Received the Job
Offer--Now What: Getting Through the Final Phase
THE PHONE INTERVIEW
Phone interviews are a regular part of the hiring process. With
hundreds of applicants to screen, many human resource officials,
recruiters, and hiring managers regularly conduct these to narrow
the pool of candidates to a more manageable number. The employer's
goal is to determine which candidates will proceed to a more in-depth
interview, most likely a face-to-face interview. In short, the purpose
is to disqualify candidates from further consideration.
In order to prevent this from happening to you, we've prepared some
helpful tips to help you survive the initial round in the interview
process, the telephone interview:
Be prepared--this isn't the time to "wing it".
Research the company you are interviewing with--it always impresses
Keep a copy of your resume handy for reference.
a list of questions that might help fill "dead time" during the
interview. Caution: use these questions only as necessary. Telephone
interviews are usually fairly short, and this time is needed for
the interviewer's questions. There will be time for these questions
during subsequent interviews. (See Questions to Ask section.)
Have a pad and pen ready to take necessary notes.
Get to a quiet office or phone to eliminate potential distractions
(call waiting, t.v., radio, cell phones, pets, kids, co-workers,
Write down the interviewer's name, his/her title, name of company,
position title you are interviewing for, and other information
you may want to refer to later.
As silly as it may seem, smile! No, the interviewer cannot read
your facial expressions, but your enthusiasm, or lack of it, will
be evident on the other end of the line.
Understand the question being asked--it's OK to clarify if you
Respond to questions clearly and concisely. Speak in a conversational
manner. Watch your grammar and tone. Hold the receiver one-half
inch from your lips and speak directly into it.
When the interview is over, ask for the opportunity to interview
Don't List when Interviewing by Phone:
Don't chew gum, smoke or eat while being interviewed.
Don't mention salary, benefits, vacation, or work hours.
Don't talk about problems in your current organization, or problems
with your boss or co-workers. Make certain you have positive reasons
for seeking a new position.
answer only "yes" or "no" to questions. Use this opportunity to
sell your skills and experience.
Don't ramble. Give enough information to answer the question.
Keep your responses appropriate, fact-filled, and concise.
the employer is looking for the top 3-5 candidates to continue the
interview process. Oftentimes candidates overlook the importance
of preparing for a phone interview--do your homework. This may be
the first step in the interview process, but if you're not prepared,
it's likely you won't make it to step number 2!
DRESS & ETIQUETTE
So you've made it to the face-to-face interview. Congratulations!
Pay close attention to the following information...it should answer
many of the questions we are asked every day.
What Men Should Wear:
- Conservative (navy or gray) suit with conservative tie.
- Socks to coordinate with your suit and shoes (no white socks,
- Conservative jewelry--a watch, one ring. If you have an earring
it is best to take it out.
- Conservative hair cut and neatly trimmed facial hair. If you
have long hair, just make sure that it looks clean, neat, and
is pulled back.
- It's best not to wear cologne...light after-shave is OK.
- Neatly trimmed nails.
Women Should Wear:
Conservative dress or business suit. The skirt or dress hem should
be at or below the knee.
Low-heeled pumps--no stilettos, please!
Small purse or neat briefcase--no large, open bags.
Natural-looking makeup. Stay away from the "evening out" look.
It is best not to wear perfume or cologne.
Well-kept, natural-looking nails--avoid bright or odd-colored
Do not smoke. Even if offered a cigarette, politely decline.
Do not chew gum.
Do not drink alcohol, even if offered. Politely decline.
For interviews conducted over lunch or dinner, eat properly--the
way your mom taught you--chew with your mouth closed, and don't
talk with your mouth full (I know--you wouldn't do such atrocious
things!) Also, take time to put your utensils down periodically
to converse. One word of caution: many times candidates make the
mistake of letting down their guard over lunch. No matter how
relaxed the atmosphere, it's still an interview!
Even though the dress code for many companies is business casual,
it is still considered best to dress in a suit for your interview.
If you are asked to come back and invited to dress more casually,
feel free to do so, as long as business casual is the dress code
for the company at which you are interviewing. However, it is
best to keep it on the "dressy" side of business casual.
LANGAUGE AND ATTITUDE
Your visual impression is extremely important in the overall effect
you have on others. You will want to create enthusiasm, interest,
sincerity, openness and warmth. These are qualities that people
like to see in those they work with. Of course, there are little
things that you need to be aware of, such as your posture, facial
expressions, energy and gestures. Be dynamic and friendly, but it
is suggested that you keep it one notch less than the person interviewing
The Eye's Have It:
Good eye contact, not staring, is essential to conducting a successful
interview. It conveys trustworthiness, confidence and credibility
while encouraging open discussion. If your eyes dart around the
room looking at everything except the interviewer, or if you stare
at the floor, it reflects a lack of self-confidence, low self image
and a lack of enthusiasm. If you want to get down to the technicalities
of eye contact, it has been recommended that you maintain 10-15
seconds of eye contact when first meeting a person before looking
away. Again, don't stare, but come back to good eye contact often
during your discussion.
The All-Important Handshake:
Another important, non-verbal message you send is in your handshake,
and it's no different whether you are a man or a woman. You want
to maintain a firm grasp, not a crushing handshake. Convey the message
that you're glad to meet with this person. A limp handshake sends
a very weak message to the other person. Be sure that your purse
or briefcase is in your left hand to accommodate a sudden introduction.
Again, for both men and women, a solid, decisive handshake is always
Nodding agreement encourages others to talk. It also acknowledges
that you understand what is being said. However, limit your nodding
because it can be very distracting.
To Sit or Not to Sit:
Sit when asked to do so. Sit straight against the chair back--don't
slouch. It's best to keep both feet on the floor. Don't look rigid,
however. You want to create a relaxed atmosphere, conducive to good
discussion. Don't fidget, wring your hands, tap your fingers, look
at your watch, twirl your pen, etc. Keep your hands away from your
hair, face and neck during the interview. These things only serve
to distract you and the interviewer. Concentrate on the career opportunity
before you, involve yourself in the discussion, and you'll soon
forget how nervous you are.
QUESTIONS YOU MAY BE ASKED
One of the most important things you can do in the interview is
listen. Nothing is more frustrating to interviewers than for candidates
to respond inappropriately because they failed to listen. If there
is any uncertainty, always clarify the question prior to responding.
Be sure you understand the question being asked. Sometimes you will
need to clarify the question by repeating the question (called reflective
communication) which will demonstrate your ability to listen. Once
you're certain what is being asked, you can formulate a meaningful
Do not lead the interviewer to think that you have skills you don't
have. If you lack a specific skill/experience, make a comparable
analogy with a similar skill/experience, or tell the interviewer
that you have not yet been exposed to that area. Assure them that
you are confident, with proper training and direction, you could
be effective and productive relatively quickly.
Interview preparation is paramount to your success. Answers should
be well thought out, specific (give examples where appropriate)
and concise. It is a good idea to review the following list of questions
and think through the responses you would give if they were asked
during an interview.
This is difficult for most candidates. When possible, it is to your
advantage to let your recruiter handle this to make sure that both
your needs and the needs of the employer are met. We have already
provided the employer with a salary history, so you most likely
will not be asked to interview unless there is a way for the employer
to make it worth your while. It is also in your favor to postpone
the discussion of money for as long as possible so the employer
sees all the ways you can help them solve their problem. This reply
works most often: "I trust that if you find my skills and abilities
acceptable, you will make a fair offer. I have been working with
(recruiter name/company name), and I feel confident that you will
be able to work with them for a satisfactory compensation." If this
doesn't satisfy the interviewer, it is acceptable to give a range
of about $5,000 beginning at your current or last salary. Anything
over 15% (and given the current economic situation, 10%) seems excessive,
unless you are working from a very low base or are looking at a
major career move. Another option is to defer responding by asking
for 24 hours to think about the overall opportunity. Then confer
with us and we'll get back in touch with the employer for you. Contracting
Note: If you are contracting, never discuss salary with the company.
Explain that you will be the employee of another company, and that
you will negotiate with that company on salary.
Prepare for the interview. You may be asked questions such as,
"Why should I consider you?" The interviewer is looking for your
poise...if you have prepared, you can easily answer the question.
A simple, "I have the qualifications to do the job" will do--then
back up your answer with specific examples. Of course, know what
the job requires of you first before attempting to answer this
No matter what the market, you are the seller--not the buyer!
Early in the interview, after the introductions and small talk,
get the hiring manager to clarify this position for you. You will
then be able to pull out specifics in your background that relate
to the new position. Emphasize the characteristics you possess
that match the job requirement, and sell a comparable asset for
those characteristics you do not possess.
Since the employer is interviewing because there is work to be
done, show understanding of the employer's needs.
Be you, be honest, and again, listen!
can you do for us that someone else can't?"
long would it take for you to make a meaningful contribution?"
is your management style?"
you kept up in your field with training?"
do you want to leave your present employer?"
do you like most/least about your present employer/position?"
Be careful with this question--don't point fingers. Negative statements
such as "I don't like the politics" or, "My boss and I don't get
along" make you look like a complainer. Take the responsibility
upon yourself and answer with, "The type of technology I'm interested
in isn't available to me now," or "I'm interested in the types
of responsibilites that aren't available with my present employer."
aspects of your job do you consider most crucial?"
would your colleagues describe you? How would those that work
for you describe you? How would your boss describe you? How would
you describe yourself?"
you like to have your boss' job?" Anyone ambitious would answer,
"Yes." However, it might be wise to add, "when I am judged qualified",
or "when a similar position develops."
do you feel about your progress to date?" Never apologize for
yourself. You can't expect someone to hire you if you don't think
highly of your own accomplishments and capabilities. "I think
I've done well, but I need new challenges and opportunities" is
a good reply.
long have you been thinking of changing jobs?" This is almost
a trick question, so tread lightly here! If you reply that you've
been thinking a long time, they'll think you are resistant to
change. If you reply "yesterday", then they'll think you're too
quick to make decisions.
kind of hours and environment are you used to working?"
many hours per week do you currently work?"
and Ability Questions:
are your personal goals? What are your career goals?"
are your strengths?"
are your weaknesses?" Answer with, "I'm always looking to improve
my ______ skills." Answer in terms of positive growth.
are some of the most significant accomplishments in your career?"
has your current job prepared you to take on more responsibility?"
you work well under pressure and deadlines?"
causes you to lose your temper?" Everyone has a boiling point,
so don't say that you never fly off the handle, because you'll
lose. Pick something safe such as, "obvious lying," or, "people
who are chronically late for meetings."
has the greatest influence on you?" Give one name--someone with
authority such as a school professor, an old boss, an author--and
be prepared to give a short explanation such as, "He taught me
to be unafraid of new ideas," or "She showed me how to focus on
what really matters."
kinds of decisions are most difficult for you?" Be human and admit
that not everything comes easily, but be careful what you do admit!
Don't disqualify yourself. Answer with, "It's difficult for me
to tell a client that he is running his business poorly," or,
"I find it difficult to decide which of two good people must be
you done the best work of which you are capable?" Again, keep
it simple: "I'm sure there are times when I could have worked
harder or longer, but over the years I've tried to do my best
and I believe I have succeeded."
me about one of your biggest mistakes and how you handled it."
We all make mistakes--own up to it--and definitely prepare for
are some of the things on which you and your supervisor disagree?"
Again, don't introduce negatives here. Don't assault your boss'
integrity, character, or decision-making abilities. Sharing that
you simply have a different way of handling situations is better
than saying anything negative.
do you manage to interview while you are still employed?"
a situation where your work was criticized. How did that make
you a leader or a follower?"
It Some Thought:
- "Tell me about yourself." What a catch-all! Don't go into a
long dissertation here. Keep it short. The interviewer is either
looking at how you respond, or the interviewer just doesn't have
good interview skills and doesn't know how to get started. Keep
your answer short (2 minutes maximum) and keep it focused on your
job and skills. For example, begin with, "I'm a skilled Oracle
DBA with 4 years in Oracle and 1 1/2 years in Informix. I was
an applications developer in C and Unix prior to that, so I bring
a solid understanding of development as well as databases to my
employer. I particularly enjoy...(whatever aspect of your job
that you like). Then add, "I'm not certain I answered your question
in full...what else would you like to know?"
- "What do you know about our company?"
- "Why do you want this job?" This should be fairly easy if you
have done your homework. Organize your reasons into several short,
hard-hitting answers such as, "You make the best product on the
market today," or, "You've got a technology department that is
aggressive and imaginative," or, "Your management is far sighted
enough to reinvest profits so that soon you will be the leader
in your industry." Don't just blow smoke--stick to the facts.
- "Why should we hire you?" Keep your answer short with, "I have
the qualifications to do the job that has to be done, and my track
record will verify this." Of course, make certain that you know
what job they want done before answering. If you are inexperienced
in this field, answer with, "I'm a capable learner and can be
productive in a short period of time."
- "What training/qualifications do you have for this job?" Your
interviewer could probably answer this question himself after
looking at your resume, but he wants to hear you explain it in
your own words, so don't rehash what's on your resume. Deliver
two or three short, fact-filled qualifications such as, "I have
a background in various databases, and have demonstrated my abilities
to work in multiple database environments." If you are a recent
graduate, try to construct an answer that includes both academic
and any job-related experiences.
- "What interests you most about this position?" Keep it short
and truthful, answering with, "The challenge...the environment...the
- "What things are important for your job satisfaction?"
- "Describe the work environment in which you felt most comfortable."
- "What are your greatest accomplishments?" You need to prepare
one or two stories that demonstrate your capability. If you're
fresh out of school, consider an academic experience or something
that is connected with summer employment.
- "What would you like to be doing in 5 years?" To answer this
question, make sure you know exactly what can and cannot be achieved
by the ideal candidate in your shoes. Too many job hunters butcher
this question because they have not done their homework and have
no idea where their career will lead them. If you see yourself
at another company or in another department of the present company,
tread lightly. You can't afford to tell your interviewer that
you believe you'll be more successful than he is.
- "What do you expect to accomplish within the next year if we
offer you this position?"
- "How do you feel about a male/female boss?" If you register
concerns, you will not be hired. We're living in a new millenium--get
used to male and female bosses in the workplace!
- "How well do you take direction or coaching?"
- "Why have you changed jobs so frequently?"
- "Why have you been out of work so long?"
- "What other positions are you considering?"
- "Can you explain your salary history?"
- "How did you do in school?" If you didn't do well, you really
need to prepare for this question! Don't shrug it off.
- "How do your spouse and children feel about this career move?"
Make certain that if relocation is involved, you have fully addressed
this with your partner. I have had people interview who had me
convinced that their partner was willing to relocate, only to
have the job offer made and killed while everyone's expectations
were at an all-time high because the partner decided they didn't
want to move. Do yourself a favor and don't put yourself, your
family, your recruiter, or your potential employer through this
stress and the ill feelings that follow if you are not certain
that relocation is an option!
- "How willing are you to travel?"
- "Who would you list as references?" Be prepared with 5 names...preferably
three that are connected with business or academics, and 2 that
are connected with civic responsibilities. Of the three business
references, a former co-worker, a former boss, and a former subordinate
would be ideal. Of course, do not put your present position in
jeopardy--if you do not get this job, you'll still need your present
job! Potential employers are understanding of this situation.
- "If you could start over, what would you do differently in your
- "What questions didn't I ask that you expected?"
the key to a successful interview is three-fold: to understand the
employers' needs, to convey your experience in terms of his need
(make a match), and to determine if this is a suitable position
for you. Above all, be you, be honest, and listen!
QUESTIONS TO ASK DURING THE INTERVIEW
Every candidate should have a list of questions to ask a potential
employer during the interview process. These questions, if well
prepared, can bring your resume to the top of a stack of equally
qualified candidates, or perhaps even gain you a higher salary when
an offer is made. Your questions should be asked toward the end
of the interview, or offered during "dead" spaces to prompt additional
conversation and interest. Timing is everything!
Prepare questions you need answered in order to determine if this
is the job for you. Listen intently during the interview...some
of your questions may be answered without asking, but more questions
may arise during the course of your conversation.
Ten to twelve questions are enough. Following is a listing of suggested
questions...keep in mind that some of these may not be appropriate
for your situation--keep your wits about you during your interview
and decide if any of these suggestions are applicable to you. If
you have additional questions, ask your recruiter, or save those
for the second interview, or when an offer is secured.
Prepare for the interview.
Don't just ask--listen, too!
Do not ask too many questions--this is an interview, not an inquisition!
No interviewer can fail to be impressed, however, when your questions
are thoughtful and serious.
Do not ask about salary, benefits, or vacation--you don't want
to give the impression that you are salary/benefit-motivated or
the short-term, non-commital type. The employer or your recruiter
will initiate these questions. Bill Radin, a career development
consultant, suggests that you take the John F. Kennedy approach
to interviewing: "Ask not what your company can do for you; ask
what you can do for your company."
your research on the company. It is quite impressive to an interviewer
that you took the time to prepare for the interview. Don't make
your statement too obvious, but make a smooth transition into
it such as, "In my research on industry trends, I see where your
company has partnered with ABC Company for a strong technological
presence..." or, "I read that your company has been fairly aggressive
in the delivery of its products through fairly innovative technology...".
You are indicating interest in the company, instead of what's
only best for you.
Create a dialog. Ask questions that require more than a "yes"
Ask job relevant questions focusing on the company, products,
services, people, projects and technology. Ask the interviewer
how he got to his position and what he likes and dislikes about
At the end of the interview, ASK for the job. "I feel confident
that I could benefit your organization and would appreciate the
opportunity to do so. This position is a great match for me also.
Is there anything else you need answered in order to evaluate
my suitability for the position?"
Be you, be honest, and listen!
and Departmental Questions:
What are the short and long-term goals of the company and this
What are the company and departmental strengths?
What areas within the company and this department need to be strengthened?
What accounts for the success of the company and this department?
Where does the company think this department could make effective
What new technologies do you feel are essential in order to maintain
or increase our position in the marketplace?
What is the cultural environment of the company?
Where does this department fit into the company's organizational
hierarchy, and where would this person fit on the organizational
Has the company experienced any downsizing or layoffs in the past
few years, and how does the company handle that?
Why do you want someone for this job? What qualifications are
you looking for?
What are the most important issues facing your department, and
how can I help accomplish these objectives?
What are your biggest problems? (You don't want to be walking
into a hopeless situation!)
Will I be inheriting any projects and what are the most pressing
needs of the projects? What are the time frames for completing
What exactly would you like to have me accomplish in this position?
What are your short- and long-term goals for the person in this
What do you think will be the greatest challenge or problem the
person in this position will face in the first few months and
year? What are some examples of the best results produced by people
in this job?
Is there any particular skill or attitude you feel is critical
to geting the job done?
Was there someone in this job previously? Did they leave, get
promoted, or is this a newly created position? If they left, why?
How long has this position been open? Have internal candidates
been considered and have any surfaced that may be able to fill
this position? How many people have held this position in the
past 5 years, and where are these people now? (Most of the time,
if you ask the first question, the interviewer will continue to
answer most of the other questions.)
How does the person in this position interact with other team
members within the department and the company? How would you describe
the group dynamics?
Is supervision a part of the responsibilities of this position,
and if so, what are the titles of those to be supervised? What
are the group dynamics?
Who does this position report to?
What support or training will be available to ensure success in
Would you describe a typical day on the job?
Is there a unique aspect of my skill or background that you'd
like to utilize?
What are the common denominators of the company's most successful
advancement opportunities exist for the person who is successful
in this position?
What is this department's philosophy about training and development?
In your opinion, what specific aspects of my background make me
right or wrong for this position? (Here is your opportunity clear
up any misunderstandings or reservations the interviewer may have.)
this is not only the interviewer's opportunity to see if you are
right for the position, but it's your opportunity to see if you
would like the job, the company and your potential new boss! Ask
the questions that will help you determine this.
THE EASIEST WAY TO DISQUALIFY YOURSELF
The number one and most obvious reason that a candidate doesn't
get the job is lack of the appropriate technical skill. Sometimes
you can help that and sometimes you can't. However, there are other
reasons that candidates get disqualified--and these can be helped!
Employers list the following as reasons they didn't select a candidate
for the job:
Answering only "yes" or "no" to questions.
Asking questions with negative overtones. This indicates possible
can you do for me?" attitude. This is a common mistake of less
Negative comments of past employers or co-workers.
Poor eye contact. Be sure you look at the person interviewing
Failing to ask suitable questions about the job responsibilities--or
to ask any questions at all. (see Questions to Ask section)
Passivity, lack of interest or enthusiasm.
A lack of preparation by revealing limited knowledge about the
company. A lack of preparation in knowing how to answer questions.
Late to the interview. If you are going to be late for unforseen,
but explainable reasons, call either your recruiter or the person
you will be interviewing with, and let them know your estimated
time of arrival.
personal goals, career objectives or direction for the future.
too much concern about money or raising questions over salary,
benefits, vacations, or work hours early in the interview process,
indicating that you are money motivated and bought easily.
Lack of confidence, nervous, fidgety.
Overly concerned about promotional opportunities.
Overbearing, conceited, arrogant, aggressive, "know-it-all" candidates.
as the buyer instead of the seller.
Discussing the proprietary information of former employers. You
will be respected if you indicate that you cannot talk about these
details. If you talk about former employers, the interviewer thinks
you will probably talk about their proprietary information some
Failing to communicate or express thoughts clearly. Often, poor
eye contact communicates this thought. (see Dressing & Etiquette
Afraid to admit to an area of weakness. Oftentimes, this is conveyed
to an interviewer when a candidate inflates knowledge about a
particular subject. We all have areas of weakness--it's OK to
admit to them. Who wants to hire someone who is perfect anyway?
(see Questions You May Be Asked section)
Poor personal appearance--it'll get you every time!
Weak handshake. (see Dressing & Etiquette section)
Resumes or applications that are sloppy, not legible, or grammatically
Misleading the interviewer or not being truthful during the interview.
Also remember that references will be checked, there may be a
request for transcripts, and background and drug checks will most
likely be conducted. Always be truthful! What your mom taught
you about 'it never pays to lie' is true!
Talking first, listening second.
Interrupting the interviewer.
Keep your momentum going with each person with whom you are interviewing.
That can be hard, since some interviews last all day. Be consistent...it
will work to your benefit. Remember that in today's market, companies
often have the luxury of choosing between two or more equally qualified
candidates. Candidates that are personable, thoughtful, truthful,
and sincere may have an edge over those who choose to do otherwise.
Employers hire people they want to work with--they can always hire
someone with acceptable skills. If you are both competent and liked,
you have the upper hand.
You've Received the
Job Offer--Now What: Getting Through the Final Phase
THE THANK YOU LETTER--A MUST
A thank you letter should be prepared and mailed within 24 hours
of the interview. It should be personalized--not a standard form
letter. It should include the following:
1) an appreciation for the interviewer's time
2) a statement affirming your interest in the available position
3) a statement emphasizing your most impressive qualifications and
how they could benefit the organization.
An appropriate thank you letter will begin by including your name,
address, city, state, zip and the date, and will look something
like the following:
Mr. Tom Smith
14970 Columbus Road
Memphis, TN 38104
Dear Mr. Smith:
Thank you for your time yesterday. I enjoyed interviewing with you
and your technical staff for the senior level development position
The interview gave me more insight into what you and your team are
accomplishing with the delivery of your ERP system, and what I could
contribute to the departmental goals. My education and application
development skills with large systems fit well with the job requirements
you and I discussed, and since I have lead a similar effort in my
current position, I am certain that I could make a significant contribution
to your department.
I am very interested in the position, and would enjoy working with
you and your technical staff. This is the opportunity I have been
seeking. Please feel free to call me if I can provide you with any
additional information. Thank you again for your time, and I look
forward to hearing from you.
Often the question is asked about e-mailing a thank you, which is
appropriate, especially in our wireless technology driven world..
However, taking the time to write a thank you and send via snail
mail is still the preferred method.
seems that you and your potential employer are interested in proceeding.
But you haven't said "Yes" yet. There are decisions to
be made. Is this the right position for you? Does the new job meet
the criteria you spelled out when you first began your search? Will
this job increase your personal and professional level of satisfaction?
Is this job just more of your current responsibilities except at
a different location? What offer would you be willing to accept
as a fair offer?
Good Way to Keep Score
To evaluate the pros and cons of the offer, consider using the
following Position Comparison and
Compensation Guide. The guide can be scored in two different
ways. You can either tally the totals (the best job has the highest
test score), or you can use the test as a simple way to examine
your priorities. Keep in mind that a higher score in favor of the
new company is not always a reason to make a job change. Take travel
as an example. If the new job requires more travel but more travel
could ruin your marriage, this is not the job for you.
considering compensation, understand that employers try to maintain
some sort of internal equity within their department. In order to
insure internal equity, some companies are allowed creative ways
of compensating such as bonuses (sign-on, performance, discretionary,
relocation) and/or accelerated reviews. They may also offer early
participation in the company stock, pension or benefit plans. Of
course, it also depends on the actual position being offered. In
your compensation evaluation, consider the following:
your bottom line figure in advance of receiving the offer. Bottom
line doesn't mean that you really want $54,000, but you would
think about $53,000, or settle for $52,000. Bottom line means
one dollar more than the figure you would positively walk away
from. Setting a bottom line clarifies your sense of worth, and
prevents unnecessary negotiation. To prevent unnecessary negotiation,
set your bottom line in advance. Let your bottom dollar be known.
In this instance, tell your recruiter your bottom line. Recruiters
are not trying to manipulate or conspire with an employer for
a "lowball offer". The recruiter is making a good faith
effort to put two interested parties together. Employers can get
very irritable when a candidate wants to "think it over"
or keeps coming back with new demands. Even if you eventually
get what you want, the negative impression you created will hover
over you like a dark cloud after you've been hired-and that's
no way to start out with your new employer! By letting everyone
know your bottom line, you've laid your cards on the table in
good faith, and have been decisive.
for ways to increase your overall yearly compensation, rather
than your annual salary.
take into consideration other economic factors such as cost of
living, benefits, relocation expenses, bonuses, reviews, stock
the offer is less than your bottom line, you can reject the offer
or share the bottom line figure with the hiring officials, giving
them an opportunity to offer more.
careful when negotiating salary-avoid badgering-it can leave a
negative impression on your new employer if you finally do decide
to go to work for them. Having a recruiter to work with is an
invaluable resource during this phase of the employment process.
your determination, also consider other employment factors such
title and responsibility
technology and training
you hand in your resignation, understand that offers are usually
contingent on one or more of the following:
a physical examination
your citizenship or immigration status
a security clearance
a thorough background investigation in which your credit history,
police records and travel history might be examined
your academic credentials, and/or
proof of your past employment salary or military service
not unusual for the hiring cycle to last weeks or even months-it's
sad, but true! Hopefully, that won't be the case for you. Begin
preparing in your mind when you make the decision to interview that
you may be changing jobs. It takes most people time to come to terms
with change. Don't wait until the last minute and decide that you
don't really want to change jobs. Tell your recruiter your fears.
Your recruiter should be equipped to walk through the process with
you and answer any questions you have about this change.
and your new employer may need to involve yourselves in some creative
compensation. However, most deals come together easily and without
Congratulations on your recent offer! Your
new employer is excited about having you fill what they consider
to be a significant position within their organization, and are
eager for your arrival. You are now faced with how to properly resign,
and we'd like to offer some suggestions. When handled properly,
your resignation can be the opportunity to leave your career with
your present company on a positive note, and transition smoothly
into your new position.
your resignation in writing, and then follow up with a verbal resignation.
Make your letter concise, formal, and professional, remembering
that it will end up in your personnel records. The following letter
is an example of a good, formal resignation letter:
Your Full Name
City, State, Zip
Authority's Full Name & Title
City, State, Zip
Mr./Mrs./Ms. (Last Name):
During my tenure here at (Company Name), I have enjoyed the opportunity
to work and grow as a professional under your guidance and leadership.
However, I will be making a change in career direction. I have accepted
an excellent opportunity and am committed to the job change. I am
appreciative of the opportunities you have given me, and will do
whatever is necessary to help you in my transition. My last date
will be (give date).
your full name)
Your Full Name
are some additional tips you may need to know when resigning:
Plan to resign two weeks prior to your scheduled start date, unless
you plan to take a brief vacation or need time to move. Meet privately
with your supervisor and submit your resignation verbally and
in writing. Be firm and concise in your resignation, leaving no
room for a counteroffer. A two-week notice is customary-a longer
notice can be difficult and uncomfortable for you. Any notice
longer than two-weeks only benefits your current employer, giving
them opportunities to persuade you to stay.
of probing questions about your new opportunity. Do not disclose
salary, title or the company-your current employer could use
them to gather information so that they can come up with an attractive
a company will request that you not serve out your notice but
leave immediately. Do not take it personally. It is likely that
your new employer will be glad for you to start your new position
to do what you can to ensure that your current projects get completed
or passed on to other employees in a timely and efficient manner.
to an exit interview, if one is requested. Be truthful, but conscientious,
in your responses. This employer will always be one of your career
references. Even though many companies have adopted the policy
of only giving employment dates to anyone checking references,
there are some who will talk!
guarded when talking with peers. Resist any temptation to share
things that could leave an unfavorable impression of you after
you are gone.
information about COBRA (continuing insurance coverage) if your
new insurance is not effective immediately.
using this resignation approach, you are letting your current employer
know these five things: 1) you are appreciative, 2) you
are changing your career direction (and yes, a move to another
company is a change in career direction), 3) that this will be an
excellent opportunity for you, 4) that you are willing to
help them in the transition, and 5) you are committed to
the job change. Informing them in this manner should prevent
your resignation being taken as a personal issue. Remember, when
you resign in a positive and professional way after having been
a productive and effective employee, the best employers will be
sad to see you go, but glad to see you progress in your career-they
want the best for you. Keep thinking forward to the new people you'll
meet, the new skills you'll acquire, and the new opportunities and
challenges that await you.
Counteroffers are a defensive tactic used by
your current employer aimed at encouraging you to stay once you
have stated your intent to leave. Many companies ask you to stay,
because it's in their best interest for you to stay. Consider what
they may be thinking:
expensive to hire and train someone else...and I just don't have
the time or budget to do that right now."
my project's going to get behind-if I can just convince him to
stay until the project is over, or until I can find someone else
to replace him."
have too much work already-and I certainly don't have enough time
to do his work, too."
will my boss think when he knows I've lost a valuable employee-will
they 'lose' me, too?"
this isn't going to help departmental morale."
timing is really lousy-I can't fill the openings I have, much
less add this one to the list."
also need to be aware of the tactics some employers use to get you
to stay (and they'll say it with all sincerity):
you happy here? We were under the impression that everything was
let's talk about what we can do for you."
know, we were just getting ready to do some expansion, and had
you in mind for a particular position-it would mean a promotion
and more money for you. Can't we just discuss it before you make
your final decision?"
due for a raise soon-let's go on and put your raise into effect
this pay period."
were going to promote you in a couple of weeks, but with all the
meetings lately, I just haven't had a chance to sit down and tell
President/VP/Director wants to meet with you before you make your
are potential implications or risks of accepting a counteroffer:
your loyalty be a concern for your employer in the days ahead?
the counteroffer just giving your current employer enough time
to find our replacement while you allow a good opportunity to
you be let go from the company payroll when your salary becomes
the company faces financial hardships in the future, will you
be the first one let go?
your counteroffer be used against you at your regular scheduled
you feel obligated to stay with them down the road, when you later
feel it is time to move on to another opportunity?
the effect this will have on peer relationships within our organization
once current employees learn what the company has done for you.
the counteroffer be your next raise coming early?
the big question-will you have to threaten to quit every
time you want a promotion or raise?
armed with information-the more you know and understand about
resignations and counteroffers, the better prepared you will be
to handle them in a professional, career-enhancing way. Take
the emotion out of the decision and make your choice objectively.
If a counteroffer is presented, consider if in six months time if
you'll still be faced with the same issues that prompted you to
make the decision to leave in the first place. Expect your company
to attempt to keep you-you've provided them with a valuable
skill and they will be sorry to see you go. Do your best to help
your company during your transition, and then move forward to what
It's simple human nature to feel some hesitation at leaving-after
all, this is the place you've hung your hat and a place that you've
grown accustomed. However, changing jobs is almost key to a growing,
professional executive career. Make new goals and plans with
your new employer. And CONGRATULATIONS on your new career
YOUR NEW POSITION AND CULTURE SHOCK
Culture shock is what new employees often experience the first week
or so in their new position. There are so many new things to adjust
to--people, personalities, schedules, technologies, policies, procedures,
The best way to work through culture shock is to remain focused.
Under your supervisor's directions, identify exactly what your priorities
should be initially. Talk about specific projects and discuss impending
deadlines. Break the time line into specific steps you need to take.
Initially, you will want to give periodic updates to your supervisor
so that immediate correction can be taken, if needed. These updates
also validate that you are on the right track and doing what is
expected. Regular communication with your supervisor is key!
Most problems arise within the first 30 days on your new job. This
is often due to miscommunicaiton or environmental differences. Please
don't hesitate to call us and use us as a sounding board. We will
talk through any concerns or questions you may have during this
transition phase. We will be glad to help you in any way possible.
Culture shock is natural and expected, so give yourself time. By
talking with your supervisor frequently, most misunderstandings
should resolve themselves.