If you read my last post on Career Advice – Interviewing, than hopefully you have gotten some good tips to mastering the entry level interview. Today I am going to be going into some interviewing tips when you have experience, and are looking to up your dollars. Now, this information assumes that you already have a job, and you are looking to move up in the private or corporate world. If you are fresh out of college, or have minimal experience, check the link above for good interviewing tips targeted for you. Alright, so you have won an interview with a company that is hiring for an upper level position that is in your field. Now what?
Body Language and Attitude
How you pose and conduct yourself during the first few minutes of the interview sets the tone, and possibly the decision to hire you or not. You want to have a careless attitude about you. Not an attitude that you don’t care about the job or working hard, but an attitude of not caring if you get the job or not. Be slightly reluctant when answering questions like “When would you be able to start?” and “What do you think about our company?”, etc. You want to give the impression that you are only looking for the best fit for you and the new company you choose to work for, not just for more money. When I was in this position, I asked them questions about the company, and what they were looking to accomplish by hiring me, etc. I was extremely calm in the interview, and did not really promote myself. In fact, I didn’t even have all of the qualifications that they wanted for the job. I was honest, and told them simply that I knew the theory behind the systems they were using, but did not have experience in those particular systems. This brings up my next point…
Don’t hype yourself up with nothing to back it up, it isn’t necessary nor will it be taken well by the interviewer(s). Typically, these are going to be your new managers, and they have a good idea of how to spot a phony. Keep in mind, you already have a job that pays fair to well, and you do not need this job. You are in the power position. When I was looking to move up, I simply told them I was looking for a good fit for them, as well as for myself. They knew that I was looking for more money (it isn’t that hard to figure out).
Ask Many Questions
You need to get a good feel for what the job environment is at the new company. You need to have a comfort level with the new managers, your daily tasks, expectations for overtime, office facilities, everything. The point is, find out as much as you can. You need to know if it really will be a good fit for you, as well as for them. Also, when you ask questions, you put the focus on them, and put yourself in the driver’s seat. This can also be some great fuel for your negotiations. If it is a longer drive, more crowded parking, worse office conditions, etc. than you have good ammunition to use to drive your dollars up.
Negotiating for the New Position
This is my favorite part. If possible, get them to offer something to you first. This is one of the most power tools in negotiating any deal. Regardless of the number you had in mind, their first number may be more than you were expecting. In my deal, they wanted to know what I wanted before they made the offer. In this case, you want to provide a range. I told them I was looking for something in the low to mid 50’s. Always provide a first number that is higher than what you actually want, and never provide an exact number, because you won’t get it (in most cases, anyway). So when they made me the offer, of course, it was $50,000. Another important point here, never take the first offer. So I told them I really wanted more (fishing to see if they would go up without a counter offer), they didn’t, so I countered at $52,000, and we settled at $51,000. Now, I probably could have gotten more, but I did want the job, and it was still almost a 30% raise from the previous job.
Again, be reluctant when negotiating, and use the ammunition you collected in the interview to justify your proposed higher wage. If you can, don’t wrap up the negotiations all in one day. Come up with an excuse to talk to them the next day. Don’t lie to them, but maybe say something like, “I need to talk to my wife about this before we make a decision.” or “I need to pray/think about this and let you know.” All these bring a sense of loss to the other side. You may be able to squeeze some extra dollars out of them with this technique, and to be honest, you should take some time before you make a final decision.
So good luck, and let me know how it goes by leaving comments at the bottom of the page. Also, sign up for my RSS feed to get automatic updates to all the new information that becomes available on this personal finance blog.