You Can Negotiate Anything, Anywhere, Anytime

Friday, July 26, 2013

What are your Strengths? How to Answer this Question in an Interview

When the interviewer asks you about your strengths, this is not the time to be modest. This is the time to toot your horn. This is a good way to highlight your achievements and success.
A. Use the job description as a guide
As you go through the list, use the position description as your template so you hit all the strengths needed for the job. Here are some good examples:
1. I am well organized.
You may want to explain how you keep track of projects and how you prioritize them. Being able to multi-task is also important and not everyone can do it. Explain with examples if you can.
2. I meet deadlines.
As we all know, time is money so explaining how you meet deadlines can be very important.
3. I have the education needed for this job.
Your resume may not show individual classes or trainings you have taken that are related to the job duties so it is up to you to show you have the minimum requirements and a lot more. Again be specific. If you were in the top of your class, say so (remember, toot your own horn.)
4. I have the experience needed for this position.
Your resume may show that you have five or ten years of previous experience, but it is up to you to explain how it is relevant to this position so that the experience will let the employer know you are a skilled and seasoned employee for this position.
B. Show intangible strengths like integrity, fairness and loyalty
Education, training and experience are only part of the picture. The employer wats to make sure you "fit in." It is important to show that you get along with others and have a sense of fairness. Here are some examples.
1. I am dependable and will do all I can to get the job done.
2. I am a team player and get along with others.
3. I like to mentor employees to pass on what I have learned and I learn a lot in the process as well.
4. I am loyal and fair.
C. Show that you have a good sense of humor
A sense of humor is important in any workplace. It helps relieve stress and makes the job much more enjoyable. Show that you don't take yourself too seriously while still attending to the responsibilities and demands of the job.
If you follow these rules, you will be interviewing like a pro.

Mary Greenwood, Attorney, HR Director, Mediator, and Author,Second Edition 2012        How to Negotiate Like a Pro, winner of nine book awards                                                          How to Interview Like a Pro, Winner of thirteen book awards,                                                    How To Mediate Like A Pro, Winner of twelve book awards                                                Available at http://www.amazon.com                                                                                                Visit http://www.Marygreenwood.org 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How to Interview Like a Pro: When you are the Interviewer, Remember What it is Like.

The tables are turned
When you are interviewing a candidate for a position, remember what it was like to be interviewed. Even though this is a negotiation, it is important to have some empathy for what the candidates are going through and be fair in the process.
Here are some suggestions:
A. Let applicants know in a timely fashion when they are no longer being considered for the job.
I know that many employers do not contact applicants when they did not make the first cut or even after an interview. Even though Human Resources departments may be under-funded or under-staffed, I believe it is rude not to tell applicants they are no longer being considered for the position. I am old-fashioned about this, but it does tell a lot about a company that prides itself on its communication and it can't even send an email to applicants.
B. If there is a delay in the selection process, let the applicants know, especially the ones you have interviewed already.
I have made telephone calls to Human Resources after my own interviews and found out that: 1) the position is on hold indefinitely; 2) the position is no longer being funded; 3) the position is being merged with another vacant position; 4) the filling the position has been postponed until the next fiscal year; or 5) the supervisor of this position has left and no one knows whether it will be filled. So I think to myself, "when were you going to tell me?" The answer is, of course, "never."
As an interviewer, remember what it was like while you were waiting to hear whether you got a job offer. Everything is on hold in your life while waiting to see what happens. Keeping applicants informed is the right and courteous thing to do.
C. Always treat the applicant the way you would have liked to be treated.
There are certain positions where you need to know how an applicant reacts under pressure and that is legitimate. However, don't ask trick questions just to be funny at the expense of the applicant.
D. After Someone is Hired, Be a Mentor and Show the New Employee the Ropes
Remember when you were a new employee on the first day of the job. It can be intimidating, especially if no one tells you what is expected or what you are supposed to do. Assign a mentor or be one yourself so that the new employees feel welcome and have someone to ask when they have questions. This is a win-win because mentored employees are going to understand the position a lot more quickly than employees left to fend for themselves.
If you follow these golden rules of interviewing, you will still be negotiating like a pro.

Mary Greenwood, Attorney, HR Director and
Author, How to Interview LIke a Pro, winner of 13 book awards

How to Interview Like a Pro: Now That you got the Job, do you Really Want it?

Do I really want the job?

You get the job offer, but you are not sure whether you will accept the offer. Do you have cold feet and buyer's remorse or is this job not really the best move for you at this time?
Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether to accept the offer or to stay at your same job.
1. Have I learned everything I can at my current job?
You need to look at the pros and cons of your current job. There must be a reason you started looking at other positions. If you truly have nothing more to learn and the job is boring and repetitive, then this may be a good time to leave.
2. What are the real opportunities at the new job other than money?
Look at what your new job provides beyond salary. Will there be better mentors, cutting-edge technology, or better working conditions? If the answer is yes, then it may be a good time to seek those opportunities.
3. Does this job fit in with your long-term goals?
The job may sound very exciting and fun, but does it fit in with your long-term goals? If it doesn't, perhaps your goals have changed. The point is that you have to look at a total career for every job move. If the job adds new skills and experience, it may be a good fit for the long haul?
4. Is this a once-in-a-lifetime job that you will regret if you don't take it now?
The conventional wisdom is that "opportunity only knocks once" and that "opportunity often comes at an inopportune time." Only can you make that decision. If you have been looking at jobs for a long time, you should know how often a job like this comes onto the market.
5. Can I afford a lower salary? Do I need a second job?
If the employer has offered you a lower salary than your present position, can you afford to take the position, even if it is your "dream job?"
Be realistic about hos much salary you will need to live comfortably. What is the cost of living in the new area? If it is lower, that will help your expenses. If it is higher, you may need to consider a second job. If you take a second job, does that diminish the positive aspects of your "dream job?" Will you have the energy and stamina for the new job if you are worried about day-to-day living expenses?
Before making your final decision as to whether to accept the position, you may want to ask when your first performance evaluation will be and whether you would be eligible for an increase at that time.
Only you and your family can make this important decision. It is important to weigh all the factors so that you don't have any regrets after you have made it.
If you follow these, suggestions, you will be interviewing like a pro.

Mary Greenwood, HR Director, Attorney and Author of
How To Interview Like A Pro, winner of 13 book awards.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How to Interview Like a Pro: Give Proper Notice and Help with the Transition

Give Proper Notice

The first question a new employer asks is how soon can you start. It is very exciting to get a new job offer, and it is tempting to start right away. However, resist that urge. It is very important to give your current employer sufficient notice. You need to give at least the minimum required by the company policy manual, whether it is two weeks or six weeks or something in between. However, sometimes an employer does not want your services once you inform them that you are leaving. I had one boss who viewed getting a job with someone else as a betrayal and did not even want to speak with me once I made the announcement that I was taking another job.
If you don't give proper notice, it can backfire on you with your new employer and your old employer. Your new boss may think you lack integrity if you do not give notice to your current employer. He may also wonder if you are going to give short notice if and when you leave the new job.
Leaving without the proper notice can also mean that you are not leaving in good standing with your current employer. This can have ramifications until the end of your career. Some employers have a policy that if you did not leave in good standing you are not eligible for rehire. This means that any reference from this employer will show that you are not eligible for rehire, whether you ever thought about going back or not. As a Human Resources Director, I have also seen old employees come back and apply for their old jobs many years later, not knowing that they are automatically excluded if they did not give the proper notice.

Help With the Transition

Even if you did not like the old employer, don't burn any bridges before you leave. Even if you don't intend to ever come back, you may need a reference from them in the future. Be sure to volunteer to help your old employer in the transition. Perhaps, during this transition, you can spend one day a week training your successor or wrapping up projects. Make a list of all the projects you are working on so there will be continuity after you leave. Helping your old employer makes you look good with your new employer. It shows that you have dedication and integrity so that when you leave its employ, if ever, you will do the same thing.
If you follow these rules, you will be interviewing like a pro

Mary Greenwood, Mediator, Attorney and Author of How To Negotiate Like A Pro: 41 Rules for Resolving Disputes, Winner of 9 book awards, How to Interview Like a Pro, Winner of twelve book awards and How to Mediate Like a Pro, winner of twelve book awards. www.marygreenwood.org

Monday, July 15, 2013

How to Negotiate Benefits Other Than Salary; How to Interview Like a Pro

Because of the economy right now, you may not be able to negotiate the salary you believe you deserve. Go to your salary negotiations with a list of things other than money that you can request and use as bargaining chips.
Here is a list to get you started:
1. Moving Expenses.
Ask if the company will pay your moving expenses or, in the alternative, reimburse you up to a certain amount. Some companies prefer to pay a one-time expense rather than include the money in salary. Get an estimate before your discussion so you have an idea on what the actual expense will be.
2. A Different Title.
If the company is vehement about the amount of the salary it can offer you, see if there is something about the job description that can be improved. For example, do you hate the title? I once had a title, Assistant to the City Manager, which meant I was in charge of three departments. However, to the outside world, it could look as though I was a clerical assistant to the City Manager. I didn't think of it at the time, but I wish I had suggested that my title be changed to Director of Human Resources, Labor Relations and Risk Management. Get a copy of the organizational chart so you can see the names of the various positions in advance. Again, if it does not mean spending more money to hire you, the company may be willing to give you a better title.
3. Travel Expenses or Professional Dues
Is there some expense that you pay yourself that you would like your future employer to pay? If you belong to a professional organization that is related to your job. ask your prospective employer to pay your dues or the expenses for its annual conference. If the company does agree, ask it to put that provision in its offer letter.
4. Vacation
There are generally two schools of thought about vacation. There are those who want as much vacation as possible and there are those who take as little as possible and will buy it back if there is such a program. If you are in the first group and like more vacation time, tell the employer you will accept the salary if you can get an extra week of vacation. If the company is willing, that is equivalent to 5% of your salary.
5. Health Insurance Buy-Back Plan
If you have health insurance elsewhere with your spouse or have an outside plan such as Medicare, you can see if the company has a health insurance buy-back plan. Some companies, in an effort to encourage employees get their health insurance elsewhere, are willing to share some of the savings directly with the employees. If the company has that plan, that is the same as a salary increase. If the company does not have a buy-back plan, you may want to still ask for a salary increase by agreeing not to be on its insurance plan, thereby saving them money.
6. Not All Companies are Flexible
Here is a word of caution. When you are looking for alternatives to a salary increase, remember that not all companies are flexible and want to negotiate these changes or benefits with you. Generally the public sector is less flexible on titles, salary ranges and vacation plans than the private sector. However, the public sector sometimes has better benefits than the private sector so know what they are before making your final decision.
This list is just a start of what can be negotiated. Be creative and add to the list. After trying some of these suggestions, you can be interviewing like a pro.

Mary Greenwood, Mediator, Attorney and Author of How To Negotiate LIke A Pro: 41 Rules for Resolving Disputes, Winner of six book awards Best How To Book, DIY Festival Runner Up, New York Book Festival, E-Book and Self-Help Category Finalist ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards Finalist, Best National Book Awards, Self-Help Category Honorable Mention, London Book Festival How To Mediate Like A Pro: 42 Rules for Mediating Disputes Winner of five book awards Best National Book AWard, Law Category Best E-Book, New York Book Festival Best How To Book, Beach Book Festival Best E-Book, Indie Excellence Awards Spirit AWard, South Florida Writers Association Email: howtonegotiate@aol.com www.marygreenwood.com