You have the job offer in hand.  Now it’s time to negotiate.

Here are a few salary negotiation principles:

  • Consider the entire compensation package
  • Know your value to the company and the current market salaries
  • Most hiring managers expect negotiations
  • Ask for what you want as long as it is realistic
Next steps:

Say thank you and show your enthusiasm for the job.  Ask clarifying questions about the entire compensation package (i.e., vacation, benefits, title, start date, work from home, etc.).  Write everything down.  Ask for a brief time to discuss this with your family and ask to be able to call if you have any questions.  Again, say thank you.

Before you go back to the hiring manager with your request, consider the following:

Keep objective.  Your request should be based on objective criteria.  Know your market. See list of resources below.
Keep flexible and have options.  Remember, most hiring managers expect some negotiating and a good negotiation is a dynamic conversation.  Anticipate objections with reasoned data.  Have alternate compensation enhancements ready to propose if your initial request is not accepted.
Be prepared with your bottom line.  Establish your requirements and your absolute minimum figure that you must have and be ready to walk away if you don't get it.
Be prepared to explain your salary history.
Be prepared with real market rate salaries for your profession in your location to justify your realistic compensation request.
Be prepared to justify your value and cost effectiveness to the company.  Have a strong story of your past contributions and future contributions that defend how valuable an employee you will be.
Keep confident.  Stay positive and gracious.  Manage each response from the hiring manager with data and appreciation
Always leave the door open for future conversations.

Effectively negotiating your compensation package is your first success in your new job.

Below are some resources for researching comparative market rate salaries:

by Sara Pacelle

"Judge a man by his questions, not by his answers."


The questions you ask in interviews are just as important as the answers you give, so in preparing for your interview, make sure you ask strategic questions that always enhance and sell your personal brand. Your questions will say alot about you and choosing them wisely is an opportunity to control the conversation and craft your personal branding. The entire interview is about selling yourself to the hiring manager.  You will have plenty of time to ask your real questions once an offer is extended.

Here are my thoughts on questions to ask.  You can ask about recent projects or deals that the company or the interviewer’s group has completed.  It demonstrates that you are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the company.  This requires company research, online or through personal or industry networking.  Of course, hold off on any salary questions until after you are given an offer.   In fact, if you are asked that question, try to fend it off as you would like to wait until you have more complete information and are able to consider the entire package, role, compensation and benefits. 

Other questions to ask might be about general industry trend questions and how the company is affected by them.  Be careful here, especially if you suspect that that may be the company’s Achilles heel.  On that line, avoid questions about the financial health of the company.  You can do your own research about company financials in the public domain, particularly if they are a public company.  However, and this is important if the company is a start-up, you would want to ask about their financials because you have that added risk.  Asking these financial questions reflects that you are savvy about the company and its opportunities and risks.

You can also get more personal with the interviewer by inquiring why they joined the company, what projects they have most enjoyed and about their own career path.  This shows interest in the interviewer as a person and is relationship building.

In selling yourself, you never want to ask questions whose answers you can find online or are self-serving.  Your own personal career advancement is not of interest to the hiring manager, so don’t put a lot of focus on that.  You will be hired to do the current job and stressing “what’s the next step for me?” doesn’t show enthusiasm in the present role.  You might ask where the company would see you in say, five years, because that reflects that you see the long-term opportunity of the position, are forward-thinking and a commitment to the company.

by Thomas Friedman, New York Times
This article originally appeared in the New York Times in February 2014.  Interesting to note that Google prefers using structured behavioral interviews to predict job candidate's future success.

 - Sara

LAST June, in an interview with Adam Bryant of The Times, Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google — i.e., the guy in charge of hiring for one of the world’s most successful companies — noted that Google had determined that “G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. ... We found that they don’t predict anything.” He also noted that the “proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time” — now as high as 14 percent on some teams. At a time when many people are asking, “How’s my kid gonna get a job?” I thought it would be useful to visit Google and hear how Bock would answer.

Don’t get him wrong, Bock begins, “Good grades certainly don’t hurt.” Many jobs at Google require math, computing and coding skills, so if your good grades truly reflect skills in those areas that you can apply, it would be an advantage. But Google has its eyes on much more.

“There are five hiring attributes we have across the company,” explained Bock. “If it’s a technical role, we assess your coding ability, and half the roles in the company are technical roles. For every job, though, the No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not I.Q. It’s learning ability. It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information. We assess that using structured behavioral interviews that we validate to make sure they’re predictive.”

By Sara Pacelle

Even though you may be a uniquely qualified job candidate, there are lots of reasons why you may not be getting the interview calls.  Some, frankly, are not within your control, but many are and can be addressed.  If you feel that you are perfect for the job and have done your research, avoiding some common mistakes can help get you in the door.

If you remember one thing from this article, please let it be this......if you don’t get the interview, it’s important in all cases, never to take it personally.   As the old adage goes, it may be all for the best.  The company may not be the best fit.  So don’t linger over feeling rejected, get right back in the game and focus your attention on new opportunities.

Let’s discuss some of those reasons you’re not getting the interview that are out of your control and therefore, not worth worrying about.  Most organizations will never admit to some of these, but they do happen.

1.     Tight Job Market:  This is blaringly obvious, but must be mentioned. Hiring managers receive tons of resumes from well-qualified candidates with industry experience.
2.     Company History: Hiring managers evaluate the companies where you worked and these companies may not meet their criteria. 
3.     Internal Candidate:  There may be an internal candidate the organization intends to place in the advertised position.  The organization’s rules may require that all positions be externally posted.  Even if you were Albert Einstein or Steve Jobs, there is little chance you would be considered for the position.  The posting is a mere formality.  Unfortunately this happens.

4.     Recruiter burnout:  You sent your application In right away, but the recruiter is being inundated with resumes and decides to limit the number s/he will review.  Yours doesn’t even get looked at.  
5.     You’re not the Purple Cow:  Remember the humorous verse:
I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.

The organization may be looking for that perfect candidate (who may not even exist) or they may be trying to round out their group with a certain type of person.  You may not fit that type.   Period.  Move on.

Now, as for the reasons within your control, here are some to consider:
1.     Your resume doesn’t show excellence and enthusiasm.  It’s important that your resume is results-driven to capture the recruiter’s attention.  Don’t simply list your job responsibilities.  Show your quantifiable accomplishments and let them know that you can do the same for their organization.  Your resume is like a movie trailer.  Make them want to see you.
2.     You don’t include keywords.  Most of the time, scanning software will be used to screen your resume.  If it doesn’t have certain keywords from the job posting, it will be tossed.  Make sure your resume addresses the job description and requirements.
3.       You have employment gaps or look like a job hopper:  If you have a lot of short term roles, try to bundle them in a way that shows more consistency and focuses on skills.
4.     You don’t follow the explicit directions.  Carefully study the job application directions.  This is not the time to cut corners or be lazy.  Proofread and eliminate any typos or grammatical errors.  Answer all the questions that are asked.  Any missing information can be hazardous.
5.     Your coverletter shows no passion for the job.  Your coverletter is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how much you want the job and how qualified you are by giving more description of your unique accomplishments and how they tie to the job description.
6.     To Whom It May Concern:
This coverletter salutation can be seen as too general.  It may be difficult, but try to get the name of the hiring manager by calling the company.  Hiring managers say that although this is not essential, it does help to garner their attention when they see applications addressed personally to them. You might also address it to the Manager of the Department (eg., “Hiring Manager, Accounting Department”).
7.     You haven’t networked into the Company:  If you are able to be referred by someone within the company or known to the hiring manager, mention the contact within the coverletter.  Ask any in-house referrals to also hand deliver your resume to the hiring manager and/or send an email endorsing you and your application for the job.
8.     You don’t follow up:  You should call or email the hiring manager within two weeks of submitting your application and make sure you send thank you emails after each contact you have with the company or with references.
9.        Your timing is off:   Perhaps you applied too late  Try to apply as soon as a job posting is listed. 

In the end, if you’re a great match for a job, have put your best foot forward and you still don’t get the interview, move on.  There are lots of new job postings every day and pursuing those in an excellent manner and looking ahead is the best way to expend your energy.  Getting a job is not just about being the best candidate who meets all the job requirements.  It’s also about motivation and drive and self-confidence.   Perseverance is critical in the job search.  It’s only a matter of time when you will get those phone calls for interviews.

This article is by Nancy Duarte from the Harvard Business Review.  At some point in your career, you likely will be required to make a presentation.  Perhaps a job interview will require a presentation of your past experience.  This article is useful in listing the five most common mistakes presenters make when giving presentations.  Read this article if you have a presentation coming up.  The links at the end of the article provide more useful presentation articles.  Good luck!

We all know what it's like to sit through a bad presentation. We can easily spot the flaws — too long, too boring, indecipherable, what have you — when we watch others speak. The thing is, when we take the stage ourselves, many of us fall into the same traps.

Here are five of the most common, along with some tips on how to avoid them.

1. Failing to engage emotionally. You risk losing your audience when you just "state the facts," even in a business setting. No presentation should be devoid of emotion, no matter how cerebral the topic or the audience. Speak to people's hearts as well as their minds. Look for ways to add emotional texture to your exhibits, data, proofs, logical arguments, and other analytical content. Try opening with a story your audience can relate to, for example, or including analogies that make your data more meaningful.

To unearth the emotional appeal of your ideas, ask yourself a series of "why" questions. If you're requesting funding to pay for cloud storage, for instance, start by asking, "Why do we need cloud storage?" Your answer may be something like "to facilitate data sharing with colleagues in remote locations." Then ask why you need to accomplish that — and you'll eventually get to the human beings who will be affected by your ideas. Suppose your answer is "to help remote colleagues coordinate disaster relief efforts and save lives." That's your emotional hook. Once you've found it, it's easier to choose words and images that elicit empathy and support.

2. Asking too much of your slides. PowerPoint can be a great tool. But know what you're trying to accomplish with it. Do only that, nothing more. Problems crop up when you place too many elements in a slide deck. If you cram in all the points you're going to cover so you won't forget anything, you'll end up projecting entire documents when you speak. (Garr Reynolds aptly calls these hydra-headed beasts "
slideuments.") No one wants to attend a plodding read-along. It's boring, and people can read more efficiently on their own, anyway. So don't try to spell everything out bullet by exhausting bullet. Keep your teleprompter text hidden from the audience's view, in the "notes" field, and project only visuals that reinforce your ideas. And if you need to circulate documents afterward? Create handouts from all that text you've pulled off your slides and moved into "notes." 

3. Trotting out tired visuals. Nothing gets eyes a-glazing like a visual cliché. Want your presentation to stand out (in a good way) from the others your audience has seen? Brainstorm lots of visual concepts — and throw away the first ones that came to mind. They're the ones that occur to everyone else, too. That's why you've seen them a million times in other people's presentations. Generate several ideas for each concept you want to illustrate, and you'll work your way toward originality.

4. Speaking in jargon. Have you ever listened to a presenter who sounded super-smart without having any idea what she really said? If so, the presentation was probably full of jargon. Each field has its own lexicon that's familiar to experts but foreign to everyone else. Unless you're speaking to a group of people who are steeped in the material themselves, you're better off avoiding highly technical or industry-specific language. Use words that will resonate with those whose support and influence you must earn. If they can't follow your ideas, they won't adopt them. Consider whether your presentation passes the "grandmother test": If your grandmother wouldn't understand what on earth you're talking about, rework your message.

5. Going over your allotted time. There's nothing worse than a presentation that seems like it will never end. A great talk goes by quickly. People in your audience will never scold you for ending early, but they certainly will for ending late. So treat the time slot assigned to you as sacred. And keep in mind that people have a 30- to 40-minute presentation tolerance (they're conditioned by TV shows with creatively produced commercial breaks). Go longer than that, and they're sure to squirm.

This is the seventh and final post in Nancy Duarte's blog series on creating and delivering presentations, based on tips from her new book, the 
HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations.

Read the other posts here:
Post #1: 
How to Present to Senior Executives
Post #2: Create a Presentation Your Audience Will Care About
Post #3: Do Your Slides Pass the Glance Test 
Post #4: 
Structure Your Presentation Like a Story
Post #5: Disarm Your Audience When You Present
Post #6: Authentic Presentations Take Practice

by Sara Pacelle

Interviewing for jobs in the nonprofit sector has certain nuances, according to Sue Dahling Sullivan, Chief of Staff of the Citi Performing Arts Center in Boston.  I recently heard Sue speak at an assembly for career counselors and I welcomed her pragmatic approach to interviewing.  Although her talk was geared toward nonprofit interviewing, her advice can be taken for any interview. She stressed the importance of respectful interview attire, showing enthusiasm and passion in the role and the organization, and being thoughtful and prepared when answering and asking questions.

Many thanks to Sue for sharing her six simple tips for shining in a nonprofit interview.

1.     Connect the dots:  Your resume should contain experience that is relevant to the posted nonprofit position.  Even if you don’t have the actual work experience that is listed in the nonprofit job description, reference volunteer work, board experience and civic engagement to show strong nonprofit connections and your mission-driven capabilities.

2.     Do your homework:  Search the organization’s website and any online news to fully understand its mission, culture and goals.  Demonstrate this familiarity and knowledge in correspondence and in your interview.  You may not get that job, but you will get the employer’s attention by being perceived as a valuable candidate who “gets it” for consideration in future positions.

This article appeared on the website OutdoorIndustryJobs.com, a valuable career site for those who are interested in a career that combines a passion for the outdoors with a rewarding job.  This piece was written by Nathan Newberger

No, it's not time to throw your resume in the trash and start a "new age job search". But one thing that any job seeker must understand is that the showcase of talents does not begin and end with the resume. There are many "secret" abstract, often called "soft", skills that employers keep an eye out for. 

This article discusses the five key "secret skills" that interviewers examine and how to demonstrate them in an interview situation. 

These five skills are: 
1. Organizational
2. Critical Thinking 
3. Communication 
4. Interpersonal 
5. Multi-Tasking 

1. ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS:  Unless you are applying for a job as a mad scientist, organization is an essential skill for any job. Employers can get sense of how an individual will handle large workloads by how organized that person is during the interview. Moreover, a person that makes a sincere effort to stay organized is an employee that will take a job seriously and make a sincere effort to get things done. 

The best way to display these skills:
  • Dress professionally and neatly for an interview.
  • Keep supplies or materials on hand if you think they might be pertinent to the interview. This can go beyond pen, paper, resumes, and business cards depending on the position you apply for.
  • Organize your thoughts before the interview. Preparation for typical interview questions will reflect a sense of general readiness.
2. CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS:  Nobody wants a mindless drone for an employee. If they did, they would buy a robot. Employers want people that can think on their feet and respond. They are looking for people that won't come crying with every little setback. They are looking for problem solvers. Having critical thinking skills means that you can come through in the clutch. 

by Sara Pacelle

Back in the day, job interview questions were based on an assumption of future performance. “What would you do if your project budget were cut 50%?" “How would you handle a situation in which….?.  These conventional and situational questions gave the candidate broad liberties to describe themselves in whatever way they wished.  They focused on what the job candidate said they would do given a hypothetical situation.  The interviewer’s impression of the candidates was based on assumed future behaviors, along with a thumbs’ up from the candidates’ pre-selected personal and professional references.

Employers are finding that these situational interview questions leave too much ambiguity as to the reliability of the candidates’ answers.  Increasingly, we see employers using a more sophisticated type of interviewing known as the Behavioral Descriptive Interview (BDI) format because it is widely considered by employers to be a more accurate predictor of on-the-job performance.  Based in part on the conclusions found in the 1980s research, Behavior Description Interviewing: New, Accurate, Cost Effective by Tom Janz, Lowell Hellervik and David C. Gilmore (1986), the BDI is believed to produce more candid responses from the job candidates and to keep the interviewer focused on job-related issues. In addition, it is thought to be a more objective method to record interviewer’s feedback and to make candidate selection decisions more defensible.  Employers say that using BDI allows them to obtain valuable information and that it reveals many more behaviors of the job candidate than when using conventional interviewing methods.   The premise of the BDI is that “the best predictor of future performance is past performance in similar circumstances.”  This includes asking behavioral questions requiring examples of past performance along with further probing questions to seek clarification or exploration.

So, how does the job candidate prepare for this behavioral type interview?

by Sara Pacelle

That five minute walk is key.

I recently spoke with a seasoned hiring manager at a major financial institution in Boston.  It was a perfect opportunity to lap up any drops of hiring wisdom she’d send my way.  This time she told me something really interesting.  Over her long career in which she has conducted scores of interviews, she has developed a fail-proof way of “sizing up” a job candidate within the first five minutes of meeting them.


She escorts them back to her office taking the long circuitous route.   She calls it the Five-Minute Walk.

During those five minutes she doesn’t say anything.  Not a syllable.  She waits for the candidate to speak.

The smart ones will have researched the company and its location and have a short conversational story to share about the building or a newsworthy item about the firm.    The story will be engaging and friendly, yet always professional, and tends to set that same tone for the rest of the interview.  

“I understand this building used to be the site of an old knitting mill.  When did your firm move here?” or “I read recently that your company was a sponsor of the….” 

Its inappropriate to fill the silence with a dive deep into the interview at that point.  It is appropriate to show that you’re confident and personable and know how to initiate a conversation.

The unprepared ones will either remain silent, awkward, waiting for her to speak or worse yet, will blabber on and on nervously about some inane, boring and unrelated topics.

She recommends that candidates do a little research and prepare some time-filling, pleasant dialogue to keep the mood relaxed and cordial.  Setting the tone at the beginning of the dialogue can help further your cause throughout the rest of the interview.