Monthly Archives: February 2012
One way to significantly shorten your job search would be to improve your listening skills.Interviewing is as much about your ability to answer questions as it is your experiences. The unfortunate part is that too often the job candidate doesn’t actually answer the question asked.
It is like listening to a politician on TV. The reporter asks a very specific question, requiring a relatively simple answer, yet the politicians not only don’t answer the question, they start talking about something completely off the subject. In the politician’s case it is generally intentional; however, most candidates don’t even realize they are doing it. So they leave the interview thinking all went well.
Learning to listen carefully to the actual question being asked and then answering the question will dramatically improve the interviewing process for many candidates.
Recently in interviews I have been conducting, I often find myself saying to the candidate, “You didn’t answer my question.” Too often I hear back, “What was the question?” Unfortunately, most candidates will not hear this as most interviewers won’t say anything. They will thank the candidate for coming in and then send a rejection letter.
Listening carefully is a skill that needs to be honed.
- “How many or how much” — The person is generally looking for some number.
- “When did? “ –They are looking for a date.
- “Who?” — Implies a name or at least some way to specifically identify a person.
- “Give me an example” — Indicates the interviewer is looking for a specific example not some general statement.
Practice active listening so you can demonstrate to the interviewer you are not only a good listener, but you can do the job and they will only have to explain something to you once. As they know you listen.
While that’s an expression commonly associated with bad things happening in our lives, I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve heard a job hunter say essentially the same thing, as in “Here I go all this time looking for something, then I get two realistic possibilities and have to make a choice.”
In this tight economy it’s rare that you’ll have two simultaneous offers. But you might encounter a situation where you have an offer on the table, but also have a realistic chance of getting another offer soon.
What can/should you say to each employer so that you can not only have a “choice” between both of them, but also maximize your leverage when it comes to salary negotiations?
Let’s talk about what to do when you receive that first offer when you’re in the midst of interviewing for other jobs.
Your first thought should be to restate your interest in job No. 1 – the one you’ve been offered – and ask when they’d want an answer. This buys you time to think it over and see about your other prospects, as well as to formulate a counteroffer.
Now it’s time to contact the other company (job No. 2). Don’t ask them to circumvent their process and, whatever you do, don’t make them feel like you’re forcing them into a corner. Simply call them, express continued interest, and share with them the fact that you’ve received another offer you’re weighing.
Let job No. 2 know you’re interested in them and tell them you’re not asking them to skip steps in their hiring process, but wanted to at least make them aware you’ve received an offer … and ask whether they might be able to move in a timely fashion to allow both you and job No. 2 to vote each other up or down.
Timing is critical in most everything, including the hiring process. If you are truly a top candidate, you might be surprised what a company can and will do when they realize you’re about to come off the market.
But don’t bluff. If you don’t have an offer you’ll take from job No. 1, you run a huge risk by engaging in those talks with job No. 2. They may tell you to take job No. 1 since they can’t move fast enough to meet your timeframe. Then you’re left holding the proverbial bag.
Let’s now say you have two competing offers. No company wants to feel as though you’re playing them against the other. I don’t know of a nice way to tell a company you’re being courted by another without the company feeling pressured.
So don’t go there. Instead, try to negotiate a higher offer from job No. 1. And, for that matter, a higher offer from job No. 2. Just be careful that you’re not issuing an ultimatum where one, or both, companies pull out. Source: Randy Wooden for the Winston Salem Journal.