Three Salary Negotiation Tips

September 11th, 2015

You’ve just received an offer and even though you aren’t ready to say so just yet, you know the truth: you want this job. You ready—more than ready—to set a start date, grab your employee badge, leave the job search behind, and start the next chapter of your career. There’s only one problem. The salary on the table just doesn’t meet your terms. Ten minutes of internet research make it clear that you can do better. Someone with your skills and experience in this specific geographic area can expect to earn more, and you’re not ready to sign on the dotted line until you know your hard work and sacrifices will be compensated fairly. So how can you let these employers know that you’re willing to deal? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Don’t say too much too soon.

Ask for plenty of time to think over the initial offer, and let the employers do most of the talking. When you receive an opening bid, pause before you respond. Think carefully and speak slowly. And ask for at least 24 or 48 hours to consider your answer. Even if the initial number is insulting, or just a few dollars away from perfect, don’t get excited and keep your emotions and thoughts to yourself. If your employers change or raise the offer within the allotted time frame, don’t rush to respond. Insist on taking your full 24 hours.

Consider what you’re willing to give back.

Before you being the negotiation process, have a clear idea in mind regarding the items on which you’re willing to compromise. For example, what if your employers can’t budge on salary, but they’re willing to add to your benefits package or offer a generous list of perks? Will you be caught off guard by this suggestion? Ideally, you’ll be ready for a twist like this and you’ll already know what you are and aren’t willing to take off the table.

Know the difference between standard and additional.

If you’ve researched the topic, you may know perfectly well that a 50,000 dollar salary, ten PTO days per year, and dental benefits are all very common expectations for an employee in this role. But there’s a strong chance that your employers will claim to sweeten the deal by adding these elements as gesture of interest or an act of generosity. Be careful, and expect what’s reasonable. Don’t assume that this offer comes at great sacrifice to these employers, even if they claim that it does. If they have to break the bank to offer the bare minimum of what you deserve for your labor, that’s their problem, not yours.

For more on how to land the job you need at the salary you want, contact the staffing team at PSU.

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Preparing to Interview Administrative Candidates

August 21st, 2015

You’ve recently published an opening for an administrative professional and you’re starting to receive a steady flow of resumes in response. Now you’re ready to schedule some interviews and find a candidate who can handle the requirements of the job and represent your company and your personal brand to the world. You’ll need a problem solver, a positive person who’s pleasant to be around, and someone with the rapid multitasking ability and tech skills to quickly dispatch whatever challenges the day delivers. That’s what you need. But here’s what you have: a stack of nearly identical resumes and a lobby full of fresh faces that don’t reveal much about the minds and personalities behind them. Use these interview tips to sort through the haystack and find your perfect needle.

Skip the obvious single-answer questions.

Go through your list of questions and delete everything that can be answered with a single word (like yes or no) and every question that comes with a fairly obvious answer (like, “Are you a hard worker?”) These questions won’t help you at all. Instead of giving your candidates an easy pop-quiz, use the meeting to launch a conversation. Then read between the lines and use the conversation to make your decision.

Ask for stories.

Ask your candidates to tell you a story (or a series of stories) that will provide insight into their preparation for the job. For example: “Can you tell me about a time when you set a goal, gave it your all, and fell short? What happened and what did you learn from the experience?” You can also ask your candidates to review the past and tell you a story about a workplace conflict, a leadership challenge, a difficult deadline, or any other event that might tell you something about the person’s character and communication skills.

Explain the most unpleasant aspect of the job.

This can be a very telling moment in an administrative interview. If you have one especially nasty client, or a dirty chore, or a tedious responsibility that comes with this job title, describe it and ask the candidate what he thinks. How will he handle this odious task? If he answers with enthusiasm and doesn’t bat an eye, that’s a good sign.

Ask about the filing systems and scheduling tools she’s used in the past.

Listen to the sound of her voice as she answers. Is she comfortable learning to depend on new technology that she’s never seen before? Is she likely to pick up new tools and new methods quickly and without complaint? Will she thrive within the status quo? If so, she’s probably the perfect match for this position.

For more on how to identify and hire winning administrative candidates, reach out to the staffing team at PSU.

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Is Your Job Hunt Losing Momentum? Five Ways to Stay Motivated

March 14th, 2014

No matter how positive and optimistic you may feel at the beginning of your job search, a long string of fruitless resume submissions and awkward interviews can take a toll on even the most resilient applicant. These days, the average job search lasts for about eight months, but it’s not uncommon for perfectly qualified candidates to stay on the market for a year and often far longer. So when you round the next bend and realize you still have miles and miles left to go, what steps can you take to stay motivated and keep your head in the game?

1. Take breaks.

There’s a difference between persistence and relentlessness. It’s okay to treat your search like a full time job, but full time jobs come with weekends, lunch breaks, and mental health days. Don’t assume that coming up for air will ruin your future or cause you to lose focus. It will actually do the opposite.

2. Stay in touch with your social circle.

You have a social circle, your have a support network, and you have a professional contacts list. You need the first just as much as you need the second two. Your entire social world should not revolve around your job search. Go out for coffee or drink with your friends now and then and immerse yourself in someone else’s life. It will help you gain a little distance from your own.

3. Remember why you’re doing this.

If you’re committed to “searching for a job” and you’re ready to exclude all other alternatives, like freelancing, consulting, starting a business, partnering with a friend, returning to school, choosing a new career, etc, etc, than make you sure you understand why you’re doing this. Don’t develop tunnel vision and continue down this road simply because you’ve come too far to turn back. If this is the path for you, stay on it. But if a better option appears, think carefully before you say no. It’s never too late to change course.

4. Take care of yourself.

Sometimes long-term job seekers slide into a state of self-neglect, losing sleep, foregoing exercise, and eating in an unhealthy way. Don’t give in to frustration or a damaged sense of self-worth. Your needs come first, job or no job.

For more information on how to stay positive, balanced and socially connected during your search, reach out to the employment experts at PSU.

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