Salary Negotiations: Be Prepared!

November 16th, 2012

You’ve made it through the first round of a challenging application process, and as you walk out of your interview, your confidence levels are high. You’re pretty sure this job is yours, if you’re willing to accept the conditions of the offer and the salary that comes with it. But be ready: Your hiring manager may not provide a clear number, and may instead ask you to propose a potential salary and open the floor to negotiation. Here are a few tips that can help you prepare.

1. Know your market value inside and out. Research average salaries for this position in your area, average salaries with competing companies, and salaries for similar jobs with companies in other industries.

2. Once you know the averages, determine where you stand in relation to “average”. What’s the monetary value of your specific experience, accomplishments, and training?

3. Stand your ground. You don’t know your new employer very well, so you won’t be able to read his or her expressions and you’ll be at a slight disadvantage. Meanwhile, you’re one person going toe to toe against a large established organization. But don’t be flustered. Take a stand and get what you deserve.

In a second scenario, the end of the year lies around the corner, and as the date of your performance evaluation draws near, it’s a good time to be ready for another necessary conversation: your yearly salary negotiation. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you head into your manager’s office and begin to make your case for higher compensation.

1. Don’t expect to be asked. If you feel it’s time for a raise, you may have to broach the subject on your own. Time the moment properly, and keep things formal. The best approach: ask your boss for an official meeting with an established time, don’t just ambush her in the elevator or the cafeteria line.

2. Know your value. See the research tips in the first scenario above. But since you already have a relationship with this company, you’ll be in a better position to outline your accomplishments and contributions.

3. Don’t corner, blackmail, or make demands. Managers don’t usually like this. Instead, enter the negotiating process in good faith and give your manager the same respect that you expect from her.

For more detailed negotiating tips that apply to your specific situation, reach out and arrange a consultation with the NC staffing experts at PSU. We can help you navigate the challenges of this difficult but important conversation.

Are Phone Interviews the Best Option For Narrowing Down Candidates?

September 14th, 2012

A meticulous candidate search can reduce hiring risk and yield great rewards, especially over the long term. But no staffing strategy is 100 percent perfect, and while screening with a fine tooth comb can produce excellent employees, it can also require considerable time and financial investment. You can cull a stack of resumes down to the top twenty candidates, and then call each of the twenty in for a full interview, which may require transportation costs and necessitate pulling interviewers off the floor for hours at a time. Or, you can make use of an inexpensive tool that’s already in place: the phone.

Phone Interviews: Making the Most of a Simple and Powerful Communication Tool

Phone screenings require little more than about fifteen minutes per candidate, and can be conducted with no transportation or overhead costs. Dozens or hundreds of candidates can be screened in an hour (depending on how many screeners are involved), and the process can be standardized and streamlined for efficiency and fairness. Just make sure each call follows the same format, and that phone interview questions are tightly focused on the needs of the position.

Have your screeners listen for clear red flags and yes or no answers to simple questions, such as the following:

1. Do you have a BS degree in computer science or a related field?
2. Are you interested in a job that will require you to travel at least 50 percent of the time?
3. Are you willing to be on call at night and during the weekends?
4. Have you ever managed a staff of at least five people?

Potential Pitfalls of the Phone Interview

Be aware that a phone screening and a true interview are separate endeavors with separate goals. While a real interview allows a hiring manger to assess a candidate’s personality, character, deep background, and cultural aptitude, a phone call offers a very limited window into these areas. The phone screening should not be used for final round hiring or real skill assessment. Among its limits, the phone can reveal false signs of promise and can also allow great candidates to slip away.

Instead, use the phone simply to refine a huge population of candidates into a narrow and manageable pool. Filter out those who are not interested in the challenges of the job, hold less than the minimum qualifications, or have no plans to accept the position if it’s offered. Keep things simple and don’t allow your phone screeners to make assumptions or overreach.

If you need specific guidance while developing your phone screening questions and protocols, contact the NC staffing experts at PSU. Put our experience to the test and make sure you get the most out of your screening and interview strategies.


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