A common misconception when looking for a job is that a resume packed with skills and accolades is what determines a great offer. Although so much of our work today is technical, the x-factor is still relationships and understanding human motivations. Ultimately, we all have core needs. These needs apply to our careers as well. Most of us have the need to provide value and feel valued, and a desire for personal growth. In my opinion, negotiations after interviews are less about technical skills and more about ensuring that companies and potential employees will have their needs met. There are some strategic steps you can take to increase your job offer by showing your value immediately.
If you intend to make a job change, my advice is to first research and identify companies of interest. However, before engaging with interviews, choose a specific date of when you will be selecting your new job after reviewing all offers. I would also advise selecting a desired start date of a new job prior to interviews. A potential new employer will appreciate you for being proactive about these things. It provides certainty and clarity regardless of the outcome. Defining your time frame will give you control over your future and position you as a clear-minded professional. How can you ensure you receive the best offer after your interview?
Prior to conducting an interview be sure to have communication with the interviewing parties and company representatives about your goals and compensation range.
Clear is kind. The biggest complaint I hear from job candidates is that after going through the interview process, the company or companies they interviewed with made an offer much lower or offered a position with less responsibility than they applied for. You can avoid that scenario by being clear up front. It’s not a demand, it’s a clear representation of what you are looking for and what you know your value is. This is also why a recruiter is such a great resource. A great recruiter will advocate for you from the beginning.
Do your homework on the people you are meeting with.
Information is power. Before an interview, use resources like LinkedIn to see if you have common networks, or to see the progression of past employment of the people interviewing you. It’s important to know enough about the person(s) you are interviewing with to find common ground; however, you don’t want to talk so much about the person that you seem like a stalker. Ask them relevant questions about what you find. Show them your hunger to learn and be mentored and involved. Making a personal connection is a great way of ensuring you make a great and lasting first impression.
Sample questions for your interview:
- How can I provide the most value?
- Who at the company can I learn the most from?
- What did the person before me do well?
- Can you describe your team’s culture?
- Tell me how to communicate best when there is a challenge.
Handling the compensation topic
Historically, we have been taught not to be the one who brings up the taboo topic of compensation. In addition, we all feel the need to communicate that compensation isn’t the most important factor when considering a job. Like I mentioned before, clear is kind. Compensation may not be all that matters, but it definitely matters. Many states have already adopted laws that prohibit potential employers from asking about your current income. They can only ask you what you are seeking for the new opportunity. This is set in place to help move toward equality in compensation. Be prepared to answer the question, “What would you be seeking in income or salary in order to accept this position?” Be clear and confident. Even if a company can’t meet your requests, I have seen countless situations where they are willing to work out bonus structures and other means to show good faith in meeting in the middle.
Interviewees will commonly quote an income number lower than they really want. Common reasons are fear of sounding greedy or not wanting to risk losing the opportunity. I recommend that when the question is asked of you in the interview, you say, “I’d like to give you my answer tomorrow morning via email after I have assessed the responsibilities of the role completely and have an opportunity to compare benefits. Would that be ok?“ A statement like that shows you are confident and that you take time to make informed decisions. Any potential employers would be impressed that you are cool under pressure. This helps in ensuring you receive the best offer after your interview(s).
Ask for a second meeting before you leave the first interview.
Keep in mind that most interviewers are as bad, or worse, than you are at conducting interviews. The people you are interviewing with have a full time job to conduct and as soon as you leave, and they will be head deep back into their work. Without you being proactive about the next step, you could find yourself waiting weeks to coordinate schedules, or have questions answered. Before you leave the interview, inform those that you interviewed with that you will most likely have additional questions come to mind after the interview and ask if they would prefer to schedule a second meeting, phone call or email correspondence. Your goal is to initiate the next communication, but give the interviewer the control over what type of communication that is. TIP: We tend to like and feel more accountable to the people we spend the most time with. If you can increase the number of live interactions, you will increase your chance of receiving the best offer after that interview.
The Interview was only the beginning.
Send an email to the people you interviewed with detailing this information:
- How you will provide value with your experience, credentials, communication.
- How you believe the company and management will benefit you professionally.
- Additional questions you thought of afterward to help assert your desire for a second meeting.
Be proactive with your references
I understand the need to keep your confidentiality during a job search, and that could limit some references. That’s why being proactive about professional references when you are in the interview process will once again assert your desire and qualifications.
Here the topics you want your references to focus on when writing about you:
- Ranking and measuring your work through quality, quantity, timeliness, accountability, communication and efficiency.
- Ranking your ability to problem solve on a technical level as well as in relationships. They should be specific about your approach toward solutions.
I have used this advice time and again with candidates I have worked with to receive the best offer possible after an interview. I also recommend that you use missed offers as an opportunity to learn. If for some reason you are not chosen for an opportunity, be sure to follow up with those you interviewed with. Ask for clarification about what you could improve upon in order to be considered for an opportunity in the future. Without measurable understanding of how you can develop as a professional, you will not be able to change the outcome of your future job searches.
Patrick is a graduate of Stetson University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Integrative Health Science. During his time at Stetson, he was a collegiate athlete and entrepreneur. Patrick has 14 years of experience in executive recruiting and 8 of those years were as CEO and owner. He started his career in the industry at a startup medical placement firm in 2005 as a recruiter. Patrick is the founder and CEO of multiple recruiting firms. His areas of expertise include Architecture, Design, Engineering, Technology and Medical. He and his wife, Anna, have been married for 16 years, and they have 2 children and 2 dogs.