A very close friend of mine is currently looking for a new position. He and I talk frequently and he shared his most recent interview experience with me. I found his story very interesting and I am sharing his adventures with you as a way to help in your job search. For the sake of this blog, I will call him Bob. Here is Bob's most recent adventure in job hunting:
Bob saw a job posting that he had interest and curiosity in. He sent his resume and cover letter in as requested. Three days passed with no acknowledgement of receipt. (this is common and can lead to extreme frustration for the job-seeker) So, Bob took it upon himself to call the company and follow up. This is a key point. Don't assume anything, call and verify.
So, after finding the company's phone number, Bob called and asked to speak to someone regarding the position. This particular company is a mid-sized company and getting to the HR director was quite easy. Bob then asked a key question to the HR director: "Has your Staff Accountant position been filled?" The HR director answered, "No", it has not been filled yet." You should note that he did not ask: "Did you receive my resume?"
Now Bob has some key information. He NOW asked, "OK, I had sent my resume in a few days ago, can you tell me if it was received?" After a brief search, the HR administrator replied, "Yes, we did, but we assumed you were over skilled for this position." The next question from the HR director was "What are your salary requirements?" This question at this point of the interview process is a trap. So, Bob wisely reversed the question, and did not answer. Bob's reply was, "That is a great question. Why do you ask me that now?"
The HR director replied that they had assumed that you would require more salary than this position offers. She also disclosed the salary range for the open position. She had tipped her hand first and Bob was now in the position of power. Typically, in salary negotiations, he who speaks first looses.
In a very wise tactical move, Bob was able to determine that this HR Director thought that Bob was overqualified and would require a much higher salary than this position would offer. Actually, Bob was pleasantly surprised by the salary for the position, and was then able to tell the HR director, "No, this salary range is not a deal breaker, and I would like to move forward with the interview process."
Two days later Bob was invited in for an interview. I will be talking with Bob to share his interview experience with you as well.
So, some key points to take away from Bob's story:
1.) Follow up with a phone call to the company after 3 days. Often times HR folks get flooded with resumes, make assumptions about candidates, AND they don't acknowledge receipt of resumes.
2.) Know the right questions to ask once you are talking to the HR director. Make the questions about them, not you. For example: "Did you fill the position yet?" or "What skill are you looking for to fill this position?"
3.) When salary comes up this early in the process, proceed with care. Bob did a masterful job of not speaking about money first. Bob knew that his goal was to get invited in for an interview, not to talk about salary. Only after learning much more about the position, and the company should Bob engage in salary negotiations.
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