Wednesday, October 23, 2013

When the salary request is a huge jump

Every now and then you will be interviewing a candidate and they will indicate that they want a significant jump in compensation over what they are currently making.  Presently, they are earning $45,000 but in their next position they only want to consider opportunities that are above $70,000.

While your first reaction might be to politely tell them that they are out of their mind, I have always used the following question to broach the subject:

“You are asking for a significant increase over what you are currently making.  My client will ask me about that.  Tell me, is their something that has changed in your world like an additional degree or specialized license that would warrant the such an increase?”

Sometimes, you are surprised and learn something that really allows you to sell this candidate.

When there is no justifiable reason for the increase you need to address it.

“Without any significant increase in education or experience, it will be very difficult to get that kind of compensation.   With that in mind, at what salary level would you not want me to reach out to discuss a possible opportunity?”

You will often find that with the subtle reality check that you gave them, it brings the expectations back in line.

Monday, October 7, 2013

4 Types of Interview Styles & How To Prepare Your Candidates For Them

There are 4 main types of interview styles.  By preparing your candidate for the interview style of the person they meet with you will increase their effectiveness in the interview.  How do you know what kind of interviewer your client is?  You get this information when you debrief the first candidate you send in to interview.  They are your Guinea pig that sets you up to prepare everyone else extremely well.

This is the interviewer who will ask very detailed questions on what is on the candidate's resume as well as what is not on the resume.  This is also the interviewer who asks detailed questions based on the answers to other questions.  Behavioral Based interviewers fall into this category.  They listen intently, don't miss much and quickly recognize conflicting information or answers that don't make sense.

The way to prepare a candidate for them is to let them know to be prepared to talk specifics about their experience.  Where there are accomplishments or awards noted on their resume, the candidate should be prepared to explain how they did what they did - in detail.

This is the interviewer who may start off the interview with "So, tell me about yourself."  They are very comfortable to talk to, are very friendly and open...and candidates will often find themselves opening up and sharing details that they never intended to or wanted just seems like such an open conversation between friends.

The best way to prepare a candidate for this type of interview is to explain that they are very friendly and open and have a way of getting candidates to open up.  Make sure that the candidate knows to make sure the details they are opening up about pertain to their career, accomplishments and experience.

Negative interviewers feel that they need tell you about every possible negative thing you may encounter about the company and job.  These people aren't always negative people, they just believe that if you are going to work there you should have full discloser on everything that could be negative.  They will say things like: "So, how do you feel about working 80 hour work weeks with no feedback?" or "Here you will be exposed to a great deal of swearing and inappropriate behavior, are you OK with that?" or is could be a simple as constant comments like "We are slow to make decisions, are you a patient person?"

The way to mitigate the impact of a negative interview is to let the candidate know this is what they will experience in advance.  Failure to do this will cause the candidate to want to run out of the interview as quickly as possible.  The approach can be as simple as "Timmy believes that he owes it to people he likes to tell them everything negative they might experience.  He does this not to scare you but is in the spirit of telling you everything - don't let it scare you."

This is the person who doesn't interview much, has never done one, or just doesn't care what is appropriate.  They will ask inappropriate and sometime illegal questions. "So, got any kids....are you married?"  It may be as simple as swearing in the interview or not knowing what questions to ask and they end up asking questions that never allow a candidate to explain their qualifications or experience.

The best way to prepare a candidate for this type of interview is to let them know that the person doing the interview doesn't do them often and may spend their time asking questions that don't have anything to do with the job.  Let the candidate know to quickly answer the interviewers question in as simple and appropriate way as possible THEN follow up with a comment about the job and how their experience will allow them to excel.  It might sound something like this:  "On the weekends, I like to ice fish.  I notice on your job description that they main thing you are looking for is someone that can take care of your purchasing of raw materials, I have 100 years of experience doing this and have developed procedures that allow me to minimize the cost paid and maximize credit terms.  What do you currently use for purchasing software?" 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Don't Think Positive Reinforcement is Important? Run A Marathon

In 2000 I completed my first, and only, marathon.  I remember limping across the finish line bleeding, blistered, exhausted and very excited to see my wife and 2-year-old son.  I checked that item off my bucket list, and hadn’t put on shoes for the purpose of running in nearly 12 years.

I put the medal they give you when you cross the finish line in a shadow box on the wall in our basement along with many of the other family accomplishments.  Over the years, my sons and I have talked about running a marathon together someday.

Fast forward nearly 13 years and my eldest son and I are training to run a half marathon with a full marathon soon to come.  We created a solid training plan and have been sticking to it religiously.   During a recent longer run my son had finished and I was struggling a bit.  After he finished, he came back, gave me high five, said “You’re doing good dad, lets finish this,” and we finished the run together. 

His simple act of positive reinforcement helped me finish and reminded me of my marathon.  It was around mile 22 and I was simply putting one foot in front of the other with nothing left in the tank but determination.  Turning the corner, I saw one of those very long San Francisco hills and my heart sank.  As I started the climb I noticed that there were a number of people who had already finished the race who were walking the course backward to encourage those still struggling.  At that point, even a complete stranger reminding me “you have almost made it, you’re still moving forward and by pushing a bit more you will finish” – meant the world to me.  That simple act of timely positive reinforcement was enough to give me the mental strength needed to make it up the hill and finish.

As business leaders, it is often too easy to fall into routines or get hyper focused on a goal and forget the importance of positive reinforcement for those on our team.  Positive reinforcement not only reminds people that they have the skills to complete the task, but that they also have the confidence of their mentors.  When people know their leaders believe in them they are empowered to push harder, take risks and often over-achieve the goal.  People who receive regular appropriate positive reinforcement are more excited to come to work, will stay in their jobs longer and be more forward thinking in their ideas to improve – because they know they have support behind them.

There are those leaders, and I have worked with a number over the years, who believe positive reinforcement is over-rated.  To them I would say – run a marathon, see what that reinforcement does for you when you are wiped out and then imagine what it could do for someone you work with.  Remind your people how talented they are.  The results are amazing.