“My last employer lied to me. He looked me straight in the eye and lied to me twice in the employment interview. Then he spent the next year undermining me. He made it impossible to reach the pay level he promised me.”
When he told me that, I understood. I’m an agency recruiter. I could see from his previous jobs that he was exceptionally good at what he does. Before he goes out on a job interview I’ll tell him how to handle that situation. Eventually he’s going to have to get over that job wound.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. (Gandhi)
Remember, your attitude is everything. Managers know that some bosses reek. Every manager has also had an employee who was terrible. Your interviewer has to decide if you or your boss was the problem. Because they lack facts, they will decide whose fault it was by your attitude.
When they ask you about that lying, thieving, disgusting, wife beating boss you had at your previous job, be careful. Remember, the slimeball’s dog still loves him. Say only, “At my last job I accomplished..” and list the good things you got done.
If asked, “Why did you leave?” Say, “My boss and I did not see eye to eye.” Then add something else that is positive that you accomplished.
Never say more than one sentence at a time about that vile, filthy, back stabbing, dog kicking boss. Remember the Grinch’s cat still purrs when he pets it. Make each short comment about him as positive as you can. Follow that sentence with something positive you were able to get done at that job.
The best thing you can do is GET OVER IT. Forgive the louse. No. Forgive the man. Stop brooding. It affects your attitude. Hate will make it much harder to get a job. Interviewers can smell your discontent.
Forgive, forget, and get on with your life. Do you really think you will be telling every interviewer for the next 20 years about that boss? You won’t. The time to stop telling people about that boss is now.
Something To Do Today
Had a boss you hated? Make a list of 10 things you accomplished there. Not your job duties, things you made better. Accomplishments. Use that list every time you are asked about the job.
Job search progression
It’s your first interview. Things are going well. The wall clock says you’ve been here 45 minutes. That’s good. Then the hirer sits back in his chair and asks, “How much do we have to pay you?”
This can be a disaster. If you come up with too big of a number, they won’t hire you. If the number is too small you won’t earn as much as you could. Is there any way to win?
Your answer needs to show a great attitude. It can’t sound like you are greedy. It must leave the door open for negotiations. It has to get you a job offer so you can really start negotiating. Try this:
“I really like the opportunity you have described to me. This is a great company. I would love to come to work for you. In my last job I earned (amount), I certainly wouldn’t want to work for less. What I would like… is to be able to entertain your best offer.”
Show them your attitude first. Let them know you like the company and the job. Give them the historical fact of what you last earned. Then defuse the question by saying you want to see their best offer.
This line works. Most of the time they’ll stop asking you for a number. If they ask you again, repeat the line. Eventually you’ll be negotiating wages, but try to put it off until they really want to make you an offer.
Use the money question to show your attitude. You’ll get more job offers. You’ll also make more money.
Something To Do Today
Put this question and answer down in your interview preparation notes. Practice saying it five times before every phone interview or in-person interview.
Later: My last job stunk
Yes, the wrong questions can destroy your chance to be hired.
True story with our candidate: He was interviewing for a $100,000/year job. The interview had lasted an hour. The hiring manager loved the candidate. There was no one else interviewing. The hirer had made up his mind that this guy was going to work for him. The manager asked, “Do you have any questions?” The candidate said, “Yes, how much time off do I get and when can I start taking vacation time?” Five minutes later the candidate was out of the office. He had no clue why the interview was terminated so abruptly. He was not hired.
Attitude is everything in an interview. A hiring manager is looking for someone who will work hard. He wants a team builder who will inspire others. He wants someone who will take some of his burden away.
Don”t ever ask the “What”s in it for me?” questions in your first interview. The correct time to ask is when they bring it up first, or when they make you a job offer.
Here”s a list of some of those questions you should NOT ask until later:
- How much time off and vacation do I get?
- What is your sick leave policy?
- Can I come in late or leave early sometimes?
- Do I have to work late?
- What will my pay be?
None of the above questions is asking anything evil. You need the answers to all of them. You”ll get all the answers before you accept the job. Just wait a bit.
The correct questions to ask are about the company’s direction, your role, potential job growth, your teammates, etc. Ask questions that show you want to work hard. Your questions should show you want to help.
Attitude really is everything in an interview. What you are most interested in asking about will show your interviewer what your real attitude is.
Something To Do Today
Write down some questions that show how much you want to succeed. It”s good practice.
Coming up: The money question
Later: My last job stunk
Where will you be in 5 years? What if you don’t really know? What if you don’t care?
Here is an interesting link that may get you thinking about what you really want in 5 years.
Too bad. When someone gets a job offer and turns it down, it disappoints the folks who made the offer. Here are 6 real reasons people turn down jobs.
Will the folks who made the offer learn from it? Will they even listen if you tell them why you turned down the job?
I am in favor of giving the real reason you turn down a job, not just the one that makes you feel better. If you give the real reason the facts may change, then they can give you a call and a chance to reconsider.
The best example is when you just didn’t like one person you talked to. Once that person is gone, it may become the perfect job. If you let them know the truth, they may call you back in when they fire that person.
Anytime you do turn down a job, be polite. You know how.
Ask, and it shall be given unto you. (Bible)
I talk to hiring managers after interviews to see how my candidates have done. I also ask about the competition. One of the common complaints I hear about many candidates is, “I’m not sure he really wanted the job.”
When I ask my candidates about it they always say, “I didn’t want to appear too anxious. They might not pay me what I deserve.” At least they won’t have to worry about being underpaid! They will never be offered a job.
Your interviewers are evaluating you for more than just your ability to do the job. They are keenly interested in your attitude. They want to know how willingly you will work with the team. Are you going to be excited to go to work, or will you be looking for a new job the day after you start?
A key place to plant the right impression is as the interview ends. The last thing you want them to remember is that you want the job. Here’s what you say:
I’m impressed by this company and this opportunity. I’d love to have the chance to work with you. Is there anything you’ve seen today that would keep me from being able to join your team?
When they say, “No, you’re fine.” You ask the one most critical question.
Can we set up an appointment for the next step in the hiring process right now?
Usually they will say, “We’ll call you later.”
That is fine. Now they know you really want the job. They’ll know you try to make things happen. Your desire to move things forward will be undeniable.
Isn’t that the last impression you want them to have of you?
Something To Do Today
Practice your closing lines before every interview.
Later: Best ways to blow an interview
The money question
Searching for a job when you already have one can be dangerous. If you are found out, you may be fired. More likely, your chance to work on good projects, the trust of your boss, and morale of your team will all be gone.
Your best bet may be to tell your boss and give him a chance to do things to keep you. But, if you decide to keep your job search secret, there are some real basic things you have to remember.
This article has 6 things to remember about your covert job hunt. Use this link.
Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone. (Stern)
If you aren’t remembered, your interview was a waste. Someone else will get the job. Someone else will get the promotion. Someone else will get the reward. If you aren’t remembered, why even show up?
Think of your interview from the hiring manager’s perspective. He is going to interview ten people. Three of them will totally screw up the interview. There’s no way he’ll hire them. That leaves 7 people who could do the job
The hiring manager finishes the last interview of the day and starts slogging through his email. Two emails are from people he interviewed. They said, “Thank you.”
Managers are never thanked for anything. He takes his list of interviews and circles both names. Then he goes through the list and circles the names of two more people who impressed him. He puts the list down and catches up on his email.
The next days are spent catching up on all the work he put off in order to do the interviews. Two days after the interviews he receives one letter that intrigues him. It is a paper “Thank you.” It is from one of the people who sent an email “Thank you.”
Managers are never thanked for anything. That person who sent an email and a paper thank you is invited in for a second interview along with one other person.
Do you want to be remembered favorably? Get the email and ground mail address of everyone you interview with. Send them a thank you note. Don’t have the addresses? Call the company and ask the receptionist. Forgot the name? Call the human resource department and ask who it was you interviewed with.
Send an email thank you immediately after your interview. Send a paper thank you the same day. A short thank you is fine. Say, “Thank you for interviewing me. I look forward to working with you. I was very impressed.” You’ll remind the interviewers who you are immediately with the email. You remind them again two or three days later when your paper letter arrives.
My guess is if 10 people are interviewed, those two notes will double your chances of getting the job. It’s worth your time.
Something To Do Today
Have you interviewed this week? Send an email and paper thank you.
Tomorrow: How to close an interview
The most spectacular networking I have ever seen was done by an out of work international executive. It took incredible guts and an unswerving belief in his mission.
He was a multilingual Canadian who had hired and fired a lot of people in his career. He did something very simple, he started a job hunting club. He also did something very difficult, he made it an elite club.
In order to get into this club you had to pass a rigorous test. You had to be fluent in 2 languages besides English. He would personally test your ability to converse in any of 5 languages besides English. If you were fluent in other languages, he’d find someone else to test you. You were also required to have been a CEO, CFO or other Chief Officer of a major company. Pay range a minimum of $150,000 per year. And he had to like you.
If you were admitted you had to pay $10,000 to join. The club was not allowed to have more than 10 unemployed members at a time. The ones who had found a job were milked to find leads for the currently unemployed group. They had special speakers, retreats and job hunting meetings. They occasionally invited a headhunter/recruiter to come and talk to their club. The opportunity to speak was quickly taken up because of the caliber of executives in the club.
Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits. (Edison)
This only worked because of the vision, energy and hard work of the founder. It was a part-time job all by itself. This is the absolute hardest way to network. It is also incredibly effective.
What does this have to do with you? Think about it. Do you have the guts to start a club for unemployed people in your field? Can you keep the quality of candidates high? Can you help everyone in the club to network? Can you turn the club into a permanent elite group of people in your field? Will they all stay in contact AFTER they find jobs?
There are a lot of variations to this idea. Do you have the nerve to do something like this? It will be a great adventure if you do.
Something To Do Today
Start a job network. Talk to others who are looking. Create an email list to communicate with the others in your group. Keep in touch at least weekly.