Dec 212012

MoneybagThe time the employer wants you the most is at the end of the interview process. By this point the company has spent a few or many more hours in evaluation of your criteria, qualifications and fit for their organization and now they want you to join them. They are interested and excited by what they hear from you and if you play your cards right you will be able to get a premium for your services.

You should have already determined your value from your previous research and now have a realistic target compensation number in your mind. You are prepared with the knowledge of what is a realistic number for your services.

The employer also has a number in their mind, or better yet a range of numbers, that are acceptable for them to spend for an individual to work. You want to be as close to the high end of their range as possible.

The First Salary Question

You will most likely encounter a question about your compensation expectations early on in the interview process, quite often during “first contact” when you learn about an opportunity. Compensation is often a prescreening category for a candidate to be considered.

When you are asked about your salary expectations, avoid giving someone a range of numbers unless want to receive the bottom of that range. Think about it. If you offer me an apple and tell me it will cost from $1-3 dollars, how much do you think I will want to pay? (in case you are wondering…the answer is one dollar).

The recommendation of GigSpire is to use the “Market Range Response.”

The Market Range Response

“I would prefer to learn more about the opportunity as a whole before I commit any number. There are so many elements to an opportunity so let’s make sure this is a fit first. I can assure you that if I am the right fit for your organization and your opportunity is the right fit for me, I’m sure we will be able to come to an understanding as my expectations are within market range.”

That is your first effort of getting out of the salary question answer, using the Market Range Response. It should work with 30-50% of your interviewers over the phone. A savvy Screener, Headhunter or Hiring Manager may push for more information and ask again.

If they press you for a number see if you can get them to provide a range first by using a Reversal Question. Say something like:

“Let me ask you, what kind of expectations do you have? What type of range make sense for you?”

Reverse the question on them and see what they say… they may give you a salary range. This is a great way to get people to give you information.

The person on the phone may avoid providing a direct answer to a Reversal Question and since they have the job (and the leverage at this point) you don’t want to blow up the opportunity by standing firm on this question.

Should they ask you to provide them a number a third time you can now demonstrate that you have done your homework by helping them understand you know your value. For this, GigSpire recommends the Detailed Market Range Response.

NegotiationsThe Detailed Market Range Response

“Again, I don’t want to commit to a number now. I would rather evaluate the entirety of the opportunity first but if we must discuss some numbers I can accommodate to make sure we aren’t wasting anyone’s time. As I am sure you know the average compensation for this type of work and my experience level is between XX and XX dollars. And although I am on the front end of the bell curve, as long as I am the right fit for you and your opportunity matches my goals I am sure we can come to an understanding. Does that meet your expectations?”

Set the interviewer’s expectations that you are on the front end of the salary range for your profession and then ask if it meets the requirements for the position. Provided your range is based on the market research you have done, you will most likely move on with the rest of the discussion.

Don’t Discuss Dollars In The Face-To-Face

Avoid mentioning compensation during the face-to-face interview until the employer brings up the subject. Should the interview end without a discussion of the dollars, that’s ok. If asked your response should follow the format of the Detailed Market Range Response. You want the employer to provide an offer before beginning negotiations. Information is everything in negotiation and getting someone to offer a deal first allows the base-point for negotiations to begin.

Dec 042012

So you are about to go into an interview, here are a few things to check before you walk in the door. Be certain to arrive 15 minutes early so you can cover these basics.

Visit the Restroom

First of all, step into a restroom either in the building or at a restaurant before going into the interview. Visit the facilities so you don’t have the urge to go during the interview conversations.

Check Yourself Out in the Mirror

Do a quick check on your hair and your clothing. Make certain your hair is in place and pick any visible lint or hair from your outfit. If wearing a tie, be sure to straighten it and tighten the knot so it looks sharp. If wearing a coat, look at the lapels and collar so it isn’t flipped up by accident. Evaluate the coat pockets because sometimes the flaps may be tucked in, be certain to have the pocket flaps out.

Wash Your Hands & Check Your Breath

Everyone should wash their hands leaving the restroom but having clean hands when walking into an interview is important, especially if you are a smoker. Also chew a piece of gum or eat a few breath mints to avoid any bad breath issues during your conversation. Be sure to spit out the gum before walking into the interview though, just chew it for a few minutes.

Look at Your Shoes

Many times we can have water spots or a bit of dirt on our shoes that can be noticed. Look at your shoes and wipe any spots or dirt off.

Have Your Resume & Company Research With You

Bring a brief that contains a few copies of your resume (at least 3) as well as any research you did on the company and people who are interviewing you. This will ensure that you project the image you are professional and prepared to your potential employer.

Silence Your Phone

Nothing more unprofessional than a phone that goes off during an interview. Take a conscious moment and put it on vibrate or turn it off all together.


Nov 272012

We have often seen job seekers show up to an interview and one of the most common mistakes people can make is not having enough copies of their resume for the interview. Here are a few suggestions about how to properly prepare for this all important step in getting a job.

Bring 3-5 copies of your resume.

Be sure to have enough copies of your resume. Many job seekers assume that since they have emailed their resume, the employer will have it for the interview. Although this is often the case, don’t leave anything to chance.

We recommend bringing at least 3 copies of your resume. Here is why:

  • You want a copy for the interviewer
  • You want a copy for yourself so you can easily reference any points the interviewer may ask about
  • You want at least one other copy in case additional person is brought in to interview you (meaning the interview is going well!)

The Paper Illusion

Use a decent paper but don’t spend big dollars on special paper. Many people are under the assumption that high dollar, linen paper is needed for resumes. Consider it a “nice to have” but certainly not a must. The answers you provide during the interview will be the difference maker in the experience, not the paper.

Also be certain to spellcheck the resume, especially if you have made edits to the document prior to the interview.

Good luck, go get that job!

Nov 262012

Ever notice that when you are waiting for an interview, your hands may get cold? If not, the interviewer might

Whether it is a result of nerves or just the fact it is cold outside or in the location you are interviewing, your hands might get cold. Best to not have cold hands when you shake the hand of the interviewer. While you wait to meet him or her take a couple of minutes to warm up your right hand. Easy enough to do, just cross your legs and put your right hand in between them to get the temperature up.

One of the little things people don’t think about that can make you memorable in the wrong way in an interview. Remember part of the description of a handshake is warmth…a cold, clammy hand is not in your best interests.

Nov 132012

Are you currently using Twitter to find job leads? If not there is a whole universe for you to discover…

Twitter took the world by storm a few years ago when it became a novel way to broadcast your thoughts and interact with organizations, celebrities and other professionals. For many, the idea of using Twitter just doesn’t seem to make sense. People use a funny language, poor grammar, shorten words (i.e. “you” = “u”) and having just 140 characters seems to limit what you can broadcast. Other people just don’t feel like broadcasting information about themselves in a public forum.

GigSpire is here to tell you that there are jobs on Twitter. If you aren’t participating in the space you are behind the curve and missing the boat on many opportunities that may be a fit for your job search.

We aren’t going to teach you all of the in’s and out’s of using this valuable platform. We are going to make a case that if you have been resistant to using Twitter, you should re-think your position. For those beginners (and even for those who have used Twitter a little) this link on Mashable (a very popular news site for social media) is a great “how to” on the basics of the platform. Take a look and read through it to get started.

Once you get registered and begin using Twitter, search for jobs. Simply put the job title you are seeking in the search box and see what comes up. You will find people who broadcast jobs (i.e. recruiters and head hunters) as well as companies and staffing agencies that are looking for people just like you.

The really exciting thing is that Twitter allows you to have direct interaction with people and organizations about these jobs. You can ask questions, discuss specifics and make yourself known beyond sending a resume. As a matter of fact if you are using Twitter correctly (the way we teach it’s use in the GigSpire Program’s workshop) you will begin “tweeting” about your area of speciality. If you have a series of “tweets” that discuss your knowledge of your industry and profession, you will help to establish yourself as a knowledgeable candidate. As a matter of fact, the more you tweet the more people will begin finding and following you. You may even find yourself being contacted by a potential employer about a new position…Just sayin…

Good luck and get tweeting!


Nov 092012

Did you know that if you have certain email addresses you can appear outdated? It’s true.

Certain email addresses can be viewed by the general population as an indicator that you are out of touch. Fair or not, it is a reality. And this information is particular important to be aware of when on job search.

Emails that end in ““, ““, ““, “” and many others from the advent of email can very quickly get you discarded as a candidate. Often I hear people say things like:

  • “This person is clearly out of touch.”
  • “Who still uses this email?”
  • “Clearly this person isn’t in touch with today’s world.”

Discrimination is not only limited to the traditional categories of racism, ageism and sexism. Call it “emailism” if you wish but what ever label you put on it, if you are on job search and using one of these kinds of emails you could be jeopardizing your possibilities of getting a job.

Our recommendation is to get an email address that is more “in touch” with today’s world. Consider using gmail, yahoo (yes it is one of the originals but has maintained relevancy for whatever reason) or even get an email that is personalized. Don’t ruin your chances at an interview due to an incorrect but very real perception from employers and recruiters based on your email address!

Oct 132012

I am a believer that America is one of the greatest countries in the world. From a hiring standpoint though, American values get in the way of successful hires.

America Hires Backwards

The majority of the world begins an interview with the idea that a candidate is 0% qualified for the job when he or she walks in the door. During the interview the candidate earns points towards being qualified with her or his answers, essentially moving closer to being 100% qualified for the job.

America is very different. Because we expect the best right away, a candidate walks in with the expectation of being 100% qualified for the job and loses points during the interview, moving in a negative direction.

A 70% fit for a job is very different in the US vs. the rest of the world…


Americans want the biggest and the best, immediately. We expect things to be top quality, all things. From the television we buy, to the way the dry cleaners treat our clothes to just about everything else…if it isn’t the best Americans feel like we have a right to demand the best. That translates to the hiring process as well.

Because of the American value of the “best should be put forth first,” employers want only the best. Most employers want to hire someone who can “hit the ground running” and become an organizational contributor right away. The idea of developing talent, finding people who are close to a great fit, means risk and dollars invested in the person while he or she comes up to speed.

What Does This Mean to a Job Seeker?

A job seeker must understand the expectation of the interviewer to be successful in “selling” him or herself. Knowing that the expectations of interviewers is very high, it become imperative that job seekers be as polished as possible. Polished means:

  • Looking good on paper (i.e. your resume) communicating value and an ability to accomplish tasks
  • Looking good on the internet or social media, meaning content about a job seeker on the internet should echo the resume and avoid polarizing topics that could alienate an interviewer
  • Providing good answers to interview questions, which means job seekers should think about answers and how to relay experiences effectively and then practice that answer so that it comes out naturally during an interview
  • Present a professional image meaning that personal grooming and clothing is neat, clean and neutral during interviews

Being polished comes through preparation. Professional athletes, military and emergency personnel, entertainers and most professionals practice their profession in order to execute at a high level when it matters the most. The same can be said for the job seeker. Prepare in advance through research, strategic thinking, working with others to refine your message and practicing your answers to job search questions.

Become a “professional” job seeker until you close that job.


Oct 022012

Just a quick note to stress that staying positive and being inspired is important when a person is on job search. You must continue working hard to find employment and believe you will succeed, which isn’t always easy to do. We recommend that students find something personal to motivate them during the tough times. Think of it as an re-charging station.

Be sure to put this re-charger in a place you can see it multiple times per day. The kitchen, your bathroom or the refrigerator are the most popular locations. Look at your re-charger multiple times per day; use it to stay inspired.

This re-charger can be anything of value to the individual. Pictures of family members or vacation spots are common. My personal re-charger is a poem called the Desiderata. I am sharing it with you below because it helps me. Hope you find something that helps you.

“Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
Sep 082012

Ask professional poker players what the hardest part of their job is most of them will emphatically reply, “knowing when to walk away.” There often moments in our lives where we know walking is a must but we’re torn and many times even haunted by the choices we’ve made because none of us have the gift of seeing the future. Leaving many people paralyzed with having tough make a tough choice. Take the job offer or continue to search until the right opportunity comes along

In this economy we might feel like we don’t have a choice. If our backs are against the wall and we’re giving up more by continuing to be unemployed does it make sense to pass on a job offer? What considerations should you be making? How do you take into account the different aspects of the job to objectively see how it will fit into your life?

First things first, you need to evaluate what the job brings to the table. Make a list of pros and cons. This will get all the ideas, insecurities, and potential threats out of the way.

Ask yourself these questions:
○             Is the job engaging enough?
Are you the type of person that needs lots of ongoing projects or maybe you’re the type that needs to be organized and plugged into a desk at all times. How important is it that the work not be too hard or too easy? Is it important that your brain is tasked and challenged each day?

○             Is the commute reasonable?
Are you going to be driving more than the national average to get to work (25.1 minutes) and will this work with your out of work schedule  (kids, school, sports, second job, etc).

○             Are you going to be able to grow with this job and be promoted inside the company?
Do you care about quick promotions and leadership within a company or is that not a concern to you?

○             Will the compensation allow you to live comfortably?
What can you afford to be paid? Does it make sense to take a pay cut for enjoyment of the work or vice versa?

○             Is the work stable?
Will the threat of being jobless loom over your head the entire time you’re there?

Next, ask yourself a few remaining things:

  • Can I fit in with the culture?
  • Are there other job offers on the way?
  • Am I going to take issue with the ethics of this organization?
  • Are the terms of the offer reasonable?
  • Are you nervous about taking the job because you’re afraid of something new or risk?

The answers you give to the questions about should be taken into account and thought over for a couple of days.  The information received and feelings of excitement/fear at a job offer need a little time to even out before you should make a decision one way or another.

The reason we teach people how to properly search for jobs and find a satisfying career is so that they don’t wind up in a job that isn’t a good fit and then go back to searching for a job all over again a year later.

Aug 282012

Identity theft is a crime and it can happen to you if you are on the job search. The information on your resume paired with perhaps your Social Security or driver’s license can result in a ruined credit or criminal history and the complicated task of regaining your good name.

Identity theft is real, rampant and the bad guys are finding new and more sophisticated ways to steal and use information.

One of the more popular scams involves a person posing as a human resource director with well-known companies responding to someone who applied for a position on a job board. The job seeker may receive an email implying interest in the applicant and requesting sensitive information about the candidate in order to do a background check as part of the employment process. Once the candidate provides the required information he or she becomes a victim and may not even know they are being taken advantage of until months or years later.

Here are a few tips to keep you from succumbing to those who would take advantage of you:

  • Do not disclose Social Security numbers. A Social Security number is not necessary for an employer to do a background check or credit check. If a company insists on the number before processing an application, the applicant should research the company independently to verify its legitimacy.
  • Never give out financial information. Employers very rarely need a prospective employee’s personal financial information. Applicants should be very cautious of a company requesting bank account numbers, credit card numbers or other personal financial information.
  • Check the company’s contact information and Web site. An applicant should verify that a company is legitimate before continuing with the application process. This can be done by checking the address and telephone number the company has provided and making sure the Web site is operating.
  • Watch for indications that the advertisement or job offer is bogus. Many online scams contain misspellings and bad grammar. Also, an employer using an e-mail address that is not affiliated with the company’s domain name can be an indication of potential fraud.
  • Be cautious of job postings from overseas employers. A legitimate overseas company should have the resources to conduct business in the United States without using a privately held bank account. Overseas companies also have proven to be very hard to investigate and prosecute.