Mar 082013

It sounds counter intuitive when you first hear it, why turn down a job once you’ve received an offer? In this day in age, many people find themselves grateful for the opportunity to work after being unemployed for a span of time. Given not everyone has built up a pipeline of future employers or even set out to interview with many different companies. We all have our own needs and interests, so what would it take for you to turn down a job? Is there ever a bad reason? This article highlights why it’s okay to walk away from some offers and why you should continue to look even if it means going without a pay check for a little longer.

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 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 172012

We get lots of students telling us how difficult it can be to work with recruiters. They don’t understand why calls and emails aren’t returned. Here is some stark reality in the form for a rant from a student and our response. Enjoy!

“Hi GigSpire –
I’m feeling cranky about recruiters today! From my point of view, there is no measurable benefit in working with recruiters at all. I have to be even more of a squeaky wheel to get even a return message, just to hear second-hand about the thoughts of the hiring manager. I send a recruiter an email, and get a reply that indicates I’ll hear from them the next day. Then 3 days go by without a word. When I contact them again, they’ve miraculously *just heard* from the hiring manager… and the message is often that there’s no decision yet. Yes, this is my current experience, but it’s not remotely unique. <sigh>I could get this type of non-information run-around on my own, working directly with the employer. I’m unconvinced that I am being well promoted if this is any indication of their communication habits.

Thank you for being my sounding board. I don’t feel that I can actually tell these recruiters this in the remote chance that there is another position I could jump-through-these-hoops for.

Argh. Later


GigSpire’s Response:

Hi E,

Sorry to hear that you are cranky. You are about to get some information that may not make you feel warm and fuzzy.

Your experience working with recruiters is very common. When working with recruiters and headhunters realize that these people get paid to fill the orders of their clients. It is not their responsibility to market or promote you. You are a commodity, a piece of inventory, that they use to do their business. If their customer wants to purchase someone like you believe me that you will hear from them as they are motivated to close the deal.

It is erroneous to put the responsibility of not getting interviews in the hands of recruiters or headhunters. These organizations are merely channels, much like a job board, to help broadcast your availability. These professionals are aware of opportunities that you have no access to so exposing your candidacy to them is beneficial, but timing is everything. If they don’t have a fit for you, they don’t have a fit for you.

Make sure that you are doing your due diligence in your job search efforts. Ask yourself:

  • Am I attending 1-2 in person networking events per week?
  • Am I having 20 or more conversations with people in the marketplace about the business, the growth trends, and other interesting categories?
  • Am I calling into companies and speaking with peers and would be hiring managers to generate interest and set informational interviews?
  • Am I participating in groups on social media channels and videos, blogs and forums in order to position myself as a subject matter expert?
  • Are you conducting and reaching out to get informational interviews? Remember your goal should be to do 1 to 2 of these every week.
If your answer to the above questions is yes in each category, then something is going wrong and we should talk. I will be happy to talk with you about your efforts and help to redirect, or reposition, your approach.

If your answer to any of the above questions is no, then I hope you understand what you need to do. Remember there is an employer just hoping and praying you are going to walk in the door, help them understand how you will help his or her business and bring you aboard to accomplish those goals.

It’s up to you to walk in the right door.


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 202012
Layoff Notice

Lots of ugly news as thousands of people across the country are being pounded by layoffs. Here is a list of the top layoff actions in the news this week.




The Wall Street Journal reports that Bank of America will fire 16,000 people this year.


Siemens announced Tuesday it will layoff 407 of its 660 employees at its Fort Madison wind blade plant according to


American Airlines sent out more than 11,000 layoff warning notices, including more than 1,500 in Florida according to CBS Miami


According to Bloomsbert Businessweek, on Tuesday, Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources announced it was immediately closing eight mines — four in West Virginia, three in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania — and eliminating 1,200 jobs companywide by early 2013.


Around 150 jobs will be affected as the Faurecia plant in Dexter, MO reorganizes some of its production activities per ABC affiliate KAIT8.COM


In Washington state almost 290 at the Hanford cleanup site will get layoff notices this week according to the Tri-City Herald

So to review the industries that are being hit from the above layoffs:

  • Financial – Bank of America
  • Green Technology – Siemens
  • Transportation – American Airlines
  • Mining / Industrial / Energy – Alpha Natural Resources
  • Manufacturing / Automotive – Faurecia
  • Government – Hanford Cleanup Site

All of these industries are supposed to be in the rebound in today’s economy… Seems to us that these notices are just another reason to get yourself prepared.

Learn the skill of job search, might be you next time.

Sep 142012

The GigSpire team is constantly scanning the news for information about the employment market to provide to our readership. Although we shy away from taking any sides or aligning with politically oriented writers or organizations, sometimes an article comes along that needs to be highlighted.

In an article written by Andre Damon titled “Cuts in US jobless pay, government layoffs throw 1.5 million more people into poverty” there are some pretty staggering facts that should not be ignored about American workers and the challenges facing the unemployed. You can read the entire article here, but our summary of the important bits are below.

  • Only 96,000 net new jobs were created in August, according to the Labor Department, and 368,000 more unemployed people gave up looking for work.
  • The CBPP study, based on data for the first 11 months of 2011, found that 900,000 people dropped below the official poverty line over that period due to cuts in the duration and level of unemployment benefits, and another 666,000 fell into poverty due to lost family earnings resulting from state and local government layoffs.
  • The CBPP concluded that jobless pay cuts and government layoffs combined raised the average monthly poverty rate by 0.5 percent.
  • In 2010, 9.8 million people received state or federal unemployment benefits. In 2011, this figure dropped to 7.7 million, a 21 percent decline. The total amount of benefits paid out fell by 25 percent, or $36 billion.
  • According to the CBPP the figures indicate that for every one person who became ineligible for unemployment benefits because he or she found a job, three more were cut off of benefits without finding work.
  • Over 500,000 people have lost extended unemployment benefits through August, and another 500,000 are expected to lose benefits by the end of the year, according to the National Employment Law Project.
  • State, local and federal governments slashed 386,000 jobs between 2010 and 2011.

Things aren’t pretty, no matter how the situation may be spun by political parties or anyone else. Be aware that the numbers also do not reflect the nearly 14 Million People who are able to work but are not looking for work because they do not believe there are jobs available, known as the “Discouraged Worker.”

Now more than ever it is imperative for each person to learn the SKILL OF JOB SEARCH! Get yourself into a training session or enter the GigSpire Program and get educated for the job search. You never know when it is going to be you looking for work and being prepared with the skills necessary will help you avoid becoming one of these unfortunate statistics.

Sep 132012

We were recently asked:

“What do most people mess up in an elevator pitch?”

GigSpire’s response:

Delivering an effective message is important whether you are making a sales presentation or trying to get an interview. Most people fail to do two things:

  1. Form a strategic thought or message to communicate
  2. Practice their elevator pitch

Strategy is important in almost anything we do and most people would agree that planning is a good thing. When it comes to a person’s elevator pitch most times they don’t plan it however, they “wing it” when asked what they do or are presented with a chance to introduce themselves.

The problem with this approach is we can easily be distracted and may not deliver a focused message that accurately relates our capabilities and wants/needs.

A format used in the GigSpire Program is the S.T.A.R. format:

  • Situation – Explain the problem in 15 seconds or less
  • Task – Identify a task or two tasks needed to solve the problem
  • Action – Identify the action you take to resolve the problem and address those tasks
  • Result – Explain the results of the actions you take to solve the problem


The entire pitch should be 90 seconds or less and the person should practice it so that it flows smoothly. We recommend practicing in front of a mirror or with another person to be sure and individual is comfortable delivering his or her elevator pitch.

Be sure to be prepared when asked about what you are looking for, that’s our advice!