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 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.


Sep 192012

GigSpire was asked:

“With the rising costs of education and the foggy job outlook,how valuable is a college degree in today’s workforce? In fields where a degree is recommended but not required, does the increased pay a degree brings worth the cost of obtaining it?”

GigSpire’s response:

Today’s job market is clouded with question marks about the value of a college education. For those who are about to enter the professional workforce, nothing is more valuable than experience. For those who are currently investing in an education, make certain to get experience related to your field of study as soon as possible. This means get internships, minor jobs and even volunteer work. That exposure to the workforce will give you an upper hand against those who have the same degree but have never worked.

There are specific careers that absolutely require an advanced education and many of these are rooted in “white collar” professions. For many jobs though, even some that state in a job description that a degree is “required,” this is not necessarily so.

More than a degree, employers want competent people who are skilled and capable to do the job successfully. Professions like sales, administrative, retail, management and many others have no relevant bearing to the attainment of a degree. The degree requirement is often just a screening tool, used by employers to find people who have the ability to finish something once it is started.

Other professions do require an education or formal training of some sort such as mechanics, medical technicians and information technology workers. These positions may not require a 4 year degree but they do have a prerequisite foundation of knowledge to perform the work.

Addressing the perception that the college degree may not have value in the employment market is false. Studies have shown that people who have an advanced degree will earn on average $250,000 more than their non-degreed counterparts. Additionally the connections made and experiences learned in a college environment often are avenues for a person to grow by being exposed to so many different ideas, cultures and personalities.

Making the decision to complete a 4 year degree should not be made lightly. Individuals should evaluate their long-term career goals. For those who are unsure of their career path, we recommend taking some courses which can be done through online classes or through local community colleges at an affordable price.

People should never stop learning, whether in a formalized educational setting or not. If a person does choose to pursue a degree, the best way to maximize an immediate return on investment at graduation is to take steps to gain experience prior to graduation. Prepare by establishing a network of people to contact at least a year before completing the degree so that when you leave school, people know your name and can refer you into opportunities.

Nothing get a job faster than a good network.

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!

Sep 122012

Here is some comments from a recent graduate of GigSpire’s training. Patrice is a government consultant working to support our military and homeland security. She has worked in technology, training and management. A great lady and a real joy to work around.

“I would like to recommend the Gigspire training program. I grew a lot from the training, and thought it was a great workshop packed with content. I would like to recommend it to all who are job hunting or seeking a career transition and want to navigate the job market. Thanks David you were Awesome!”

Thanks Patrice!