What Employers Are Looking For
There are 6 key areas an employer will evaluate you on. Aim to outshine
in every one of them. The interview seat looks tired and worn and you
know you have a difficult task ahead of you, competing with all those
candidates who occupied the chair before you. The next time you find
yourself seated across the desk from a potential employer, bear in mind
that there are 6 key areas you will be evaluated on and aim to outshine
in every one of them!
1. Work Experience and Education
Your skills, credentials and training will be paramount in placing you
above the fray. Have all your relevant work experience at the tip of
your tongue and ready to recite. There is no substitute for the right
experience and qualifications and you need to be able to recite a
history and general aptitude for success in the given role and industry.
The right credentials coupled with sound examples of how these
credentials have been professionally applied in different positions to
add to productivity will be the main determinants of your suitability
for any role.
2. Business Sensibility
Employers look for candidates with a sound understanding of how
businesses in general, and this business in particular, are run. They
are looking for efficiency-minded people with an eye for productivity
and the bottom line and a keen sense of business policies and
procedures. In any position you apply for, the employers are looking for
individuals with finely honed problem-solving skills who can identify
and define a problem with clarity and find and implement the optimal
3. Enthusiasm and Willingness to Learn
Attitude alone will not get you the job but goes a long way in bridging
the gap between you and a potential employer. Enthusiastic employees
with a positive attitude typically show more initiative in their role
and are more likely to go the extra mile. In any role, your initial
learning curve will probably be steep and employers want to be sure that
you are willing to make the effort and put in the time to learn the
ropes, perfect the role and continue to take the initiative to make
positive strides forward. Moreover, employers know that enthusiasm is
contagious and they hope that adding an employee with a positive
attitude and unbounded energy will rub off positively on the rest of the
team and elevate the general morale and spirit of the unit.
4. Work Ethic
A professional attitude, work style and work ethic are critical in any
business setting. You need to demonstrate dedication and commitment to
the company and your career, honesty, integrity, sound business
judgement, motivation and reliability. Make sure you always present
yourself in a professional light and have a keen understanding of how
your professional role impacts the company and the bottom line.
5. Interpersonal Skills
Your emotional intelligence and ability to get along well with peers,
management and clients will play a key role in your success and will be
under the spotlight during the interview. Be sure to demonstrate that
you are a cooperative teamplayer and have no problems interacting with
Even star performers have to report to their boss and have to follow
company rules and procedures. An employer’s worst nightmare is an
entrepreneurial type who cannot take directions and is focused on
outperforming in his own little domain independent of the team and the
manager. Make sure you emphasize your ability to work in a team, follow
the chain of command and take instructions, advice and constructive
Interview skills are learnt. Do your pre-interview homework, learn what
questions you can anticipate and how best answer them. Practice and
preparation are key for a successful interview.Your CV has impressed,
your research and networking activities have paid off and you have
landed an Interview with your company of choice. Now to make sure you
turn this Interview into a pot of gold and secure the job of your
dreams. Below are some general tips and guidelines that should assist
you through the Interview:
Most of you will have researched your company of choice thoroughly in
order to get to this point. For those who haven’t, it is essential that
you do some background research on the company and the job before you
walk in that door. The Interviewer will expect you to know a little
about the industry and the company and will be very impressed if you are
familiar with specific events, news and concerns relating to the
business. Newspapers, industry and trade magazines, local libraries and
the Internet are all a good source of information. Feel free to pick up
the phone and ask the company for their annual reports any marketing
materials – most companies are more than happy to oblige. The very
minimum information you will want to know is what the company does, what
job you are applying for and any well-known news pertaining to the
company eg. Merger, big scandal, new CEO.
2. Be prepared
For those of you who were cubscouts, we are not suggesting ropes and a
tent. We would however recommend you take with you a notebook and extra
copies of your CV (in many cases the employer will have misplaced it,
have an unclear copy or simply expect you to provide it). In many types
of jobs, you may want to take with you examples of your work eg. past
creative work if you are in advertising, design or similar roles,
architectural plans you are proud of if you are an architect, an example
of something you have had published in a journal etc. Employers are
usually very impressed to see examples of your work – it shows you have
taken initiative and it makes their decision much easier.
One other thing we recommend you bring with you for Middle Eastern job
interviews is your college graduation certificate(s) where available.
Employers often specifically request to see this, so you should be
3. Dress for success
Your first Interview is the first impression an employer will have of you
and it is essential to make a favorable first impact. You should always
plan to dress conservatively for the first Interview even if the job
involves casual wear. You can always dress down in later meetings.
Generally, the image you want that first meeting is clean, well-groomed
Men should wear dark suits, preferably in navy or charcoal grey.
Pinstripes are fine. We recommend you wear a white shirt which should be
crisply ironed with a conservative necktie. Socks and shoes should be
dark, preferably black. Jewellery on men is usually not favourably
looked upon at the Interview stage – you can always dig out the hairdye
and that amethyst ring from your great granddad after you have secured
Women are also advised to wear dark suits for that first Interview. In
the Middle East it is advisable that skirts are below the knee and not
exorbitantly figure hugging. Trouser suits are more casual but quite
acceptable these days. Blouses can be any colour but again we recommend
they are on the conservative side in cut and print. As a general rule of
thumb shoes should be dark, with a low-to-moderate conservative heel and
no stilletos. If the weather permits (often not the case in the Middle
East) it is highly advisable to wear skin-colour tights with your shoes.
Excessive jewelery looks unprofessional and we would advise you to keep
it to the minimum: earrings, wedding ring(s) and maybe a pendant or a
brooch or a simple bracelet. Long dangly busy earrings are generally
unprofessional looking. Finally, wear your hair cleanly washed and
well-groomed; if it is long and unruly, we recommend sweeping it off
your face in a simple style that will allow the Interviewer to see your
face and eyes. The first interview will give you a feel for the company
culture and you can choose to tailor your look accordingly thereafter.
In the Middle East and other Asian countries, dress allowances are
usually made for local attire in the domestic companies. A Kuwaiti man
may be expected to show up for an interview at the National Bank of
Kuwait in a Dishdash for example and the same may apply across the board
in the Gulf. General Western dress code rules are often relaxed in
Middle Eastern companies to allow for the diversity of our work cultures
with Saris, Dishdashes and different types of headdress being very
permissible and quite common in the local companies.
4. Be punctual
Make sure you arrive for the Interview a good 15 minutes early. Allow
yourself plenty of time for any potential mishaps eg traffic jams,
unclear directions, public transportation difficulties etc.
5. Attitude counts
This is the time to show off your interpersonal skills. Employers are
looking for certain key character traits and you need to demonstrate
them at the Interview. Keep the following in mind:
Listening skills. Make sure you let the Interviewer complete his
sentences and you don’t interrupt. At the same time, show interest in
what he is saying and encourage him to talk and ask questions. Good
listening skills and a friendly pleasant demeanor are key attributes in
Enthusiasm. In many cases, you will not be ideally qualified for the
position, or you may have a steep learning curve ahead of you. You need
to demonstrate to the Employer that you are extremely interested in the
position and love what you do! Enthusiasm is contagious and employers
are always keen to add enthusiastic members to their team. Your positive
attitude will also rub off on the interviewer as long as it is genuine
and not overplayed and he will leave the Interview with a favorable
‘feel’ about you.
Eye contact. Maintain eye contact with the Interviewer. Looking away
continuously suggests distractibility and disinterest. Looking down
suggests shyness and lack of confidence. By all means though keep it
natural and feel free to nod your head and smile and even laugh where
Flexibility. You need to demonstrate to the Interviewer that you are
flexible, ie willing and able to adapt readily to new environments,
demands, people, work styles etc. The Interview is a good place to
demonstrate this. Be sensitive to the Interviewer’s personal style by
paying attention to his general behavior, his demeanor, his office space
and the types of questions he asks and tailor your answers accordingly.
Professionalism. Above all, BE PROFESSIONAL! Respect the
Interviewer-Interviewee boundaries at all times and do not behave in an
overly friendly or casual fashion with the Interviewer. Avoid bringing
up any of your personal life unless in a directly relevant manner, do
not comment on politics, religion or any other controversial topics dear
to your heart, do not stray from the Interview topics unless you have a
common interest such as golf, and keep your answers factual, honest and
6. Have the answers
There is no telling what style an Interviewer will take and what
questions he will come up with. Interviews range from the very
structured and professional ones conducted by HR departments in
multinationals and banks, to ad hoc conversations in small outfits where
the employer may ask you to simply talk about yourself. In most large
corporations however, certain questions are very standard and we
recommend you take the time to really think about them, develop answers
and find evidence to support your answers from past experiences and
qualifications. Bayt has prepared a list of Common Interview Questions
that you can start practicing on.
Questions to Ask the Interviewer Here are some questions to ask to know
what you’re getting into.
Why is this position open?
What level of experience/ skill are you looking for in the person who
fills this role?
What kind of training would be available?
What would my initial responsibilities on the job be?
What would a typical day look like in terms of projects,
responsibilities, deadlines etc?
Can you tell me something about the team I would be working with?
What objectives would you like the person in this role to accomplish?
Is there a specific career progression path that I would have with your
What are some of the more difficult problems I might face in this role?
What resources would the person in this role have – in terms of support,
What significant changes do you foresee in the company in the near future?
In what areas do you consider your company to have the greatest strength?
How would my performance be evaluated in this position?
Interview Don’ts Some interview pitfalls to avoid.
Don’t arrive at the interview late.
Don’t over or under dress or dress inappropriately for the position.
First impressions do count and you want to be dressed to show that you
fit into the desired role.
Don’t wear strong perfume.
Don’t forget to take with you extra clean copies of your CV as well as a
notebook and pen with which to take notes.
Don’t forget to shake the hand of the Interviewer firmly – a limp or
sweaty handshake will not be looked on favorably.
Don’t chew gum, smoke, eat or drink at the Interview.
Don’t act distracted. Look the Interviewer straight in the eye and give
him your full and undivided attention.
Don’t let your body language send the wrong messages. Be aware of the
nonverbal cues you are sending out! Sit upright and straight in the
chair facing the employer and smile. Lean forward occasionally to
express interest. Avoid crossing your arms or legs in front of you
(suggests defensiveness), slouching in the chair (suggests sloppiness
and lack of energy), leaning too far back (may be interpreted as being
overly familiar and disrespectful), talking to the floor (lack of
confidence) or flirting.
Don’t refer to the Interviewer by his first name unless he specifically
asks you to do so.
Don’t talk about your weaknesses or failings or apologize for lack of
education, experience, training etc. Everyone has weaknesses; the
Interview is the time to showcase your enthusiasm and strengths.
Don’t make derogatory comments about previous bosses or peers. This is
never acceptable and particularly works against you in the Interview.
Don’t act tired or jaded. Employers are invariably looking for someone
to energize, inspire and uplift the team. Try to act enthusiastic and
full of energy and motivation.
Don’t act unfocused and uncertain about what you want. Whatever
interview you’re in – you want THAT job.
Don’t lie. Answer briefly, truthfully and concisely.
Avoid giving ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Support your answers with
examples and be as factual and concise as you can.
Don’t talk too much. Focus your answers on the particular question and
on your related strengths. Watch for signals that the Interviewer is
losing interest and stop talking immediately.
Don’t talk about your personal life. You have not been hired yet so keep
it professional. This is no the time to talk about failed love lives, a
husband who asked you to quit your job etc.!
Don’t treat questions as jokes or try to be too funny.
Don’t ask about holidays, perks, hours or compensation until you’ve
actually been made a serious offer.
Don’t act overly confident or superior. Ultimately, unless you are
applying to the very senior level positions, the Interviewer is looking
for someone who is manageable and will fit into the team.
Don’t drop names of influential friends and acquaintances unless you are
passing a message or someone has referred you. Be very careful and
professional when you mention names of clients and make sure you are
never giving out confidential information.
Don’t leave abruptly. Shake the Interviewer’s hand firmly, thank him
for his time and ask what the next step will be.
Interview Q & A Some sample interview questions and answers. Common
1. Tell me about yourself.
Keep your answer short and focused on your professional life. This is not
the time to bring up relationships, childhood experiences, family etc. A
brief history of education, career and special interests is what is
called for here. End it with why you are interested in this particular
2. Why are you applying for this particular job?
Show interest and demonstrate that you have researched the job and know
what you are getting into. Bring up evidence from past work/ studies
that supports your interest in this role and any skills you have
acquired in preparation for the role. You can say something like ‘I
would like to work for a leader in innovative network and
telecommunications solutions and my college degree in computational
mathematics has given me a solid background for this role. Mention the
value-added you can bring to the job.
3. What do you know about our company?
Indicate what you have learnt from your research activities – from their
annual reports, newspapers, word of mouth, other employees etc. Use this
to flatter them and show that you have done your homework.
4. What makes you qualified for this particular job?
Again, explain that you are very interested in the job and demonstrate
what it is about your past experiences, education and qualifications
that makes you ideal for the job. Show enthusiasm and support your
answers with evidence wherever you can (eg. my summer internship at
Citibank gave me broad exposure to the area of equity analysis and I
think I can apply many of the tools I learnt there in this job).
Elaborate on all the past experiences and skill sets that make you
suitable for the job.
In cases where your past experience is not directly relevant, you can
still find elements of it that can be useful. Play up teamskills,
computer skills, leadership roles, specific courses and independent
research activities that can be useful to the job at hand to show your
initiative even where you don’t have directly relevant job experience.
5. What can you do for us that someone else can’t?
Demonstrate key strengths, skills and personal characteristics.
6. Why should we hire you?
See 3. Because you have all the experience/ traits/ credentials
demonstrated in 3 and in addition to being qualified, you are
enthusiastic, intelligent, hardworking, flexible and willing to learn.
Also mention any key relationships you may have that may assist you in
7. What do you look for in a job?
Be honest. Also mention keywords such as challenging, steep learning
curve, good work culture, demanding, rewarding, opportunities for
advancement and growth, team environment, opportunity to build and
maintain client relationships etc.
8. Why are you looking to make a career change?
Mention your interests and make sure you bring up all skills/ experience
however insignificant that can support your move in this new direction.
It is quite common in this day and age to make a career switch. You need
however to show that you have very carefully thought about the change,
have a strong interest in the new career and can use some of your
previous skills/ education/ relationships to make that move.
9. Why did you leave your last job?
Do NOT use this as an opportunity to badmouth past employers or peers or
talk about a failure of any sort. Any of these answers are acceptable:
you were looking for a new challenge, your learning curve had flattened
out in the previous job and you were looking for a new learning
opportunity, the company or department were restructuring, you were
ready to start something new after achieving your career goals at the
previous company etc.
10. Why do you want to work for us (as opposed to the competitor
Demonstrate that you know something about the company, that you believe
they are leaders/ innovators in what they do, or you think their work
culture is exactly what you are looking for, or you like their
product(s) or you have friends who work there and have always been
attracted to the company etc. Flatter the company and show you know
something about it.
11. How long will it take you to start making a meaningful contribution?
Show that you are enthusiastic and willing to learn and will put in all
the hours and effort necessary to learn the ropes and start making an
immediate contribution. Indicate that your past experiences/ skills/
credentials will enable you to make an immediate contribution at some
level while you quickly learn all new aspects of the job. An Interviewer
wants someone who is willing and able to learn and will make a return on
his investment sooner rather than later.
12. What are your strengths?
See 14 below. In addition, keywords such as good teamplayer, work very
well under pressure, very creative, very strong quantitative or computer
skills, and very strong client relationship skills may be appropriate
depending on your chosen field.
13. What are your weaknesses?
Do NOT mention key weaknesses here. This is not the place to say you are
bad at meeting deadlines or you never mastered highschool mathematics
etc. Turn this question around to your benefit. For example, you are
‘overambitious’ or ‘extremely attentive to detail’ or ‘like to take
on too many projects’. Make it sound positive.
14. What are your career goals?
Show you have thought forward and are committed to your career.
15. How would you describe yourself?
Any of these are good examples of attributes employers are looking for:
intelligent, hardworking, quick to learn, enthusiastic, honest,
efficient, productive, ambitious, successful, compassionate (in the
16. How would your colleagues describe you?
Do not bring up anything negative here.
17. How would your boss describe you?
They will check references anyways so bring up the most positive
attribute you can think of about yourself eg hardworking, honest etc.
and leave it to your Boss to say anything to the contrary.
18. What did you most like/ dislike about your past job?
Do not use this to badmouth past jobs/ employers. Keep it light and in
your favour eg I outgrew the job, there wasn’t a clear career
progression, I wasn’t learning anything new etc. Ideally, you will have
loved your last job and would like to achieve the same kind of success
and job satisfaction in a more challenging area as you have now
‘outgrown’ that job and are ready for ‘new challenges’.
19. Describe a situation in your past where you showed initiative?
You could describe any new methods you came up with to do your job or to
save money for the company or to turn around a bad situation. It can be
something as simple as changing a filing system, or establishing a
relationship with a vendor that saved your department a lot of money. If
you are in sales, you may want to talk about how you brought in that big
account. Creatives may talk about how they came up with that cutthroat
image or design that brought in the business.
20. What were your main responsibilities in your last job?
Have these ready and list them all. Dwell on the ones that are most
relevant to the new job. This answer should be smooth and practiced.
21. What do you consider your greatest accomplishments?
Many of us have one or two milestones in our career that we are very
proud of eg. that early promotion, that ‘huge’ deal we brought in, the
design we came up with, the costs we saved, the revenues we increased,
the people we trained, a new invention or process we came up with etc.
Examples of accomplishments may be: ‘Reduced costs by X%; or renamed
and repositioned a product at the end of its lifecycle, or organized and
led a team to do do XYZ, or achieved sales increase of X% etc. If you
are a fresh college graduate, talk about extracurricular activities,
leadership roles and grades.
22. Describe your management style (if relevant)
23. Do you work better in teams or independently?
Show that you are a proactive teamplayer and like to bounce ideas off
others and get input; however you are very capable of working
independently (give examples).
24. How do you work under pressure?
Well. Give evidence.
25. What other jobs have you applied for?
Don’t mention jobs in different career directions (eg advertising and
investment banking). Do however bring up any other offers or Interviews
from competing firms.
26. How did you do in college?
Keep it positive. It’s okay to say you were very busy making the most of
college and were very involved in sports, activities, social life etc.
Employers want human beings not robots. Mention the areas you did very
well in even if it was just one or two courses you excelled in. They
will check for themselves.
27. What kind of hours would you like to work?
Employers want to see flexibility. Indicate you are willing to put in
whatever hours are necessary to finish the job. Do however mention any
constraints you have eg. you would like to be home to pick your kids up
from school at 3:30. Most employers are willing to work around your
constraints if you show flexibility on your side as well.
28. Do you have any questions for me?
YES you do. Questions engage the Interviewer and show your interest. Ask
questions that show you know something about the company or the job,
that you are planning ahead, that you are anxious and willing to learn
the ropes and that you are committed to the position. See Questions to
Ask the Interviewer for examples.
Salary Negotiations: the Basics Bayt reveals some basic tools to use when
you ask the employer to show you the money! Congratulations! You’ve
landed the job. Now to take home the package that is most commensurate
with your skills, ability, experience and the job responsibilities. Bayt
reveals some basic tools to use when you ask the employer to show you
Yes, do negotiate. Employers actually EXPECT you to negotiate your
package even when they pretend they don’t so don’t deprive them, or
yourself, of that pleasure.
2. Negotiate After You Have An Offer
The time to negotiate your salary is after the employer has decided he
wants you on board and has made you a concrete offer – not in the
elevator on the way up to the Interview or after an interview question
you think you’ve particularly aced. An offer indicates that the
employer wants you on board and is convinced you have the skillset and
potential to be a valuable addition to the team. You now have the upper
hand and should use it to secure a compensation package commensurate
with your worth. It is far easier to negotiate a satisfactory package at
this stage when the employer really wants you and is focused on getting
you on board, than after you are on board and firmly entrenched at a
given salary level and job description. It is unlikely you will ever be
in a better position to negotiate a good package than you are at this
3. Establish Job Responsibilites
Clarify your job responsibilities before beginning to negotiate the
compensation. Make sure you have all the facts pertaining to the new
position and are very clear about your role, responsibilities and the
job title. This detailed knowledge of the position will come in handy as
you negotiate your package.
4. Determine Your Salary Range Beforehand
Before you can begin negotiating, you need to determine a salary range
that you can base your discussions with the employer on.
Firstly, determine the minimum salary you could possibly accept, and make
sure this is a salary that you can survive on. This minimum is not to be
revealed to the employer in your negotiations.
Next, determine a reasonable mid-point salary based on what the job
responsibilities are, what you have to offer the employer and what you
are worth in the market. To get a realistic idea of what the position is
worth, research the market. Look at published annual salary surveys and
job ads for similar positions in newspapers, magazines and on internet
job sites and talk to friends in the industry and recruitment agents. If
you are applying to a position at the right level, there should not be a
large discrepancy between what the position is worth based on your
research and what you are worth based on your experience, education,
compensation history and what you have to offer the position.
Finally, determine an extremely generous salary level that is not too
unrealistic for the position and that you would be extremely
ecstatically happy to receive.
5. Get the Employer to Reveal his Hand First
Always get your employer to reveal his hand first to avoid pricing
yourself out of the game or limiting the discussions prematurely. If you
are first to put a number on the table, you run the risk of being
perceived as ‘overqualified’ if your range is too high or casting
doubts on your professional abilities and track record if you shortsell
yourself. Revealing your expectations or salary history will limit your
negotiating range and remove a lot of the leverage you otherwise have.
Often, the employer will make you a verbal offer and throw the salary
ball into your field by asking you what salary you expect, or what
salary you made in your previous position. Try to throw the ball right
back in the employer’s field by countering with another question, such
as “What do you think someone with my track record, experience and
skills could make in this position?” or “You now have a good idea of
my skills and track record and potential. What do you think is a fair
salary given the job’s requirements and responsibilities?”
Do not reveal your previous salary if you can possibly help it. Focus the
discussion instead on what your background, responsibilities and
potential contributions are worth in this position. Your goal should be
to maximize your worth and potential value to this employer through
effective negotiation – the value your previous employer placed on you
should be irrelevant. Remember, what you are worth to this employer is a
function of the value-added you can bring to this particular job and
your potential contributions in the new role, not a function of how your
skills were utilized (or misutilized) in the last job.
If absolutely pressed for a number and the employer will not give you an
idea of his target range despite all your best efforts to gain the upper
hand, you can present the employer with the range you have determined
beforehand. The ‘expected’ salary range you reveal will have what is
really your midpoint as the minimum, with the upper bound representing
your ‘dream’ salary. Make sure you always start your negotiations with
a range, not a specific salary level.
6. Let the Games Begin
You are now officially at the starting line, equipped with a verbal
offer, your own well-studied salary range and a solid understanding of
your job responsibilities in this new role. The negotiations will be
fired either with the employer revealing his salary range for the
position or, despite all your best efforts to reverse the roles, you
revealing your predetermined ‘expected’ salary range first.
Best case scenario: You have played your cards right and the employer
extends you an offer that is at the upper bound or significantly above
your expectations. Your downside risk has been eliminated and you can
now focus your discussions on making a good situation even better. If
your predetermined salary range was $75,000-$90,000 and the employer has
offered you $90,000 – $95,000, you can counter with something akin to
“That is close to the range I had in mind. My expectations given my
background and the job responsibilities were closer to $95,000 –
$105,000 with $95,000 really having been my very minimum. How much
flexibility do you have on the upside?”
Worst case scenario: You have prematurely limited your negotiating range
by revealing your hand too soon and the employer counters with a lower
range, or the employer starts the negotiations with an offer below your
expectations. This is where your negotiating savvy really comes into
Before you begin to negotiate, make sure you and the employer are roughly
in the same ballpark. If your well researched and well thought out range
of $75-90,000 was met with an offer of $50-55,000 from the employer, you
have either misconstrued the job responsibilities or the employer is
paying significantly below the market. This is where your minimum salary
comes in. Does the range meet your minimum threshold? If not and your
negotiations don’t bring you upto that minimum requirement, this may
well be the wrong position and/or company for you!
7. Justify Your Counter-Offer
Your $75-90,000 range was met with a $70-75,000 offer from the employer.
All is not lost. You will keep the discussion alive by coming back with
a sell proposition along the lines of “Well let me see, the job’s
responsibilities as I understand them are ABC” at which time you
carefully recite in detail all the various aspects of the job. “I
really feel that someone with my track record and qualifications could
be making a minimum of $75,000 on the job. I was actually looking for a
salary much closer to the $80,000 mark.” You then proceed to justify
your range. Confirm to the employer that you are very interested in
working with the company and that you feel you would really fit into the
team and could make a significant contribution there. Recap on your most
relevant work experience and mention again the skills you will
immediately put to productive use on the job. Mention that you feel your
ideal salary is actually very realistic given your experience and the
8. Gain Leverage by Negotiating the Job Responsibilities
If the employer’s range is carved in stone despite all your
well-rehearsed negotiation tactics, move to another stone. You do this
by altering the role, albeit modestly to justify a higher salary. This
is where your detailed knowledge of the position comes in.
You can do this in three ways. Firstly, you can add to the list of job
requirements a task or responsibility you have thought of beforehand;
one that you have either read about, thought of yourself or heard about
from a friend in the industry. Secondly, you can seize on one of the
problems the employer mentioned during the Interview and offer a
solution that you would personally be responsible for. Thirdly, you can
ask the employer outright, what added responsibilities he would ideally
like to have the person holding this job ultimately assume if they were
brought upto speed quickly enough. Another way to pose the latter
question is what added responsibilities or areas does the employer wish
your predecessor had taken charge of. Asking the question “What are
some of the areas you would like improved on” or “What are some of the
problems that my predecessor faced” during the Interview comes in
useful at this stage of the negotiations as you try to establish
additional value-added ground.
The ‘business solution’ or added responsibility you come up with need
not be monumental; in fact you should refrain from making any big
promises. It can be something as simple as a Marketing Executive
offering to arrange a brief monthly newsletter for the firm’s clients,
or a database that would speed client reporting up, or a slightly
revised format for the monthly reports that would be more visually
appealing. The important thing is that once you have elevated the
position to a slightly higher plateau, you can then proceed to justify
your ‘ideal’ salary as commensurate with the increased
responsibilities. You can go back to the employer with “From what I
understand, my role in this position would be XYZ. However, I am also
bringing to the job the following function(s) and responsibilities . . .
” at which point you recant the additional responsibilities.
Justifying your desired salary as being commensurate with a higher level
of responsibility is an excellent way to jumpstart stalled negotiations.
9. Negotiate the Package not just the Salary
You should be ready to negotiate the entire package, not just the salary.
Remember that you can enhance a less than stellar salary by negotiating
the perks. If your most ardent, well-rehearsed salary negotiation
tactics were ineffective at boosting the starting salary, you can try to
gain the lost ground at this stage of the game. Your discussions can
include medical insurance, car and housing allowance, children’s
education, plane tickets home for expats, club memberships and further
education and professional training for yourself. Try to get any
courses, seminars or further education you intend to take included in
your package. In many industries you can negotiate a guaranteed bonus at
a given date or a sign-up bonus. You can try to secure a commitment to a
minimum salary increase and/or title promotion at a prespecified date in
the future providing you meet certain performance criteria. At the very
minimum, you can ask for a performance (and salary) review a few months
All the best.