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Acing the Interview

Even the smartest and most qualified job seekers need to prepare for job interviews. Why, you ask? Interviewing is a learned skill, and there are no second chances to make a great first impression. Today, interviewers are paying very close attention to how students have worked on developing their personal brand. In simple terms, your personal brand is how well you know yourself – your values, skills, competencies, talents, and what unique contributions you can offer the company or organization. It is knowing and telling “your story”.  Much of the information below applies both to in person or virtual interviewing.  However, since the increase in the use of post COVID virtual interviewing, we have also included a section that addresses virtual interviewing. specifics. To help, we have indicated whether each section is applicable to in-person and/or virtual interviewing. We recommend you combine all of the guidelines you select with information on Self-Branding to guarantee a successful in person or virtual interview.

Before You Go to the Interview

Dress in appropriate professional attire (Virtual and In-Person)
  • It is important to know what to wear to an interview and to be well groomed. Whether a man or a woman, a business suit will make a great first impression in an interview even if the company policy and culture for employees is casual dress. Check yourself in the mirror; part of your confidence will come from looking good.
  • Turn off all electronic devices – smart phones, tablets, laptops, and do not turn them on again until the interview is over and you have exited the building. Regardless of relaxed standards around smart phone usage, never make or take a call while waiting to be interviewed. This is an example of poor professional etiquette and may cost you the job or internship.
Carry these items to the interview (In-Person)
  • Directions to the interview site – do a “practice run” if the location is new to you. This is to ensure you do not arrive late because you cannot find the location. 
  • Several copies of your resume on quality paper.
  • A copy of your references.
  • A pad of paper on which to take notes, though notes are optional
  • A business appropriate portfolio
When you arrive (In-Person)
  • Arrive early - enter the building 10 minutes before your appointment.
  • Remove earphones if you have been listening to music, podcasts etc. during the commute 
  • Go to the restroom and check your appearance one last time (remember your interviewer may be in the restroom so act appropriate at all times; for example, no cell calls, smoking, loud conversations).
  • Announce yourself to the receptionist in a professional manner. Always be polite and courteous to the receptionist.
  • While waiting, review your resume and prepared answers. Do not take any personal calls on your cell phone!
  • Stand and greet your interviewer with a solid- but not bone crushing - handshake. If the interviewer does not let you know how to address him/her by name and/or title, politely inquire. Never just assume you will be on a first name basis with any/all of the interviewers.
  • Smile and maintain eye contact. (Speak to a career specialist if eye contact is difficult for you).

During the interview (Virtual and In-Person)

Practice Good Nonverbal Communication
  • It's about demonstrating confidence: standing straight, making eye contact and connecting with a firm handshake. That first nonverbal impression can be a great beginning- or quick ending- to your interview.
Listen
  • From the very beginning of the interview, your interviewer is giving you information, either directly or indirectly. If you are not receiving it, you are missing a major opportunity. Good communication skills include listening and letting the person know you heard what was said. Observe your interviewer and match that style and pace.
Don't Talk Too Much
  • Telling the interviewer more than he/she needs to know could be a serious mistake. When you have not prepared ahead of time, you may ramble when answering interview questions, sometimes talking yourself right out of the job or internship. Prepare for the interview by reading through the job/internship posting, matching your skills with the position's requirements, and relating only that information.
Don't Be Too Familiar
  • This is a professional meeting to talk business. This is not about making a new friend. Your level of familiarity should mimic the interviewer's demeanor. It is important to bring energy and enthusiasm to the interview and to ask questions, but do not overstep your place as a candidate looking for a job/internship. You should strive for authenticity and honesty but not make the mistake of sharing too much personal or emotionally charged information.
Use Appropriate Language
  • It's a given that you should use professional language during the interview. Be aware of any inappropriate slang words or references to age, race, religion, politics or sexual orientation -- these topics could send you out the door very quickly. Never address an interview panel as “you guys” and eliminate this overused phrase from all professional communication during an interview, conducting a presentation, staff meetings with co-workers and colleagues, and with clients or customers. Nothing screams “unprofessional” to recruiters or business colleagues and/or clients more than the use of slang or biased language.
Don't Be Arrogant
  • Attitude plays a key role in your interview success. There is a fine balance between confidence, professionalism, and humility. Even if you are putting on a performance to demonstrate your ability, overconfidence is as bad, if not worse, as being too reserved. Remember:  interviewers respect assertiveness and confidence in a candidate but find arrogance annoying.
Take Care to Answer the Questions
  • When interviewers ask for an example of a time when you did something, they are asking behavioral interview questions, which are designed to elicit a sample of your past behavior. If you fail to relate a specific example, you not only do not answer the question, but you also miss an opportunity to prove your skills and demonstrate how well you know abilities. Talk about your skills. Many questions are designed as “competency based” so make sure you can relate specific examples of your competency in those areas that the company emphasizes. Information about the specific competency-based areas can be found on the company’s web site. 
Ask Questions
  • When asked if they have any questions, most candidates answer, "No." Wrong answer. Part of knowing how to interview is being ready to ask questions that demonstrate an interest in what goes on in the company. Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to find out if this is the right place for you. The best questions come from listening to what you're asked during the interview and asking for additional information.  Keep questions related to your work or special projects.  Never ask questions about salary, benefits, places to eat, or socializing within the company.
Don't Appear Desperate
  • When you interview with the "please, please hire me" approach, you appear desperate and less confident. Reflect the three Cs during the interview: cool, calm and confidence. You know you can do the job; make sure the interviewer believes you can, too. Be prepared to explain to the interviewer how you can be an asset to the company and never agree to “taking any job” in the company.
Thank the interviewer (Virtual and In-Person)
  • At the conclusion of the interview, thank the interviewer with good eye contact and a firm handshake. Request the interviewer's business card so you can send a follow-up letter. If it is a group interview, request the business cards of all those who interviewed you. If, for some reason, you are not able to get the names of the interviewers, you can politely ask the receptionist for that information. Remember to also thank the receptionist before exiting.

After the Interview (Virtual and In-Person)

  • Remember you are “on the interview” as long as you are in the building. Even though you have completed the interview, remain on your best professional behavior until you have exited the building.
  • As soon as possible, write down what you are thinking and feeling.

 

  • Later in the day, review what you wrote and assess how you did.
  • Write an interview thank-you letter, reminding the interviewer of your qualities. Make sure that your thank you letter is written in a professional manner. This means your salutation should be “Dear Mr. XXX”, “Dear Mrs. XXX,” “Dear Dr. XXX” – always using the formal name of the interviewer. Never use the interviewer’s first name in the thank you letter, even if you were given permission to use his/her first name during the interview. Never begin your salutation with “Hey Mr. XXX” or “Hi There Mrs. XXX” Terms like “Hey and Hi” should be reserved for addressing your friends and family in social situations and have absolutely no place in professional correspondence of any kind, even if you are known well to the interviewer. A hand-written thank you letter is considered professional etiquette and therefore remains the recommended choice. Only send an email thank you letter if the interviewer requests it. Send your interview thank you letter within 24 -48 hours after the interview. Adhere to the rule “the sooner the better “because interviewers generally “forget” applicants after 48 hours. If the interviewer does remember you, you can bet he/she does will not be impressed with the time lag in sending a thank you. Always have your thank you letter proofread by an editor for proper grammar, sentence structure and spelling. Never text a thank you letter. 

 

Competency-Based or Behavioral Interviews (Virtual and In-Person)

When you go into an interview, you need to leave at least some of your nerves at the door. The best way to prepare is to put into practice some of what you have learned about yourself through developing your personal brand. Remember your personal brand is really “your story” and being able to tell your story in an authentic, honest, and professional manner can help you with the "behavioral" or "competency"-based interview adopted by the majority of recruiters today.
A behavioral interviewer will spend about half the interview on your job skills, and the other half on your behavioral competencies. He or she will be looking for evidence of how you have acted in real situations in the past so preparing and rehearsing examples of your competency-based skills and behaviors and being ready to discuss them plays very well for this type of interview.

What are Behavioral or competency-based interviews?

Known by either name, this type of interview goes further than the traditional skills-based interview. You can expect additional questions about your character and personal attributes that can better determine whether you fit an organization’s corporate or nonprofit culture. These are called "behavioral competencies."
Specifically, this is an interviewing technique used to determine whether you are a good fit for the job by asking questions about your past behavior. Your answers are then used as a predictor of your future success. For example, if you've done it in the past, you probably will do it again.

How is this different than other questions you might encounter?

A behavioral question will be very specific. For instance, when asked, "Tell me about a time when you overcame a crisis, solved a problem, dealt with failure, etc.," the focus is on a specific "time" in your past when you…. Here your answer must emphasis a particular action that you took at some point in your past.

In contrast, a traditional interview question would be "what if" type questions. For example, "What would you do if such and such a situation was to occur?" The difference here is there are no past experiences to call upon. You merely put yourself in the situation and use your imagination for the answer. The interviewer is looking for your thought process and how you might think through a problem.

How do you prepare for behavioral interviews?

The best way is to take the time and initiative to develop and “own” your personal brand so that you have a foundation in self-knowledge to be able to field behavioral interview questions. Reflecting on the questions below and preparing a mental guideline of answers can be very helpful. However, do not over prepare or over rehearse! You want to aim for having some ideas in your head that you can speak about in an honest and authentic way without sounding like a robot.   
Consider developing your stories around these areas:

  • A crisis in your life or job and how you responded to or recovered from it.
  • A time when you functioned as part of a team and what your contribution was.
  • A time in your career or job when you had to overcome stress.
  • A time in your job when you provided successful leadership or a sense of direction.
  • A failure that occurred in your job and how you successfully overcame it.

Preparation

Preparation is especially important for success in the competency-based or behavioral interview. A word of warning: you must have stories to back up anything you claimed on your resume.
All stories have three parts and yours should be no different. They include:

  • A beginning (set the stage, describe the situation, the time)
  • A middle (this is the process you used or the action that you took to solve the problem)
  • A resolution (how the problem was solved, overcome or resolved)

A good story should be interesting and full of action. Give the interviewer something memorable about you that makes you stand out. Since these are your stories, it should not be hard, especially if you have taken the time to develop your personal brand! Let your personality and your core character shine through. Make sure you let them hear the steps you took to solve the problem. The more details and skills you can add, the better.

A helpful tip!

While it is important to prepare for any interview, do not over prepare or over rehearse! You want to aim for having some ideas in your head that you can speak about in an honest and authentic way without sounding like a robot or like you memorized these answers.    

Use Your STAR Power! It’s a SURE-FIRE way to master behavioral interviews!
You can use the STAR technique to structure your answers for a competency-based interview:
Situation, Task, Actions, and Results
S     Think of a situation where you applied the competency (or behavior) in question
T     Explain what the tasks were
A     Describe the actions you took to fulfill those tasks
R     Highlight the results that were achieved

List of Competency Based Skills
  • Adaptability
  • Compliance
  • Communication
  • Conflict management
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Decisiveness
  • Problem-solving
  • Delegation
  • External awareness
  • Flexibility
  • Independence
  • Influencing
  • Integrity
  • Leadership
  • Leveraging diversity
  • Organizational awareness
  • Resilience and tenacity  
  • Risk taking
  • Sensitivity to others
  • Team work

Preparing for a Virtual Interview

Please check your connection and the technology you will be using on the day of the interview to ensure that they are compatible with the virtual meeting requirements. Please check camera and microphone accessibility settings and whether they are fully functional. If your camera and microphone provide poor audio or visuals, this will give you time to buy a new webcam and microphone or find alternative technology available that you can use.

Once your technical issues have been checked, decide on a quiet and neutral environment either within your living space or outside of it based on your situation. Attempt to look for a room that provides optimal lighting, great connection, and a neutral backdrop. In case you do not have a location with a neutral backdrop most platforms will provide a filter that will blur the surrounding environment. Conduct a quick test setup to check for any distractions, discrepancies, and noise before the day of the interview. If your first set-up does not work make sure you have a backup space to conduct the interview. This will avoid panic and give you control over any possible last-minute changes.

Summary

Spend some time well before your first interview to craft and polish several "short stories" about your past using some of the above examples. Take the best examples you can and hone them to a fine edge. Practice them aloud in front of a mirror and visit the Career Center to review and discuss them with a Career Specialist. These are your successes. Done well, they will give your interviewer a clear picture of who you are, enabling him or her to determine whether you are the right person for the job.

Interviewing Videos @CandidCareer.com

There sometimes may be unforeseen circumstances that interfere with accepting an internship or job either before or after the interview has taken place. When refusing an internship, job or the actual offer, be sure to do so with the professional courtesy of a telephone call or email to the interviewer.  Not showing up for the interview or not informing the interviewer that you are no longer interested in the position demonstrates poor professional etiquette and creates a bad impression of you and your college! You never know when you will meet that interviewer again – at another company, a career fair, or a professional recruiting event – and you may very well be at a disadvantage if your refusal skills were unprofessional. Supervisors in and out of companies talk with each other and, if your name comes up as a potential hire among colleagues, you want to be remembered in a favorable light.  Failure to refuse a position in a professional manner can quickly jeopardize your job/internship search. Never text a job or internship refusal.

Professional dress can often ‘make or break” your chances for advancing in the job/internship search process. The guidelines below represent choices for you based on how you identify yourself. Regardless of your choice, remember that you never get a second chance to make a first impression at an interview. Applicants who are dressed in professional attire usually advance to the next stage in the selection/hiring process. However, keep the following in mind. The Impact Litigation and Advocacy - HRC Foundation (thehrcfoundation.org) recommends that, "If an employer has a dress code, it should modify it to avoid gender stereotypes and enforce it consistently. Requiring men to wear suits and women to wear skirts or dresses, while legal, is based on gender stereotypes.  Review the guidelines below and feel free to use information in any section that is comfortable for you.  

Men

  • Business suit in black, blue, or gray with a fresh white long sleeved shirt and an appropriate business dress tie. Avoid ties that are “loud” or contain a theme such as cartoon characters or sports teams. Avoid bow ties.
  • Leather belts in black, brown, or burgundy (also called cordovan) are appropriate.  
  • Black, brown or cordovan shoes should be worn with professional dress and should always be clean and polished.
  • Dress socks that match your suit and reach your mid-calf should be worn. White socks, athletics socks, or socks with loud design patterns regardless of color are always inappropriate.  No backpacks or ski jackets.  Professional overcoat is necessary. No earbuds, earphones, or other handheld devices.
  • Jewelry should be limited to a business watch. No earrings, neck chains, bracelets, or body piercing. If possible, tattoos should be covered or obscured.
  • Always be clean-shaven and get a haircut prior to the interview. Be certain you are well groomed – mustache or beard trimmed, fingernails trimmed and clean, hair neatly combed, teeth brushed, use deodorant after showering. Absolutely no unusual hair coloring such as purple, blue, orange, reds etc.
  • Smart phones, tablets or other electronic devices should be turned off and out of sight during the entire time you are engaged in the interview process (entering the building, in the waiting area, during the course of the interview, lavatories, and exiting the building). Earbuds or earphones should be removed before you enter the building. Practice restraint and check your phone or reinsert your earphones after the interview and when you are well away from the building.
  • Do not use cologne or aftershave. 

Women

  • Business suit (preferably skirt and jacket) – black, blue, or gray with a simple white or muted blouse or shell.   (Avoid frilly, short skirts as part of your business suit). Avoid pants suits and opt for a business skirt suit if possible.
  • Shoes should be simple classic 2-inch pumps, clean and polished, in black, blue or brown. Avoid platform heels, stiletto heels, open toed or open heeled shoes, heels higher than 2 inches. Absolutely no sandals, slippers of any kind, or mules. Avoid boots are part of your business attire unless warranted by snowstorm. 
  • Skinned-toned hosiery tests well in business. No black, brown, white, opaque, or fishnet stockings, no leggings, no designed or themed stockings. NEVER go to an interview barelegged, even in the summer months. Always bring a spare pair of pantyhose with you in case you get a snag on the way to the interview.  
  • Jewelry should be limited to simple stud earrings, a business watch, no bangles bracelets or ankle bracelets, no dangling earrings, no heavy neck jewelry. If possible, tattoos should be covered or obscured.
  • Hair: long hair freshly washed, pulled back away from face, no hair clips, barrettes, hairpins, scrunchies, etc. Short hair freshly washed, neatly combed and styled. Avoid spiked hair. Hair color should look as natural as possible. No unusual coloring such as purple, blue, some reds etc.
  • Nails should be well manicured. No long nails and absolutely no nail art. Choose to wear a light colored or neutral nail polish. If you wear acrylic or fiberglass nails, make sure they are not so long that they appear “claw-like” or that they glow or glitter.
  • Purse should be small and business appropriate – just enough to hold a wallet, keys, make-up, etc. Avoid carrying an oversized purse that looks like an overnight bag.  No backpacks or ski jackets.  Professional overcoat is a must.
  • Always make sure you are well groomed, hair washed, fingernails clean and trimmed, make-up fresh and business appropriate, teeth brushed, use deodorant. If wearing lipstick or blush, choose moderate colors in line with a business meeting. Eyeliner and mascara should be light and moderate also.   
  • Smart phones, tablets or other electronic devices should be turned off and out of sight during the entire time you are engaged in the interview process (entering the building, in the waiting area, during the course of the interview, lavatories, and exiting the building). Earbuds or earphones should be removed before you enter the building. Practice restraint and check your phone or insert earbuds or earphones after the interview and when you are well away from the building.
  • Wear a light perfume or cologne. No heavy scented perfumes. 

Gender-Neutral Interview Attire

If how you typically dress does not conform to a traditional gender norm, your interview attire should not have to either.  As with gender-specific attire, the key is to find clothing that is polished, professional and a fit for an interview with the company. In this day and age, there should be no position that requires you to dress in a way that makes you uncomfortable.
Here is an overview of gender-neutral attire for interviews and work.

Regardless of your gender identity, gender-neutral clothing is appropriate for anyone to wear.

Whether you are a woman who avoids overtly feminine apparel, a man who prefers a more gender-neutral look or a non-gender-conforming or transgender person, you will be able to dress for success without a problem.

For example, a button-down shirt is fine for anyone to wear in the workplace. It can be dressed up or down, and paired with slacks, a blazer, or a tie. 

The key is finding clothing that achieves the three Ps: proper fit, polished, and professional.
This goal is true regardless of what you opt to wear. Here is what that means:

  • Clothes should not be too large, small, tight, or baggy. Suggestions for androgynous business clothing sources are below, but also consider visiting a tailor if necessary.
  • As well as fitting properly, clothing should be clean and wrinkle-free.
  • When in doubt, neutral colors - such as black, taupe, beige, brown, blue, and gray - are good options. 

Tips for Deciding What to Wear

In addition to the three Ps, listed above, there are other factors to consider when choosing the attire that works best for you. Here are some tips on how to do just that:

  • Stay true to who you are. 

If you have never felt comfortable in a dress, opt for a pantsuit. Confidence is key from the get-go, and it is hard to be confident when you feel uncomfortable in your clothing. Wear clothing that highlights your personality and allows you to be yourself. 

  • Avoid decision fatigue and stress before the interview.

Create a look that inspires both confidence and comfort. Invest in neutral-colored button-downs and a few pairs of slacks or skirts, whatever your preference.  You will avoid unnecessary stress before the interview and feel good in what you are wearing.

  • Strive for professionalism. 

Unless there is an industry standard, opt for professional attire for the interview. Take note of others who opt for gender-neutral attire in business or professional settings and follow that model.  Remember what you choose to wear to a job interview is your choice. Make it a good one!
If you find yourself stressing out about how to present yourself in an interview, you should keep in mind that your well-being at work is a huge factor in your professional success. You probably would not want to work at a company that pressures you to dress in a way that conflicts with your identity. Keep this in mind when reflecting on whether this is the best career choice for you.  In the long run, it is best to work at a company whose culture is inclusive and respects your right to wear clothing that reflects you as an individual.

Discrimination

Overly strict dress codes may lead to discrimination claims if they focus too much, on how men and woman must dress for interviews or work. If being discriminated against is a worry for you, consult the Impact Litigation and Advocacy - HRC Foundation (thehrcfoundation.org) website to learn more about discrimination laws in your state, including whether or not you are protected by law and what to do if you feel you have been a victim of discrimination during the interview process. The Human Rights Campaign recommends that, "If an employer has a dress code, it should modify it to avoid gender stereotypes and enforce it consistently. Requiring men to wear suits and women to wear skirts or dresses, while legal, is based on gender stereotypes.

If you are looking for style advice, check out Qwear, an excellent resource for people with gender-non-conforming styles. If you are ready to do some online shopping, check out these stores for androgynous business clothing and formal menswear for women:

  • Haute Butch has an extensive clothing collection for women who prefer a masculine style of dress.
  • VEEA is a popular source of androgynous fashion, selling dress shirts, jackets, cardigans, vests, and accessories.
  • GFW Clothing (that stands for gender-free world) sells shirts that are designed to fit body types, rather than genders. 
  • Although technically a store for menswear, Topman is known to provide masculine clothing in fits and sizes that cater to women.

How to Dress for a Job Interview @thebalancecareers.com

Dress Professionally for your Virtual Interview

Wear professional attire and utilize the same preparatory techniques as you would if the interview was conducted in person. This will demonstrate, a professional attitude, competence, and interest in the position. Depending on the clarity of your camera or environment try to run a quick test to see whether you look appropriate on camera. Although it is likely that you will only be visible from the shoulders up, it is better to be prepared than getting up mid-interview only to review pajama pants underneath your button-down shirt. Overall, the preparation that goes into getting dressed as if the interview is in-person boosts your confidence and morale.

Dress for Success: Gender Inclusive @CandidCareer.com

What is Salary Negotiation?

Salary Negotiation is a skill involving the discussion of a job offer with a prospective employer to negotiate a salary and benefits package that meets your needs. Salary Negotiation discussions are always initiated by the prospective employer and NEVER by the job candidate.

Issues and concerns with Salary Negotiation

Salary Negotiation can be a challenging subject and can be uncomfortable especially for recent college graduates entering the job market. Because it may be uncomfortable, many college graduates new to interviewing never consider negotiating salary. Some undervalue their professional worth and are “grateful” just to get an offer, even if the salary is well below the average salary for the position. Some believe that negotiating salary will cause the employer to reconsider and withdraw the offer.  Some just don’t know how to conduct a negotiation discussion because of lack of experience or lack of confidence.  

When to negotiate

Salary Negotiation is usually one of the last things to be discussed with your prospective employer and takes place, more often than not, after the employer makes at least a verbal commitment to a job offer. Many times, it takes two or three interviews before you get to this point in the hiring process.  On occasion, a prospective employer may bring up the issue of salary before the final offer is made. This usually indicates that the employer is very interested in hiring you, so it is important to be prepared with your research, data, and your honest “negotiating pitch” at any point in the interview process.

Where to negotiate

Salary Negotiation tales place in the context of the in-person or virtual job interview process and is usually one of the last things to be addressed. Under no circumstances should you try to negotiate salary outside of the interview process. Sometimes recruiters may invite you to a business luncheon or dinner to raise the issue of salary. If this is the case, preparing yourself with business meal etiquette skills can be very helpful.

How to negotiate

It is important to remember that if the recruiter has made you a job offer, you have already passed the test and your prospective employer thinks that you will make an excellent addition to the company. This places you in the position to try negotiating salary.

Steps to Smart Salary Negotiation

Research

  • Before you start negotiating, you have some homework to do! Research the company you are interviewing with to find out their financial solvency. What does their current fiscal year look like? Knowing this will give you a clue to your negotiating power.
  • Research competitive salaries in your field prior to entering into any salary negotiation. You can visit www.salary.com and use their free “Salary Wizard” to obtain the most current salary offers in your field.  You can also review Labor Market Statistics for additional information. Use the salary quote for your field as the middle figure and develop a range of $5000 less and $5000 more than your mid quote. For example, if the current salary trend for your field is $80,000, develop your range of $75,000 to $85,000.

Two ways to negotiate

  • If your employer asks you for a salary quote, deliver your range. In this way you have not over or undervalued yourself in the initial discussion. If your employer is agreeable and comes in with an offer close to or above your mid-range, good!
  • If your employer “balks” at your range and begins to discuss a salary much lower that your range, try not to look at this as discouraging. Employers are very adept at negotiating and may actually welcome and anticipate a good negotiation session. Remember the following before you enter into this part of the discussion.
  • Leave your emotions at the door. In any discussion, you must remain professional, polite, and courteous.
  • Be well prepared. If you are going to ask for more money, be ready with facts and data to support your negotiating position and be honest in your discussion.
  • Phrase your request with confidence. Remember there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Employers like to see confidence in a potential employee. Employers, however, are very turned off by arrogance. Know the difference.  
  • Practice your negotiating discussion. This is a skill and, as with any skill, practice helps you to improve. A negotiating “pitch” can be something like this.

“I am really excited about the idea of working here and I am confident I can bring value to the company.  I appreciate the offer of $62,000, but I was really expecting to be in the $65,000 to $70,000 range based on my drive and motivation. Can we look at that range for this position?”

  • Calmly stand your ground. Most employers will come back with a polite refusal of your offer. This may sound like the end of the conversation, but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t back down. The key is to continue to show your enthusiasm and stay confident (NOT arrogant) in your abilities. Try once more.

“I understand where you are coming from, and I just want to reiterate my enthusiasm for working with you and the team. I think my skills are suited for the position and I think they are worth the $65,000 to $70,000 range.”

  • don’t say anything else. Don’t try to fill the silence with more words, justifications, or apologies. Just calmly wait for the employer to reply.
  • If the employer agrees to meet your request, do not apologize for asking or be overly grateful. Simply acknowledge the offer and respond “Great. I appreciate that”
  • If the employer again stays with the original offer, you have some decisions to make.  If you really want the job and the salary is worthy of your skills and abilities, you can accept the position right there or ask for a day to think it over. But always get back to the employer promptly and within the time frame you have given if you plan to accept OR reject this position offer. Before you accept any position, it is a good idea to discuss it with someone who has professional experience in this area – either a Career Specialist, a mentor, or another professional you trust.
  • Finally, even if you do not get what you were negotiating for in a salary, employers generally see prospective employees who negotiate as “go getters” and high achievers. Eventually, as you work hard in the company and prove yourself, you may be the first one on the salary increase list!  

Final Word

Salary negotiation can be a very stressful experience. Always consult with a Career Specialist before, during, and after the negotiation process.