Posted on: April 30th, 2019 by
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Let’s assume a hiring manager wants you. You’re offered the job. What do you do?


Usually an employer will outline the conditions of the employment offer in writing. Make sure it coincides with your understanding, then say, “Thank you very much for this exciting opportunity. I’d like to review the offer, talk it over with family and come back with questions.” Why?  You may have room for negotiations.  There are differences between “hard’ and “soft” changes that can be made.  Usually items that involve a third party (insurances, pensions, 401K’s and the like) are not negotiable. Soft changes are those that a manager can make, depending upon the organization’s flexibility.


If the salary is less than you anticipated, ask, “Is it possible to have a 6-month review with a potential increase?”  “Are there ways for you to expand my experiences and add new responsibilities later?”  “Are there developmental programs to help accelerate my career?”  The greater the out-of-policy request, the higher the decision level is made.  However, if you’re seen as the answer to their problems, you have a great deal more influence.


Research job comparisons.  Use websites like,,, or the salary is short of your expectations, ask:

  • “I was expecting a slightly higher salary. Do you have any flexibility?”
  • “Is there a reason why the salary is below or at the low end of the range?”
  • “I would like to accept the offer even though it’s below my expectation.  Can I expect an increase/promotion assuming high-performance?”


Here are some general rules or comments to help you with compensation negotiations:


  • It can be an expensive mistake to give a compensation number too early. Let them see your potential contribution and value through your measurable results
  • Delay the compensation question for as long as possible. The more they want your expertise, the higher the pay.  If you give a low number, the company may accept it.
  • After you have proven that you are the best candidate, you are at the highest negotiating position. Now is the time to test the compensation question.
  • One strategy to delay the compensation question is to state, ““Until I understand the complete compensation picture (bonus, incentive, benefits, costs to me) along with the expectations of the position and degree of difficulty for results, I would find it hard to provide you with a number right now. I’ll need time to digest all the information.”
  • Usually the response will either be, “The salary is set at this time”, or “There may be some flexibility that we can talk about later”.Research says that over 40% of candidates did not negotiate their initial compensation package.
  • Always get the final offer in writing. Always give your acceptance in writing. You never want to resign from your current position until the new organization is fully committed to you and your acceptance is locked in.


You only get one shot and negotiating your incoming salary.  It’s difficult to go back.


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Posted on: April 23rd, 2019 by
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What attributes do you need to achieve success?  What should you do differently?

Successful individuals are different from less successful ones.  If you can understand and pattern your behavior in a different way, you may be able to change the trajectory of your job and maybe your career.  What are those attributes? 

Successful individuals:

  • Are focused and concerned about results, contributions and achievement. Successful people are not too concerned about their title because the results of high performance will dictate their position of responsibility over time.  Meritocracy drives your future.  Take responsibility for your own actions without finger pointing when things fall short.
  • Are open minded to new information, ideas and opportunity. Successful people tend to have a wide expanse of alternatives to the job to be done and can objectively assess their place in it. They aren’t hemmed in by what they can’t do, but are willing to explore new and different ways to achieve higher results.
  • Are continually expanding their knowledge, skills and abilities.  Successful individuals increase their technology and functional skills, certifications, degrees, languages and generally explore areas of knowledge they may need in the future. They tend to prepare for what’s to come, in addition to their current necessity for an outstanding job.
  • Develop a self-confidence as they become more self-assured in the job. Successful people tend to look at work in a different way.  They consider issues needing solutions, alternatives and strategies to solve work impediments.  Successful individuals tend to look for issues before they become problems.  In the process, they avert performance issues early on.
  • Begin to take on leadership roles like project and task leaders, new ventures, and even leadership roles in the community that has value to transfer those skills that managers need. These are all relationship skills that becomes more important as you move up the ladder of success.  People-skills become the key ingredient to success.
  • Share success with those who helped to contribute to the outcome.There are very few things in life that we do entirely alone.  We all need support and effort from others.  Successful individuals tend to be humble and sharing, rather than a braggard. People choose leaders with whom they believe in and embrace their goals.
  • Will pull themselves up after adversity. Not all things work out the way you would like.  Successful individuals will figure out what the next positive step should be, puts a plan and strategy together, involves others in the execution and reverses the outcome.  They take control of their own destiny.  Waiting for things to work out, usually doesn’t.
  • Always celebrate achievements of the “team”, those who contributed to their success. Self-centered people are insecure in their abilities and are seen negatively by others. Successful individuals share the limelight, which positions them as the leader. 

Top management is always on the lookout for individuals who demonstrate these success strategies.  By demonstrating these attributes you help the organization, your work group, and yourself.

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Posted on: April 16th, 2019 by
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Everyone has experienced making a bad decision, or a performance shortfall. You can never redo what has passed, but you can recover to a better place than where you were before.  How?


Most importantly, if your attitude or behavior becomes an impediment, it will dramatically affect your future.  As the saying goes, “When you’re in a hole, stop digging”.   That doesn’t mean you stop trying, just that you must turn your attention to positive strategies to move you in the right direction:  Upward.


I have been coaching professionals for over 20 years.  Some didn’t fit the culture, others needed to move up the ladder to the next level, and some were just in the wrong industry or job.  I have also worked with entrepreneurs starting a new business.  I have observed stark differences between those who took adversity and converted it into a long-term success.  My observations:


  • Having a business idea rejected is nothing new.  What’s different is the belief you have in your idea and the persistence in making it work.  Most successful people I know have kept moving forward, figured out the barriers and made the changes that made the difference.
  • Some folk are just too impatient. I seldom see a business become an instant success, or someone new on the job become an outstanding performer overnight.  If you have a terrific idea that no one is listening to, take a small project to demonstrate.  Sometimes seeing is believing.
  • On the other hand, some folk are just too slow. There are some things you can’t procrastinate. When you get a bad performance review, when you make a bad decision, or when you’re terminated, if you don’t get energized with an action plan, you lose.  When you wait too long to find answers to questions that are career or life changing, the chances are they will be.
  • Seek out the people who can help you. Some unfortunates want to hide and try to recover all by themselves.  Bad decision. The best help you can get are from those who know you well, and know what you are capable of achieving. Network your contacts to help them understand your situation, the “why”, and what you need in order to find a solution.
  • When a bad decision is made, unmake it as quickly and smoothly as possible. Hoping a bad decision will go away doesn’t work well.  Make it better by figuring out how to reverse or modify the situation to give you time to make the right decision.


You may ask, “How do you know so much that you can give advice to me?”. I have experienced each of the issues of rejection (starting my own business), bad decisions (joining a company that was incompatible) and leaving 2 companies (a mismatched merger and a paranoid boss).  After each disaster I came out stronger and at a higher level than before.  I only give these words of encouragement because they work.


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Posted on: April 9th, 2019 by
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Open-ended questions are dreaded and can be a potential trap for the unprepared.  Answers to open-ended questions can sometimes accelerate your candidacy if your responses are succinct and targeted.  Your answers can also sink your chances if you don’t demonstrate that your communications skills are up to the standards of the hiring manager.  Yes or no questions are easier, but you can’t market yourself with one-word answers.


Questions like, “Tell me about yourself”, or “What are your major accomplishments?” are the most difficult to answer unless you’ve thought about the best answers beforehand.  You don’t want to respond awkwardly or mumble something incoherently.  Hiring managers want to hear a “story” that is clear, succinct, that flows in an understandable and logical way, and hopefully includes transferable skills and experiences that relate to the job to be filled.


Here are some ways to approach answers to the dreaded open-ended questions:


  • HIGHLIGHT YOUR PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS – Keep the personal information personal by stating, “Professionally I received my degree in xxxxx, from xxxx and was recruited by xxxx to expand sales in a new product”.  Then brief the interviewer with each major step of your career with a 10 second synopsis. Why so short a brief?  Because this information is already on your resume. The question is really designed to see how you present the information in a compact, complete, and clear way.


  • FOCUS ON THE KEY ELEMENTS – The first 3 to 5 items on the position description are the most critical.Describe comparable results from your past experiences.  Show that you can solve the issues that are important to the hiring manager.  If you don’t know how you can provide value to the organization, it will show.


  • SHOW THAT YOU CAN DO THE JOB – Discuss potential solutions to short-term issues. Highlight potential alternatives to longer-term strategies. Identify actions you took to achieve high performance.  Your results should speak for itself.


  • GIVE SPECIFIC AND MEASURABLE EXAMPLES – Use numbers if you can: Dollars, percent, ratios or other measurements tell them that you can do the job. Nothing can “sell” your candidacy better than giving them examples of your results somewhere else.  If you have successfully done it before, the chances are you can do it again, only better.


  • DON’T GET SIDE-TRACKED – The interviewer is not only listening to what you say, but how you say it. A rambling story demonstrates an inability to organize your thoughts into a coherent sequence.  Think in bullet point terms while communicating in a logical step-by-step way.


However, be sure to answer all questions in a polite and personable way.  Don’t answer like a robot.  Show your keen interest in the job when answering the questions.  The hiring manager is assessing not only your skills and experience, but also your compatibility and potential relationship with the working group already in place.


Open-ended questions can be stressful, but with planning and preparation you can become a finalist candidate.


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Posted on: April 3rd, 2019 by
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Have you ever applied for a job and been asked for a written outline as to how you would approach a specific problem?  There’s nothing more valuable than your creative ideas, strategies and experiences in solving problems that impede an organization.  But, why would you freely give that information away to an interviewer in writing?  You may not get the job for which your interviewing, and the organization may give your written plan to an internal staff person to implement.  Unethical?  You bet? Unlikely?  Unfortunately no.


While the company’s philosophy and operating values may talk about high ethical standards, that doesn’t mean that a recruiter or even a hiring manager won’t ask you to prepare an alternative solution to a problem they have under the guise of helping them to make a hiring decision.  You have to determine whether they are truthful and trustworthy, or it’s a sham in order to collect different alternatives from candidates to create a strategy for the organization to implement.  Does it happen all the time?  No.  Does it happen more than it should?  Yes.


If a recruiter asks you to come in for an interview and gives you an assignment to create an alternative approach to an organizational issue, ask some key questions first:

  • Ask if your work will be shared, published or communicated in any way outside of the hiring process
  • Ask how your information will be used and request the answer in writing. The reaction of the interviewer will tell you all you need to know.


Here are some ways around the situation:

  • Provide information about a similar issue in another organization and the results you have achieved, but not the “how” of the alternative or approach to the solution
  • Is the request for information beyond the content of the job description? Sometimes information is sought that has nothing to do with your being a candidate:  Competitive information, organizational charts, names of peers or subordinates, or strategic initiatives for change in your current job.
  • Check out Glassdoor or other on-line websites for other candidate experiences. If others have been burned they will speak out
  • Be suspicious of emails or on-line requests for your resume along with a requested write- up as to how you solved a particular problem
  • Never give your home address, social security number or any other identification other than your name, telephone number, city, state and email address. Protect your privacy.
  • The most vulnerable are those candidates that are hard pressed to find a job, as they may give information beyond their comfort zone. Trust your instincts.


You need to be extra careful legally when asked for copies of original documents or a work product from a project where you were involved.  Your unique abilities and experiences are in demand.  Provide an interviewer with a definition of the issues you confronted, some alternatives you looked at, and the results you achieved, but not the detail of “how” you accomplish those results.  That’s your differentiator from everyone else. It makes you the best candidate.


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