Transcript January 25, 2009 Interview by Bonnie Lowe (www.BestCareerStrategies.com) of Danny Iny (www.HuntingToHired.com)
Bonnie Hello everyone. I’m Bonnie Lowe of BestCareerStrategies.com, and this teleseminar is about just that—the best career strategies to help you get hired, get noticed and get ahead. The information we’ll be covering today will answer questions sent to me by people who need help with some aspect of their career. With me today is Danny Iny. Danny is an expert in several areas. He’s the author of the book, “Ordinary Miracles--Harness the Power of Writing and Get Your Point Across,” which has a five-star rating on Amazon.com. He’s an expert in strategic communications, which you can read about at www.DannyIny.com, and he runs an educational technology company called MaestroReading. But the reason we’re talking with Danny today is because of his expertise in helping people to find great jobs and solve problems at work. He is author of the eBook, “Forget Everything You Know About Looking for A Job—and Actually Find One!” which you can get free on his website, www.HuntingToHired.com. He also runs a blog at www.ToughEconomyJobs.com. And Danny has a special offer for our listeners today, which he’ll tell us about at the end of our session, so be sure to listen for that. Danny, thank you for joining us. Is there anything you’d like to add before we get started?
Danny No, that’s great. Thank you for having me, Bonnie.
Bonnie OK, let’s get going. Our first question is: “With so many different kinds of jobs out there, how do I know which one would be a fit for me, both as a person and for my skill set? In other words, how can I know what kind of job is really suitable for me?” Danny Well, that’s really a question about knowing yourself, and knowing where you fit in. That’s kind of like saying what’s the right city for me, or what’s the right clothing for me. It’s important to recognize those aren’t questions about the city or clothing or a job, those are questions about you. A big part about that is understanding what it is you enjoy, and what it is that you’re really good at. We all have things that we enjoy and are good at. Those things tend to be the same— what we enjoy is what we’re good at, and vice versa. So what you have to do is figure out what you really enjoy. A great technique for doing that (this is actually borrowed from a book called “Go Put Your Strengths to Work” by Markus Buckingham) is to carry around a notepad. The notepad is divided into two sides, one green and one red. Throughout your day, you make notes in your notepad about what you’re doing and how you’re feeling about it. Whenever you’re doing something that you just love and you’re having a great time, you make a note about it on the green side. Whenever you’re doing something you can’t stand, you feel like the hands on the clock aren’t moving and time is just dragging and you wish it would end, you make a note of that on the red side. Then after about two weeks, you look at those two lists of things you enjoy doing day-to-day, and things you hate doing day-to-day. Then what you want to do is try to construct for yourself a description for a job that allows you to do the things you love, and where you don’t have to do the things you can’t stand. Bonnie OK, that sounds great. I do have a question though. What about being realistic about your ability to earn a living doing what you love? For example, if my husband loves golf, and he’s good at it, but certainly not the next Tiger Woods. There are things that people love doing but may not be able to earn a good living at, right? Danny
Well, there’s the question of how much do you love it, and how good are you... but then there’s also the question of creative application. For example, if you love golf, there are a lot of ways to be involved with golf that aren’t necessarily about playing. I mean, if you are really good and you love it that much, maybe you should try to be a professional golfer. But let’s assume for the sake of argument that, as you said, your husband is not Tiger Woods, but he really loves golf—he enjoys the game, he enjoys the experience. There are other skills that he has besides playing golf. And golf is a whole industry. Pick any interest you have (this is just a fun exercise)—pick whatever it is you’re interested in and go to the bookstore. If you find books about that interest, that means it’s a massive industry. If it’s sports, if it’s business, if it’s cooking, whatever, it’s a massive industry. Back to golf... golf needs to be marketed, it needs to be administered, and golf has customer relations involved, and golf courses need to be built and financed and maintained... and this is all a big part of the puzzle. So it’s about finding what it is that you love, and what it is that you’re good at. There’s going to be a lot of overlap in how they intersect. Bonnie And maybe not having a really narrow focus, but like you say, look at the other opportunities around what you love doing? Danny Well, it’s a balance. Because on the one hand, when you say, “I just want to play golf,” that’s a very narrow focus. But on the other hand, it can be a very broad and vague focus. I would actually say let’s narrow it down a lot more. Different people like golf for different reasons (I’m really reaching here, by the way, because I don’t play golf). Some people enjoy being outdoors in the sun; some people enjoy the social aspects; etc. So I’d say, if what you love is golf, drill down. What is it about golf that you really love? How is that element portable into a workplace? If what you love is being outside and socializing in small teams, what kind of job is going to allow you to do that? You have to do some extrapolation. You and I had a conversation earlier this week and you mentioned you love writing, and you don’t like sitting in meetings. As a blogger, you do have, in some capacity, a profession that allows you to write and not go to meetings. But if someone comes to the realization that they love to write and they hate meetings, not because they’ve got that well structured in their head,
but because they were in a meeting at work and they couldn’t stand it, and because they were writing a letter or an essay or something and realized they really like writing... then you’ve got to start thinking: what is a job situation, what is a professional circumstance, that is going to allow me to do more of this, and less of that. Once you have your list of what you love and what you can’t stand, at that point you can start enlisting some friends, colleagues and people you respect and say, “Hey, I’m looking potentially at making a career transition. I want to get into a field where I’ll have an opportunity to do ‘this,’ and where I’m not going to have to do ‘that.’ Do you have any ideas?” Bonnie That’s great—and that’s where networking would come in. I think we have a question a little bit later where we can talk about networking, which is a very important strategy for landing a new job. Anything else about career choice before we move on to the next questions? Danny I just want to emphasize that it’s very, very important to do what you love, but also what you’re good at. Because jobs are not interchangeable and people are not interchangeable. I’ve been trying to find where I read this research and I can’t find it, but I did read that the difference between someone who is good at their job and someone who is great at their job is not marginal. It’s not that someone who is great at their job is a little bit better than someone who is good at their job... they’re significantly better; there’s like a 5-to-10 times difference in terms of output and productivity. So if you’re great at a job, then you can earn a good living because you’re bringing so much value to the table; it’s really in an employer’s best interest to pay you. With one of my businesses a few years ago, I had a situation where an employee came to me and wanted to talk about a raise. She was very nervous about it because we were very good friends, also. She felt awkward about it, but she finally worked up the courage and came to me and said, “I think I want to make more money.” And I said, “No problem. Tell me how much you want to make, and then we’re going to work backwards from that. Because I will pay you whatever you want—$10 an hour, $50 an hour, $1,000 an hour—I will pay you whatever you want as long as you’re bring more value to the company than it’s costing.” So let’s figure out what is that enormous value you can bring. Once you’ve figured that out, the sky is the limit in terms of what you can get back.
Bonnie So did she get her raise? Danny Yes she did. She was very happy. And so was I, because it was win-win. Bonnie Alright, great. Let’s move on to the next question: “How can I advance, or change careers, without the time or money to get a degree?” Danny That’s a great question. To answer that, I’m going to take a step back. Let’s talk about what is the value of a degree in finding any job. A degree, basically, is a way for you to say in just a few words that you have a certain amount of knowledge and expertise. It’s a way of telling an employer, “I can do this.” Fill in the blank on what ‘this’ is. And it doesn’t even say you can do all that much. Now I want to draw a line here between jobs that require a specific certification and jobs that don’t. Because there’s no way to fudge around this: you cannot be a doctor without a medical degree, you cannot be a lawyer without a legal degree, you cannot be a teacher without a teaching certification, you can’t be an engineer without an engineering degree, etc. But for most other fields, there are options. Let say you’re interested in marketing. A degree in marketing means you’ve spent a certain amount of time studying about marketing. When I see on your CV/resume as an employer that you have a degree in marketing, I know that you’ve spent four years in classes learning about marketing. The reality is that classroom learning doesn’t necessarily translate into a whole lot of knowledge. Because a lot of what you learn in school is very theoretical. When the rubber hits the road and when you really meet reality, your first couple of years on the job is where you learn out how things really work. So a degree is important for getting that first job, for getting your foot in the door with that industry. But that being said, there are other ways of getting to that basic level of saying “I do have knowledge, I do have expertise, I do have experience, so give me a job.”
One thing you can do that I discuss in detail at HuntingToHired.com is gaining de facto expertise. There’s a very interesting stat or quote I read somewhere that says, if you read and understand (and I emphasize understand) one book about a subject, you know more about that subject than the average person. If you read and understand three to five books about that subject, you know more about it than anyone but an expert, and that makes you a de facto expert. That’s enough to start being literate in the field, to start knowing what you’re talking about. Now you’ve also got to get experience; you must have the credibility to ‘sell’ that you know what you’re doing. So you need to start getting into situations where: (A) you can practice; and (B) people can see you practicing. So take on volunteering opportunities, take on internships, do projects. Again, we’re going to go with the marketing example. Volunteer to do the newsletter for your kid’s school, do events to promote your local community center, start doing actual marketing stuff. Get real experience. And get noticed by people who see you doing it. An employer needs to believe that you have the expertise. If all they see about you is what you’ve written on your CV/resume, all they see is a piece of paper. They don’t see the personality, they don’t see the endorsements, they don’t see any of that. All they see is a very dry list of your experience: here’s what I’ve done, here’s what I know. So it’s like a checklist. Whereas, if you’re actually out in the community doing these things, and you’re doing a good job that people are noticing, and you put the word out that you’re looking to find work in that field, someone who noticed is going to start mentioning it to people who can help you. When that happens, it’s going to come with an endorsement. That person won’t just forward your CV/resume, they’ll also provide a personal endorsement, and that adds a lot of weight. I feel like I diverted from the original point of the question. Do you think I answered it? Bonnie Yes, I think you answered it very well. Let me see if I can summarize it quickly. It involves a lot of self-study. You read and understand books on the field you’re interested in to become knowledgeable. Then to gain experience, you actually put that knowledge into practice, whether it’s by volunteering or helping out other people who are already doing what you’re interested in. Through that volunteer work and practice you get noticed, so it becomes obvious that you are capable of doing that type of work, and through your networking you get endorsements and referrals from those who have seen what you’ve been able to do. So you’re proving that you’re capable and qualified even if you don’t have a particular degree. Danny
Exactly. And what I’d add to that is, you’re kind of looking for the question behind the question. When I coach people for interviews, a lot of time what I tell them is, “Don’t focus so much on answering the question the interviewer asks, but listen for the question behind the question.” A good example is if the interview asks, “Why are you looking for a job?” the correct technical answer may be “Because right now I don’t have one.” We realize, obviously, that’s not what he really wants to know. What he really wants to know is “Why don’t you have a job? What happened with your last job? Why did you leave? Or why do you want to leave?” He wants to understand the background. In the same way, when people ask about your educational experience of if you have a degree, what they’re actually asking is, “Show me something that’s going to make me believe you can really do this job.” A degree is an easy way to do that. But if you can otherwise convincingly make the case that you can do this job, then that’s fine—that’s the real question. Bonnie That’s great. Shall we move on to the next question? Danny Absolutely. Bonnie OK. This one’s interesting, and timely, with so many layoffs going on right now: “I find myself torn between self-employment and getting another job. How can I make the best decision? A related question is: How can I know if I’m cut out for selfemployment?” Danny Whichever choice you ultimately make, make sure you’re not making it for the wrong reasons. I always advise people that they should always be moving towards something, and not moving away from something. So I wouldn’t say you should get a job because you don’t want to be selfemployed; and I wouldn’t say you should be self-employed because you’re afraid it’s going to be difficult to get a job. You should figure out which one is right for you by going over your strengths, what your character is like, and what would be a good fit for you. And then jump into that.
There’s a tendency when something looks difficult to bolt in the other direction. We may have been in the job market for a while and we’re finding it frustrating. In comparison, it may feel like self-employment must be easier. But it’s never the case. It’s never the case that selfemployment, in particular, is easier... but with anything—when we’re doing something we find difficult, and we say OK I’ll back away from that and go that other way which must be easier— what’s really behind that is “I’m just less familiar with what the difficulties of that other way might be, and I’m hoping it will be easier.” There are a lot of things you need to consider with self-employment. One thing is stability and security. It comes very slowly. I’ve been self-employed for about ten years, and I like to think I’m fairly good at it; business is good and things are going well. But despite all that, even in the times when things are really good, you still don’t know where you’re rent money is going to be coming from more than a few months in advance, just because the nature of being selfemployed is that it’s very contract-based, very project-based, with a lot of ups and downs and a lot of volatility. If you need to know where things are coming from and that everything is stable and secure and going to be fine, that’s going to take years to develop. And when you do get to that point, it’s not so much that things have become stable and secure, as you just develop a sense of security in the relative instability. You’re thinking, it’s not stable, but I know at this point that I can handle it. Another difficulty is that being self-employed usually comes with (comparative to a job, at least) social isolation. When you’re working in a job, you’re going into an office, you’re with other people, and your schedule is set—at least to a certain extent—for you. When you jump into a self-employed situation, suddenly all of that’s gone. It’s funny that people look at self-employment as an alternative to looking for work, because what a lot of people find demoralizing about a job search situation is that there’s no schedule, there are no people they’re doing it with, etc. So saying you’re going to become self-employed is just perpetuating the problem and the things that make the process so difficult for you. Now I don’t want to sound like I’m trashing self-employment. This is my lifestyle and I love it. But it’s not easy. I was just talking to a friend this morning about what pushes people to become self-employed or to start a business, and it’s not the money or the security. Starting a business is the slowest and hardest way in the world to get rich. So if your goal is to get rich or to feel stable, then do pretty much anything else. But if you think the freedom is what’s really going to be valuable for you—not just the freedom in your schedule, but the freedom to work on the projects you want to work on, to do the things that excite you, and to really custom-tailor your job description—then it might definitely be worth a shot.
Self-employment is such a big subject we could do two hours just on that topic. So I’d just say go in with both eyes open. Look very carefully at everything that’s involved. Try to talk to people in your area who are self-employed in the field you’re interested in, and ask them what it’s like, what their experience is. There’s an African proverb that says “Only a fool tests the water with both feet.” So test the water with just one foot. Bonnie Yes. Don’t quit your job to try self-employment. Maybe try it part-time while you still have a steady paycheck and some financial security. If you’re out of work right now it may be a good time to think about self-employment, but if you value the security of a steady paycheck, working with others, leaving the important decision-making up to a boss, or you have a problem with self-motivation and getting things done (if you’re self-employed, you’re the boss and the employee so your livelihood depends all on you)... there are a lot of things to consider, and like you said, don’t jump in with both feet. That’s an excellent point. Anything else on self-employment before we move on? Danny Well, assuming it’s right for you, that you’re the right personality type, even assuming all the best circumstances, realize that it is going to be more than you thought. It’s going to be better than you thought. But it’s also going to be harder than you thought. About two years ago things were really rough with one of my businesses. I was losing money with that particular business and had to let an employee, who was a close friend, go. That was very difficult. It was the first time I had to fire anyone, much less a close friend. So it was rough. That night some friends came over and they started complaining about their jobs and their bosses and the hours they worked, and on and on. And I thought to myself, as rough as things are, on my worst day, my job is ten times better than theirs. So if it’s a right fit, it is a perfect fit, and that really comes back to finding the occupation that is a good fit for you. Bonnie OK, let’s go on to the next question: “Which career is always in demand, no matter what state the economy is in?”
Danny I get that a lot, and I think there’s something wrong with the premise in that question. There’s a way to answer it by saying something like, certain fields are always hiring—people are always going to have to eat, they’ll always need teachers, accountants, medical care, etc. But how I’d really answer it is to say “It doesn’t matter.” It doesn’t matter if ten people are being hired in a field, or a thousand, or a hundred thousand. You only need one job. The more important question is, “How do you stack up against the other applicants?” Even if you pick a job that’s relatively high in demand, and it means it’ll be easier to get a job without as much effort, sooner or later things are going to turn around. The economy will be great again, because it’s very cyclical. But things don’t stay great forever, and whether you’re cognizant of it or not, you’re always waiting for the axe to fall. When companies have massive layoffs and they let people go because times are tough, that’s prompted by economic factors which are beyond your control. But the reality is that, for the most part, these companies are letting go of people who were doing a job that was good enough, until it stopped being good enough because the company had to be that much more efficient. Generally speaking, they don’t let go of people who are phenomenal at their jobs. Because, especially in a down economy, these people are such huge assets—they’re so important to the company—that the company cannot afford to let them go. When times are tough, companies can’t afford not to have great people on board. So I’d say, don’t worry about what job is “always in demand.” Worry about what you can do really well. Because if you’re going to be better at it than anyone else, it doesn’t really matter how many people are being hired. You only need one position. Bonnie And that ties in to what you said during the first question. Find out what you really enjoy doing, what you’re really good at, first. Don’t go searching for a job that’s in demand or has a high salary and then try to figure out a way to be the perfect candidate for that job. That’s backwards. Danny Absolutely. And salary is a good point. There are going to be differences in how much you make in terms of different fields. But you can do well financially in pretty much any field IF you’re great at what you do. Take for example a waiter. Waiters typically don’t make a lot of money. But if you are phenomenal at it and the big fancy restaurants are dying to hire you, you can work at a
place where the salary is pretty good and the tips are phenomenal, and you can come home with a lot of cash. Again, this is IF you are phenomenal at it... if you’re really good. Of course, a fantastically skilled waiter is never going to make as much money as a fantastically skilled doctor. But your peace of mind and quality of life are important, too. That waiter isn’t going to be that good if he doesn’t love it. You can make a good living in any field if you love it and you’re really good at it. Bonnie Great advice. It always comes back to that same thing—do what you love and find a way to earn a living with that, because you’ll be very good at it. Danny Yes. But you know, some people have a kind of “Hakuna Matada, life is good, do what you love and the money will come” attitude. It’s not that simple. I’d say do what you love, and you’re going to be good enough at that to make the money come. It’s not a passive, “don’t worry, be happy” kind of thing. There are going to be negotiations, there are going to be situations where leverage is going to be required. It’s that amazing skill and value you bring to the table that is your leverage. Bonnie Okay. Let’s move on to the next question: “Where is the best place to search for jobs, other than job boards?” Danny It’s interesting the way the question is phrased. It suggests or implies that job boards are good, and they’re not. Job boards are the worst place to find a job because the good jobs never make it onto the job boards, and when you’re applying on a job board, you’re applying with 300,000 other applicants! So it’s very hard to stand out. Put yourself in the shoes of an employer, someone who has to fill a position. His first step is not going to be to post an ad on Monster. His first step is going to be to call his friend and say, “Hey Bob, I need someone to do this job. Do you know anyone good?” And Bob is gong to want to help out his friends—his friend who is looking for work, and his friend who is looking to fill a position. So the best way to look for work is to be out there building relationships and networking. It’s really by networking—by making it clear what value you’re adding.
One of the fundamental things about networking (and people tend to misunderstand networking; they think it’s about going to cocktail parties, grabbing people’s business cards, sending them your CV/resume and praying that will turn into a job)... it’s about looking for ways to add value. There’s a quote by Jeffrey Gitomer, who wrote a bunch of good books about sales and a good one about networking: “All things being equal, people prefer to do business with their friends. All things not being equal, people still prefer to do business with their friends.” If you meet people, and you’re not trying to grab and take, but you’re looking for areas where you can add value, where you can help out, where you can connect them with someone, where you can give them information that will be useful to them—where you can add value—they’re going to want to help you out. It’s not a transactional, manipulative kind of thing; it’s just human nature. You want to help people who have helped you. You want to be nice to people who have been nice to you. When you’re out there adding value, it paints a picture of your character. It’s not just that people are thinking “I want to help him out,” it’s that they’re also thinking “It will reflect well on me if I connect him with my other friend who is looking to hire someone; this is the kind of person people want to work with.” So I would definitely say that the best way to find a job is by networking. Just be out there, meet as many people as you can meet, add value, and deploy your network. Talk to the people you’re in contact with, that you’ve built relationships with. If I had to give one succinct piece of advice on how to pick the people you network with, it’s to pick the people you respect, and who respect you. Make a list of all the people whose respect you have earned. That is the valuable core of your network. Those are the people you’re going to call and say, “Listen, I need a favor. Do you know anyone who is hiring in this field, or can you connect me with someone?” And it doesn’t really have to be “Can you connect me with someone who is looking to hire”; it can be “Can you connect me with someone who might know someone.” The really cool thing about a network is that it’s like a spider web. It’s not just about what my contacts can do for me. It’s about what their contacts can do for me. But for me to get access to my contacts’ contacts, I have to have earned my contacts’ respect. Bonnie That’s an excellent point. Some may think they don’t know that many people—their personal network may consist of only 10 or 20 people. They don’t realize those 10 or 20 people have their own networks. So, a network can grow and grow. I’d say be sure to include your own family in your network, too. Who knows, maybe your brother-in-law knows a guy who is looking
to hire someone in your field. Networking is definitely the key and I’m glad you covered that so well. Danny Absolutely. You know, there’s a tendency I find, which I remember from when I was starting out in business, that some people want to make it on their own. They have an attitude that, “I don’t want my family to give me an opportunity, I don’t want anyone’s help, I want to make it on my own.” But you know, this is HOW people make it on their own—they take advantage of the opportunities that are in front of them. Bonnie Right. And it’s not like you’re going up to people and saying “Hey, I need a job. Can you give me a job? Do you know anyone who can give me a job?” That’s not what networking is about. Danny It’s “Do you know anyone who has a problem I can solve? Do you have a friend I can help out?” Bonnie Like you said, it’s about giving first, helping people first. It’s not about what you can get; it’s about what you can do to help others. OK, next question: “Why do companies sometimes NOT hire the best candidate?” Danny I would challenge the premise of that question. When you hear that question, it’s usually from someone who applied for a job, who thought they were the best qualified person, but they didn’t get the job. I think companies DO hire the best person for the job, but the company and the applicant might have different ideas of what makes a person “the best candidate.” There are two main areas that are important, and that the interviewer is thinking about either consciously or subconsciously. Number one is: Can the person do the job? And number two is: Is this a person I’m going to want to work with and see around the office every day?
Bonnie And which of those two do you think carries more weight? Danny If you look at research about motivation—what makes people happy with their jobs, what makes people motivated to do things—they’re usually divided into two categories of needs. One is like a minimum-requirement kind of need, and the other is an actual motivator. For example, if you talk about money, a lot of research shows that if people are not paid enough money, they’re not going to be happy in their jobs. Being paid too little will make them unhappy. But once you hit that level where they’re being paid enough, more money isn’t going to make them happier with their jobs. So it works kind of the same way. Your need the skill to do the job, you need to be competent. An employer needs to know if he hires you, you can do the work. That’s a minimum requirement; that’s just to avoid being disqualified. Once you’re determined to be good enough to do the job, it’s all about the extra value—your personality, the connection you make, the vibe. What do you bring to the table that is beyond the minimum requirement? If you make it to the interview, they’re assuming you’re capable of doing the job. That’s a given. So the interview has very little to do with your competence. It’s much more to do with your personality and your fit with the company’s culture. Bonnie I think a lot of candidates don’t realize that. They get hung up on, “I’m more qualified than the person they hired.” But it’s not just about qualifications. Like you said, anyone who makes it to the interview is likely qualified to do the job. But I think the hiring managers are weighing more important things. Sometimes qualifications can be improved on the job. If you’re capable of doing the basic work, that can be improved through training and experience on the job. But something an employer will not be able to change is a person’s personality. And that’s key. Danny Absolutely. A very good analogy for a job interview is a first date. You want to build the foundation for a relationship, in the sense that there’s a connection, there’s shared interests and common vibes. Now if this person is going out on a date with you, they’re probably assuming that you are employed, you are educated; whatever their requirements might be, they’ve been checked off and you’ve met them. Now what they’re looking for is chemistry. During a date it’s a social context in which you’re trying to impress someone. You need to see the job interview in
more of a social context. Yes, they’re asking you about professional issues, they want to know about your work. But they also want to know about who you are as a person at work. Bonnie Exactly. Because they’re going to be spending a lot of time with you. Danny Absolutely. I belong to a networking organization, BNI, and we have meetings once a week early in the morning. I’m very happy with my connections there and it’s been very good for business. When I was first looking into joining this group, I was talking about it to some people and telling them how it might help me with my business and all, and my brother said, “But Danny, the real question is: Are you going to want to get up at six in the morning to meet with these people?” That’s the real question. Otherwise, I’d get totally burned out. It’s the same in an interview context. Of course the hiring manager wants to know, Can this person do the job? But the real question is: Is everyone else going to want to get up and work with this person every day? Bonnie Right. A lot of times we spend more time with the people we work with than the people we live with. So if you’re hiring somebody, you have to keep that in mind. And if you’re looking for a job, you have to be likable during the interview. Danny Absolutely. Especially since the employer will assume that whatever they see in an interview is you on your best behavior. If you’re defensive or hostile now, when you’re at your best behavior and trying to impress me, what are you going to be like on the job? Bonnie Excellent point. I know so many people only focus on their skills and experience. They think that’s all they have to communicate during an interview, and they forget that the employer is hiring a person—a person they’re going to spend a lot of time with. Everyone wants to work with someone who is enjoyable to be around, not just someone who is competent. Danny
Absolutely. You know, as an entrepreneur, when you get involved in a new project and you want to bring a partner in, and you’re considering different people, when you say “No,” it’s not because someone is incompetent. If they’re bringing you a serious offer, they probably know what they’re doing. The reason you say “No” is because you don’t think you can work with them. It’s all about personal fit. It’s exactly the same in a job context. It’s very rare for someone to be disqualified after an interview because the employer is thinking, “I don’t think he knows how to do the job.” Bonnie I think we have time for one more question. Let me look at the list here and see if there’s one that might apply to the most people. OK, this is one that comes up pretty often, it’s about salary: “How do I respond when asked what salary I expect for the job I’m applying for or being offered?” Danny Well, there are a few issues. First of all, this is not something for you to think of an answer for on the spot. You have to come in having a sense of what your expectations are. I’m not going to give a script for what you should say, but I will tell you about the things you need to consider. Remember I was saying earlier that I told this girl who was working for me that I’d pay her whatever she wanted as long as she was adding more value? You should have a good sense going in of what is the value you are bringing to the company. In other words, how much can they pay you and still be getting a good deal—because it has to be a good deal for them. Ultimately you do not want opposite things. People assume that you go into a negotiation and you want opposite things: I want more money; they want to pay me less money. It’s not. What you want is a lifestyle and a working environment where you’re going to feel comfortable—and salary just contributes to that lifestyle. What the company wants is lower costs—which includes a loyal employee, because rehiring and retraining is very expensive—and higher value. So look at how you can get all the things you want, with the company still getting all the things they want. The biggest thing is: add value. Understand what is the value you are adding. Also, look at the salary negotiation as part of a whole package. Because it’s not just about the money. There are benefits and working conditions to consider. For example, something like being able to work from home two days a week might be very valuable to you. It might be worth it for you to say I’m comfortable making a little less money if I have that extra freedom. Or vice
versa. You might say, this particular benefit that is offered that typically costs the company a lot of money is not really something I’m interested in. Can I get more money if I don’t need that benefit? Recognize that there are trade-offs. Do some homework to get a sense for what is typically paid for that position so you have a ballpark range, and aim at the high end of that range. Bonnie Do you have any advice on when, during the hiring process, salary should be discussed? During the interview? After you’ve been offered the job? Danny I’d say it’s important that salary not come up until after value has been demonstrated. You don’t want to haggle with someone over price if they haven’t yet decided they want to buy. When getting advice about salary negotiations, a lot of people will tell you that you want to be first to bring up salary, you want to aim high—what I find to be a very aggressive and hard-line approach. If you sit down for the interview and the first thing they ask is, “How much do you expect to be paid,” if it comes up before you’re ready to answer that question, say “I want an arrangement that’s going to be beneficial for both of us, but I don’t feel we’ve explored enough at this point for me to know what it is you want me to do for your company and how that’s going to be valuable.” Try to get them to explicitly or implicitly express that they think you would bring value to the company, that they think you’d be a good fit, before you talk about salary. Working as an entrepreneur, I have to do the salary negotiation thing in a sense much more frequently because I have to pitch myself on every project when I’m consulting. Sometimes I’ll sit down with a potential client and the first question is, “What are your rates?” And I’ll come back and say “I don’t even know if I can do anything for you yet, so that question is premature. What is it that you want me to do for you, before we start talking about money?” Bonnie Okay. I think we’re about to run out of time, Danny. Did you have any other advice, in general, before we wrap this up? Danny
I just want to re-emphasize this: focus on what it is that you love, and what it is that you’re good at. That is the starting point, that is the foundation, and it’s very, very important. Beyond that, surround yourself with people who are encouraging. It can be frustrating when you’re out there pitching yourself every day and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of feedback. So keep track of your accomplishments so you can remind yourself when you’re feeling down, “Look at all the things I’ve done!” Set goals for every day—goals that are action-oriented. Advice that’s given to people who are cold calling, for example, is to have a goal in terms of how many calls they’re going to make, not how many deals they’re going to close. Because how many deals they’re going to close is beyond their control. So have goals about the actions you are going to take, and you’ll find that you’ll get a lot more done that way. Bonnie Okay. Danny you’ve given fantastic advice during this past hour, and I know you have something else for our listeners, too. Did you want to talk about that? Danny Well, first of all, I want to encourage everyone to check out my blog at www.ToughEconomyJobs.com, and to read the free eBook that you can download at www.HuntingToHired.com–just click on the “Free eBook” button on the right side of the home page. Now here’s a special offer, and you should all get a pen and paper to write this down. I’m going to give you a coupon code that you can enter to get a free month’s subscription to www.HuntingToHired.com. And what www.HuntingToHired.com is, by the way, is an interactive learning environment that has written material, audio material, interviews with experts, worksheets, and a ton of content on every aspect of the job search. The coupon code is BESTCAREER – that’s all capital letters, spelled B E S T C A R E E R. You go to www.HuntingToHired.com, click on the button that says “Get Started By Enrolling Today,” and enter the coupon code at the bottom on the signup form. You won’t be billed for the first month; you can cancel at any time with no strings whatsoever. Again, the coupon code is BESTCAREER, all capital letters. Bonnie
That’s a great offer, Danny. I’ll have to go check that out myself. Thank you very much for sharing your advice. And thank all of you for listening. I’d like to ask our listeners to please go to my blog at www.BestCareerStrategies.com and post any comments you might have about today’s teleseminar—good or bad, I’d love to get your feedback. It’ll help me to make sure future teleseminars are as beneficial as possible. Thanks again, and so long for now.