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11 Tips For Smart Salary Negotiating

Let’s-talk-money-The-art-of-salary-negotiationThe article below will provide some real world tips and advice on how you can increase your salary.

The more information you have about your market value and the prospective employer, the greater your likelihood of success. This  is the first commandment because it’s the most important. There’s a wealth of information available on the Internet, at the public library and through professional associations and networking groups. Time spent learning how to negotiate and preparing for negotiations may be the best investment you’ll ever make.

When the negotiations are over, you’ll have to work with the person with whom you’re negotiating. Moreover, your future success may depend on that person. So, while you want to negotiate the best possible deal, you need to do so in a way that doesn’t damage your image. At the same time, the employer’s primary concern isn’t negotiating the least expensive compensation package it can get away with. Rather, their focus will be on getting you to accept the job.

To be successful in this type of negotiation, you need to examine your priorities. What do you really want? Are you comfortable with a low salary and a large equity stake? Are you able to handle dramatic swings in income from year to year? Understanding your needs will also help you determine the type of company you want to work for. For example, a family-owned company may be able to offer a competitive salary and a large bonus based on results, but may not be willing to offer significant equity to a non-family member. A start-up company, on the other hand, may not be able to offer market salary, but will typically offer stock options. By recognizing what an employer can and can’t do, you’ll be able to determine what issues you should press.

Sometimes you’ll have skills that are in great demand. And sometimes, you may be one of several qualified candidates the company would be happy to hire. Sizing up the situation and understanding the relative position of each party will help you determine when to press your advantage and when to back off.

It’s not only wrong to lie, but in employment negotiations, it’s ineffective. If you lie during negotiations, sooner or later you’re likely to be caught. Once you are, even if you don’t lose the offer, you’ll be at a tremendous disadvantage, and your credibility will always be suspect. On the other hand, total candor wont be rewarded. You’re under no obligation to blurt out everything you know. You can determine what you want to say and how you want to say it, and try to put everything in its most positive light. One key element of your preparation should be to recognize areas of concern so you can rehearse how to handle them when they inevitably come up.

The guiding principle for most employers when negotiating is fairness. Within the constraints of their budget and organizational structure, employers usually will agree to anything that’s fair and reasonable to hire someone they want. Appeals to fairness are your most powerful weapon. Thus, you should be able to justify every request you make in terms of fairness. For example, if other computer programmers in similar companies are being given sign-on bonuses, you should expect to be treated no differently. Your prospective employer will want you to accept it’s offer and feel that you’ve been treated fairly. Understanding the importance of fairness as a negotiating principle can make the difference between success and failure.

The more information you convey to a potential employer about your bottom line, the more likely it will limit what you get. Before making an offer, a company typically tries to determine what it will take for you to accept the position. With that information, the prospective employer will be able to determine the minimum package it needs to offer. While they may not offer you as little as they can get away with, if you’ve divulged too much information, they likely wont offer you as much as they might have otherwise. By not disclosing exactly what your current compensation is or exactly what it would take to get you to leave your job, you’ll force a potential employer to make it’s best offer.

Consider the value of the total package. Look for different ways to achieve your objectives. Be willing to make trade offs to increase the total value of the deal. If you’re creative, you can package what you want in ways that will be acceptable to the company. You’ll also be able to find creative “trades” that allow you to withdraw requests that might be problematic to the company in return for improvements in areas where the company has more flexibility. That way, you can maximize the value of the package you negotiate.

Too often in negotiations, the act of winning becomes more important than achieving your goals. And it’s also important not to make your future boss feel as if he’s lost in the negotiations. You’ll have gained little by negotiating a good deal if you alienate your future boss in the process.

The one sure way to lose everything you’ve obtained is to be greedy. There comes a point in every negotiation when you’ve achieved everything you could have reasonably expected to gain. Being perceived as greedy or unreasonable may cause the deal to fall apart. Even if it doesn’t, you’ll have done immeasurable harm to your career. This brings us to the 11th and most important commandment:

Job negotiations are the starting point for your career with a company. Get too little and you’re disadvantaged throughout your career there; push too hard and you can sour the relationship before it begins.

Understanding these principles will allow you to effectively negotiate the terms of your new job. Then do your job well and continually seek out new challenges. As you take on added responsibilities and learn new skills, there will be opportunities to negotiate further improvements.

Tips To Survive A Layoff

canstockphoto18208501Don’t let a layoff throw your life off track.  Use these tips and successfully manage thrive not just survive after you get laid off.


Losing a job is one of the most stressful life events.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  With this in mind, you will need a good action plan in order to recover as quickly as possible from a job loss.

The following eight tips will help make sure that recover from a layoff sooner than you think.

Tips You Must Know To Survive A Layoff

You may have lost your job but you have not lost everything. You are a skilled individual and will work again.   Do not ever lose sight of these two simple sentences.   Do not let yourself fall into a spiral of negative thinking.   Think back to all the other people that you know of that have lost jobs in the past and are now successfully employed.

Step back and clear your head.  Anger and fear are two of the most common emotions experienced after a job-loss.  Neither is conducive to clear thinking or good decision-making.  Take some time to talk through your feelings of loss with friends and family members.  If this does not help, consider the services of a professional counselor.  Sort through your emotional baggage or else risk dragging it with you on your job-search.

Take a serious look at your spending habits.  List out your monthly expenses into 2 groups- absolutely necessary and optional.  If you have already been laid off you should limit your spending to the first category.  If you are still employed but fearing what the future may hold, start cutting back in the second category.   A general rule of thumb is to keep the enough cash to cover at least two months worth of expenses in the bank for emergencies.  If you have not had a chance to do so as of the time of termination, you still have options. Don’t forget that most companies offer a severance package to laid off employees.  In addition you can also contact your local un-employment agency regarding unemployment benefits.

Just because you have lost your job does not mean that you and your family have immediately lost all insurance coverage that you had while you were employed.  It just means that now you are responsible for paying for it all by yourself. Under COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) generally you can remain on your former employer’s plan for up to 18 months as long as you pay the premiums. Remember that there are time limits for signing up for COBRA.  You can get more COBRA information from the human resources department of your former employer.

Take account of all the skills and responsibilities that you acquired on your last job.  Make sure that you include these on your updated resume.    And remember this is not the time to be modest; be proud of your accomplishments.  If you are unsure on how to lay out or word your resume, then you can find many examples of successful resumes on the Internet or in your local bookstore.  Definitely have a friend or family member review your resume.  Remember that a good resume can often make the difference between being granted an interview or not. Take the time to make your resume shine.

Do not be ashamed that you have been laid off.  Tell everyone that you think can help that you are looking for work.  This does not mean that you should cry on the shoulder of anyone that will listen. What this does mean is that you should be prepared to tell friends, family and even acquaintances that you are looking for work, what types of skills you have and the types of jobs that you would be interested in.

Consider using a recruiter.  Recruiters a.k.a. headhunters can help you to better manage and improve the results of your job search. Using a recruiter has many advantages. These advantages include their having already established relationships with many employers and their having access to hidden job opportunities.  In addition many recruiters will offer tips on how to improve your resume and interviewing skills.  Best of all most recruiters are completely free to the job seeker.  They collect their fees directly from the employer.

Take advantage of the time provided by being laid off to better yourself both professionally and personally.  Some people choose to go back to school and pursue an entirely different trade.  Others will attend a few classes at the local community college to sharpen their skills in their chosen profession.  Still others will pursue 6 or 12 month programs in a trade school.  And don’t think that your study must be directly career related.  This may be the perfect opportunity to study a foreign language or learn to roller blade. Layoffs provide people who are used to being busy with a lot of free time.  Make the most of this time by improving yourself.

In conclusion, remember that getting laid off is not the end of the world.

Whether you are recently unemployed or are just feeling a bit uncertain about your job security in these tough economic times, the eight survival tips above can help you to get back on your feet quickly in the event of a layoff.

Mastering The Lunch Interview

Businesspeople having lunch indoors.Make sure you don’t have food between your teeth when talking!   The lunch interview is much more than just “lunch”.   The interviewer is watching is everything.
Interviews can be nerve-racking, brain-draining, headache-inducing experiences. These days, recruiters have found a way to make the interview even more difficult by combining the experience with a meal. This means that in addition to listening to the interviewer,formulating intelligent responses, and trying your hardest to be confident, you now have pay attention to how you look while eating.

1. MIND YOUR MANNERS  It may seem unnecessary to mention, but those basic table manners you were taught as a child still matter. In casual settings, poor manners are not always corrected. Therefore, you could have picked up some habits that your mother would be ashamed of and more likely than not,your interviewer probably will not be too be impressed.

Here are just a few of the habits you should be mindful of during a meal interview:

– BE POLITE. In addition to evaluating your answers to questions, an   interviewer is also assessing your personality. Be courteous and   respectful to everyone, especially the wait staff. Words such    as “please” and “thank you” speak worlds about your character. – BE AWARE. Keeping you elbows on the table, chewing with your mouth   open, talking with your mouth full all convey a negative   impression. Pay attention to even your smallest actions. – BE PREPARED. If you feel uncertain about your table manners,   consult the experts. Emily Post’s books on etiquette are   considered to be among the definitive works on etiquette. There is   no shame in doing research; after all, this is an interview.

2. THE DISH DILEMMA  Even though you are being treated to a nice meal, you are not free to order any dish you like. You are in an interview, and therefore, you have the duty of maintaining a certain level of professionalism and formality throughout the meal.

There are no definitive rules of food selection, and you may have to make a game-time decision. However, following these rules will help you steer clear of trouble:

– AVOID MESSES. Steer clear of foods that have to be eaten with your   hands or have a tendency to splatter. It is hard to recover from   the embarrassment of splashing your interviewer with spaghetti   sauce, nor do you want to inadvertently adorn yourself with gravy   or cream sauce. So stick to foods that can be cut into small   pieces with a knife and fork. – NO STENCHES. Avoid foods that have a strong or unpleasant order.   You are better off having an interviewer not remember you at all   rather than as the candidate with bad breath. So no matter how   much you love onions and garlic, lay off the stinkers for one   meal. – KEEP IT QUIET. You need to be able to conduct a civil   conversation. Avoid foods that are crunchy and noisy to eat. In a   public setting there is a lot of noise that could drown out the   voice of a person sitting across from you so try not to order food   that would add to the problem. – FOLLOW THE LEADER. You may be wondering if a menu item is priced   too high or if to order an appetizer first, etc. The answer is to   follow your interviewer’s lead. Try to order food in the same   price range as the interviewer and order the same number of   courses. You do not want to be sitting idle while the recruiter is   still eating.

3. CONSUME AND CONVERSE  You are at an interview and also dining out. This means you need to not only be talking, but also eating. It can sometimes be difficult to do both.

Try and keep these issues in mind when posed with the challenge of eating and talking at the same time:

– YOU ARE IN CONTROL. Don’t feel so pressured to talk that you don’t   eat at all. This can be interpreted as nervousness. – ASK QUESTIONS. When going to an interview, it is always a good   idea to have questions. This will allow you get more information   on the company and show that you have done your homework. During   the meal interview, it will also give you the opportunity to   actually eat as your interviewer responds to your questions.

4. FINISHING WITH A BANG  Unlike that of a standard interview, the end of a meal interview does not just end with a handshake and a “Thank You”. There are other things to keep in mind including:

– DON’T OFFER TO PAY. It’s never expected of a job candidate, and   you don’t need to do it. – NEVER ASK FOR A DOGGY BAG. No matter how delicious the meal was,   requesting to take a portion of it home is not appropriate for the   setting. – REAFFIRM YOUR INTEREST. Let the interviewer know how much you   would like to work for his/her company. – A “Thank You” AND HANDSHAKE CAN’T HURT. As in any interview, don’t   forget to thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with   you. In addition, be sure to be gracious and say that you enjoyed   the meal and end the interview with a firm handshake. Make sure to   follow up with a thank you letter in the morning.

The meal interview is tricky, but not impossible. With a little guidance and a lot of confidence, you can sail through them with flying colors. Just try to keep these helpful hints in mind. Good luck and bon appétit!

5 Skills You MUST Convey During A Job Interview

interview-2-1024x438The job interview is your chance to show how qualified you are for the job.  If you can convince the interviewer that you possess these 5 skills, then you increase your chances of getting the job offer tremendously.

No, it’s not time to throw your resume in the trash and start a “new age job search”. But one thing that any job seeker must understand is that the showcase of talents does not begin and end with the resume. There are many “secret” abstract, often called “soft”, skills that employers keep an eye out for.

This article discusses the five key “secret skills” that interviewers examine and how to demonstrate them in an interview situation.

These five skills are:

1. Organizational
2. Critical Thinking
3. Communication
4. Interpersonal
5. Multi-Tasking

Unless you are applying for a job as a mad scientist, organization is an essential skill for any job. Employers can get sense of how an individual will handle large workloads by how organized that person is during the interview. Moreover, a person that makes a sincere effort to stay organized is an employee that will take a job seriously and make a sincere effort to get things done.

The best way to display these skills:

Dress professionally and neatly for an interview.
Keep supplies or materials on hand if you think they might be pertinent to the interview. This can go beyond pen, paper, resumes, and business cards depending on the position you apply for.
Organize your thoughts before the interview. Preparation for typical interview questions will reflect a sense of general readiness.

Nobody wants a mindless drone for an employee. If they did, they would buy a robot. Employers want people that can think on their feet and respond. They are looking for people that won’t come crying with every little setback. They are looking for problem solvers. Having critical thinking skills means that you can come through in the clutch.

The best way to display these skills:

Prior to the interview, prepare of a list of anecdotes or previous jobs that required critical thinking to solve a problem. When applicable, bring these examples up in the interview.
Talk your way through the answers. Let the interviewer understand your train of thought when responding to questions. This can also buy you a little extra time if you are unsure of how to answer.

Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, is the number one fear in America, but making an impact requires these skills. Unless you can communicate ideas to others effectively, you may not come across as very confident. This is precisely why so many employers ask for individuals with good communication skills, often including public speaking.

The best way to display these skills:

Practice speaking, or answering interview questions in a mirror. This will get you used to speaking aloud and let you see the things you may be doing wrong.
Practice interviews with another person, so you can learn to keep cool when reacting to another person’s comments.
Stay calm and ALWAYS MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT. It’s hard to disagree with a confident person. Once you SEEM confident, you hold all the cards.

Along with being able to communicate your own ideas well, you have to be receptive to other ideas and work constructively with them. Companies need versatile team players: people that will work hard on their own and increase the depth and effectiveness of a group effort.

The best way to display these skills:

As in the case of critical thinking, it is a good idea to prepare a list of examples in which you were part of a successful team effort. These items may not be on your resume, but could come up in an interview.
When possible, reflect back on cases where you coordinated a team effort. It is one thing to work well in a group, but it is even better when you show that you can also lead and take charge of a group.
Don’t be afraid to mention troubles within a team that you had to overcome. A group of people will not agree on everything 100% of the time. Being able to work through problems and succeed is paramount.

Businesses are always happy to drive down costs, and the best way to do this is by hiring fewer individuals who can multi-task. It is often the case that one efficient employee can do the work of two typical employees. Employees are paid for the hours they work, and employers want to get the most out of what they pay. An employee that can complete multiple tasks at once is the solution.

The best way to display these skills:

When discussing previous positions held, include situations where you worked on multiple tasks at the same time.
Prepare a list of projects that required you to separate tasks into clusters that could be addressed simultaneously. Be ready to explain the thinking behind your separation system.
Show a willingness to take on many responsibilities. Any worker can pick up one or two, but if you can pick up more without getting spread to thin, you become a valuable asset.

The resume will always be around and serve as your primary means of communicating skills with a prospective employer. But remember that you are more than just a list of skills on a piece of paper. The interview lets the employer see whats not easily determined from a resume and also your chance to shine. Mastering the art of showcasing your “secret skills” will let an interviewer know you are person they need to hire.

7 Job Interview Mistakes To Avoid

Stressed woman in officeThe job interview is the most critical step in the job search process.   Avoid these potential disasters and you are one stop closer to getting your dream job.

There are definitely things that you can do to avoid minor mishaps which could ultimately blow an interview. Become familiar with these 7 potential interview disasters so you can prevent them from obstructing your path to that ideal job.

Showing up late is both rude and inconsiderate. Is this the first impression that you want to leave with a potential employer? Map out your route and try it out before the interview. Plan on being at least half an hour early to your appointment. This will provide a buffer to protect against wrong turns, traffic jams and all the other mishaps that may befall you. If you arrive early, you can use the time to calm your nerves.

Many a nervous candidate has been known to accidentally call the interviewer the wrong name. In order to avoid this  find out who you will be speaking to before the interview. Memorize the name(s). If this information is not available prior to the meeting, then write the person’s name on your notepad as soon as you sit down for the interview. If you do slip-up, do not make a huge fuss. Apologize quickly (and sincerely) and move on.

Choose your words carefully. Avoid impulsive answers; the first thing that pops into your head may not be the best response. Remember, it’s ok to pause if you need some time to think. Feel free to say “that’s a good question; let me take a moment to think about it.” This demonstrates that you think before you speak. Is your everyday speech peppered with expletives or other potentially offensive phrases? If so, take care to avoid these during your meeting.

Interviews are stressful situations for even the most qualified candidates. This tension can lead to candidates “freezing up” during the meeting. Alleviate some of the expected stress by practicing mock interview questions. Have a friend conduct simulated interviews. If possible, have him/her conduct the interview in a variety of manners including reserved, rushed, and disinterested. This way you will be better prepared for whatever the interview may bring.

Nature has a funny way of acting up at the wrong moments. Fortunately, you can help prevent these unwanted incidents. Avoid the awkwardness of a growling stomach by eating a few hours before the interview. Be careful in what you eat and drink in the 24 hours prior to the interview. Do not overindulge; an upset stomach or hangover is formidable distraction.

The interview is no place for humbleness. Too much modesty can make you appear introverted or lacking confidence. Don’t be afraid to be your own cheerleader. Prior to the interview, make a list of your accomplishments both personally and professionally; practice talking about them. Have a friend listen to your answers as you practice. This will help prevent you from crossing the line between justifiable pride and boasting.

No one wants to work with a stick in the mud. With this in mind, how can you prevent from appearing lukewarm? Smile and maintain eye contact. Sit forward in your chair. Avoid speaking in a monotone. Be positive in your responses.

By preparing yourself against these potential interview disasters you are one step closer to getting the job of your dreams. Remember sometimes it really is the little things that make the difference.

Tell Stories To Ace Behavioral Interview Questions

Businesswoman Interviewing Male Candidate For JobBehavioral interviewing is a common technique in almost every interview you’ll encounter. It’s also the hardest technique to prepare for. Or is it? Find out how you can simply tell stories and ace any interview you walk into.

Behavioral interview questions are certainly not a “new” interviewing technique, however they can catch you off guard if you’re not prepared. While you can spend time learning a great “canned” response to questions such as “tell me about yourself” it’s much harder to prepare for questions you don’t know.

Or is it?

The real problem with this interview approach for interviewees is that instead of getting nice predictable questions such as “tell me about yourself” or “Why should I hire you” a behavioral interview question could be anything. In fact, you’ll probably never hear the exact same question twice.

This technique is designed to probe your ability to use experience to answer questions in an open ended fashion. Typically recruiters use your answers to predict your future behavior.

How To Prepare For the Unknown?

If you don’t know what the question is how could you possibly prepare?

I found overall the best way to answer these types of questions is to literally tell a story.

As a recruiter I also enjoy listening to a quick story instead of hearing boring robotic answers, especially because a response like, “Yeah, I can do that.” is not going to impress anyone.

But there is a catch! When you tell a story, it should be relevant, convincing and short.

How do you do that?  Be a STAR that’s how.

STAR is a very popular acronym for constructing answers to behavioral interview questions and it suits our short story method perfectly.

Here’s how it goes:

S = Specific situation

T = Task or target

A = Actions you took

R = Results from your actions.

The format of your stories should include a problem or situation, a task or target you set, the action or activity you took, and the outcome that benefited the company.

Keep your story fast paced and to the point. If it’s interesting you might be asked to elaborate even further.

Getting Specific about questions

Before heading into an interview try to work out what the company might value most, are they are startup and want flexibility, or a large enterprise looking for a specific skill, or a non-for profit that looks for core values.

When you’re asked a question try to come up with an example where you successfully “used” methods that are inline with the company values. Such as I “saved money by doing xy”, or “I developed a new abc”, or “I understood the values and worked on a mutually agreed deal”.

Don’t Go Wandering

When you answer interview questions don’t let your answers wander from topic to topic. Remember to tell your story with STAR in mind.

First, describe the situation, then what task you did, actions you took and your actions accomplished. Stay on topic.

Prove You Can Do it!

Behavioural interview questions are a great way to prove that you are the right person for the job by citing exact examples. While you can’t exactly anticipate a question you can recall stories from your career that demonstrate that you have the skill and competencies necessary to be successful.

3 Job Interview Questions You Must Master

Job-InterviewWe all agree that going for a job interview can be a very nerve racking experience. All you need is confidence going in and you’ll be fine. BUT BUT BUT .. yes there are several buts and here are the answers to 3 of the toughest interview questions you need to master well.

When The Recruiter Asks: “Do You Have Any Questions?” Usually this question is always reserved for last during an interview, and it’s hardly a fluffy, throw away question. It may just seem like the interview is over and they are asking this question as a courtesy.


This can be the make it or break it interview question. Point is this .. the interview questions never stop until you actually leave the office!Your answer here will be the last thing they hear from you. You can so easily make it a memorable moment by having a really good question to ask. No self serving questions please, those are killers and reason enough to dismiss your chances. Asking about on going training’ or “‘if hired, I would be very interested in moving to the next level, can you tell me what certifications I would need’ or “‘can you tell me if there is a company policy in place should there be a Pandemic’ “‘ a thinking person asks these type of questions. That’ll be a great impression to leave them with.

If you do proper research on the company first, you’ll come up with great questions to ask them.

When The Recruiter Asks: “What Do You Know About Our Company?”

This is clearly where they get to see if you’ve done your homework. And again, it can make or break your chances for being hired. Remember you got the interview because you were qualified, so here’s your chance to show up prepared, it’ll be your edge over the other guy, remember he’s qualified too.

This is a hiring process, in essence, a competition, go in proactive .. a passive approach to any interview will backfire. Always be assertive, and never ever be aggressive. Qualifications aside, all interview questions / your answers, are in fact deciding your final interview score and you are being scored.

When The Recruiter Asks: “Can You Tell Me About Your Weaknesses?”

Remember, they never really want to hear about a weakness, they do want to hear how well you express yourself and deal with the actual interview question. Your answer always has to end in a solution that can be applied to the job at hand. Here’s a simple and yet great sample I teach all the time. “I used to actually have a problem saying no to people, these days with my time management and setting priorities skill set, I no longer have that problem as my To Do List manages me first, and saying no, is now a non issue”‘. Simple, concise and does in fact mention that you understand time management.

The interview questions and your answers are not hard, they just need prep and solid rehearsing out loud. Out loud because otherwise how will you know how smooth and convincing you are? That in itself will give you that extra confidence you need. Trust me, recruiters can spot confidence and sincerity a mile away. Remember, show them the real you when answering interview questions. Don’t give them template like, cookie cutter answers. Make notes, practice out loud, do more research, ask questions “‘ it all works and will always ensure a high interview score.

How to Survive the Job Interview If You Are Tanking


How to handle situations in a job interview that may be uncomfortable and know the signs for an interview that is going no where.

How To Know You Are Tanking

1. Watch the interviewer’s eyes.

An interviewer that is simply going through the motions will not make eye contact. Check for a glazed or glassy stare and heavy eyelids.

2. Listen carefully.

A bored or disinterested interviewer may quietly hum a tune, whistle softly, or shuffle papers repeatedly.

3. Observe actions.

Constant watch- or clock-checking, the eating of a sandwich, and lots of phone calls are all signs that a job offer is not forthcoming.

If You Are Late

1. Call ahead. If you are stuck in traffic or otherwise running late, call. Ask if you should reschedule or if you should come in anyway.

2. Clean up. If you are sweaty and disheveled, ask to use a bathroom before meeting your interviewer. If you are nervous, put anti-perspirant on your palms and face (make sure it’s clear) to reduce moisture.

3. Apologize, but do not overdo it. Say you are sorry for your tardiness, but do not give a sob story: Never discuss personal information in a job interview.

If You Are Asked a Difficult or Leading Question

1. Always respond with a positive. If the interviewer says, “I see you don’t have experience making coffee,” counter with, “That’s true, but I’ve always wanted to learn and I’m a quick study!”

2. Tell a personal story, but only one that relates skills applicable to the job. If the interviewer asks about project management experience and you don’t have any, talk about planning your wedding: organizing vendors, designing a database, and creating seating charts based on the interests of guests.

3. Put the question off until later. If you are unable to come up with an answer, say “Can we get back to that later, I need to give it some thought?” Use this strategy only as a last resort.

If Your Interviewer Hits on You

1. Accept compliments gracefully. If an interviewer compliments your suit, blouse, or a piece of jewelry, they may simply be impressed with your appearance. Say thank you and move on. More than one compliment is inappropriate and should be deflected (below).

2. Deflect personal questions. In most states it is illegal for a job interviewer to ask personal questions, including age, marital status, children, and sexual preference. If you get such questions, gently suggest that you keep topics to professional matters.

3. Say you are not interested. If your interviewer asks you out on a date, simply say “no thanks.” However, if the interview is at lunch time and things seem to be going well, it is appropriate to accept a lunch invitation (keep the conversation on business matters).

4. Accept a date only if you don’t want the job. Starting a new job while being personally involved with someone in the company is not a good idea. If you make a connection with your interviewer and there is true chemistry, accept the invitation but make it clear that you do not want the job.

Be Aware

Always remember the three “C’s”: Cool, Calm, and Confident. An interview is as much about you wanting the job as it is about the job wanting you.

Avoid scheduling interviews after lunch, when most people get sleepy and irritable.

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