Be able to say “no,” but don’t take “no” for the answer. First, understand that “no” is the standard answer or response from peers, bosses, and subordinates to test or challenge you, sometimes out of laziness, sometimes for reasons of budget and time. “No” is a complete sentence, but it isn’t a complete answer. Don’t take it as a matter of course if you believe that it could, or should, be otherwise. “No” doesn’t always mean “no,” nor do nada, nein, nyet, not now, not ever, no way, negative, never ever, not as long as I live, over my dead body, not even if hell freezes over, not only no but hell no. More often than not it means, “maybe” or “I’m not sure.” Unless you come back and fight for it, your opponents figured they were right. So take “no” and go on. If you ask for something and are told “no,” accept it; then ask for something different: “Can you donate $500 million to the new college of business building?” “No.” “Can you buy two tickets for the fundraiser next month?” “Well, sure.” The above example is not ‘apples and apples,’ I know. Still, taking “no” is acceptable for some people, but it doesn’t have to be for you. If you get “no,” figure the person you are speaking with just didn’t understand and you have to explain another way. My point is to keep trying, without being tedious, without just giving up. Ask 3 (or 13) times and in 3 (or 13) different ways before you even consider giving up. When people learn that you only redouble your efforts when you are told “no,” you will get them trained to just saying “yes” right away.
You don’t need a wide smile, a snapshot pose, a big ‘ole rubber beam, or a wolfish grin. Rather, you need just a slightly open mouth with a friendly upturn of the lips—a small smile. The demeanor I’m promoting is an undaunted, comfortable-in-your-skin, shiny business game face. Consider the following:A shiny face from your attitude, not from perspiration, transmits well across cultures.Smiling isn’t about being happy (although I hope you are). It’s about confidence and taking responsibility for the energy you bring to the place.Your small smile makes you look awake, alert, alive, implacable, and approachable.You can have a determined jaw but still have a small smile— your expression will only enhance the keen intelligence in your eyes.If you smile, you can’t as easily chew gum, eat, or drink (which obviously needs to be nixed) because every saliva slap against your jaw is exaggerated in the person’s ear.Not smiling causes inaccurate responses to you. You’ll have an uphill battle without even realizing it.
Whether it’s “your fault” or not, being let go is a traumatic experience. It invariably produces emotions ranging from disbelief and rage to guilt, shame, and depression. It generally creates financial stress, which can lead to serious anxiety and conflicts within families. And the sense of uncertainty and loss of control that goes with being fired can make it more difficult to manage a job search in an intelligent, energetic, creative fashion — if you let it!. There are entire books that focus on the trauma of job loss, along with career counselors and psychologists who specialize in helping layoff victims cope and regroup. Clearly, all the issues associated with job loss can’t be addressed in a few paragraphs. Nevertheless, here are a few suggestions. First, remember that in today’s job market, the stigma of being let go is much, much less significant than ever before. The continual waves of mergers, spin-offs, company launches and closings, downsizings, expansions, and re-engineerings that have marked world industry over the past three decades mean that a lot of people have been laid off at one time or another. And those who haven’t been fired are well aware that they’ve escaped the ax only by good fortune. As a result, no one really looks down on people with one or two layoffs in their past. Instead, layoffs are viewed as par for the course. Try mentioning being fired the next time you’re at lunch with half a dozen other working friends. Rather than glances of disapproval, you’re more likely to see nods of understanding and hear comments like, “I’ve been there.” Of course, this doesn’t apply if you’ve been fired repeatedly, or for a cause like lying, stealing, or punching your boss. But most people who are one-or two-time losers in the job wars have little difficulty moving on to their next opportunity if they don’t take it personally and understand it’s just business. Second, you can minimize the psychological and career damage of being laid off by handling the process intelligently. Here are some of the steps to take: Negotiate a fair severance package. Rather than simply accepting the company offer, request a couple of days to consider it. Then talk to peers and former bosses and colleagues. You may find you can get the company to increase your final pay package, extend your health and life insurance benefits, or provide you with services such as career counseling. Try to analyze objectively what you did right and wrong. Examine your history with the company. Could you have handled your job better so as to extend your tenure? Were there warning signs you ignored? Make a list of work and people skills you intend to improve in your future jobs. Start your next job search promptly. Don’t spend weeks binge watching NetFlix or feeling sorry for yourself, or spending your savings on a vacation or some other consolation prize, even if you can afford it. The loss of psychological momentum you’ll suffer can be harmful. Don’t be embarrassed about losing your job. Develop a simple, neutral, accurate, one-sentence explanation for why you lost your job. For example, you can say, “The company reorganized, and mine was one of several positions that were eliminated.” Using this or a similar sentence to spread the word among your friends and acquaintances will maximize your chances of hearing about a worthwhile opportunity. The great automobile entrepreneur Henry Ford (and many others over time with their own version) said, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.” His words apply to getting fired. Don’t waste time and energy bemoaning what you’ve lost; focus instead on the new horizons in your future.
Here are some questions to help you determine, “Is this the type of company I would want to work for?” This list of questions is in no particular order, but you can select the ones most appropriate for your conversation and situation:
1. What do you believe someone must know to do this job well? 2. Could you describe the people I would be working with? 3. How is the company organized? Would you draw me an organization chart? 4. What makes you different from your competition? 5. What are the biggest problems confronting your company, and the industry? 6. In what ways do you expect the company to change? 7. How do you market, and how do you sell your product or service? 8. How are employees trained? Who trains them? 9. Where does this job take me if I do an outstanding job? 10. Where does your job take you? 11. How do you recruit people? Within the company or outside the company? 12. If one does an outstanding job, how are they rewarded? 13. What do you expect from this person? 14. Who are your biggest competitors? 15. Do you personally make the final hiring decision? Do you consult with others? Who else do you consult with? 16. What do you like or dislike about some of the people who have worked for you in the past? 17. What is your management style? 18. What kind of boss are you? Could you give me an example?
They evaluate you as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give. Weave these into the conversation while still answering theirs. You are a valuable commodity, and you have a right and obligation to interview them as they do you.
Before you start getting job offers, write a list of all the factors about a job that are important to you. List them down the left side of the page. Things like:
-title -money -commute -potential for advancement -number of people to manage -budget size -flexibility of schedule -outside learning opportunities -dress code -culture -global reach -foreign assignment potential -etc., etc.
Then rank each factor from 1-10 in terms of importance to you (with 10 being the most important) to create a template. Then you are in a position to compare each job offer against your list. For example one offer may have the best “9” money but a “3” in culture when culture is a “10’ in your original ranking. Before you get emotionally involved in accepting an offer, compare it against your template.
A good rule of thumb to remember in a job interview is that anything they ask you, you can ask them. Now you have to reword so as not to sound like a parrot nor should you avoid answering, but later in the conversation you can use their question to you as a question to them. For example : If they’ve asked, “Tell me about yourself,” later on in the conversation you can as, “I’ve read about your company, talked with people, know you have a great reputation…but you’re on the inside, tell me about the company from your experience?” If they’ve asked, “What are your strengths and weaknesses,” later on you can ask, “What are you proudest of in the organization now….and what are the biggest areas you want to see change in?” If they’ve asked, “What do you see yourself doing two-three years from now,” later on you can ask, “Where do you see the company (or this department, division) in two to three years?” The thing to remember is that whatever they asked you about they are interested in so you should be interested in the same about them to better understand what situation you are getting into.
One of the most important jobs of management is to make the organization a decent, enjoyable, productive, and creative place to work – in other words, to foster and nurture a positive corporate culture. If your most important work values aren’t shared by a company you’re considering, think twice before signing on. This issue is so important that you shouldn’t rely on the accuracy of what you’re told by the hiring executive or recruiter. You need to speak to your own business contacts, present and past employees, and company vendors and customers. Try to find out: · How do the company’s leaders describe the company’s culture (in recruiting materials or the annual report, for example)? How does this compare with the way rank-and-file employees, former employees, competitors, customers, and suppliers describe the culture? (A major difference here may forecast trouble.) · Are employees treated like partners, with respect for their individuality, creativity, and personal needs? Or are they treated like interchangeable parts, “troublemakers,” or wayward children? · What is the working environment like? What kinds of working spaces do most employees occupy? How great a gap is there between the accommodations of the top executives and those of lower-level employees? How well are shared spaces (meeting rooms, lounges, cafeteria) maintained and supplied? · What is the mood of the offices like? Does a visitor notice joking, laughing, music, conversation? Or is the atmosphere tense and hostile? · How do the employees dress? How do they decorate their offices, desks, cubicles, and other working areas? Is there an atmosphere of personal expression or one of regimentation and corporate control? · How does the company help employees develop professionally? What investments are made in training and education? How are mistakes viewed? · How do employees at various levels describe their work and the company’s mission? Do most employees regard their work as “just a job?” Do they view themselves as “changing the world?” Or is the prevailing attitude something in between or altogether different? Compare the company’s self-image with its outside reputation. (The latter is often more accurate.) Both you and the company benefit if the cultural fit works and your values are aligned.
Here’s a sampling of some devastating comments I’ve heard in headhunters’ meetings – comments that broke the chances of particular candidates. · “Alan’s not an A player.” · “The reference said Ellie is an operator but has no vision.” · “The company Jose is with doesn’t have a reputation for being well managed.” · “Keith’s a good guy, but there’s no technology background in his career.” · “We’re looking for someone with more pull than Meg.” · “John is too slick; you never know what he’s thinking.” · “We want someone with broader industry experience.” · “Looks good, smells bad.” · “If you asked Jerry for a reference, you’d get twenty bad ones.” · “I’m a little hesitant about Todd. He’s heir apparent [at his current company], and he’s only had experience at one company. I’m afraid he won’t scale.” · “Ben’s wife is a decorator who was doing work for a board member. She told him he should hire her husband, and that’s how he got the job.” · “She’s not a leader.” · “She’s not a consensus builder.” · “He has trouble networking.” · “He was at the battle, but he sat behind the lines.” · “She’s a loose cannon; they call her Wacky Jacky.” · “He’s got one real flat spot on the wheel.” · “He’s solid, but not world class.” · “Lacks discipline” · “Can’t execute and pulls things together” · “A real plodder” · “Constantly churns from company to company” · “Treats people as if they are expendable” · “Shamelessly greedy” · “Spends more time worrying about who gets credit than getting the job done” · “An incessant complainer” · “Uses company time for private projects” · “Bad-mouths other people” · “Calls in sick every other Monday” Needless to say, you wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of any of these or similar comments. On the other hand, comments like the following can push you to the head of the pack. · “We think he’s a good guy.” · “Makes the best presentation I’ve ever seen.” · “Runs a crisp organization.” · “Mark manages problems in a nondisruptive way.” · “Tim wants this job; he’s looking to hit one out of the park.” · “If you could get Karen on your board, that would be very smart.” · “You might as well forget Phil – you’ll never get him.” · “He’ll take the hill and hold it.” · “He’s totally jazzed and motivated, with no ego.” · “Janice builds trust.” · “He’s a go-getter and a real team player with a great personality.” · “Paula’s a water-walker.” · “Pete is world class.” It’s sobering to realize how one comment from the right person can change your life. One search consultant told me, “We’re right about 75 percent of the time.”
Compensation negotiations are expected and are your responsibility. In a poll of a thousand human resource professionals, the Society for Human Resources Managers found the following:
· Ninety-two percent said salaries are generally negotiable.
· Eighty-two percent admitted that the first salary offer they make is just a starting point.
· Seventy percent of HR people said they are comfortable negotiating salary.
· Only twenty-one percent of job candidates are equally comfortable negotiating salary.