Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Interview for an OFFER, not a JOB!


Sounds strange, right? Most of us assume that the main purpose of interviewing is to get a job.
Not exactly!
Having coached dozens of mid and late-career executives across the country in the last ten years, I believe that you are interviewing to get an offer, not necessarily a job.
Think about it. How many times have you been seeking employment where the specific job is really not what you want, but the company is?
The point is that you should be interviewing to join the company in a position that makes sense for you, not simply a job that is listed on a job board or introduced to you by a zealous recruiter. You are seeking work that is right for YOU, not just a job.
The way to accomplish this is to get an offer. Then, once the company has committed to you with this offer, you are in the “catbird’s seat”. Up until the offer, you were one of many candidates. Therefore, you played ball and did your best in the interviewing process. Once you have a written offer in hand, it is now your turn to ask the probing questions, meet more people, visit a couple of company offices or whatever you need to do to convince yourself that this is the right place and job for you.
Then, meet with the hiring manager (not anyone else) and have an adult conversation regarding whether this offer is best for you and them, and discuss how you see revising it to better serve both parties.
In most cases, you will focus on the specific position in question and negotiate a better offer. They want you; this is the best time to ensure you get what you think you need to be properly rewarded and motivated to do your best for them. It is also the last chance you will get for a long time to realize your key demands and needs.
In a lot of cases, the job they offered is not quite right for you. This is the time to ask if they can revise the position or identify another role in the company more in sync with you and your goals. One of my clients recently convinced a financial services firm to combine two open marketing positions which resulted in a VP title and more money.
Yes, this requires some courage and finesse. But, remember, with a firm offer, they have said “we want you to join the company”. It is now up to you to ensure that you will be doing “the right work for you”, not just filling a position on an org. chart.
So focus on getting an offer, and then focus on shaping the actual job to best fit your talents and needs as well as being responsive to the company’s requirements.

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