Here is How Employers Determine a Newcomer’s Salary 

Did you just pass your first interview and now you are wondering what you should say on your salary negotiation?

First, congratulations on your smooth interview. Second, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, you’ll learn how employers offer salary to candidates they’d like to hire.

While most candidates expect a 10 percent to 20 percent salary increase during a job-switch, not every organisation is able to meet that expectation. Besides considering the candidate’s qualification; work experiences, current and expected salary, an organisation has to review their salary structure and internal equity to determine a salary offer.  These are usually not openly discussed, hence most candidates are not aware of such considerations at the back-end.

See also: Negotiating Your Salary The Wrong Ways

Salary Structure

Every established organisation has its own internal salary structure. Salary structure is created based on market data to ensure salary competitiveness within the same industry. This is also known as analyzing external equity.

Some companies might be more transparent than others on sharing their structures to candidates. Basically, each position in an organisation has its own grade or level and a salary range. The salary range will consist of a minimum pay rate and maximum pay rate. For a fully competent candidate, the most ideal and competitive rate will be at the median of the range.

A candidate who is new to a role typically receives a salary which is lower in the range while a very experienced candidate might receive an offer which is above the median.

Companies avoid offering salaries near the maximum pay rate since that would limit the salary growth of a candidate in subsequent years. Once an employee reaches the maximum within the salary range, they will enter the red circle and are no longer eligible for pay increase.

Internal Equity

An organisation also has to consider internal equity when determining the salary for a candidate.  Internal equity refers to reviewing current salaries of existing employees holding the same position and job responsibilities within an organisation. It ensures that employees are rewarded fairly across the organisation.

To illustrate the point of internal equity: there are two accountants – Sarah and Adam working in the organisation. Sarah earns $3000 a month and has a bachelor degree with 3 years of relevant experience; while Adam earns $5000 a month, has a bachelor degree with 5 years of relevant experience. After learning the gap of experience and pay, the hiring manager will likely offer $4000 per month salary for a candidate who has a Bachelor degree and 4 years of relevant experience in her/his previous organisation. This can be predicted based on internal equity where salary is calculated based on the candidate’s experience and education. 

As a job seeker, when receiving an offer whereby the salary is lower than your expectation, you should try to understand their pay philosophy. Companies might not be able to share all the information with you but you can obtain a better understanding of their pay structure if you pay close attention to what they offer during salary negotiation.

You should also consider the entire compensation package. Base salary is only one component so it is important to understand the other benefits or perks offered, such as additional allowances and bonus payout.

Most importantly, you should understand the growth opportunity within the organisation. If an organisation strongly believes in developing their employees, it will still be a worthy consideration over others that only offer a marginally higher salary.

Read also: Where Did All the Money Go? Smart Guide to Manage Your Salary

How to Turn The Tide When Interview Goes Wrong 

Here’s the situation. You’re sitting on your chair, feeling utterly and completely defeated. The interviewer sits across, his arms akimbo and gives you a gaze that clearly says he is not impressed with your performance so far. The last ten minutes that have passed since the start of the interview felt like an hour long.

Have you ever found yourself in such a situation during a job interview? Well, it is entirely understandable that you would start getting nervous or agitated, especially in this time of dwindling job vacancies and career opportunities. At a certain point in a job interview, maybe the interviewer lost you and even zoned out while you are busy rambling about your experience. Some tell-tale signs that interviewers might be bored include:

  • Fiddling with his/her iPhone or Blackberry;
  • Examining his/her fingernails or the surroundings;
  • Giving you a disapproving and uninterested stare;
  • Nodding vaguely but not giving you eye contact;
  • Not responding in appropriate fashion to your stories, or
  • Simply staring into space and not responding. 

See also: Remote Networking Strategies You Should Not Miss

This is bad news – it means that they have ascertained that whatever you have delivered so far, in response to the interview questions, are not a good fit to what they are looking for. In such a case, the best thing you can do is stop and take a breath. Smile and re-engage the interviewers again, so both of you can get back on track. Here are a few interview tips that will help you recover quickly and snatch the attention back. 

Ask relevant questions: 

One good way to re-engage interviewers is to ask them relevant questions about the position offered or the company. Ask them how the company culture looks, or how it feels to work there. By doing so, you will re-emphasize your interest in the company and also prompt the interviewers to give you more information that you can use to demonstrate your suitability with the company.

Change the topic: 

Stop whatever you’re currently talking about, then change to another subject and keep your new story short. If it is evident that what you are talking about is boring, switching to something else might work in capturing the interviewers back. Bear in mind not to get lost in another long narrative, though – try to be as concise as possible, and ask for their input as much as you can.

Take a short break to recover: 

The worst thing you could possibly do is freaking out and rambling and going off on wild tangents. If you’re getting a huge case of the jitters, you might even want to request for a brief toilet break – politely. This might or might not work, depending on the interviewer’s patience. If it does work, head straight to the toilet and splash your face with cold water. Take long, slow breaths, and gather your thoughts again. Run through what you want to tell the interviewer in your head, and make sure you return looking and feeling more confident. It is far better to take a break and re-group than to push forward in a losing battle.

Demonstrate your interest in the job strongly – even if you are under or over qualified: 

If you chose to interview for a job that you are either under or over qualified for, you must have a very good reason for taking that chance. Make sure you prove it to the potential employer. Demonstrate your interest in the job strongly by displaying knowledge in the related areas, or by matching the skills you have to the skills that are required for the job. Do not expect the interviewers to connect the dots for you – show that you mean business by taking the initiative.

In sum, never throw in the towel, even when all seems lost. By taking the steps above, you will be able to take the reins and steer the interview back to a more positive direction that would increase your chances of getting hired.

Read also: Had a Bad Job Interview? Here’s How to Recover 

See also: Th3 Ways a Job Interview is Just Like Your FIRST DATE e Right Way to Accept Job Offer 

So you secure a job interview with your dream employer, what and how will you prepare next?

Preparing yourself for a job interview is surprisingly similar to preparing for a date. Sure, you want to get the best first impression to attract a “potential” partner. That being said, finding the perfect outfits, coming up with interesting stories, thinking about good questions to ask and following up with gratitude should be in your interview “date” list. 

Here’s how your interview could be like a first date: 

#1- You’re dressed to impress

Do: Put more effort into planning your outfit

Don’t: Whip out those false eyelashes or the tie with skull-and-crossbones on it 

Why: It’s great that you are putting in the effort to help your interviewer remember you better. But you want it to be for the right reasons. It’s not a fashion parade. Interviewers like personality but they don’t want your individuality shoved in their faces. Like a first date, it’s important to understand what the other party is like. If your company is a respected bank, going for the interview in a plunging, cleavage-bearing LBD might not be the best option. 

See also: The Right Way to Accept Job Offer 

#2- You celebrate your victory too early

Do: Decompress from the stress of the interview

Don’t: Make that call to your best friend while you’re still on the premises

Why: You don’t just make an impression when you walk into the interview room. You could be leaving one right until you exit the building. Just as how you’d wait until you’re out of earshot to gush about your date to your friend, the last thing you want is for someone from management overhearing you brag about “how you just nailed it” as you make the call in the office toilet. This will come across as extremely cocky and off-putting — and it’s a sure way of ensuring you won’t get called back.

#3- You go on and on … and on

Do: Mention about some of the more notable projects you worked on in your previous company

Don’t: Talk about how you led your rowing team to victory when you were 17

Why: You’ve done some wonderful things with your life. Great! But just as you don’t tell your date your entire life story during your first meeting with him or her, the same rule applies for a job interview. When you have just 15 minutes with your interviewer, the keyword here is “edit”. Talk about your role in the successful management of key projects with your previous companies and, more importantly, ask pertinent questions about the one you’re interviewing for throughout the interview (and not just at the end). That way, you’ll come across as plugged-in, engaged and sincere.

With a little bit of preparation and practice, job interviews and first dates don’t have to be nail-biting experiences. Just remember that, in either case, it’ll do you well not to celebrate any victories until you know for certain the other party is willing to make that crucial commitment to you.

Read also: 6 Practical Ways to Find Hidden Job Opportunities

6 Practical Ways to Find Hidden Job Opportunities

Recruiters admitted that an estimated 70 percent of job openings are not advertised online, meaning the majority of opportunities would never make it to the job boards. Based on this statistic, the more senior the position, the less likely the job is to be advertised. So, how do all these jobs come about? 

While you can find plenty of job opportunities out there, the best one should be dug a little deeper. How to do that? Do find the below tips useful. Let’s Go for the Hidden Gem!

Friends, family and networking

It’s quite common to ask people how they got their job and receive the response, ‘I got it through someone I knew’. Though this might seem unfair on the surface, you’d be surprised by just how many contacts you and your friends and family actually have.

So, ask around! Talk about your job hunting to people and you’ll see that people are friendly and forthcoming. Family members especially won’t hesitate to help you out, and good friends will too. Try and find the ones that are well connected.

See also: Networking: How to Make Yourself Memorable

Volunteer work and shadowing

The idea of an unpaid job sounds quite unappealing, but the reality is far different. Volunteer work in your community can be very rewarding, give you important experience and teach you valuable skills. Even better, you can connect with new people and gain more contacts who could get you a paid job. 

Try and choose work that is either related to the field or industry you wish to be involved in or can give you relevant skills and experience. This could make quite a big difference when going to job interviews, and it also looks great on your CV.

Work at your university

Most graduates don’t think about going back to work at the place where they studied, but if you dig just a little you’ll find an array of jobs that are open for both students and graduates alike. They could be in a variety of fields including telemarketing, hospitality, IT services and teaching.

These jobs are also quite popular, so apply early and always be on the lookout for job advertisements around campus and within your university email account. If you’re not sure what jobs your university has on offer, then get in touch with the careers service.

Scour the newspaper

Searching the job listing sections on local paper is something that you’re doing already, but there’s more to be gained from the newspaper than that. Read about companies and businesses in your area that are expanding or investing and contact them directly. This will give you the upper-hand when it comes to getting a job from them in the first place, as you’ve already demonstrated your eagerness to work as well as your personal initiative.

Similarly, if you notice a new manager or director has just been hired by a company then you can assume that they will be recruiting a team. It takes a little confidence but why not call up and throw your hat in the ring. What’s the worst that can happen? 

Finally, sometimes in the paper they mention people who have moved on to another job. This is your chance to try and poach that job before they start recruiting and advertise the position. 

Career fairs

When you attend a career fair you need to realise that this is your chance to make yourself known among those who are looking to hire. It’s not just about picking up one application form after another, but instead you should converse, ask questions, and try to make yourself memorable so that when choices need to be made about who gets the job, your name will come up.

If you get pally with someone who turns out to be the HR manager, then you could be working your way into your dream job. It’s also a great place to generally gain more information about sectors you might want to enter. 

Travel

A common way to get a job abroad is to simply make friends with the right people – this means people who have contacts and have been in the area longer than you have.

You could work at a bar, restaurant or even at the hostel you are staying in. Hostel jobs are quite popular since guests and workers are usually changing frequently as people come and go over months and years. Once you’ve got a basic job, you might consider looking at building a career in another country.

Read also: 10 Hidden Perks Job Seekers Should Ask Their Recruiters

Networking: How to Make Yourself Memorable

Among the goals of every networking encounter is to leave a lasting positive impression. Not only a positive impression can help networkers to be more marketable, but it can also help establish and cultivate ongoing relationships with professionals in the field. For example, when you are remembered positively by someone, they will likely refer you as “contacts” and tell others about you, keep you updated on job leads, and provide you with valuable information about your field of interest.

The question is, how to make yourself memorable? 

The key to this is to grab the attention of your interlocutors as early as possible before their attention gets into something else. According to BBC Health, a person’s attention span varies depending on tasks, responsibilities, or time they have. Some might have a longer or shorter attention span. However, if you can tell a person the most important information that she/he MUST know about you in a few seconds (commonly 30-second), you’ll likely be remembered better. 

This interaction is known as 30-second pitch or the answer to the question “tell me about yourself”. A 30-second pitch is a brief introduction that tells a contact who you are and offers a few interesting and relevant details about your professional background and interest. It is more useful at public events, such as career expos and mixers, where networking encounters tend to be brief. An extended version of this conversation (your one-minute pitch) can also be used as an introduction in an interview. 

See also: Which One is More Important: Degree Certificate or Skill Certificate?

Your 30-second pitch should include the following elements: 

  • An introduction (give your name and current school/job as appropriate to the situation) 
  • Your relevant professional interests and the relevant aspects of your professional background 
  • The reason that are you interested in speaking with the contact
  • Your interest in having a follow-up conversation (inquire about the best way to get in touch with the contact in the future)

Here are other tips to get your 30-second pitch right and valuable:

  • Ask questions – Your pitch should feel like a natural, albeit succinct, conversation. Do not rattle off a list of your professional experience for 30 consecutive seconds. Instead, allow room for the contact to join the discussion. Feel free to ask a few strategic questions and listen carefully to their comments and respond accordingly. 
  • Be direct – Do not assume that your contact will make the right inferences about you. If you want them to know that you are passionate about healthcare reform, say, ‘‘I am passionate about health care reform.’’ 
  • Practice – While your pitch should never sound rehearsed or robotic, practising in front of a mirror and/or with another person will help you remember important information when you encounter an unexpected networking opportunity. 

Connection through networking is one of the best ways for you to get a job of your interest, thus remember to always use 30-second pitch tips. 

Read also: Informational Interview (Part 2): How to Interview Professionally?

Informational Interview (Part 2): How to Interview Professionally? 

Think about it: you are putting yourself “face-to-face” with someone in the same career field of interest as you. This person might have the power to hire you, or at least put you in touch with someone in the company with the authority to do so. Your ability to impress them with your qualifications and professionalism is key that will grant you a job offer. Keen to master this ability? Make sure you understand the right way to do an informational interview.

This article is a part of our previous Informational Interview Tips: Why and who to interview.  

How to do an informational interview 

Informational interviews can be scheduled by email, letter or a phone call. It can also be scheduled in person, when the opportunity presents itself. When contacting a professional about an informational interview, you should be concise and professional. The following can serve as a guide in making the contact:

  • Briefly introduce yourself. “My name is (insert name). I’m an MBA candidate at Clarkson University, and I’ve been conducting a great deal of research about marketing careers. You’re working in a career that, based on my research, I’ve chosen to explore further.”  
  • State why you are contacting them. “A professor of mine, (insert name), thought you’d be a great person to talk to and he/she strongly encouraged me to reach out to you.” 
  • Touch briefly upon your interest in this field. “I’ve done some serious research and reflection on the things I like to do, and those things that I do well. Based on this, as well as on some initial career exploration, this career intrigues me. But I could really benefit from information, advice and suggestions from somebody like you to help clarify my career goals.”  
  • Ask for action. “I would welcome the opportunity to conduct an informational interview to find out more about what you do. I would only need about 20 to 30 minutes of your time, and am willing to schedule this at your convenience. When would be a good time for you?”  
  • Close the conversation. “So we’ll be meeting on (insert day and time) at (insert location). Thanks so much for your time and consideration.” 
  • Remember to exchange contact information, just in case you need to reach one another in an emergency.

Remember, just like a job interview, preparation is absolutely essential. To adequately prepare, consider the following:  

  • Research the company or organization. At a minimum, go to their website and company profile on LinkedIn. Request a copy of their most recent annual report and any other relevant company literature. 
  • Research the professional. Bios on the company website and LinkedIn profiles can be great sources of information. Also, “Google” the professional’s name on the Internet to see what other information you can find out about them.  
  • Prepare a list of questions you’d like to ask during the interview. 
  • Plan your attire and “dress for success.” Dress for the informational interview as you would for a job interview. 
  • Pack emergency-repair items, such as a small sewing kit, spot-remover wipes, tissues, comb and brush, hairspray, makeup for touch ups, breath mints and an umbrella in case you need it.  
  • Make sure you have the contact information of the person you’re interviewing – including name, title, phone number and email address. 
  • Know who you’re interviewing and how to contact them in case of an emergency.  
  • Print two or more copies of your professional and critiqued resume on a heavier stock resume paper. You want to have one for yourself and one for the person you’re interviewing. Although this is not a job interview, the informational interview is a great venue for a professional to provide feedback about your qualifications. 
  • Have a professional padfolio (with a fresh pad of paper) and several pens for taking notes. Remember, you are a “reporter” seeking relevant information and you want to capture it accurately.  
  • Take a practice run to the location of the interview. Know how to get there and how long it takes, and be familiar with alternate routes in case of accidents or detours. Get a good night’s sleep the night before the interview. It will help you be at your best.  Remember the power of your non-verbal cues, including eye contact, posture, and nervous habits. 

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HR in Asia is a human resource online media publication, covering human resources news, trends, interviews, and events articles across Asia. The platform also talks about the latest developments in the domains of employer branding, recruitment, retention, employee relations, people development, HR technology, and outsourcing.

10 Hidden Perks Job Seekers Should Ask Their Recruiters 

If you are in the process of negotiation with a potential employer and have achieved some deals for salary, don’t stop there – you could be leaving a lot on the table.

Many job seekers – including you, maybe – are looking for a new job for a bigger paycheck. However, your salary might have a limit based on your industry and experience level. No amount of negotiation will raise the offer from the average market salary. 

While your salary could not go up from the maximum market salary, you could ask for more non-financial perks from your recruiters, such as a flexible schedule and higher education tuition help. All you have to do is to bravely ask. Do not be afraid to negotiate no matter what the position or level of the job you apply. Negotiating this during an interview will also make you feel better because there is a great chance you’ll receive something more and become an engaged employee when the deal is finally made. 

See also: What To Expect during a Job Interview?

Here are 10 hidden perks and benefits you should be asking during your interview: 

1- Paid time off 

Paid time off could give you both full salary and time to rest. This is a perk most job seekers often forget to ask as they only focus on a bigger number on paycheck. 

2- Professional training 

These days no job is guaranteed or stable. You need to think less about pension and more about training opportunities that will help you scale in your expertise. 

3- Continuing education and licensing 

If the position requires continuing education credits to maintain your professional license, you can ask whether  the company will cover the expenses incurred. This might include travel budget. 

4- Stock options 

If the employer you’ll work for offers stock options to employees, you might want to ask for some stock option when starting to compensate for an offer with a lower starting salary. But before you negotiate this, make sure you do your due diligence. 

5- Unpaid vacation days 

Many companies have moved to the unlimited vacation policy. In this case, you should ask for a guaranteed number of vacation days. 

6- Offer a choice to the recruiter 

“Or” is the best word to use when you are thinking about what will make you happy at your new job. For instance, I want a 10K more salary or work from home on Fridays and Thursdays. I want a more flexible work schedule or more unpaid vacation leave. A successful negotiation is when both sides win. 

7- Student loan repayment 

If you are a new grad and salary is not as high as anticipated, you might not be able to pay off that debt looming over your head. Ask your employer if they are willing to offer student loan repayment assistance. This could be a good negotiation because you might not only have to ask for extra dollars per month, rather than a bulk increase in your salary. 

8- Transportation stipend 

If you have a competing offer closer to your home, you might have the leverage to negotiate for some commuting funds. 

9- Work lunch and/or dinner 

Some companies offer daily or weekly food stipends. Other companies might offer lunch or dinner packages that will save you tons of money and time which would otherwise be spent on meal preparation. 

10- Exercise stipend 

Your employer satisfaction is important, but your wellbeing is also important. Therefore, ask for what is important for you to improve your wellbeing. For some, it might be flex hours, a stipend for exercise, or gym membership. These benefits could help you stay healthy which means less sick days and less risk of long-term injury for employers. It’s a win-win negotiation for both. 

Read also: 6 Reasons Why Recruiters Avoid Hiring Candidates with Employment Gap

6 Reasons Why Recruiters Avoid Hiring Candidates with Employment Gap 

Are you a dedicated job seeker but have an employment gap in your resume? Here’s what you need to know.

Job candidates with years of employment gap are often perceived as an inadequate candidate by recruiters. Difficulty of job placement is cited to be the number one reason why recruiters avoid employment gaps in resumes. Another reason is that individuals who work freelance or are out of work to pursue their own ventures are often seen as having a lack of responsibility. Here are some other reasons why employers avoid hiring candidates with years of employment gap in the resume. 

  • More training – Recruiters often avoid hiring a person with a gap in resume for a senior-level position because they might require training which could add more work for HR and teams. Higher position needs professionals to do the job, so talents with a gap might have a lower chance of getting hired here. 
  • Employment gap means a hard time to verify employment background and it will be an extra task for a hiring manager. 
  • Recruiters often perceive that when you are out of work, your skills might not be good enough. 
  • If you quit the job to build your own business and fail, a recruiter might think that you are not good enough on your own and it could be a weak point because an organisation would prefer hiring a reliable person. 
  • Hiring qualified talents with a gap in their resume is more costly than hiring freshers. Fresh graduates can be paid less because they have no work experience, while qualified individuals with gaps might demand higher pay.  
  • Recruiters often fear low performance, instability, or unreliability at work if they hire someone with years of an employment gap. 

See also: What To Expect during a Job Interview?

Don’t be discouraged just yet – how to handle employment gap 

There is a way for job seekers to get employed even when they stop working for years. One way to hide employment gaps without lying is to use a Functional Resume. Concentrate on your skills and accomplishments and downplay when and where you did them. However, there are times when employers or headhunters ask you for a chronological resume or a separate work history. If this is the case, jump to trick number two. 

If employers or recruiters ask for work history, the chance for you to showcase your skills on paper might be low. But you can always showcase it in realtime. Thus, make sure you complete a project or certification before applying for the new job. This will help sell your skills again after years of no career advancement in the workplace. But remember, with those years of gap, applying for senior-level might be tricky even when you have completed some of certifications. It will be wiser to apply at a lower level and scale through time when you are employed. 

Once you have addressed the gap and explained what you did during that time but the conversation continues in a direction you are not comfortable with, you have the option of saying, “I’d prefer not to go into more detail. I am very interested in sharing details of my work experience, however.” From there, you can supply another anecdote from your work history that makes you qualified for the position. 

If the conversation continues to make you feel uncomfortable, you might want to consider ending the interview by saying, “I’m not comfortable with where our conversation is headed so this might not be the right fit. Thank you for your time.” This will not only show that you appreciate recruiter’s opportunity given to you for an interview but also show that you respect both of your time and recruiter’s. 

Ending a job interview unilaterally might decrease your chance to be hired. But it is better than explaining yourself in a way that the recruiter could not understand. If you are looking for a job that fits you best, check here and you might find a better employment opportunity than the one you are applying for now. 

Read also: 5 Things Recruiters Know that Job Seekers Don’t 

What To Expect during a Job Interview? 

If it is your first time to come to a job interview, it is normal if you think that interview is nerve-wracking. In such a case, knowing a few best practices can calm your nerves and keep you sharp. The first step is getting familiar with types of questions you’ll be asked, which include:

  • Background questions – These questions help hiring managers get an overview of your experience, goals and why you’re interested in the company. 
  • Behavioural questions – These are designed to uncover your past “behaviours” in different work situations. These questions also help employers decide whether you will fit company culture. 
  • Situational questions – Your answers to these questions should demonstrate your ability to overcome challenging workplace scenarios. 

See also: The Power of Informational Interviews

It will be all about you.

Besides the interview questions above, you can expect that a job interview will be all about you – as a job seeker. Therefore, set aside shyness or reticence and prepare to explain yourself thoroughly. First impressions always count, especially on particular occasions like job interviews. Practice and school yourself on what to do when employers ask illegal questions, such as queries about your marital status, children, or health issues. Understanding what you should disclose and what should be kept as secret will leave a good impression to recruiters. 

If you have an employment gap, explain it.

It is always a good policy to be honest about employment gaps, especially if it is lengthy. Having an employment gap will not decrease your employment chance if you know how to communicate it. Thus, be honest on why you take the gap, is it because you are working to find a new job, volunteering, becoming a parent or caregiver, or travelling? These reasons might be viewed in your favour. When explaining this, remember to emphasise the skills you’ve gained during employment gaps that will put value to the company if they hire you.

Be ready to discuss salary. 

When it comes to salary discussion, don’t disclose exactly what you expected. What you need to do is to prepare yourself by knowing what you are worth based on your qualifications and your salary history. You can also consult authoritative sources, such as Payscale. Once again, don’t feel it is your role to bring up specific numbers, but if you are asked, be prepared with salary ranges, based on your research. 

You are also required to ask questions. 

As the interview is winding up, the hiring manager might turn the table and ask if you have questions for them. When the time comes, make sure you take the chance to dig the company deeper, such as understanding the work hours, company culture, etc. Check here to know what questions you should ask. Nonetheless, it can be totally okay to finish with a non-question grace note, such as expressing that you’ve enjoyed the discussion and look forward to the next step in the hiring process. 

Read also: 3 Reasons Why Showcasing Your Personality during Job Interview is Essential

5 Things Recruiters Know that Job Seekers Don’t 

Do you often find that recruiters and hiring managers are intimidating? Don’t worry, they are not. They simply want to give you the best hiring experience in their own way. What you should pay more attention to is the secret behind their actions, because there are certain things that hiring managers do not want to reveal in front of their candidates. According to Dandan Zhu, Founder and CEO at DG Recruit, here are a few things recruiters and hiring managers know that job seekers don’t. 

#1 – All basic qualifications having been met 

“The smartest people do not actually end up succeeding the most in real life, while the dumbest people also have just as good as a chance to survive, if not thrive.” 

It means that B or C level students might be as good as A+ students in real life.  In other words, when it comes to the workplace, this means that the most talented and technically savvy engineer doesn’t always become the CTO. Most of the time, it is usually the politically admired and personally connected talent who wins and progresses into the C-suite. Basic qualifications are important to be considered as a feasible candidate, but success is dedicated more by one’s ability to influence, actively listen and respond appropriately, level of social etiquette, and general accentedness by their peers and superiors than one’s technical scores. 

See also: Job vs. Career: Life-long Adventure after Graduation

#2 – HR people are not that important in the hiring hierarchy 

“As you become a serious professional, you can utilise LinkedIn to directly approach hiring managers.” 

Most graduates might think that HR people deserve the utmost respect as they were the gateway to their future career prospects. Yet, Zhu emphasised that it is the hiring manager that makes the utmost decision, while HR is the service and administrative function in the process. Hiring manager dictates everything, including who to interview, what price to pay them, who to hire, and which headhunters to utilise. 

#3 – Job applicants can negotiate and leverage other offers to great effect 

“In today’s world, it is all about the etiquette and manner in which you communicate.” 

As a job applicant, you might be scared of upsetting prospective employers about disclosing where else you are going for job interviews and how much money you actually want. Yet, if a high-demand labour market where the supply of jobs outstrips candidates available, you actually hold a lot more power than employers do. 

Therefore, it is vital for you to research your niche and whether the position you are applying for is currently in the high demand labour market or not. Only then, you know your worth to negotiate and be transparent about offers. If handled appropriately, this will increase employers’ desire for you, not penalise you for looking greedy or not interested. Communication is the mother of all success when it comes to negotiation, thus master it. 

#4 – Interview your interviewers harder 

“Don’t be scared to say what’s on your mind. If something important to you does not align with your future employer, things won’t work out anyways, so it is better to know before you take the job to begin with.” 

Commonly, candidates are so scared of losing job offers or being looked at as needy or demanding so they don’t actually say what’s on their mind. This, however, could hurt your success on the job even if you manage to get a great salary and offer. Chances are, you probably agreed to something that you did not fully understand or align with.

That’s why it’s your prerogative to be a strong communicator. Get the answers you truly need during interviews by asking tough questions that are detailed and specific. This is where you’ll be spending your next few years; you better be aggressive in how you get it out!

#5 – Interview even if you don’t need to 

“Go out and interview even if you don’t need to.” 

Due to loyalty, fear, laziness, and/or arrogance, most candidates refuse to proactively learn about what opportunities are available. Don’t be like these most candidates. No matter if you need to look or not, once you hit a certain amount of experience in your role, it is time to take your head out of the sand and start interviewing, even if just for your own education. 

Read also: What to Do When You Hear Nothing from a Job Application?