The Career Doctor: Career Advice for All
A Career College and Job-Search Advice Column
Dr. Randall Hansen a nationally recognized career expert is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home of The Career Doctor.
If you have any college career or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Hansen writes this column on a biweekly basis.
Note: Readers can find other columns from this year in Current Year Archives of The Career Doctor Q&A.
In This Issue (10/21/05):
- Adding value to candidacy while waiting for interview decision
- Regarding providing salary histories to prospective employers
- Recovering from a job interview mistake with follow-up letter
- Deciding on best method for preparing for panel interview
|Q:|| Thomas writes: I came across your excellent website (Quintessential Careers) and found it very informative I hope you don’t mind me emailing your directly. I would like to ask your advice on a recent situation regarding an internal position for which I have applied.
I submitted my application and had what I thought was in general a successful interview. After the interview I followed up with an email outlining my interest thanked the panel for the opportunity and restated how I believe I would be the best candidate for the role.
I have been advised that it will be about two weeks before a final decision is made. My main question is how I could add value during this time so that my impression at the interview is still fresh given that over 20 candidates have applied internally for this one high profile position.
Being an internal position there is also an informal process where managers put in “a good word’ for certain candidates. How appropriate would it be to ask my manager to speak with the hiring manager? I did have a conversation several months ago and this was offered should I consider applying for an internal position.
On a final note should my current position change during the hiring process or I receive additional responsibility or accolades is it appropriate to make the hiring manager aware of this by email.
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: You ask all the right questions here and since you are asking them in a certain way I am sure you already know how I am going to answer them.
First regardless of whether it is an external or internal position the job-seeker is always on a marketing campaign to convince the hiring manager that s/he is right for the job. For internal positions it’s a bit different because you already have a reputation — a reputation that has ideally been developed through your excellent work and careful self-marketing.
Second kudos on writing the thank-you email. I do wonder if you could have done something more formal but the most important thing is that you thanked the panel and restated your position.
Third I think it’s very wise to think of creative ways your name can come up so that you are not lost among all the candidates that follow. So my answer is yes do both. Especially if your manager has a good reputation with the hiring manager I would take him/her up on the offer. Please note: if the manager had not offered I would not suggest going to your manager and asking for the referral. And yes of course should you have a change or status or land a big account — or anything else noteworthy — it is perfectly acceptable to drop a line to the hiring manager with the update.
Best of luck to you. I think you have a great plan and are executing it well.
It might be helpful to also read this article Moving Up the Ladder: 10 Strategies for Getting Yourself Promoted published on Quintessential Careers.
|Q:|| Charlie writes: I have a questions regarding salary history that I hope you can answer.
When negotiating salary for a new job is the candidate required to reveal what his salary is at his current position to the potential new employer?
Thank you for your time.
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I have heard an alarming number of stories about recruiters getting more aggressive about salary negotiation and that disappoints me.
Are you required to disclose your current salary? Of course not. If you don’t are you likely to remain a candidate for the position? No.
The problem I have with requesting an applicant’s current salary is that it really should have no bearing on any part of the job-search process. It should not affect whether the job-seeker gets an interview nor should it affect whether the job-seeker gets the offer.
Unfortunately some employers use previous (or current) salary as an indicator of whether you are deserving of being considered for the job.
Read more advice in this article published on Quintessential Careers: Responding to Requests for Salary Requirements or Salary Histories: Strategies and Suggestions.
|Q:||Shayla writes: I was wondering today I had my first “big” interview since my graduation. I guess I wasn’t entirely prepared though. I was asked about my college experience and I don’t feel like I really went into enough detail. I know if I was given the opportunity to have a second interview I would be able to talk about how successful I was in college. I had a 3.8 GPA and I organized and participated in many events. I also participated in the virtual stock market and was respected a great deal by many of my teachers including the Director of Education. Should I include my feelings in the follow-up letter or just cross my fingers and hope for the best?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Let me give a little lecture first — what else would you expect from a college professor — and then some advice. Interview preparation as you have now learned the hard way is critical to successful job-hunting. You can’t anticipate every interview question but there are many sources for finding the common questions employers ask — and all job-seekers should at least have a handle on how to respond to those.
I just heard from one of my alums who has still not found a job that the employer did not have a complete copy of her resume during her recent job interview so the interview was awkward. What was her big mistake? Even though she had been told many times to always bring extra copies of her resume to the interview she actually did not even bring one!!
So repeat after me if you really have any interest in a job be sure to prepare for the interview.
Okay. So what can you do now? Write a more detailed thank-you letter than one normally would. We call it a thank-you letter that mentions afterthoughts. You still write the traditional appreciation for the interview but then you add a paragraph that details the one or two key points (relevant to the job) that you forgot to mention in the interview.
And yes this approach is much better than waiting and hoping. You also need to be proactive and (politely) aggressive when job-hunting.
Find a sample thank-you letter that mentions interview afterthoughts as well as all sorts of other tank-you notes and post-interview follow-up letters in this section of Quintessential Careers: Sample Job Interview and Career Thank-You Letters.
And for help with preparing for interview questions check out these Job Interview Question Collections for Job-Seekers.
|Q:||Andrea writes: I stumbled onto your website and wow it has been extremely informative and I am looking forward to utilizing the information I learned in your tutorials in my upcoming interviews. I do have a question that I hope you can help me with. My question is: When being interviewed by a panel of people would it be appropriate at the beginning of the interview to write down the names of all of the panel members involved in the interview so proper spelling and inclusion on thank you notes is assured or should I ask the receptionist or secretary after the interview for the proper spelling of all panelists? Thank you for your time.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I think there is no wrong or right answer here. I think the most important part is getting every member of the panel’s name and title correct so that you can write individual thank-you notes to each member.
That said I think the ideal scenario would be to actually get the names of the panel before the interview — if possible. Since you know it’s going to be a panel of people you must have a contact at the company. I would ask that person for each person’s name (and spelling of their names) and title. This information would be helpful to you in addition to the thank-you notes; by having their names you can kind of practice responding to them.
If the panel composition is not set before the time of your interview I would use some sort of memory aid even jotting down people’s names but I don’t think I would interrupt the flow of the interview to ask for the correct spelling of their names. I might ask for business cards. And yes I would follow-up with the department assistant or company receptionist about the correct spelling of names of the panel members.
I’m horrible at remembering names in pressure situations like interviews but if you can master that skill it really adds a very positive dimension to panel interviews when you can respond to people by using their names.
Finally remember to look at each person on the panel as you respond to questions so that each one feels equally important. Smile make good eye contact be confident project your voice and try not to be intimidated by the panel. The best panel interviews are ones that seem more like discussions than a grilling or inquisition.
Brush up on your interviewing skills by going to the Guide to Job Interviewing section of Quintessential Careers.