|CAREERS NOW 08-10-08|
|Will Asking For Less Pay Make You More Attractive?|
DEAR JOYCE: The layoffs continue, at least in my industry. I'm getting ready
just in case. My question is: Will I find a job faster if I cut my salary requirements? - K.D.
I'll punt because there are two schools of equally authoritative thought on the issue. Summarized, they are:
-- Don't lower salary demands. Candidates who ask for less than market rate risk being perceived as cut-rate merchandise. You may even be seen as having been fired for doing poor work in your last job. Employers look more favorably on those seeking an equivalent or better salary than in their last position. It's a trust and image issue. This is the strategy I personally would follow.
-- Do lower salary demands. Realistically, some employers are always looking for people who are willing to take less money to do the work of more expensive individuals. That's what offshoring's all about. And remember, small businesses, not big corporations, are creating the bulk of jobs today. The smalls, working on slim budgets in a sluggish economy, may be favorably influenced by a lower price in making a hiring decision. If you do lower your pay requirement, negotiate for other benefits, such more vacation.
DEAR JOYCE: I'm thinking about doing a video resume for myself. A friend let me know that you are not a big fan of video resumes. Are you just being old-school or do you have a good reason for not being supportive? - A.M.V.
Yes, I've commented that buzz about video resumes is driven by the vendors who make them. A recent survey from staffing giant Robert Half International survey confirms that the videos are not an overnight sensation.
The Robert Half survey reports that only 24 percent of 150 senior executives of the nation's largest companies said they accept video resumes from candidates while 58 percent said they do not and 18 percent said don't know. The big problem that's making employers reluctant to say "yes" to video resumes is the fear of applicants' bias claims leading to legal liability.
DEAR JOYCE: I resigned from a position due to exposure to certain chemical pollutants that were contributing to my asthmatic condition. Thought I did not file for workers' compensation, I was approved for unemployment insurance based on my doctor's assessment. When questioned on interviews about why I left my last position, is it best to be totally honest?
I do believe that I lost an opportunity for a job because I was straight forward with the interviewer who probably then judged me as being a financial risk for the company. But, in my book, omission of information is the same as falsifying information. How can I effectively handle this situation? - S.L.
There's no magic answer to your dilemma. But here's an honest yet positive light in which to present your history.
"An unusual environmental situation at my last job kicked up my well-controlled asthma. I did not accept workers' comp because I realized the event was an extraordinary accident that did not permanently impair my ability to carry a vigorous workload. It never happened before. I don't expect that kind of accident to happen here because your company doesn't deal in chemical contaminants."
Try to come across as a centered, well-adjusted and easy to get along with person, not a fussy, problem-causing, looking-for-trouble hypochondriac. The asthma crisis caused by chemical pollution was a fluke.
Deal with the topic briefly. After that, as with any touchy subject in a job interview, refocus the discussion toward one of your strengths: "Would you prefer to hear about my skills in X or Y?" And don't forget to double check your references before your next interview.
If you feel you could use more preparation, read "Interview Magic, Second Edition," by Susan Britton Whitcomb (JIST, www.jist.com), a book that has garnered many rave reviews.
Sorry, the volume of mail makes personal replies impossible.