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Joyce Richman

Interview jitters? That’s normal and good if they prompt you to prepare for the interview rather than wing it.

Remember, you’re the expert on the subject of you: likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, skills and abilities, drivers and core values. But do you know why you want this job, believe you can do this job and know how you can add value to this company?

Ah. You’re worried that because you’ve never set the world on fire, the interviewer won’t see value in you. That’s true if that’s your mindset.

Instead, know this: Every company needs employees who are doers, who can jump in where they’re directed and get the job done.

If that describes you, emphasize your ability to respond quickly to what’s needed, give evidence of having done that, and reinforce your message with an enthusiastic presentation that says, “I’m energetic, responsive, goal focused, and trustworthy. You’ll always be glad that you hired me.”

Uh-oh. You have other worries: the job you’re interviewing for pays less than what you’ve made in the past, and you’re afraid they’ll not give you serious consideration. Given that you’ve been earning more, you’ve probably had more authority than this job affords.

If so, indicate you’re looking forward to doing what you do best, being more hands-on, working directly with customers (or products), problem solving, etc. If that means a step back in pay now, you’ll make up for it going forward.

Or ... you’re making less money than the position’s post says it pays. The company’s representative wants to meet with you and has asked for your salary history. You believe that you’ve been underpaid for years. You didn’t want the prospective employer to know the truth, for fear you’d be undervalued and if you get the job it will be at a lesser salary than you deserve. Is it too late to do anything about it?

Although posted positions may suggest a salary range, the employer will likely make an offer at the lower end of mid-point. Since they’ve agreed to meet with you, and they have your salary history, you’re in the running. Just don’t discuss salary until you’ve had an opportunity to learn more about the position and to demonstrate how you will bring value to the company. (“Let’s defer our compensation discussion until we can determine if we have a match.”)

If the interviewer insists that the meeting can go forward only if you declare what you will accept (which almost never happens), explain that your company pays less than industry standards (if true) and that the level of authority and responsibility that you have is commensurate to salaries that exceed your current rate. Add to that, your belief that this company will do the right and fair thing when it comes to compensation.

Interview jitters can be a good thing. If you’re prepared, they’ll increase your focus, sharpen your thinking, and improve your responses to their needs.

Your answers enable the interviewer to determine if what you bring to the table works to solve their problems, save them time, and make them money. Answer accordingly.

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Contact Joyce Richman at 336-288-1799 and joyce@joycerichman.com.