THR Partners

THR Partners, Executive Search Firm specializing in the HVAC, Appliance, and Commercial Restaurant Equipment Industries

July 2015
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  • A job search is a sales process and your ability to negotiate has a great impact on your level of success. Fine tune your negotiating skills today, whether you have just begun your job search or have been conducting one for an extended period of time.

    The opportunity and compensation package you negotiate will directly affect your happiness, quality of life and the people you love. Negotiating throughout your job search provides you with an opportunity to communicate, fine tune and achieve what you want and need out of a job offer.

    In order to get offered the right job that pays you what you deserve to earn, you need to become an effective negotiator. The first step is to understand the basics of the negotiation process. If you find this process uncomfortable, keep in mind that what you are negotiating for is worth your efforts, the quality of life you deserve and your happiness.

    Effective negotiating requires planning which refers to the research you will conduct and the strategies you will implement throughout your search. Obtain as much information as possible and always strive to be more thorough than your competition.


    Communication refers to the exchange of information and the eventual agreement that is reached. Pay attention to the company’s written and unwritten signals on what they value most and position yourself, to displays those traits most desired.


    One of the greatest challenges in any type of negotiation is proper timing. Obviously the best time to negotiate is after an offer has been extended. However, the offer that is extended is often the result of your ability to position yourself in the best light during the interview process. You don’t want to create an uphill battle by receiving a low-ball offer when your interest in the opportunity is high.

    An effective job search requires your negotiating skills throughout your entire search including:

    • Career Summary on your resume
    • Cover Letter
    • Scheduling interviews
    • Subsequent interviews
    • Reference checks
    • Follow up process

    Once you receive an offer, it is appropriate to ask for time to consider the offer since this is an important decision. Review the job description as well as the compensation package. Refrain from making an impulsive decision and if possible request the offer in writing.

    Smaller companies are often more flexible than large companies who can be more political and have more red tape. Union environments leave very little room for negotiating. It is important to know your target and realize when negotiating is appropriate and when you will not be able to attain desired results. Bottom line, the time to become comfortable with the negotiating process is today.

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  • During your job search you will be forced out of your comfort zone and will research various details and make many decisions. The job search process can be filled with many ups and downs especially if your expectations are unrealistic.

    The following are things to consider:

    There is no magic pill or quick fix
    It would be nice if an effective job search consisted of a predictable series of steps that led to a satisfactory job. This is simply not the case. Each job seeker’s needs are different and the job market is constantly changing. Your approach has to be tailored to your needs and goals.

    There are three phases to a job search and 16 defined steps in our Career Portal, but each job seeker approaches them differently. Your approach should make the best use of your personality, while at the same time making a commitment to specific minimum standards you will achieve daily.

    Your job search will be a roller coaster
    Only in exceptional circumstances does someone simply apply for the first job they identify and obtain a job offer. More often it is a long series of ups and downs, promises and rejections, excitement and boredom. Expect several ups and downs and know that this is normal when you go on the job search rollercoaster.

    Plan for the long term and commit to an open ended process with continuous activity. Think of your job search as a journey – with many possible turns, detours, and obstacles. You will become wiser and stronger for each wrong turn.  Learn to focus on the destination, not the last bad turn or rejection you may have faced.

    Uncertainty is a given
    Perhaps the most stressful aspect is the new sense of uncertainty that goes with the process. You don’t know if you are trying hard enough, doing the right things, how long the journey will take, and so on. You are also powerless to factors beyond your control. Commit to a specific number of hours and actions you will complete daily to give yourself the best chance of finding employment.

    Utilize experts and reach out for help

    You are not a professional interviewer, resume writer or in many cases you are not a professional sales person. One of the most important contributions to any successful job search is the assistance you get from friends, associates, family and professional advisors.

    They can assist you on two levels:

    • In managing your job search strategies, for example:

    o Resume preparation
    o Organizing your search
    o Mastering the art of interviewing

    • In your networking efforts. Often individuals can make priceless contacts for you, open doors or provide you with leads.

    The most important point here is that you allow yourself to be open and willing to accept assistance and advice as a priority – and not think that this is a personal and private matter.

    Most job searches take longer than expected
    You would like your search to be over as quickly as possible – and in some cases this might be possible. However it is more likely that your search will continue for a significant length of time.

    The more effort – the quicker the trip
    Setting a realistic pace for your job search is important. You will have to spend quite a lot of time at first as you get ready for the process <x{(}>(the prepare phase,) once you are set up you need to decide how much time you want to spend on your job search daily.

    If you are not working, your job search is your full-time job. If you are working, you need to dedicate a minimum of ten hours a week to your job search.

    Your attitude will influence your results
    If you think you can or can’t succeed in your job search, you’re right! If you are confident in how you present yourself, you will be seen as capable and motivated – obviously characteristics that will be noticed and sought after by hiring authorities.

    There is no perfect job
    You may decide to wait out for the perfect job, especially if you’re job search has gone longer than expected. It’s wise to realize, there is no such thing as the perfect job. Focus instead on finding your way to an ideal job, one that engages your interests, utilizes your skills and abilities and aligns with your values. It’s important to have realistic expectations to keep your spirits high and limit frustration.

    Does job security even exist?
    Unfortunately the answer to this questions is no. Your next job will not be the last job you have. Nothing is forever and change is constant. Your only job security is to constantly learn new skills, enhance your experience and improve your marketability. Commit to a lifetime of learning because the only job security you have is you!

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  • Most interviewers start interviews with the question “Tell me about yourself?” The answer to this question is often included in a hiring authorities’ first impression and can often lead to you being either eliminated or screened out in the interview process.
    You will be asked this question and need to practice your response so that you are comfortable with your answer. Instead of dreading this question, role-play your response with others and make adjustments based on the feedback you receive. It’s better to be over-prepared than to have your answer sabotage your interview.

    Today we will address the following three topics:

    1. What employers look for in your answer
    2. How to effectively format your response
    3. Great follow up responses

    The answer to this question has eliminated many qualified job seekers from serious consideration. When you hear this question, you are probably wondering where to begin, and exactly what this hiring authority wants to hear. The answer to this question is much more than a chronological breakdown of your experience. Interviewers are looking for a consistent story that provides an indication that you are a fit for their opportunity.

    You need to answer and convey both of the following:
    First: Provide the hiring authority with a sense of who you are and where you’re going. Stress why the opportunity you’re applying for represents a culmination of your skills, experience and talents acquired from your past employers. You want the hiring authority to realize that your experience to date, has prepared you for the responsibilities and challenges of their position. You can make this point subtly as you answer questions.
    Second: Stress specific examples from your previous work experience or education that has prepared you for the opportunity being offered. Focus this part of your answer on your accomplishments and the impact of those accomplishments on past employers.

    It is MOST important to Stress the Following:

    • Challenges you faced and handled successfully
    • Projects you successfully completed
    • Past learning experiences that are relevant to this specific opportunity

    It is effective to show the relevance of your past challenges, or completed projects to your high level of interest in their position. Also stress the confidence you have in your ability to do the job.

    Share just enough detail without embellishing. Your answer should not be longer than two minutes, unless the interviewer interrupts you with questions. Your response should be short and concise.

    Be careful not to ramble or talk too much. You do NOT want to review every job you’ve held or why you left past positions. This information will be revealed by the subsequent questions you are asked during your interview.

    Throughout the entire interview process you want to position yourself as the perfect person for their opportunity. Your interview is an “audition for a part” not a fact finding mission. By the end of your interview, you want the hiring authority to feel confident that you can effectively do their job and provide them with a strong return on their investment if you are hired. If you are asked a question you don’t understand, ask for clarification. Your responses should always focus on the WIIFM <x{(}>(what’s in it for me) of the hiring authority. It is wise to write down questions in advance that will help uncover the priorities of each person in the interview process. If you are not asked if you have questions, it is wise to ask the interviewer if you can ask a few questions.

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  • In our fifteen step process for finding a job, we encourage you to set up informational interviews as well as job interviews. You should however, go to every interview prepared to land a job, not just to learn more about a career or the company. Often informational interviews can convert to job interviews and too often the job seeker is caught unprepared. You only get one chance to make a good impression, especially during a first interview. If you don’t enter every meeting prepared to land a job you could appear unprepared or unprofessional. You will never regret being prepared so always come ready for a formal interview.

    In addition, always take extra copies of your resume to informational interviews, in case you end up being interviewed by more than one person. Your resume should target the potential opportunity with this specific employer. Even if you are not interviewed on the spot, your resume could be requested and passed on to decision makers in the company. The quality of your resume determines if you are screened in or out which is why your resume is critical to a successful job search.

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  • A job application is used for different purposes by hiring authorities. For many part-time, entry-level or blue collar jobs, employers utilize the application to screen potential employees to see who they will call to interview. For other levels of positions, the application is the paperwork required by the Human Resource Department for all candidates who are applying for a job. The job application form is signed by the applicant, which makes this a legal document that will become part of your employment file if you are hired.

    Some application forms are online or sent in advance where other employers will actually have you complete the paperwork when you arrive for a job interview. If you are sent an application form in advance, write your answers on another piece of paper and then transfer the information to your application form. This process will help prevent potential errors.

    The following guidelines will help you get screened in vs. eliminated from consideration as a result of the application you submit:

    • Read and Follow Instructions – Take a few minutes to review the entire application before you being to fill it out. This is your first test in how you follow instructions.
    • Be Thorough – The reason you were asked to fill out paperwork is the employer is attempting to obtain the same information from every candidate being considered. Never write “See CV or See Resume” on the application form. This could be misinterpreted as laziness or disinterest. If a specific question does not refer to you, simple write “not applicable” on the application form.
    • Write Legibly – It is important that your potential employer can read your handwriting. If necessary print your answers to make them more legible. Neatness and legibility are a reflection on you.
    • Tailor Your Answers to the Specific Job – The answers on your application form should help the hiring authority begin to see you as a perfect fit for their opportunity. Show why you are more qualified and stress accomplishments that would be most important to this specific employer. If you have light experience, stress skills and talents you can quantify from school, clubs, organization or volunteer work.
    • Avoid Listing a Specific Salary Unless Required – You never know what a job will actually pay, because much depends on how well you interview. Most employers have a budgeted salary range and will go to the top of the range if you ace the interview and it is apparent you need no training and can hit the ground running. If the employer determines that it will be necessary to train you in certain areas, the offer would be reduced. It is wise to list Open or Negotiable if a number is not required. If the application form asks for a specific number, write down your base salary followed by plus signs. When you are asked about the plus signs, you can explain that represents bonuses, incentives, and benefits.
    • Request a Copy of the Application Form In Advance – Employers are often willing to email you a copy of their application form in advance, which allows you to complete them prior to arriving for an interview. Always request if they have an application you can fill out in advance which shows you are more proactive than most job seekers and also displays your level of interest. This will allow you spend more time to accurately answer the questions.

    Every step in the hiring process helps to create the hiring manager’s impression of you. Job applications provide additional information to your resume which can help or hurt your chances of being interviewed or hired. Follow these basic guidelines and you will more effectively fill out application forms.

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