Getting Ready For Your Interview

Making sure you’re ready for your interview is key in landing your job. Keep reading for some great tips.

What does a good answer look like? A thoughtful answer that lays out how your personal motivations and the specific characteristics of the job line up, such as:

I went into IT straight out of college, and while I enjoyed using my skills helping people in the organization solve their computer problems, what really motivated me was when I got to work on a project a couple of years later assessing which software tools to purchase and how we could customize them to meet our own needs.

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I found that I really loved translating people’s requirements into technical solutions. It was like working out the answer to a fun puzzle and it made my day when they told me how much easier the new software made their jobs. Plus, the challenge pushed me to keep learning, which is something else I find holds my interest at work. That’s when I decided I eventually wanted to move into a role that combines IT and people skills . . .

Would you stay with your current employer if they offered you a pay raise?

The Real Question: Do you want the job or not? Am I being played off against your current boss?

Top-line Tactic: There would be no dilemma: you want progress much more than you want money.

Many hiring managers will have gone through the cycle of offering a job to someone who then gets a better counter-offer from their current employer. It’s a common event and can cause a great deal of ill feeling. Often, all three parties end up shredding time, money and personal reputation—and you can easily end up with no job to go to at all. It’s usually illegal to sack someone merely for seeking a new job, but it’s always wise to keep your job hunt under your hat for as long as is practicable.

So, make it clear to your interviewer that you know your own mind. Tell them that you’re moving for the sake of progress, not money. In truth, that is what you should be doing anyway: money is a temporary motivator at best. Interestingly, it’s Reed’s experience that almost every itchy-footed person who takes a counter-offer from their current employer is back on the market within six months, having wasted their time and burned bridges. It doesn’t hurt to say this out loud on the day.

That said, you’d probably get a better financial offer if the interviewer feels you’re potentially unobtainable. The best way to do that is to draw a sharp distinction between money and progress:

I’d possibly stay at my current employer if they offered me a substantial promotion, but not just for more money. I can’t see the people above me leaving any time soon, though, so I think I need to move if I’m going to progress.

I’m not sure that sort of counter-offer really works, anyway. I think someone’s mindset and motivation are usually the key determinants of whether they succeed in a job or not; the money’s secondary, to a large extent, so long as it’s reasonable. My approach is that I want to keep learning, keep growing—do those things and the money will look after itself.

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