Tagged: Why did you take this call?
September 18, 2018 at 6:19 am #2537JeffAltmanCoachKeymaster
This is another one of those tough interview questions that you may be asked in the course of your search. It can be masked in a variety of different ways or in different language, but, ultimately, it comes down to, “so, why did you take my call?”
Now, the wrong answer is to start talking about some of your frustrations at work. The wrong answer is to complain or criticize. Why? Because it gives the other firm or the recruiter leverage, a lever to pry you with at eight point down the road when there’s a negotiation. You will find your words parroted back to you because, one thing I know about corporate recruiters, third-party recruiters, and hiring managers, is that they are great notetakers. Right? You are a great notetaker OR your memory is fabulous and you remember these things. At the point of an offer, it’s going to be put back at you for some reason in order to find out whether they can get you for less. Whether they can get you for slightly different than what they spoken with you about at the onset.
So, again, no criticism. I know you’re not going to go out of your way to criticize your current boss or your current organization. You know that reflects badly on you. But the instinct is to suddenly confess things that are completely unnecessary to talk about.
Here’s how I’d like you approach the answer. It doesn’t matter if you’re at a very senior level; it doesn’t matter if you’re had a junior level or staff level. The way you respond to it is by saying something along the lines of, “you know, it didn’t take me a long time to notice that the person who gets ahead isn’t always the smartest or work the hardest… Although those great qualities. People get ahead by being alert to opportunities. Sometimes those opportunities are internal to their organization. Often, they’re external. So, I took the call in order to understand more about this opportunity because what you presented to me was interesting but I don’t know if I’m ready to go all in on this. So, I want to know more.”
What you’ve done is put it back on them and . . . I don’t want to say present yourself as ambivalent but you’re presenting yourself in a neutral way, as opposed to the active job hunter. Firm’s think that active job hunters, people who are aggressively looking for work, are inferior potential hires to those who are being “recruited.” As such, you always want to present yourself in as neutral a way as possible so that they are thinking of you as “hard to get.” In “hard to get,” (I’m not talking about act the very end. We can talk about that at another time) and the course of the initial formulation, the initial conversation, you don’t want to present yourself as the active job hunter.
At a certain point, you can transition more into the role of being someone who is very interested in the job. But, for now, you are fact-finding and that’s the way you want to present that you will understand more about their opportunity, the potential for you there, how it could benefit you, potential compensation because they are always going to ask you about your money unless you’re a state or jurisdiction where that’s no longer a legal question, but you always were present yourself in a place and level where you’re eliciting information from them about what they’re prepared to pay to see whether it’s in line with what your expectations would be.
So, again, the way to answer is by saying, “It didn’t take me long when I started my career to realize that the person who gets ahead isn’t always the smartest, they’re not always the hardest working . . . Although those are great qualities to have. People get ahead by being alert to opportunities. Sometimes there are internal to the organization. Often they’re external.” That’s the smoothest way to handle question.
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