I seem to remember reading, or hearing, about how some birds puff up their chest to appear bigger and a more appealing prize to their prospective mate. I felt like a bird trying to appear larger than life to the prospective employer. With my responses thought out, if not rehearsed, and my best hair, clothes, attitude all on the ready, it felt like quite the show. Selling myself has never been one of strengths. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. Right?
The interview schedule was impressive. I was meeting with the top members of the various departments. I guess they had their feathers ruffled for me as well. And it began in much the same way.
They wowed me with the exciting products that they had in their pipeline. The job that they described was one that I *wanted* to have. By the time the final interviewer entered the conference room I was sold. In tune, I felt as if I had sold them.
But that was all about to change. I had already spoken on the phone with the last person to meet with me. I had already told her that I could not commit to a position that required travel. In the phone interview, she had told me that this was not a problem for her. Yet here we were talking about the position that I come to interview for in addition to a second, less senior, one. Travel, was not out completely with either position.
In the interview process, the question that caught me off guard was not any of the behavioral questions. I was prepared for those – at least enough to know that they were coming. The most interesting question was, “If you could be anyone at all, who would you be?” It was easy for me to answer. I wouldn’t change; I would be myself (even with the painful experience early this year).
The question that did throw me? “What would it take to convince you to come join us?” (not exact words)
I should have been ready for this, but I naively thought that they would make an offer (on another day), and I was planning to negotiate from there. Although I had a number in my head, I was now wondering if it would be enough given the new twist on travel.
Certainly the company was more stable financially than the other company I had interview at earlier in the week. But, was that enough to sway me? The position would be tougher, more challenging, and with plenty of room for growth. The other was sure to utilize my nursing knowledge but might not have as much room to grow long term.
I felt that I needed to put some numbers out there for her. I done my research and looked up the going rate. I also knew that they say that it is wise not to provide your current salary. It seems like such a silly game though. They have my consent to run a background check. They will find out what I am currently making anyway. So what does it matter?
So I gave her the numbers. I told her my base salary and noted that, in addition to my yearly bonus, I would have received a cost of living and merit increase at the year-end. I spelled out my requirement to stay at my current employer until December 28th in order to get my separation package and I spelled out exactly what I would be walking away from. I also admitted that it wasn’t enough for me to risk being unemployed next year.
Of course I tried to puff up my chest and fluff my feathers as I instructed her to take all of this into consideration should she want to make me an offer. Then I left to go running at my favorite open space preserve.
My run was one of deflation. The air left my inflated self-image like a balloon that had just been untied. I did not zoom around like the balloon does, I just emptied and fell to the ground (so to speak). My mind was left whirling with the good and the bad, the pros and the cons of the two career possibilities.
In the meantime, I was feeling the effects of a long day of selling myself. I was tired, hungry and thirsty. I was also melting from the heat. So I left myself walk as much as I needed and then called it a day. *WO0sh…*