Research Before You Act

Research is defined in the broadest sense of the word, the gathering of data, information and facts for the advancement of knowledge, a careful or diligent search.  It is appropriate for those in transition to do their homework, be it before you apply for the position with your Cover Letter and Resume or during the interview and subsequent interactions with the decision-makers regarding the job.  Your research regarding your potential employers is vital for a fact-based discussion by both parties.

I have alluded in past blogs the fact that the entire job search has changed in the last few years.  With technology, it is much more efficient to apply for a position and in many ways it is a much more rapid determination toward completing the search.  With digital background checks and with Google and other web-based tools, recruiters can now determine whether a candidate is appropriate for a certain position almost instantaneously and prior to even talking to the candidate.

For the first time we are now seeing candidates being interviewed on-line with such techniques as Skype rather than in person.  Though it is only personal experience, the likelihood of getting an in-person interview, at least initially is less possible due to the digital tools now available to interviewers.

One can make the argument that many of these new employment tools are being implemented due to cost considerations and you would probably be correct, but with the various devices now available to recruiters they would be downright foolish not to use them to improve their selection process while also using the accoutrements to be more efficient and effective in their final determinations.

One of the basic rules of interviewing was always “never discuss compensation until the final interview.”  It is becoming more and more prevalent that this old adage is no longer operational.  Recruiters are listing salaries on job boards, specifically within the job postings and in some cases even asking the candidate right up front whether such an amount is what they would consider.

It appears that both parties in the employment discussion would rather cut to the chase than dance around the sensitive topic of money.  If both parties can agree on the financial parameters from the onset, the more important discussion regarding a candidate’s qualifications and expertise can then be conducted without any underlying monetary anxieties coming into play.

For those interactions that do not reveal salary initially, it is now very simple to be prepared prior to an interview.  A prepared candidate for any position needs to visit Guidestar before even contemplating sending a response to a job posting.  Guidestar is a God-send for any candidate in today’s job search apparatus.  Where else can you determine the financial viability of the association you will be interviewing with while also viewing the salary of the out-going exec?

Because the IRS now demands that all Form 990s of all tax-exempt operations be available to inquiring minds, thanks to Sarbanes-Oxley, Guidestar can now make your research as easy as surfing the web.  In the past it was the task of the serious candidate to request financial statements, copies of audits and board minutes from the potential employer so that you can be prepared for the interview and more importantly so that you can determine if this is the right organization for you, but such inquiries are no longer necessary due to services such as Guidestar.

The candidate now knows going into a selection process the financial parameters of the organization and can be prepared for any and all discussions that may come to pass.  The candidate now knows during negotiations what the previous Exec made last year and can negotiate accordingly.  Such information provides a fair and factual exchange amongst all parties and can possibly make the whole procedure less stressful for all concerned.

The bottom-line is that you can never go wrong with facts.  Research provides background information that will assist in making the best decision for both the recruiter and the candidate.  With facts, negotiations can become less confrontational and hopefully less strained for all.  A calmer, less stress ridden negotiations will make the transition into a new position more comfortable for both the new hire and organization alike.  Do your homework ahead of time and the result will be positive for all concerned.

Dan Borschke is a Certified Association Executive who has been a CEO for 3 distinct trade associations in his career.  He is one of only 230 Association Executives worldwide who has been granted the prestigious designation of Fellow by the American Society of Association executives since 1986.  He currently is between positions and has written more than 50,000 words or 100 blog postings on job search and career transition.  He can be contacted at:  dborschke@yahoo.com.

Copyright:  MMXI.  Reprint of this article is permitted if the above paragraph is included.

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