Dear Bev: What do I say about money when my past job paid more than the one I'm interviewing for?
How can candidates express through their resumes that, although they may seem overqualified for a position, they are indeed invested in the opportunity and not just looking for a pay check?
CTHRA: We have two pieces of advice. First, abandon a traditional resume format focused on titles and promotions, and instead create a resume that highlights significant accomplishments and experiences. Emphasize your span of control, impact on the bottom-line and contributions to the overall health and growth of the organization. We believe a bio format helps focus the recruiter/hiring manager on the relevant skills and qualifications and frees them from focusing merely on level or title.
Next, leverage your cover letter to:
1) Call attention to the credentials you have that match the description of the position;
2) Specify that your prior experience will allow you to have a greater impact on the organizational goals sooner than less experienced candidates;
3) And explain that you are seeking more than a job title and detail the characteristics that you admire in their company: financial security, potential for upward mobility, reputation, health and welfare benefits, etc.
Should an applicant downgrade his or her former job title(s) on a resume, say from an SVP to a VP?
CTHRA: Never put anything on your resume that isn't true. You're working to prove to a potential employer that you are honest and trustworthy. The last thing you want is to lose credibility by being caught in a lie.
Keep in mind that most hiring managers recognize that titles are indicative of an organization's culture and they tend to vary from company to company. So a VP title in a smaller company may be equivalent to a director title in a larger organization.
If you're applying for a VP level position in a similar profession and recently held a SVP or higher position, focus attention on your skills, qualifications and contributions instead of the title.
Is there a good answer to questions about recent earnings, especially if you believe you were earning significantly more than the job you are interviewing for has to offer?
CTHRA: The state of the economy has caused many companies to scale back compensation components (base, bonus, etc.). As a result, employers and candidates have had to reset their expectations when it comes to salary. This reality can be woven into you're your reply.
Start by asking what the salary range or budget for the position is so you can appropriately couch your reply. Then, be transparent and honest about your recent earnings. Given the current marketplace, if you're willing to accept less than in the past, say so, and provide the range you'll consider. You can couch that reply by adding that rather than focusing solely on starting base salary, you'll consider all the company has to offer such as benefits, work/life balance emphasis, growth opportunities, etc.
"I was fortunate to have a good career w/ company X where I was able to advance my earnings by proving my value to the organization through my contributions. I learn fast and work hard, so I am certain I can do the same within your company."
How does an HR professional present an overqualified candidate to a hiring manager in a way that's not threatening?
CTHRA: A good recruiter/HR professional always knows how to position candidates in a manner that the hiring manager feels like he is in control of the process and is getting the best results from the HR team.
"I have a candidate for you to interview who I believe will bring energy and new ideas, with the ability to step right into the open position-making your job easier."
When interviewing with the hiring manager, should the candidate bring up the issue of being overqualified?
CTHRA: No. We advise candidates against using the word overqualified in an interview to avoid appearing arrogant and a poor fit for the job. Also, imagine if the hiring manager has doubts about the person's qualifications, but the candidate starts talking about being overqualified. Then the candidate comes off as presumptuous. It's best to simply avoid using the word at all.
How should the candidate reply to an interviewer who asks whether or not he or she will quit once a job with his or her old title and salary becomes available?
CTHRA: Answer with an emphatic, "No. After researching this company and meeting [insert various individuals working within the company], I am excited about the possibility of being part of the team. I am willing to make a personal commitment to you and this opportunity, and I expect that if I deliver results, I'll be given the opportunity to advance my earnings and position within the organization."
For more information on CTHRA go to cthra.com