Why you shouldn’t volunteer your current salary in a job interview

When you interview for a new job, you want to be offered as high a salary as possible. The company doing the hiring, on the other hand, wants to get a good candidate at as low a salary as possible. How do you make sure that you come out on top?

Often part of the application or interview process will involve questions about your current wage. This is so that they can offer you just enough money to make it worth you changing jobs – or the same amount, if you are just trying to change company.

Rather than giving the hiring manager the amount you are on now, give them the salary you are looking for, or a range that you would be willing to accept, depending on other benefits. After all, if you are leaving your current job because you earn $50,000 and believe you deserve $65,000, being offered $55,000 might get you to swap but won’t make you happy.

You should also do your research and find out what someone in your role and industry with your experience could typically expect to earn. If you find that you are being underpaid at your current job and your next salary is based on your current one then you will be underpaid there too.

If you get a job offer with a pay lower than your skills are worth, ask why this is. You might find out that the company offers more benefits or leave than is typical in the industry, or that they pay lower starting wages but with more room for growth than in other industries. Of course, they might just be low-balling you, in which case calling them out should make them raise the offer.

If the company refuses to budge on a low offer, you need to consider whether it is the job for you or not. If your job search has been relatively quick and painless so far, it is probably worth passing – especially if you still have your old job. On the other hand, if you have been looking for a while there might be something about your experience that means you are not as valuable to a company, or your industry may be very hard to find a job in.

At the end of the day, for all that finding a fulfilling and happy workplace is the ideal scenario, we work for money. If you aren’t getting enough of it, you need to do your research to work out what you should be paid – and ask for it.

What are the best industries to start in as a small business?

If you want to start your own business, it can be hard to decide what you actually want to do. If you don’t already have a specific experience or skill set that makes the choice obvious, you might as well head in to an area that is growing in terms of revenue. Here are three of the best industries to start a small business in.

Car repair

If you can find yourself a good mechanic you can make a lot of money in car repair. Between services, pink slip checks and crash repairs there are a lot of services you can offer. It is also possible to source reasonably cheap (but still quality) parts so that you can save more money.

There are more and more cars on the road every year, and not enough mechanics or repair shops to match demand. All you have to do is find an area with not many other service centres and set up shop!

Construction

The world’s population is expanding at an unprecedented rate. Combined with overall wealth increasing around the globe, and migrations to richer countries, this means that there will be a need for construction companies for a long time. There are a number of different areas in construction, so you can pick the one that best suits your skill set.

To work out what your company should specialise in look for the availability of different construction services in your area. If you spot a gap (e.g. there is no foundation digging company) then there’s your business. Otherwise try to talk to people in construction and find out what services are lacking.

Hospitality

People are getting pickier and pickier about their foods and embracing new eating and drinking trends, particularly in inner-city areas. They are also, fortunately, prepared to pay a lot more to get exactly what they want. This is where your new business can come in.

Starting up a café that serves fancy breakfast options (especially avocado based ones) is a sure-fire hit, especially if you do it a young, trendy area. Cocktail bars can also charge far more than the cost of the ingredients, so this is another area you can make a lot of money. If you just want to go for customer volume, a sports bar or burger joint can fill up fast.

These three industries are historically ones that have grown as population and wealth levels have grown. With current global trends, it looks like they will continue to do so for a long time.

How can SEO help your business?

If your website is having trouble generating business for you, it may be that people who are looking for your product are not finding you. The most common way that we seek out new shops, restaurants and other businesses that we might be interested in is Google – so making yourself easier to find there is a good start.

 

SEO (search engine optimisation) is essentially the art of making your website easier to find – typically by increasing your ranking for Google searches about your product. This will mean that people who want your product will find your website – and, hopefully, buy from you.

Your rankings are increased by making your website more user friendly and by link building. Making the site user friendly would involve things like regularly updating or posting new content, having a version of the site for mobile phones and making sure that it can cope with large numbers of users. You should also, obviously, have it designed well so that people want to look at it and find out more.

This stuff can be done by yourself if you’re good with computers and have a lot of time on your hands. Otherwise, get a professional in. The other half, link building, will definitely require help if you don’t have a LOT of spare time– which you shouldn’t if you are running a business.

 

Link building means that you post lots of different articles on various websites linking back to yours. The more popular the website you post your article on, the better – and the more different articles the better. You will also need to have the links made from specific keywords.

Working out which keywords to target is another ordeal. The premise is simple – work out what people who want something like what you sell are typing, and target that. However, the most common keywords also have the most competition among your competitors, so you will find it very hard to rank well for them.

Being very specific is a way to make sure you rank for at least some words. Using your geographic area is a good way to avoid competition with people who are further away from you, while still capturing the people who will come to your store. A strong combination is “industry + suburb”, while you can also target “specific product + region (or suburb)” for each of your products, and each suburb that can reasonably get to your store.

It is incredibly difficult to do all this right, however, so it is best to get experts to do it for you.

How to stand out in a job interview

It goes without saying that the best way to get a job is to have a proven track record of success in the job requirements – or at least demonstrate that you are likely to be good at the job. But once you get to the interview stage, you can be competing against a number of other people who have equally impressive resumes. So how do you stand out?

Ask the right questions

A job interview isn’t meant to be just the company deciding who is right for the position – it is also for you to decide if the position is right for you. Asking insightful questions that will impact job performance is a good way to stand out. Some examples of good questions could be:

  • How would you define success in this role?
  • What are some of the challenges people in this role have previously faced?
  • Historically what has differentiated those who have been successful and unsuccessful in this role, and at your company as a whole?

If the benefits package will be important to you and you are prepared to lose the opportunity over it (if, say, you are happy at your current job) then you should ask. If the company cannot match your requirements then there isn’t much point interviewing, after all!

Use humour

A job interview isn’t the place to try out your stand-up routine, but a couple of small jokes can help you stand out. If nothing else, you will make yourself smile and seem friendlier. You need to be careful, however, that you don’t say anything that might point to you not being successful at work.

Your interviewer doesn’t know you yet, and self-deprecating humour may take on more meaning than you intend it to. A one liner about the weather might seem dull, but it can be a good introductory ice-breaker. If the atmosphere is more relaxed you might tread closer to the line, for example by responding to an offer of a coffee by asking for an Irish.

Humour will absolutely backfire if you are inappropriate or hostile. When used properly, however, it can make you be remembered as more approachable, more enjoyable to have around and generally better liked.

Dress appropriately

If you are changing companies then the people you are interviewing with may have a different dress standard to your last employer. This is especially true if you are changing industries. Research the dress standard of the people at the company, and try to wear clothes slightly more formal than you guess is the norm.

How can you slash spending at your business?

Businesses have a lot of expenses. You need to rent space, get insurance, pay staff , pay for utilities and hire professionals to handle the legal side of things. The less you can pay for all of this, the more money will go into your pocket. So how can you reduce your costs?

Shop around

If you just accept the first quote you get for utilities and insurance, you will be ripped off (this also applies to your home life). Shopping around will give you an idea of what a standard rate will cost, and you can try to negotiate. And don’t just look at different options then leave your rates to go up – reassess your options every year or two to make sure you keep expenditure down.

If you don’t have the time or the knowledge to do this yourself, you can employ a broker to do it for you. Although you may have to pay for this, you will save more than you spend – so you’ll end up ahead.

Consider moving premises

Obviously if you operate a retail store then you need to have a good location. If, however, there is no real reason for you to prefer one physical location after another then you should look around for a cheaper area. A warehouse, for example, can really be anywhere that is reasonable for you to get to, and doesn’t have to be close to a business area.

If you need an office then there can be some value in being in a prestigious location, but only if you meet a lot of clients there. If you simply need workspace, then you don’t need to be in an inner-city area at all! Even if you do meet clients you probably don’t need a very big space, and you can do the actual work elsewhere – you just need to schedule your meetings efficiently.

Spend money on things that will grow your business

It can be tempting to buy expensive things when you need them for business, on the basis that you can count them as expenses. This doesn’t, however, mean that they are free. Rather than a new car to drive to visit clients, buy a used one and spend the money on marketing yourself.

Similarly, while going to seminars can help you learn new skills and expand your network, that money can often be better spent. Professional services such as accountants are more expensive than people realise, and fixed costs need to be covered before you start paying for extras.