Job Offer Series Part One: Pre-Offer

When you are interviewing, and it really goes your way, you usually get that tingly feeling an offer will be given. I have yet to have a candidate that was shocked when an offer arrived…you just know. But, how do you get to the point of acing the interview, so an offer comes? Here are some tips I typically give my candidates.

The Interview:


The interview is the best time to ask questions about company culture, the expectations that will be made of you, and really get a feel for if it will be the best fit for you. You need to think about the things you like and don’t like about your previous employers. What are your “must haves” in a new organization and structure your questions in your interview to find out what their corporate beliefs are aligned with what you desire?

My biggest advice for candidates is to ask for the job at the interview and ask the next steps. When the interview is coming to a close say,

“I would really like this opportunity and feel my track record of results in would be an asset to the team. What are the next steps?”.

This is a widely under asked question and one that can really set you apart from others in the mix.

Why? You are showing interest and asking about follow up—two big things when you are looking to add to your team.

Salary Debacle


When you are asked that horrible question of “What is your current salary?” my first response is to divert! Do not answer! This is against my other interviewing rules of answering all questions directly with examples, but hear me out…

When you give them the salary you are making, they are hearing the salary you will accept. They are going to get you as close to that number as possible, with the understanding most people want an increase to make a change. The range for the position you are applying could be $10k more than what you are currently making, they make you an offer for $5k more than your current salary, and you are leaving money on the table.

My typical responses is to give a range, but the starting number of your range should be MORE than what you desire or where you currently are.

Option One:

“I think for this opportunity, a salary of $80k-$90k is the industry standard, I would be looking for something within that range”

Why? They don’t know you are currently making $70k. They know you did the research on what the opportunity and industry standard should be. They WILL be looking to give you a salary of the lowest number you give them in the range, so to go back and ask for $90k when you gave them the range starting at $80k is poor practice. Be okay with the lowest number of the range, because you will NOT get the highest.

Option Two:

“I am looking for a salary of $90k, which I am sure you know is well within the industry standards.”

Why? This leaves room for you to negotiate a little, without needing to give your current pay.

If they push, ask them if there is a reason your current salary is relevant to the position. Bold? Yes. But do you really want to work for a company that demands to know your tax bracket?

Reference Checking


So, you nailed the interview…they are now asking for references, what to do?

Remember, your references are to support the character they already see in you.Companies don’t typically ask for references unless they are already seeing you as an employee. They don’t check them unless they really like you and want validation. Choose people who will give you at least a 4-star review yelp review for you.


  1. Speak with your references before the interview, make sure they are good with being on your list.
  2. Make sure your references will give you a positive reference. Seems like a no-brainer, right? You would be surprised how many people have old co-workers who they haven’t spoken to in 15 years and all of a sudden they need to remember things…people remember bad before they remember good.
  3. Once you are asked for your reference list, give them a copy of your most recent resume and send them a link of the position you interviewed for
  4. Give them a few topics you would like them to touch on. If in the interview they asked about your business development experience, remind your reference of the time you landed a huge account.
  5. Thank them when you get an offer, even if you decide not to accept.


  1. Put your references on your resume, wait for the company to ask.
  2. Put family as a reference, even if you worked for your father for 30-years.
  3. Use close friends, unless the friend has mentored or worked directly with you.
  4. Ask them to lie or be fraudulent in their responses. If they are on your reference list, they should be able to give an honest review of you without costing you the job.

That’s part one of the series! Part Two will be what to do when an offer is presented.

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