Q & A With Ford R. Myers

By Ford R. Myers
President, Career Potential, LLC

Quintessential Careers is a popular career advice and job-search web site (www.quintcareers.com). They sometimes ask noted career experts five questions related to their expertise, and then publish the interview in QuintZine (www.quintcareers.com/QuintZine), their biweekly career newsletter. I was fortunate to be selected for this honor. Below is the content of the interview I recently did with Quintessential Careers. I hope you will find the information helpful and interesting!

Q: You state in an article on your web site that “80 percent of the outcome of your negotiation will be determined by your attitude and assumptions about this subject.” Can you elaborate on this statement?
A: On the subject of compensation negotiation, I provide every consulting client with a list of “21 Rules Of The Game.” In a sense, negotiation really is like a game – and of course it’s nearly impossible to win at any game if you don’t know the rules! Imagine two different candidates, equally qualified and interviewing for similar jobs, getting very different outcomes. Why? All else being equal, it’s because they “come into the conversation” with different sets of attitudes and assumptions. Over the years, experience has shown that clients can improve the results of their compensation negotiations up to 80 percent by learning and practicing these “Rules Of The Game” – and therefore, by changing their attitudes and assumptions about the negotiation process. This shift opens up a new world of possibilities for clients, and allows them to achieve compensation levels they never thought possible.
Q: Can you explain what you mean by the “real value of an offer?”
A: Many candidates react too quickly when they receive an initial compensation offer. They tend to hear only the salary figure and make a judgment based solely on that, without waiting to hear all the other elements of the compensation package. So, I teach clients to patiently go through the entire offer and consider all the factors before making a decision or attempting to negotiate. For example, a manager who is used to earning an $80,000 salary with minimal financial incentives or benefits might reject a salary offer of only $72,000 as being much too low. But if she were to wait and listen the full scope of the offer, she might learn that the total compensation package (including such things as bonuses, stock grants, premium benefits, and financial potential) would put her far beyond the compensation she is used to. That’s what I call the “real value of an offer.” I teach every client how to “negotiate like a pro,” but it’s important to know when to start negotiating; and to know from what level you’re actually negotiating.
Q: What’s the one job-hunting secret you share with clients that may not be widely known?
A: The biggest secret I share with my clients is this: “the best way to get a new job is to never look for a job.” At first glance, this statement may be a bit perplexing. What does it mean? To be blunt about it, nobody likes a job-seeker! Job-seekers are needy and annoying. They take advantage of people’s time. Sometimes, job-seekers are even thought-of as “unemployed losers.” Of course, none of these perceptions is generally true. What’s the solution? I teach my clients to never think, act or talk like a typical job-seeker! Instead, I show them how to behave and speak like an expert, a consultant, a problem-solver. Everyone loves these kinds of folks because they add value, address challenges and bring resolution. Here’s the bottom line: candidates should not look for companies to “give them a job.” Instead, the enlightened candidate should seek-out opportunities to solve problems and create value. Once the candidate demonstrates his or her ability to get the to heart of a business issue and provide tangible solutions, the job is pretty much “in the bag.”
Q: What’s the best way for job-seekers to figure out what career will give them the greatest happiness?
A: It is my belief that candidates jump too quickly into the job search; and that they should spend a lot more time and energy on self-assessment. What’s the point of embarking on an arduous journey, if you don’t have a specific destination or know why you’re departing in the first place? With this I mind, I administer several profiles with every client. The first two are “formal” career assessments (the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Inventory). The other one is an “informal” assessment that I have developed over the past 15 years (the Career Analysis Profile). Using these three tools in combination has proved to be very powerful and effective for my clients. But the one that seems to have the most impact is the Career Analysis Profile. It’s extremely gratifying to help a client get in touch with their core motivators and “drivers” – often for the first time since early childhood. Building upon the information revealed by this profile, we can develop a career path and job search strategy that moves the client toward the right opportunity for the right reasons!
Q: What’s the biggest mistake job-seekers make that your advice could correct or prevent?
A: In my opinion, the biggest mistake a job-seeker can make is accepting an offer for the wrong reasons! In my practice, many new clients have said that they’ve been in their job for only three or six months, and that they’re already miserable. In most cases, these individuals conducted an excellent search. They worked hard, produced outstanding results, and may even have received multiple offers. But then they sabotaged themselves “unconsciously” by taking the wrong job for the wrong reasons. What kinds of reasons? It could be … for the highest salary, or because the office was close to their home, or because they fell in love with the company’s product, or even because the company had an on-site gym. Whatever the reason, one thing is clear in these cases: the person missed two essential steps: (1) To get absolutely clear, in advance, about their top professional and personal criteria for selecting a job; and (2) To commit 100 percent to those criteria, and “hold true to them” when the time came to accept the job offer. When candidates do follow these two essential steps, they avoid being “seduced” by superficial factors. Instead, they dramatically increase their chance of loving the new job; and they ensure that the position will be a great fit. And “fit” is what it’s all about!

This interview is Copyright © Quintessential Careers. All Rights Reserved.

About the Author:
Ford R. Myers is an award-winning career coach and President of Career Potential, LLC. He is author of the best-seller, Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Ford’s firm helps clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! He has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms. Ford’s articles and interviews have appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, television and radio networks. He has also conducted presentations at many companies, associations and universities. Learn more at www.CareerPotential.com or contact Ford directly at 1-800-972-6588.

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