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Out-of-state interviews

Dear Joan:

I live in one state and I am applying for a job in another state. I have limited funds and I know that I will have to most likely pay for my own move.

However my real question is. Is it appropriate to ask about the salary? And how do I ask before either flying, or driving, the 15 hours for the interview? I donít want to waste either oneís time.

Answer:

The employer has as much interest in your question as you do. They donít want to waste time either. So, I agree you should discuss it upfront.

Negotiating salary is a little tricky at this stage, since you donít really know the requirements of the job. Typically, Iíd advise you to stall until you have a clear picture of what the job is worth. Here are some tips that may help you.

To get the interview in the first place, you must first get past the employerís reluctance to consider an application from another state. If the position is specialized, or difficult to fill, they may cast a nation-wide net, but if there are a large number of local applicants, they may not even consider you. They will go after the applicants who wonít require a move, or travel costs for an interview.

Include language in your cover letters that removes some of those objections. For instance, "I am planning to move to Minnesota in the next few monthsÖ" You are not explaining how, when or why-simply that if this works out, you would indeed be moving. If they are willing to pay moving expenses, all the better. But if not, the salary may be enough to cover your move.

If you are called by an employer, they will probably do a phone interview. During that call, they will probably ask you, "What salary are you looking for?" Do some homework, so you arenít caught off guard. Research your field, talk to people who hold the job you want, and check out websites such as Salary.com, to find out what jobs are worth in those states. If they donít ask, wait until they suggest an in-person interview. Then say, "I donít normally like to discuss compensation before I learn about the job, but before you and I take the next step, could I get a ballpark idea of what the position pays, to make sure we arenít wasting each otherís time?"

Avoid telling an employer what you are making now. Instead, tell him or her what you are looking for on your next job. This isnít as much of an issue if the job to which you are applying is the next, logical step in your field, and in the same industry. However, if you are coming from a nonprofit or making a career transition, your current salary may be significantly below the salary you desire. Also, avoid limiting your negotiating power by saying something like, "Iím looking for a job that pays between $50,000 and $60,000." Why cap it? What if they were going to offer $80,000?

Another way to get a job offer is to visit the area and line up a lot of informational interviews by phone, before you plan to arrive. Pick a date several months in the future, and then start calling companies to tell them you plan on moving there, and will be in the area on particular dates. Ask if they will meet with you to share any advice they may have about living and working there. Most people are eager to meet with "new blood," not only to showcase their city, but to see if they have talent the company wants. This free trial offer is hard to refuse and removes all the obstacles.

If your informational interviews are successful, ask, "Is there anyone else you can introduce me to, who can give me advice?" This technique usually starts opening doors, even after you go back home. Maintain contact with the people you met and continue to ask for introductions by phone and online. Donít wear out your welcome with a few-rather, ask that question of everyone you meet. The job-hunting drill is still a matter of networking--who you know, and who knows you.

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, customized training (leadership skills, presentation skills, internal consulting skills & facilitation skills), team conflict resolution and retreat facilitation.

Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (800) 348-1944, mailto:info@joanlloyd.com, or www.JoanLloyd.com

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