As executive search consultants, we work with many professionals in supporting them through their job change from the initial meeting to final offer and beyond. As such, we come across a variety of job change cases. In this case, we supported a professional who was looking to change jobs because he was soon getting laid off. The entire process was fairly quick and only took two months. Let’s take a look at his job change experience from the initial application, interviews, salary negotiation, to the final offer letter.
March: The First Meeting
When we met with this job seeker, let’s call him Mr. A, we recommended a small company that had an open position which allowed him to apply his extensive experience and deep industry knowledge. This role was broader than what he was used to because of the size of the business. Initially, he was not keen on working for a small company and was not very interested because he had never heard of the company or their products beforehand. After reviewing the company information we provided him and taking time to research on his own, he decided to apply after all.
We recommend keeping an open mind with new opportunities. Upon researching the company you may find that their products are very innovative and using the latest technology. Working at a smaller company can be advantageous as you can gain a lot of hands-on experience and have direct communication with upper management. The level of responsibility and impact on day to day operations can be much higher than in a larger organization. Your Apex agent is happy to answer any questions about the client since we have good relationships with them and can provide insights into the role and work environment. You are never expected to apply right away, so please take time to think about it and research the company and opportunity.
End of March: Interview Preparation
After conducting more research himself, Mr. A was quite impressed with the company and wanted to apply. His application was accepted and he received an interview request. We sent him information about what to expect in the interview, such as the format and about the interviewers. We discussed common interview questions, and strategies on how to prepare the best possible answers, as well as questions that this particular company is likely to ask.
We highly recommend avoiding generic answers in an interview. For example, when asked about your strengths, you should think of a strength that is specific to the position, and not a general soft skill like “communication” or “teamwork”. We are happy to support with interview preparation and practicing the best answers to questions you are likely to be asked.
April: First Interview
Since it was a small company, Mr. A’s first interview was with a colleague and the head of a related department. The focus was on his general career experience and his technical background. Some of the questions he was asked related to why he left some of his previous jobs and why he was interested in their company. Mr. A was able to ask them some questions as well and got clarification about the job and company.
Always try and relate your answers to the company you are applying for. For example, if an interviewer asks you what your long term career goals, you answer should be what are your long term goals at their company.
Mid April: Second Interview
The second interview was with the Japan President and this interview was more focussed on the personality and culture match in a more casual style interview. The meeting went well and Mr. A was intrigued about the company. Afterwards he had some questions about the company procedures and their products.
Be as open and honest as possible when speaking with us about your interview feedback and true feelings. If you have any concerns or questions afterwards, let us know so we can better support you in your career goals. If at any time you do not feel comfortable proceeding, we are here to support you and can help you focus on other opportunities.
Mid April: Third Interview
The third interview was with the Global function head and was the most technical interview of the three because this interviewer worked more closely to Mr. A’s area than the other staff. The third interview was testing his technical knowledge, so he was given a case study where he had to explain how he would handle certain situations.
We find that about 50% of interviews have case studies like this. Case studies are quite difficult to prepare for since it is hard to know what kind of situation the interviewer will ask you about. For questions like this, being able to articulate your thoughts clearly is key so you can practice explaining how you would handle various situations, we are happy to support you in this aspect during the interview preparation as well.
End of April: Offer
When the offer process began, Mr. A was concerned about receiving a salary similar to what he was making at his previous company and we supported him in negotiating the salary that he wanted. There were a few difficulties with coming to a consensus about start date as the client wanted Mr. A to start sooner than he could, but we negotiated a start date that allowed him to join for a few select days to help with the transition and start full time at a later date. Both parties were happy with the final offer and Mr. A accepted and is eager to start officially in the coming weeks.
Be open and transparent as possible from early on so that the consultant knows what is important to you. If we have a clear understanding of your goals, then we are able to negotiate an offer that satisfies both parties.
Read about what you can expect when meeting with a recruiter:
- Try to carefully consider out-of-the-box ideas before deciding to turn them down
- Avoid generic answers in an interview
- Always try and relate your interview answers to the company you are applying for
- Be as open and honest as possible with your recruitment consultant about your interview feedback and true feelings so they can better support you
- Practice articulating your thoughts clearly for situations where you are asked to do a case study