Ask Matt: Be prepared to accept a job offer at the first interview

Star Tribune
Originally published here – http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/145762785.html

Dear Matt: I went to a first interview and thought it was going to be a feeling out process for both sides. Well, I got offered the job at the end of the interview. I was totally unprepared for this. When it came to talking about salary, my interest in the job and possible start date, I didn’t know what to say. Is this a common trend nowadays — to offer a job on the first interview?

Matt says: This experience is happening more and more frequently, said Missi McKown, Recruiter at CorTalent, a Minnetonka-based recruiting and human resources company (www.cor3talent.com).

“Employers are doing their research before posting the job to know what type of candidate they are looking to hire,” said McKown. “When they see the right candidate they are not waiting to extend the offer, even if it’s on the first meeting.”

In fact, this happened recently with a CorTalent client, McKown said.

“We had already spent a considerable amount of time with the candidate on our end and by the time the candidate was in front of [the employer], they had a clear picture of the candidate’s background, experiences and what they could bring to the table,” said McKown. “Once they met in person, our client did not hesitate to extend an offer.”

Always expect the unexpected in an interview. Many companies are motivated to hire, so before you go you should be prepared to know what type of salary the position offers or what you would be willing to accept. You should also have a transition plan in place to know the timeline between leaving your current employer and starting at your new employer.

It’s also important to gain a complete understanding of the job, your role, expectations, company culture, department challenges and goals and idea of who you will be working with and/or management work style. Be prepared to ask questions related to those scenarios so you have a clear understanding of how you would fit with the company.

Look beyond salary and title, dig deep to gain a true understanding of the job, company and how you fit in.

If you are offered a job on the first interview, but are not quite ready to answer yes or no, requesting more time think about it is completely reasonable, said McKown.

“By knowing what you are looking for before the first interview, you will be able to recognize it when you find it,” McKown said. “It will also give you the confidence to accept the new opportunity when it presents itself to you.”

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