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Managing Employers' Expectations

One obstacle job seekers often run into is employers who seem to have impossible expectations. Although there are always some employers afflicted with this syndrome, there seem to be more of them in a down economy. The logic is that if jobs are harder to come by, a company should be able to get more for their money. This is sometimes true but it is less often the case than employers would like to think.

Often, what they're looking for in a candidate isn't really feasible. For example, in the I.T. world, they might normally be able to get a web designer for $40/hr and in a down economy, they might try to get someone who can do both web design and server-side scripting for the same salary. But it might not be realistic to expect someone could be competent in both skills. If you're confident that what the recruiter's asking for is unrealistic, let them know (in a respectful way).

I think one of the biggest mistakes job seekers make in interviews is kowtowing to the interviewer. It is good to be respectful, but it is also important that you command respect yourself and not let them ask you ridiculous questions or expect you have a skillset that people don't have. I was watching the movie "Shawshank Redemption" last night and it struck me that Morgan Freeman's character experienced this with his parole board interviews. At first, he just sucked up to the interviewers and told them what he thought they wanted to hear. "Yes sir, I'm a changed man. I am definitely rehabilitated." And each time, he was rejected.
Then at one point, he decided to tell them how he really felt and told them "I have no idea what the word 'rehabilitation' means. It's just a term politicians came up with to make themselves feel important. But I do feel regret for my crime and if I could, I'd go back in time and talk to that young man and show him there's a better way to live. But unfortunately it's too late for that." That's when they finally respected him as a human being and gave him his parole.

You've got to get the interviewer to respect you as an equal before they'll consider hiring you. You should be confident in your abilities and come across as a respectful, professional person. An interviewer can sense if you're just telling them what you think they want to hear. And no one can respect a sycophant as an equal. But if you speak plainly and directly, people will be more likely to respect you. Even if you tell them you don't think what they're asking for is realistic. Chances are you're not the only person they interviewed who felt that way. But there's also a good chance the other candidates lied and pretended they had all the skills the interviewer said they were looking for, or didn't call them on their unrealistic demands.

So by telling the interviewer what they're looking for isn't feasible in your opinion, you may be saying something they had been coming to believe on their own, and by coming out and saying it yourselfPsychology Articles, you present yourself as a straight-talking professional who can be relied on to be honest and forthright on the job.

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Scott Brown is the author of the Job Search Handbook ( As editor of the weekly newsletter on job searching, Scott has written many articles on the subject. He wrote the Job Search Handbook to provide job seekers with a complete yet easy to use guide to finding a job effectively.

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