Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Interview

(because My Readership - or at least one dear soul who actually gives a damn - demands it) went very, very well. I went in very relaxed, with the "I don't need this job, I'm just shopping around," attitude, and boy, that is the only way to go. I think it was the strongest interview I've ever had in my life. The job sounds great, interesting, the firm sounds great, small, not too small, strong client list, well-structured team atmosphere.

I was very proud of myself, I didn't actually drool all over the conference table when she said I'd have a "small" window office and a door. A door! And a mailroom and a copy guy and a file room with an actual, human file clerk! Yet, I did not leap across the table and scream, "I WANT IT NOWWWW!!!!" Though I do.

We got to salary, and here is where I am most proud of myself. I have always sucked at salary negotiations, but this time I did the "Don't Blink," and it worked. She started to talk about money, I asked, "What's the range?" We did the dance a bit, she said the range was from X to Y, and I told her I was making "Over Z." Which was true. They did come in lower than I am making now. She said, "Oh, that's more than I was thinking of," and then proceeded to hard-sell me on the quality of life at the firm, how great the work environment was, etc. and tell me how she had researched local salaries, etc. I said it sounded wonderful, but I'm a widow with a mortgage and I can't take a pay cut, and I'd done firsthand research with paralegals I know at state-level firms and they are making more than I am. Which is also true. I've only begun to look, I like this firm and I would like this job, but I'm not about to sell myself short, I ain't desperate. We talked for a long time after the salary moment, she said I'm definitely getting a callback to meet with the attorneys, I'm a "very strong candidate" and my resume has been circulating around the firm. So I'm thinking the shareholders Want Me, and I think the office manager wants me, and they will just have to pony up the dough or keep looking, because as attractive as a window office and A DOOR (insert sound of angelic chorus singing hosannas) I am not going to take a pay cut to get it. I know I can get it elsewhere.

One email, one interview. The search has just begun. I feel good.

It was a good day. After months of petty shit and idiocy at my current employer, it was so nice to talk to someone who actually understood my skills and appreciated them. I haven't laughed that much in an interview, ever. It was a good experience, even if it just empowers me for the next one.


Sandra said...

Hey Catherine, Good going! Yes, an office with a DOOR is very nice, indeed. But you have a lot of doors to pay for (mortgage), so you're right to hold firm to your salary needs.
I have been on the other side of the interview; and, probably my most successful outcome of the hiring process was when I interviewed someone who (for whatever reason, she never said) wouldn't accept our highest offer (of the range). I presented the situation to my higher up, who then interviewed her, and said to me, "We want her. Whatever it takes." So we hired her at a higher salary than people who had been in the same job were making after working there for several years. And she was fantastic at the job.

poormary said...

Congrats. This has got to be very empowering for you!

Chelle Cohen said...

I loved those cute pics of Murphy searching out lizards. But I'm glad he never catches them.

It sounds like you did great during that job interview, and whatever comes of it, you handled yourself so well! Bravo!

After working as a legal secretary in 8 different law firms during a 17 year period - I decided last year to get out of law offices forever. From a secretarial perspective, they are all alike. I moved to a career in sales and am much happier now.

May you too find your "dream job" and with the pay and benefits you are seeking. Good luck and keep us updated. Chelle