5 Tips for Negotiating Salaries

negotiating salary

Most people find that negotiating salaries is a daunting task. It can be intimidating and uncomfortable to sit down with the boss and talk money. But inaction will accomplish nothing and you may miss out on an opportunity to increase your income. With a little preparation and a can-do attitude, negotiating your salary doesn't have to be such a scary experience. Here are five tips that can help make the outcome successful.

Research Your Worth

Before salary negotiation, do a career evaluation, to assess your market worth. Your market worth is what you should be making for your skillset, competency level and industry. You can assess your worth by talking with your recruiter or by visiting websites like Salary.com.

Show Proof of Your Performance

Just thinking that you deserve a higher salary isn't enough. Present evidence of your accomplishments to help convince management that you are an employee well-worth retaining. Keep a list of successfully completed projects and positive feedback from customers and co-workers alike. Try to quantify evidence as much as possible since managers take hard numbers more seriously.

Consider Other Perks and Benefits

Don't just limit yourself to a monetary increase. Other types of compensation are just as attractive. Perhaps you would like additional vacation time or a flexible schedule in order to focus on the family more. Or if you have been thinking about going back to school perhaps the company has a tuition reimbursement program that you qualify for. Don't pigeonhole yourself into only considering the dollar signs because you may walk away with nothing.

Keep it Professional

Stay level-headed during the discussion. Don't dominate the conversation and do more listening. Avoid mentioning personal reasons why you need the money. And no matter what the outcome, be sure to thank your boss for her time.

Practice Makes Perfect

Prepare what you will say beforehand. Nerves can certainly affect how you come across, but if you practice ahead of time and role-play possible directions the conversation might take, you will feel more confident. Be sure to rehearse your opening statement out-loud and make sure that it starts the conversation off on the right foot.

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How to Get a Job You’re Not *Quite* Qualified For

get a job you're not qualified for

You've found the perfect Job – it fits your salary requirements, puts you on the right career path, seems like an excellent place to work – but then you scroll down and read the qualification requirements only to find out you're not exactly what they're looking for. Job descriptions aren’t typically written with the specific intent of being impossible to fill; it just looks that way. You may not fit the job description to a tee, but if you present yourself the right way, you can snag that job that’s slightly out of reach.

Apply your previous experience to the position.

Your first impression to the company will usually be in the form of a resume and/or cover letter. Use these documents as an opportunity to show how your previous experience relates to the job you're applying for. Show that your work experiences, responsibilities and skills are applicable to their position. If you're writing a cover letter, talk about how your experience will help you succeed in this new position.

Understand the job and its qualifications.

One of the most important parts of an interview is understanding the company you're interviewing for. You don't need to know all of the details, but having an idea of what the company does and how this position contributes to the overall mission will help you ask better questions and show that you have a genuine interest.

Emphasize what you can do for them.

Bring some ideas to the table at the interview stage. Talk about the direction you would take in the position, and emphasize how the skills you already have would benefit the company. This is your chance to show the employers why the position wouldn't be the same without you.

Use positive language.

This is essential when interviewing for a position that you're not sure if you're completely qualified for. Rather than using language like "I don't have experience with..." or "I haven't done this in previous positions," focus on the things you have done. Using negative language during an interview will bring the focus to what you're lacking, which is exactly the opposite of what you're trying to accomplish.

Be inquisitive and ask questions.

As with any interview, you want to know exactly what you would be getting into with a new job. Don't be afraid to ask questions about the position or the company itself. The interview is your chance to learn what you can about your potential new employer, so ask away – but steer clear of questions like "what does this company do?"

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Advanced Networking Tips

advanced networking tips

Networking might seem a little daunting at first, but don't worry. To get started, try out these pointers. Once that has been mastered, we have some advanced networking tips help keep the developed network strong.


Stay in contact with the people in your network. It doesn't have to be on a weekly or even monthly basis. If it is appropriate, invite network members to company events like holiday parties, company picnics, or corporate dinners. Sending holiday cards is a quick and easy way to let a network member know they are still valued. However, it is vital to know when it is appropriate to do so. Don't send cards for obscure holidays, every holiday or specific religious holidays.


If members of your network are invited to company functions, introduce them to people. This can not only help expand your network, but it will also make them feel welcome. Follow proper introduction etiquette and try not to overdo it.

Do More for Others

When working with people in your network, find unique ways to let them feel their time is worthwhile. If you take the time to listen to critiques, take notes and follow through with changes, network members will respect the company represented and possibly recommend services to others. Other things that can make network members feel appreciated would be nominating people in network for newspaper awards, donating to their charities or volunteering. Be involved with the members of the established network.


In the post, "Five Networking Tips for 2016," social media was recognized as a great way to create a network. Once that network is created, continue utilizing social media to post pictures about the company and things others in the network have done for the company. If someone sends a holiday card, photograph it and put it up online. This will open the door to connect with other businesses in a different and more personal way.

Networks can change daily, but with these tips it can be for the better.

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The only reason I want a job is to make money

Keeping It Real: A Dear Recruiting Raya Question

want to make money do i have to lie

Dear Recruiting Raya: I want to make money. It's the only reason I'm looking for a job. Do I have to lie and say something else when they ask me?

As I always say, “never lie.” The short answer to your question is “no.”

I would argue, though, that you might want to change your perspective before you hit your next interview. Employers already know that you want money in exchange for an honest day's work. Money is a primary motivator for work. It's probably why the organization is hiring in the first place… they need people to help them achieve fiscal goals.

The perspective shift I would encourage is to focus on the value you are offering in exchange for getting paid. An employer is not motivated to give you a job because you need the money. An employer hires people they believe can earn them more business, save them time or increase their efficiency to do whatever it is that they do. Try to focus right there – on how you solve the problems this employer has. Demonstrate what you can contribute to your potential employer by your past work experience (resume), your current interests (explanation of why you chose this particular job) and your current skills and abilities.

Be aware, however, that this is a "one-size-fits-all" answer. If you are looking for a second or part-time job to cover an expense or unexpected bill, it can be permissible to mention that fact. I would also include why you chose that particular job (i.e. You might have the required experience or you heard great things from the employees, etc.) All of this can be part of the "job story" that you present to your employer during an interview.

What you don't want to do is to focus solely on YOUR needs during the interview. Focusing just on money (or your lack of money) isn't coming from a place where you can create value. It's coming from an absence of value. When employers are flooded with resumes, they often don't have the time or energy to get personally involved in your story. Focus instead on what you can bring to the employer and everyone will be better off, no matter how much you have in your bank account.

Recruiting Raya happily answers your burning questions about the hiring process. Email Raya@Akraya.com to have your questions addressed.

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Have a Conversation, Not an Interrogation

Police Detective Interrogating A Prisoner In Handcuffs

It's easy for job candidates to sit through an interview and feel as though they are on an unequal footing with the hiring manager. This is sometimes due to their own anxiety or their preconceived notions about how the interview will go. At other times, their anxiety directly relates to the hiring manager conducting the interview. Here are three tips to ensure that interviews look more like a conversation than an interrogation. Spotting a bad interview is a wakeup call to take a more effective approach in the next interview.

Give the candidate a chance to answer each question. When a candidate says something that sparks interest, make a note. Immediately firing off another question before the person has finished speaking creates discomfort for both the interviewer and the interviewee.

Analyze what went well and what didn't during the interview. A candidate could walk away with a negative impression of the organization with even a simple feeling of disorganization. (S)he might feel as though (s)he blurted out the wrong thing or that the job they were interview for wasn’t a great fit.

Look for signs that a candidate needs clarification. A stutter, grimace or uncomfortable silence indicates the need for a life-line. Giving an example to a question like “tell me about a time you solved a complex problem at work,” gives a candidate the chance to formulate a response before the next question on the list.

Interrogations are not comfortable for anyone and can leave both the interviewer and the interviewee with the strong sense that the interview went poorly. Good interviewers pace interviewees through the first meeting. They know when to spend more time on questions based on verbal and nonverbal feedback received from the interviewee. Bottom line: a great interview feels more like a conversation than an interrogation.

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How to Answer the Question ‘What is your greatest accomplishment?’


One of the most maddening questions ever to come out of the interview process is "What is your greatest accomplishment?" This question is uncomfortable for a number of reasons. You might be afraid of giving the interviewer a wrong answer, or you don’t feel particularly accomplished in your current position.

Why this question is so popular:

Every interviewer is different and possesses their own reasoning for their interview questions. However, the most prevalent logic is that the question gives interviewers helpful insight into your ability to evaluate your own performance and your propensity to perform above and beyond normal expectations.

How to find an accomplishment at every level:

If you are a student with no internship experience, your accomplishments may be largely academic and focused on team performance or professor feedback.

If you are an intern, junior or entry-level, you may or may not know the true impact of your accomplishments because you’ve been working at the ground level. Discuss with your direct report and other coworkers to gain insights into how your work fits into the larger picture of what the department/company is trying to accomplish.

If you’re at the professional level, your greatest accomplishment should demonstrate both self-awareness of your proficiency in your area of expertise and exceptional contributions to your team/ department/ overall company goals.

At the executive level, your accomplishments are very clear and you just need practice voicing them.

How to answer the question:

First, state your accomplishment. Then tell the story of how that accomplishment was achieved and your role in making it happen. If you were part of a team, describe how your interactions with teammates helped in the achievement of the goal.

Your statement of accomplishment should quantify and/or qualify your achievements.

A quantified accomplishment adds facts and figures, for example: My work redesigning the UI resulted in an increase of 2,000 site visitors per day and a 20% decreased in cart abandonment.

A qualified accomplishment strengthens your statement with specifics, for example: I brought 15 years’ worth of sensitive customer data back into relevancy by data scrubbing and adding more security through encryption and restricted-use of the database.

You should avoid, at all costs, emphasizing your role in the achievement by downplaying or denigrating the role of other people. Such an answer will tell the interviewer that you do not work well with others, and create a possible red flag to getting the job.

Be sure to keep your responses relevant to your professional performance, and for more impressive results, relevant to the job you’re interviewing for. And as always, never lie in an interview. As long as you stick to the facts, there is no wrong answer to your greatest accomplishment.

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The Benefits of Inspiring and Motivating Employees


Employees are an important part of a company. They have direct access to customer streams, they define the workflow and are responsible for overall success. Without great employees, business would fail.

Usually, the focus on employees revolves around their performance, benefits and pay. But take it from a company that has been awarded the Business Journal’s Best Places to Work in the Bay Area; it’s not enough. Here are some reasons why Akraya focuses on inspiring and motivating employees:

Keeps Employees Productive

One of the best things about keeping employees inspired and motivated is that leaders will also be able to keep them more productive. When employees feel motivated, they will be more likely to finish projects efficiently and correctly.

Increases Employee Retention

Providing employees with a clear path forward in their career is one way to help improve employee retention. By motivating and inspiring employees to do better, strive for more achievements and work harder, this is something businesses will be able to offer to their employees.

Builds a Better Customer Experience

Finally, having employees who are inspired and motivated can be something that will actually help improve the experience customers have with a business as well. When customers are interacting with these types of employees, they will feel more inclined to continue business with the company. They will also automatically feel as though they had a better experience with the company.

These are just a few of the many benefits that can be realized when business is focuses on inspiration and motivation.

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6 Dynamic Interview Questions that Will Stun Your Next Boss


Congratulations! You’ve landed the interview, now it’s time to nail it!

Preparation is vital to creating a lasting impression that positions you to receive a follow-up call. One of the things you want to focus on is ensuring you ask questions that not only extract valuable information, but also show that you are serious about the job.

The right questions can have many benefits including helping you determine if the position and company is great fit for you. It also shows the employer that you’ve invested the time to adequately prepare, giving them a slight insight into your work ethic.

Armed with these six questions you can create an unforgettable impression.

#1 What are the key skillsets and attributes you are looking for in the perfect candidate?

This gives you the best understanding of exactly what they are looking for, even if it was previously mentioned in the job description. Having clarity on the core skills needed perform well.

ProTip: If you have a number of interviewers to see in a day, use the responses to this question to apply your relevant skillsets to future interview questions.

#2 What are some of the challenges of this position?

This is the perfect question for recognizing the totality of the job. Knowing all the tasks and benefits of the position, is nice, but knowing what your day-to-day struggles might be is a fantastic insight into what is going to drive your ambition

ProTip: Use the answer to this question to come up with possible solutions that you can include in your Thank You Letter.

#3 Without naming names, tell me about your favorite employee and some their most impressive characteristics

This is a great question for the person you will be reporting to directly. Your question indicates that you are ready and willing to garner favor and excel in the position. Hiring managers love people that aim for greater achievements, and their response will let you know where that bar is set, as well as reveal a little about the interviewer’s work style.

ProTip: Use the response to this question to tastefully ask more questions about how great employees are rewarded within the company.

#4 What do you enjoy most about working here?

This offers the interviewer a chance to open up and be a bit more personal with you, giving them the opportunity to talk about themselves, a key element in getting people to like and trust you.

ProTip: Use this conversation topic to segue into some of the benefits that are more important to you: flex-time, autonomy, teamwork, etc.

#5 To be successful at XYZ Company, what does it take to really be great at this job?

This question solicits answers that get to the core of a company culture. Your next boss will be generalizing, but has the opportunity to truly be clear on the expectations. When you ask a question like this, it reveals that you have the desire to excel in this position and fit into the company culture quickly.

ProTip: Same as ProTip #1 – Use this response to cater your personality and skillsets to other people you might be interviewing with.

#6 Would you mind sharing a few goals for growth for the company?

Again, this shows that you are committed to the company and ready to contribute meaningfully. You’ll understand the direction of the company (to see if this is an organization that will be around 10, 20 years from now) and while expressing that you want to help them get to their goal.

ProTip: You will be happier in your position if it is clear how your job contributes to company goals, so try to get this point cleared up with this conversation-starter.

These are some of the most compelling questions that we could find, but feel free to leave your own. Also, only expect to ask 1 or 2 of these questions per interviewer, as they are meant to create thoughtful conversations that might meander a little. Best wishes!

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Three Ways to Tell If a Candidate Is Lying

Tell if a Candidate is Lying

It may not always be an easy feat, but learning how to spot a lie can be a very helpful skill to have - especially in a position of leadership and at the interview table.
People can control their words, but often times, they are not able to control the automated responses their body conveys when they lie. Here are three "tells" that could indicate that a person is not being completely honest.

Look at their smile - A lot of times, people will smile to promote the feeling of honesty (politicians, for example). People in general consider a smile to be a sign of sincerity, but in order for that to be true, it has to be a genuine smile. Notice the candidate's eyes when they smile. If they have crow's-feet, they're genuinely smiling. If those little pesky little wrinkles around their eyes are missing, they're only smiling as a facade.

Watch their eyes - There is a general misconception that a liar can’t look you in the eye when they lie. While sometimes this does ring true, many times, the person telling the lie will look you in the eye, but will do so for an abnormally long length of time. It's as if they are trying to over compensate for that misconception, and then they appear a bit too eager to stare you down.

Listen to their words - A contracted denial is a general tell that the person is being honest. "No, I didn't do that," is an example of a contracted denial. They're using informal language, and they aren't over-emphasizing their innocence. If they use a non-contracted denial like "No, I did not do that," they are more-than-likely not being truthful. Formal language can be used when a person is trying to emphasize their denial, and it can also be a dead giveaway to their true answer.

It may not always be easy to spot a liar, but with a little bit of practice and observation, the chances of catching one increases.

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5 Red Flags an Employer Should Never Ignore During an Interview


What exactly stands out in a candidate interview? Is it their style? Their flair? Or their ability to fit well into the company culture? Perhaps it’s all of these things - but for the person responsible for selecting the right candidate for the job, the interviewing radar must go far beyond detecting basic qualities of a candidate.

While there are many signs that can safely be ignored during the interview process due to nervousness, here are 5 red-flags that should never be ignored:

The candidate shows up late or not at all. Granted there are situations beyond one's control (hospitalization, getting lost on a sprawling campus, sudden death in the family, etc.). However, those instances are rare and usually warrant a courtesy call for being late. No call and no show is a clear a sign of disregard and disrespect for the opportunity and the interviewer’s time.

The qualifications on their resume don't match up with their answers. A person who falsifies their qualifications has a higher chance of being dishonest in their work. Trust and dependability are everything, so don’t let this red flag fly.

Their enthusiasm is everything but present. There are some very good reasons why someone avoids showing enthusiasm. But in most cases, if a candidate doesn't interact positively with a firm handshake, eye contact and a smile, they’re not truly enthused about the job. Often, a disengaged interviewee makes for a disengaged employee.

The candidate is disrespectful, arrogant or overly self-assured. The humble-brag is difficult to master, and a candidate always walks a fine line between being confident and being arrogant. That being said, a person who talks down to staff, is inconsiderate of space in the waiting room, or is busy texting instead of making a good impression, is seen as rude. In the interview, a red flag candidate tries to control the conversation by interrupting and consistently steering the conversation back to them.

The candidate speaks badly about their previous employer. Speaking poorly of a previous employers can imply a lack of responsibility for one's actions and the inability to deal with difficult situations. Additionally, a complainer can bring down the morale of an entire department, so any bad-mouthing at all is a red flag that the candidate isn’t worth investing in.

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