A little bio on ted before we bring him on to talk about three common questions were negotiating ted let hot has dedicated he's career tio elevating the status of creative's in the past he has worked as a designer and illustrator he was a ceo he was a global manager consultant and author also creative live instructor his experiences on both sides off the negotiating table have uniquely qualified him to understand the problems that creatives face in asking for what they need. So without further ado let's bring on the men's self ted lenhart thanks, ted. My pleasure ladies take a seat, sir. Thank you so much for joining us. Let's get cody attend stairs used to this state he spent three days uh doing his thing on negotiations. I was terrified. I have to tell you tell sheriff I yeah, I mean, before we get into the questions yet tell us a bit about yourself, kid. And you know, in what you may have already read about ted what I've explained to you he's had so much experience and he now specia...
lizes in helping creatives be empowered to really negotiate and find out what they're worth and really have the tools to do that I'm an old guy so wise experience experience comes with time, so, uh I built a design business in seattle successful business with my wife carolyn and ah ah to a staff of fifty people and ten million dollars in annual fee sales was a sizable brand design business and we sold it to sir people in london and we then moved to europe where I worked for two years I love this title I had this title have to say the title I was chief creative officer global for fitch worldwide fitch worldwide the huge chief creative officer global fitch worldwide they didn't see many see ceos on a global let me tell you the title was the best part but it was my advanced degree if you will in the world I mean I went from being a seattle boy grew up went to cleveland high school and burnley school of art and lived in seattle on my life and had children there and got married and so on and so forth and you know traveled in my business but never had exposure to the world this was my first real exposure mean rams doing all of this at the very beginning of his career I'm like doing this all at the end it's kind of interesting we're sort of book ends on the same subject that's kind of interesting but what a pleasure but anyways gave me exposure to a whole bunch of creative offices that had been purchased to be a part of this conglomerate I was responsible for created for twenty seven offices design offices around the world so I got to visit them I got to see what they were like I got to see what their numbers were I got to see what their problems were and over and over and over again I saw that they did not know how to ask for the money they didn't know how to ask for the money and it wasn't just me it was epidemic epidemic so two years in that position and I left and I began consulting kind of often on with people and and I did because of that experience I got asked to be involved in some merger and acquisition in business some people who wanted to buy some design firms hired me as a consultant so I help them negotiate deals buying some design firms. And again what did I see? What I saw was creative people not knowing how to deal with the stresses of negotiation and it had been hard for me to it had been hard for me too but I have gotten some training and gotten some help along the way and got better at it and so I kind of got out of that and thought what can I do that interesting to me that's engaging for me that's giving back and it's appropriate given my experience and I thought all begin focusing on helping creatives get the money and uh I wrote a book the book is titled nail it and uh and and craig swanson who's the founder of creative life knew about me and I think might have heard about the book and asked me if I would come and do a session on creative live on negotiation and I um uh um I thought wow this is this is this is a great great opportunity and uh so I did the creative life session and in the process of working with craig he said there's a dilemma here there's a real dilemma and the word dilemma was craig's world word for this and here's the dilemma creative's have created the world that we live in I'm not talking just graphic designers all creatives scientists, artists, musicians, actors, engineers creatives of all disciplines have basically made the world be what it is today for better or worse mean or some problems obviously but we creative's have built the world and yet a quick survey that I did when I got preparing for my first creative live experience a quick survey ofthe what lawyers were paid in big cities on hourly basis versus what designers were paid in big cities for their creative fees seven hundred bucks an hour hundred bucks an hour seven to one I'll be the first to say that's outrageous now something's wrong there something's wrong there something's wrong there and part of what's wrong is that we love the work that we do so much that we're willing to do it for free we're willing to do it for free, and we're so thrilled when someone recognizes us by asking us on I experienced this to this day I mean, I still have the same feelings someone asks us to do it, do something and we're so thrilled that we just want to get on and do the job. I'll never forget the story from a senior, a senior designer no, actually a senior manager, creative man, creative director, actually, of a client of mine uh, who was flew out to the west coast, his offices were in the in the east, you flood the west coast big assignment opportunity for him for his agency. He wasn't the owner because one of the senior guys in the agency and they had done a bunch of work for this client big client, big west coast tech client done a bunch of work for them in the past, all extremely successful for the clients, some of the most successful product launches they've ever had. This guy comes out and he thinks he's going to just start on this project and the and the budget he'd written was one hundred twenty thousand dollars and peanuts for the client big for the little agency but peanuts for the client and the person he's meeting with says to him, well, I'm sorry we only have seventy thousand dollars in the budget you know what he said great, I'll figure out a way to do it jumped on the plane he flew back east and then kind of wondered what happened why did I do that? Why did I do that? And the reason is that in that moment in that stressful moment your frontal lobe shuts down we all experiences are rationale our reasoning shuts down, so when you're applying for that first job or you're or you're trying to sign a freelance client and those emotions are running high, you literally be begin to lose your ability to reason and so what seems so strange afterwards in the moment you just roll over given and don't ask for what you need this man has a lot of information and insight so we could go on for days we had we could have a whole thing, but we are going to tackle cem questions three questions common questions that we get asked during interviews and we're gonna pick ted's brain on how we should best answer them and our answers to these questions kannada help or hinder the opportunity so take into account you know a lot of the techniques and methods that I've mentioned for instance storytelling and things like that they they could be waived in, you know ted's going to have some techniques and approaches that can also be weaved in so it's we're not up here saying this is the cookie cutter approach we never going to say that role different we're all applying for different jobs but let's go to three questions that are very common the first is tell me about yourself what do you and so when you say tell me about some I mean I have a method of shared that with you ted's going share another method or another insight that you can potentially we've in with with my storytelling method the second question that's quite common is what's your salary three well, what were you paid in your last position that is so common, isn't it? The third one is do you have any questions for may write I covered a little bit of that so ted first one tell me about yourself what one of the things that that ever and he should know these questions are dangerous the's questions are really, really dangerous tell me a little bit about yourself. I mean, I immediately want to tell you about my experiences in the second grade on dh my wonderful drunken college trips between classes and, you know, just because it feels kind of comfortable to talk about those things for some read to reveal a little bit of myself, I don't know it's just a sort of normal reaction you know, that I have and I I think I share this with many don't do that don't do that let me give you let me give you a scripted answer so and by the way you've got to plan for these questions so you have to write this down ahead of time before you go into the meeting to pre load that frontal lobe because otherwise in the stress of the moment it's going to be gone it's going to be gone so you so even me so see I wrote this down I've done this before but I wrote it down so they're very tricky because they're so open ended and you can slip away from how you will help them because really what they need always is how are you going to help them so all your answers are about helping them sure it's about you but it's about how you will help them ok so tell me about yourself I think this needs to be broken into three sections the first section is first tell a success from your work that's about you so it's a success from your I work and I made up an answer here to the question tell me about yourself well I focused on creating motion graphics that tell a story as quickly as possible recently I was able to cut a clip to half its original length by creating new graphics my boss said it more than doubled the views yeah and that's almost like that yet you just told a story and said something that is completely relevant to valuable show your competence take so many boxes right? So that's the success from your work part of that question and here's the second part so now we want to move to a strength or ability so we want to emphasize a strength or ability so I made up in answer I particularly enjoy paring down a story to its essential visuals, so the impact is as clear as possible. I particularly enjoy paring down a story to his essential visuals, so the impact is as clear as possible so that's emphasizing my strength and my ability but again it's for them it's to benefit them and then end the third part of this is end with what you are looking for so there's a little bit of an ask there we're going to end with what you want and here's my scripted answer I'm looking for a place where I can contribute mohr I love helping and I need to be in a job where I'm advancing my skills yeah, and you see the very similarities that that I'm kind of giving you guys here and mind you that I didn't know ted right all this stuff but ten islands are in such a similar wavelength in our approach is that you have to prepare and dilute your answers to such such clarity you know you are going to be ready to answer that and that loaded question tell me about yourself can be asked in different ways it could be the fact that they'll ask you so how was your day? What have you been up to? You could merge it into well, I've actually been really busy on a project in fact america however rather than I was at starbucks and I did this right did that don't think that tell me about yourself is going to be those exact words listen to the background music what it it's a good time sitting down on the seat one on one it's go time it's time to deliver the answers that that you've been preparing for so don't wait for it to build momentum, create the momentum and right there ted's just sit at the very beginning what he can give them and he's worth and I'm sure that they get excited by that answer so we'll have to move on to the next common question here that's ok and by the way, in interviews notes are ok taken written notice just fine nothing wrong with pulling out your little notebook or whatever and and using it ok, so the next question is what were you paid? Yeah oh, god, I hate that question how much did you get in your last job? Oh, my goodness uh it's the worst because it's gonna bite you this if you add to this question directly it will bite you in later life yeah let me tell you a story a client of mine washington dc creative looking for a job in an interview and they asked her that question so first they they offered her forty thousand dollars which was a big deal for her that was a big deal for forty thousand dollars she was thrilled she was absolutely through I started at twenty five k has to be clear forty thousand dollars in washington d c I don't think that's probably much in washington d c but anyway forty thousand dollars was a big deal for her she on young woman and and and then they asked her the question of what were you paid in her last job and she honestly says I recommend being honest but she should not have answer the question she honestly said thirty thousand dollars and they immediately dropped their offer to thirty five immediately dropped her off for thirty five she was crushed she was crushed and tears welled up and she excused herself from the meeting left didn't accept she she excused herself and left and went the restroom and then went home and then called me and we had a good cry let's hug it out she's not getting fifty thousand by the way in another place ok so here's the first way to answer it is to avoid it and I would say what have you budgeted? So what you paid? What have you budgeted for the position or what do you think of as the range or something like that? What have you budgeted? Okay, and then the second stall stall and dodge that you can use, which is also if can be effective when they tell you how they did that, you can say what they did you could say, how did you determine that amount? Or how did you determine that range? In other words, you can question them to give you some facts about how they determine the range again, we still haven't answered the question we put him off and we're trying to put him off as long as we can maybe forever, okay? And then if you feel like you're really being pressed, you can say and you feel like you have to say something, okay? I've reviewed the surveys with and with my experience they indicate I should be paid xxx you follow me so you can, so you could say, I've reviewed the surveys and with my experience they indicate I should be paid xxx so you could get your number out and get it out as high as you dare to make it as high as you dare to make it, you know, it's funny, I cities out uh and it was it was a ridiculous increase to what I was getting four and I'm talking as it was for decay increase to what was getting before they didn't flinch they were like oh yeah we can live with that oh I feel like I should have asked the forty game or you will be surprised because what's that thing that ted recently released the video and it's it's about some tips but one of things that I loved about that was uh what they are offering you is actually not the maximum amount and it never is of course they're business people so just remember that your business person too so you go to think like one so the next the next one is back to being a dodge my past pay is not relevant my skills have advanced since my compensation package was established okay? And I know a lot of people actually they might be quite scared especially when you're not the type of person to be so direct like that right it's true the personnel is but it's giving you a whole bunch of it of different ways of drilling in the bathroom before you get a bit of army pants you know I've become much more ferocious as I gained experience so believe me I was not like this right now, okay and then finally and this is my favorite answer of all my past salary is a private matter between my employer and myself how good they say that to you when you start your job, the salary is confidential, so you can have that, uh, it's, actually it's actually a private metal it's confidential between my my previous employer that's it than anything else. And then just be quiet. Yeah, got to it's very hard to control country yourself. Yeah, yeah, I'm familiar with that final question. Final question what do you have any questions for me? Oh, and there you are at the end of the interview, and you're just finally relaxing a little bit in this situation, you know, kind of getting to know the person and you're just, you know, you and they hit you with that one, and of course you don't, and most people don't, so you have to prepare. So so remembering always that that question could happen most likely will happen is a very, very common question. You have to have five or ten prepared questions before you go to the interview, hold too back, hold two of them back for that final question. If they don't ask it, you can always throw him in, you know what I mean? So so here is, uh uh, okay, now you're at the end of that interview it's good. You've become more personal with the person cause sometimes gone by and you share a little bit of stress together so you're feeling more comfortable with each other so I always think it's appropriate than to ask them something that is more about them now this is just a technique of mine this is not the only way to do it so I would always ask something like so bob why did you join the company why did you join because obviously he's enthusiastic and he's he's he's happy to be there and he's doing a good job in the interview so I'm complimenting him I'm giving him a chance to talk about little bit about himself which everybody likes to do tables have turned yes this is also a table turning very good point very very good point the next thing I can say is what do you like about being here if he hasn't already answered that what do you like about being here it's another way to do it and then finally I would say what is your I can envision myself with mary walking down the hall now at the end of the interview in st mary what's your favorite part of your job to get her to you know say well god I just love the part where we can really focus on that front page and I get a chance to make it be just right or whatever how good is that ted and I revealing all the secrets now kate, ask instead ofthe what do you like about being here like what you don't like about being here? Um I wouldn't ask that because it's uh it's not in your best interest in that situation I wouldn't know for me it's also that's probably tonally you're asking the same thing what do you like? Well, you know, that's the end result you want to know about what then you want them to sell the job to you? You know, we've got great company benefit even when you want to know the good things uh, more so than the bad things if they feel like something really bad, I can't stand like the great is the right question because they say I hate this place what do you think is the most challenging part of this position? Yeah, you could do that, but but I'd like to stay all totally away from anything negative that context? Ok, I would try to ask that question with someone on a more personal basis that I know who works inside the company and someone I have more of a really connection to not in the formality of the job interview see, I'd like to keep everything in that job interview because I can still say no to the job, so I've got all my cards I haven't said yes because you're going to think about it overnight, you never ever, ever accept anything on the spot you know that you have to think about it overnight yeah, so so so I would try to find the source to that question in another way than then the interview yeah, I was going to say I also think that can you can start going and really tricky territory because was how they are might be different to how you are so their answer might not even a b b about the job they just might be a pessimist in line right? And you're right it's very good I mean that's that's right? Like the first thing I think of is they is they if you're an optimist and there are pessimists of course they're going to they're going to come up with any reason that they hate about the place, but what if those are little things to you? What if you really care about just at the top of creative work that they're producing but it's actually really good that's what matters to you? Yeah, thing is if you're concerned about one thing in particular, you could ask them of their opinion on that subject I don't know whether it's like maybe if they work what the hours are like and if you're right and you could be more, you could say, you know what is the environment like in terms of your working hours or something? Yeah all right, perfect. Was there another question sorry I want to go back to your statement because I interviewed a lot of people at university hospital and, um if someone were to say to me my salary is private between me and my former employer it would really depend on their tone of voice and their body language um and me receiving that information because I dealt with a lot of people my customers were patients and their families and our hospital in general and the university center so if their tone was such that well, you know, my information is private and with me and my former but I would take a step back and say oh, so I would have to ask something else to maybe bring them out of you know, because it sort of puts him on the defensive, does it not? Uh so how have you ever had anything happened that's they really they sort of presented that the tone avoid you're absolutely right that tone of voice and how it's said so it's not said in a confrontational manner is really important is very, very important absolutely because you have to honor and respect the person that you're being interviewed by and you need to be showing them that you're honoring and respect them so you know your tone needs to be delicate and you need state obviously indicate that you're uncomfortable with the question they're very sorry that you that you need to not that you can't reply but you just feel that it's a private matter of twenty four then that goes along with what you were saying as far as knowing the mission statement and the core values of the institution and you want to fit into that facility the organization in the culture you want to mesh the two so but I think it's important to be able to say that I don't have the confidence to say that is what there is another factor also most creative firms are very small non bureaucratic organization so not there and so they think the social in large organizations you you have to have much more delicate and well refined social skills to re to survive and and typically in small design shops and had agencies it's not it's, not it's way more ah brusque and quick and people are cut to the chase and they're in a hurry and there's less of that delicacy. So and I come from that world so that's part of why I was fairly aggressive in the way originally said that but I completely agree with you that you have to honor that well, thank you it makes it very clear thank you so much when I won't elaborate on tone too much but essentially choose your words you know talk the message is very important and that principle that I told you guys in preparing for the interview talk as if you already know them you're not going to be rude to someone already know if they are so if your friend asks you how much you want hey tell may are you going to say let's bloody private matter I know you're going to go well actually it's a private matter uh unfortunately I can't rule that just because of the contracts that I have in place with that with a previous employer would have you know there's a way of the subtleties in the time of very nice how you use your face how you how you you know use your eyes they're all of these things and sincerity if you think of sincerity on one of the guys I told you before you know try and feel sad when you're like this it's very difficult you know battlefield you know exactly we gotta keep it a human remember facts like the human and they want to find someone right that can fit in their team right there they want you there too not yeah so tone is absolutely ok. Well, I think it said that has been incredibly valuable and uh we have to continue on with the segment although if you want to know more about ted please visit ted lenhart dot com uh the website is on the screen and followed ted on twitter ted linhart, that's l e o n h. Thank you so much. Ted was around.
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Ram is an award winning Design Director, Blogger, top ranking Podcaster, Speaker and Author of the internationally acclaimed book 'How to get a job as a designer, guaranteed'. He's based in Sydney, Australia and in 2012, started the blog GiantThinkers.com which helps thousands of design students and graduates be employed. Ram has since been featured in Communication Arts, HOW magazine, Herman Miller, deFrost*, AIGA.org and Apple.
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