How to negotiate for a particular job position?
February 18, 2007 9:12 AM   Subscribe

I have an interview scheduled for a new job. The company I'm interviewing with supposedly has a reputation of pigeonholing applicants into positions they either did not apply for or are unqualified for. How do I tactfully insist on being considered for the position I applied for?

Half of my entire work history is based on logistics, shipping, and fulfillment/supply chain-related stuff. As far as gruntwork goes, I'm good at what I do and I typically enjoy what I do.

However, I have heard numerous stories about this company that give me reason to fear they are going to try to lowball me and put me in a position that will put all of my knowledge and experience to waste.

If they make me such a lame offer, I have no problem walking away from it--while I'd like to work there, the job simply doesn't mean THAT much to me--but before I go, I'd like to at least make a stand and ask for what I want.

What should I say to convince my interviewer that I would be more of an asset to their company if they put me in the position that I requested than I would be if they stuck me somewhere else?
posted by Ziggy Zaga to Work & Money (4 answers total)
I've got to ask - why in the world would you want to work in a place like that? Is there simply a lack of options in your area and in your field?

On the advice front - as soon as your recruiter tries the "bait and switch", make it clear which position you're interested in. If they still insist in steering you to a lesser position, decline politely and bail immediately.
posted by deadmessenger at 9:27 AM on February 18, 2007

Ask detailed questions about the job duties you would be performing during the interview and, if the subject comes up, ask for a written job description to accompany your offer letter. Otherwise ask for said letter/description if/when they contact you later. If they don't provide it, don't take the job - that'll send a clear message.

Otherwise I agree with deadmessenger - if they have this rep and you believe it, why would you want to work at such a place? They're either jerks or chronically disorganized and ill-focused. Either way, run!
posted by phearlez at 9:35 AM on February 18, 2007

You can usually piece together a good logical argument for sticking to the topic by:
1) Looking at the wording of the advertisement or whatever other source summarizes the job. If they just specified experience and are light on details, then at the interview (after the small talk), express in a very positive way that you're excited to be interviewing with company X (whether you mean that or not), and where do they see you fitting in 'best'.
2) If you get switched, you can quite innocently say something like, 'Where do you see my experience as being the best match for that job? What parts of my background in (list your experience) do you think would be utilized?'. Probe with more open-ended questions as above based on the answers you are given.

If you ask for a written job description flat out, you won't get a very useful response. Most places won't even go to the trouble of putting together a job without a fairly detailed description, so the details exist. Potential employers will provide one once they see a match, and will give you the benefits package to read over as well.

In an interviewing situation that sounds like it could be dodgy, use open ended questions, listen carefully to the responses, and contrary to bailing, always leave the door open (unless they're total fuckfaces). You can easily say, 'This does not seem like the best match for me now, because (insert appropriate reason here). Maybe you'll keep me on file for another position?'
Stay pleasant and professional, thank the interviewer for his or her time, and then move on, and if it's good riddance to bad rubbish, so be it.
posted by nj_subgenius at 10:28 AM on February 18, 2007

I've got to ask - why in the world would you want to work in a place like that? Is there simply a lack of options in your area and in your field?

if they have this rep and you believe it, why would you want to work at such a place?

That's correct. According to my inside man, it's really not that bad a place to work at, but I just need to be prepared to deal with HR's bullshit during the initial interviews.

I appreciate the responses!
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 6:38 PM on February 18, 2007

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