When’s the Right Time to Discuss Salary, Flexible Work Arrangements and Other Benefits During an Interview?

Career coaches typically say to put an employer’s needs ahead of your own during an interview. As important as that advice is, you also need to determine whether the employer can fit your personal needs and interests with salary, flexibility and other benefits. The trick is how to gain the information you need without coming across as overly demanding or not focused on the company’s needs. With a proper strategy, you can determine when the right time is to discuss salary, flexible work arrangements and other benefits during an interview. Here are some suggestions.

When the Interviewer Shows Interest in Hiring You

A good time to discuss salary, flexible work arrangements and other benefits is after the interviewer expresses interest in hiring you. For instance, they may ask when you can start or whether you can provide references. Doing so shows you have their attention and are a good fit for the role. Because you showed the value you can add to the business, you have the leverage to ask for information about salary, flexibility and benefits.

After Being Offered a Job

Discuss salary, flexible work arrangements and other benefits after you receive a job offer. Be sure you thoroughly researched everything you want well before your first interview. For instance, review the company website and job description for salary information. Use sites such as Glassdoor and Comparably to figure out the organization’s salary range and benefit structures. Connect with employees through LinkedIn to ask about company culture. You can state your case and provide evidence for why you should receive it. After negotiating your salary, bring up benefits. Be sure you clearly understand what the company is offering and whether it fits your needs. For instance, find out whether you’ll receive health insurance, a retirement plan and PTO. Depending on your lifestyle and interests, you want to ask about reimbursement for ongoing education, daycare, a gym membership or other benefits. After negotiating your benefits, bring up flexible work arrangements. For instance, ask how the teams are structured and which work arrangements best serve the company’s mission. Ask about the number of hours employees work each week. If there is flexibility, share whether you’re looking for a variable start and end time at the office, a four-day workweek, the ability to work remotely one or more days per week or some other option. Be ready to compromise on what you request.

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As a leading Chicago employment agency, Casey Accounting & Finance Resources offers complimentary use of our Career Tools Portal to help with your job search. You gain access to top job search tools, an article and video library, professional resume review, career assessment programs and more. When you’re done, you can set up an interview with one of our seasoned recruiters. Contact us today to get started!

6 Tips to Help Improve Your Networking Skills

It’s true that your network is your net worth. When you network out of genuine curiosity in all environments, you learn things you otherwise may not have known. If you have a typical routine and see many of the same people each day, take the time to get to know them. You never know what opportunities you may uncover. Here are six tips to help improve your networking skills.   

 1. Introduce Yourself 

A great way to meet people is by introducing yourself. Wherever you are, walk up to someone, put out your hand and tell them your name. Talk about who you are and what you do. Ask the person to do the same. Put yourself out there and show who you truly are so you attract whom you need. 

 2. Make Friends   

Because friends do business with friends, focus on starting relationships. Discuss your goals, dreams, challenges and personal interests. Find commonality to bond over. If someone especially impresses you, ask them to coffee or lunch to continue your conversation. When you need an in at a company and you have an established relationship with an employee there, you’re more likely to find the value you’re looking for than if you simply picked up that person’s business card.    

 3. Listen 

Be unlike most people and attentively listen. Show you are truly interested in what they have to say. Given the opportunity to truly connect enhances that person’s view of you as a friend. People trust you and feel safe sharing who they are. You gain much more knowledge when you give someone your undivided attention. What you learn could lead to career opportunities down the road.    

4. Give Before Asking 

Always give before asking for something in return. When you meet someone, think about how you can help them reach a goal, make a connection or overcome an obstacle. Show your willingness to invest in them, add value to their life and build trust. If nothing comes from the relationship, be happy that you helped someone.   

5. Request an Introduction 

If you want to meet a person, ask the people you know if they know anyone who knows the person. When you find someone who does, ask them to introduce you. Because a warm lead is better than a cold one, you’re more likely to get in the door as a referral than a cold email or phone call. Be sure to reciprocate when possible.   

6. Keep your word 

Follow through on everything you say you’ll do. Your word and reputation are your biggest assets. If you promise to follow up, then follow up. If you say you’ll close a deal, uphold the deal to the highest standard. People make referrals to someone who’s reliable and always there. 

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Find your next role by networking with Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. Our extensive networking and recruitment programs help us place all levels of accounting and finance candidates. Contact our leading finance recruiters today! 

Staying Curious Could Lead You to the Finance Career of Your Dreams

One soft skill that is beneficial to your finance career is curiosity. Continually asking questions to gain information opens you up to new opportunities. You may discover skills and interests you did not know you had, find an especially intriguing line of work or move to a position you did not see yourself having. Find out how staying curious can lead you to the finance career of your dreams. 

Networking 

Being curious about what finance professionals do encourages you to network. Asking questions about finance workers’ responsibilities, what they like best about their jobs, and how they became interested in their line of work may lead to your own career advancement or change. If the projects that finance professionals handle each day sound interesting to you, dig deeper for additional information to determine whether you may want to pursue that line of work. If so, build a relationship with your connection before asking about job openings or an introduction to the hiring manager. Even if no positions are available, you can get to know the manager and express interest if anything opens up.  

Job Change Anxiety 

Curiosity can help you with anxiety about starting a new finance job. For instance, you can use the company website and social media to research the organization, view pictures and posts about the office and culture, and see what it is like working there. You can get to know a little about potential colleagues and gain insight into job responsibilities, requirements and expectations. During the interview, you can ask questions about the company’s goals, finance department’s projects and teambuilding activities.    

Professional Development 

Being open to increasing your financial skills, knowledge and experience means you continually learn new things in your field. Staying current on industry news, trends and best practices keeps you on top in your field. Connecting something you are learning about with something you already know increases your understanding and retention of the information. Ongoing professional development shows you are willing to adapt to new circumstances and helps position you as an expert in your field. 

Career Fulfillment 

Continuing to satisfy your curiosity about different finance functions means you are taking risks and learning new things on an ongoing basis. The more you gain new experiences, skills and information, the faster you advance professionally. Receiving bonuses, raises and awards also increases your personal fulfillment, leading to additional career growth. Embracing the unknown and being OK with feeling uncomfortable helps you take on new challenges in your career.  

Find the Finance Career of Your Dreams 

As a leading Chicago employment agency, we specialize in securing employment for accounting and finance professionals in direct placement, temporary services and consulting roles. Get in touch with us today!  

Should I Accept an Interview Even if I’m Not Looking for a New Job?

Perhaps you have a quick commute, the most amazing boss ever, and absolutely love the work you do. Because you are happy with how your job is going, you may not want to even consider changing. Even so, remain open to the possibility of an even better opportunity coming your way. You will not know what might be unless you accept an interview even if you are not looking for a job. Here are some hidden benefits you could uncover.  

Expand Your Network 

The more interviews you accept, the greater your network expands. Having meaningful conversations with employers, recruiters and industry leaders means gaining access to one-on-one time you may not have received through a networking event or other circumstances. You gain the professional’s undivided attention as you discuss your job, employer, goals and the market. Even if you do not end up working for the company, by connecting with the individuals on LinkedIn and cultivating relationships, you set yourself up for future opportunities. 

Enhance Your Interview Skills 

Even an interview for a job that does not interest you provides practice for future interviews. Taking part in a variety of settings with different personalities and questions providevaluable exposure to help prepare meet with the company you want. Putting your extensive practice time into a real interview lets you test out your answers and figure out how to improve your performance. You are able to take inventory of what you do each day, what you have accomplished in your role, and what you would like to do next  

Gain Insider Information 

Every interview you participate in provides insider information on what employers are looking for. By focusing on the specific questions asked about your background and skills, you gain a sense of what is most important and what to talk about. Similarly, if an interviewer is confused by a specific part of your resume, you can update that section before sending it out. Plus, you learn information about how the company does things, such as what systems the team uses or how they have been dealing with recent changes in the field, you may be able to take back to your current role.   

Find Your Dream Job 

Going to ainterview may lead to your dream job. Perhaps the office is gorgeous, the colleagues amazing, and the vibe just what you are looking for. Even if the job description sounds less than thrilling, you may be able to perform work you love with a brilliant, fun-loving team. Or, even if the pay is not what you would like, you may able to give back to the community by working with a nonprofit organization.   

Find Accounting or Finance Work in Chicago  

Find work in Chicago with help from Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. Our seasoned recruiters can help you find the accounting or finance job of your dreams! 

11 Costly Blunders to Avoid in a Job Interview

Performing your best during a job interview includes practicing what you want to say and how to say it. You want to demonstrate your skill set and top accomplishments in a confident, personable way. Avoid diminishing your abilities and downplaying your success by avoiding these costly missteps.

  1. When scheduling your interview, make sure you can fulfill your commitment to be at the interview at the designated time and arrive a few minutes early.
  2. Make sure to dress your best (even if the company has a casual dress code), leave your phone in the car, dispose of the gum and don’t drink coffee during the interview.
  3. Don’t write “see resume” when completing an employment application.
  4. Don’t ask about working from home or what the benefits will be during the initial stages of the interview process.
  5. Keep answers relevant and to the point. Don’t be long-winded.  If you do all the talking, the interviewer will not be able to determine your ability to do the job by asking key questions.
  6. Listen! Don’t answer a different question than the one they actually ask you.
  7. Don’t talk over the interviewer.
  8. Have questions ready to ask about the company based upon the research you have done.
  9. Do not complain about your previous employer.
  10. If you are interested in the position, let the interviewer know you are interested and what the next steps will be in the interview process.
  11. Don’t write a thank you note to the interviewer while still on the job interview! Wait until after the interview and send a thank you note to express your interest in the position and to thank them for the interview.

Schedule Your Next Interview Today!

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5 Ways to Utilize LinkedIn During Your Job Search

LinkedIn is one of the top sites for employers, recruiters, and job seekers to connect. Employers and recruiters can determine whether job seekers have the skills, experience, and other requirements needed to call them in for an interview. Job seekers can research open roles, companies, and employers to determine whether they may be a good fit. Here are four ways you can use LinkedIn to help find your next accounting or finance job.

1. Complete and Update Your Profile

Keep your profile complete and updated. Post a current, professional photo to increase recognition of you. Include a first-person, engaging summary that highlights your strengths, value proposition, and how to reach you. Fill in a comprehensive description of your skills and objective, job descriptions, and current position. Highlight your recent experience to encourage engagement with employers and recruiters. Post articles you write, videos you make, and other content you create. Include a link to your website or online portfolio. Update your profile every time you add skills or responsibilities, achieve goals, get promoted, or change employers.

2. Use Keywords

Place keywords throughout your profile. Your headline, summary, location, job title, job description, volunteer experience, skills, activities, publications, honors and awards, and organizations can help direct hiring managers and recruiters in your direction. Look at titles and key phrases such as “project manager,” “SAP,” or “San Francisco” in job descriptions, as well as industry keywords to determine which keywords to use in your profile.

3. Build Your Network

Continuously build your network. Focus on friends, colleagues, alumni, managers, and targeted connections in your field. Include leaders in your industry, hiring managers and potential colleagues at companies you want to work for, and recruiters who can help place you in roles. Participate in LinkedIn Groups in your industry to connect with others in your field. Write a customized connection request, including how you know the person and why you would like to connect. If appropriate, reach out to a hiring manager or employee you have an established relationship with at a company you want to work for and ask for an interview or introduction.

4. Include Recommendations

Post at least three to four recommendations. A variety of people recommending your work, such as a boss, direct report, or client, encourages employers and recruiters to reach out to you. Coach each person on what you would like them to focus on when writing your recommendation.

5. Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader

Cultivate your reputation as a thought leader. Post and comment on articles you write or find interesting. Follow companies and experts in your industry to stay current on news, changes, and trends. Actively engage in conversations, ask and answer questions, and share your expertise through LinkedIn Groups.

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5 of the Biggest Misconceptions About Working in the Finance Industry

Finance is one of the most misunderstood industries. Information conveyed through movies, news reports, online articles and other sources do not always contain facts or convey the entire story. For this reason, we are setting the record straight about some of the biggest misconceptions about working in the finance industry.

You Need a Finance Degree  

Although education is important, many workers come from IT, art, or other non-finance backgrounds. Being able to understand and explain complex subjects is only one core requirement for working in the industry. As long as you have or can acquire financial skills, along with emotional intelligence and people skills, you can transfer other skills to a variety of finance positions. You also can participate in training opportunities and continuing education to enhance your skill set.

You Need an Extensive Network

Your network does not have to include connections from Ivy League schools or powerful people in the finance industry. What matters more are your education, credentials, strengths, skills, experience level, and networking ability. For instance, you can use your professional and networking skills to gain an internship that may lead to a full-time job. Once you have a job, you can begin networking with your peers and later move to professionals at higher levels and ask them to mentor you.

You Have to Work for a Bank or on Wall Street

The finance industry covers a variety of geographic locations, work environments and company culture. You could work for a large or small firm, long-established company or startup, or other range of organizations. For instance, if you work in fin-tech, you may be employed by early-stage disruptors, mid-sized companies or large corporations. The businesses may include tech lenders like OnDeck or payment companies like Square. Also, as an investment banker, you could work in almost any state. Although higher-paying jobs may be near financial hubs like New York or London, many banks are moving to remote locations such as Tampa, FL, or Providence, RI, to provide employees with a different lifestyle.

You Lack Work-Life Balance

Any career will be demanding and time-consuming when starting out. You may decide to be a banker, trader, portfolio manager, compliance analyst, research specialist or other professional and still have a life away from the office. Your level of work-life balance will depend on the profession you choose and the financial institution or organization you work for.

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The Top Job Searching Myths You Can’t Possibly Believe!

Finding a job is a stressful activity. Buying into false beliefs about the process can make it even harder. Enhance your job search by not believing these myths.

1. My Resume Will Automatically Get Through the Automated System

An applicant tracking system (ATS) screens out candidates based on keywords, dates and job titles. Therefore, an average of five of every 1,000 online applications pass through the ATS to the manager. Even if your skills and qualifications make you a top candidate, you are not guaranteed to be offered an interview. You are better off customizing your cover letter and resume, finding the manager’s email on LinkedIn, and sending your information directly to them.

2. The Hiring Manager Will Know I Am a Great Fit

Your cover letter and resume should point out specific reasons why you are a great fit for the role. If the hiring manager is left to connect the dots between how your information qualifies you for the position, they will move on to the next qualified candidate. Point out your qualifications in relation to the job posting. Do not leave anything to chance.

3. My Passion for the Job Will Outweigh My Lack of Qualifications

Although you may be called in for an interview without having every qualification listed in a job posting, be aware of how far off your background is from what the hiring manager is looking for. Some factors may be negotiable, such as having four years’ experience when the posting asks for six. However, if you have three years’ experience and the posting asks for 10, focus your energy on other opportunities. This is especially true if you are changing careers and cannot demonstrate many transferable skills to get the role you want.

4. A Cover Letter Is Unnecessary

Even with digital job applications, a tailored cover letter and resume are required. Your cover letter gives context to your resume and a voice to your stats. It needs to show the hiring manager what you are looking for, why you are qualified for the role, and that you would like to talk further about the opportunity.

5. My Resume Should Be One Page

Because a customized resume is the centerpiece of your job application, it should highlight the most important information for the hiring manager. Therefore, you may not be able to list your related skills, experience and career highlights all on one page. This is especially true if you have a decade of experience and/or work in a high-level role. Choose a layout that is pleasing to the eye and draws attention to your most important achievements.

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Embracing AI in the Workforce

Artificial intelligence (AI) is taking over the workforce. The technology uses data to analyze patterns of behavior that are encouraged, discouraged, and tolerated by people and systems over time to determine which are most favorable. By performing repetitive, mindless busywork, AI frees up time for employees to engage in higher-level tasks. Increasing efficiency and productivity encourages new jobs to be created that increase engagement and fulfill potential. Therefore, AI should be embraced as a positive transformation in the workplace.

Faster Recruitment and Training

AI makes recruitment and training faster. For instance, an applicant tracking system screens resumes to narrow the candidate pool. Also, chatbots conduct basic background checks to identify specific qualifications and determine which candidates get offered interviews. Further, AI helps employees gain opportunities to learn new skills that aid in career growth, providing the business with a competitive advantage.

More Effective Management of Company Culture

AI more effectively manages company culture. For instance, AI analyzes behavioral data from onboarding processes, performance management, business processes, leadership forums, discussion threads, exit interviews, and other HR sources to develop real-time behavior patterns and create an ongoing picture of culture incorporated in the workplace. Also, AI identifies systemic issues and their consequences to avoid current risks, and facilitate the development of a culture plan. Additionally, AI facilitates culture audits of systems and processes to ensure they align with what boards and regulators expect of an organization.

Shorter Sales Cycle

AI shortens the sales cycle. For instance, the screening process becomes more precise and positively impacts the customer experience, improving the conversion rate. Also, AI takes on time-consuming, but necessary, tasks to increase productivity. For example, by using information from public domain and prefilling underwriting questions needed for an insurance quote, AI improves the ease of conducting insurance business for both prospects and the company, by closing more deals in less time.

Enhanced Customer Experience

AI enhances the customer experience. For instance, chatbots can predict customer needs and give the information customers desire at any time, reducing the burden on human customer service reps. Also, increased response time allows for instant communication and faster decision making. With the necessary information, customers are more inclined to conduct business and become loyal followers. Additionally, AI analyzes what customers want over time to provide deeper personalization and higher-quality products and services.

Increased Focus on Big Picture

AI increases focus on the big picture. For instance, AI can take over tedious work such as programming, and free up time for more enjoyable work. Programmers can play with, train, monitor, and provide feedback on AI so that running modules becomes more streamlined.

Your Next Finance or Accounting Job in Chicago

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The Job You Interviewed for Wasn’t What You Expected, But You Have No Other Leads. What Do You Do?

There are many reasons to consider taking a job that is different from what you expected. Perhaps your unemployment is almost gone or your family is relocating and you need a job. Whatever your circumstances, you need to decide whether to take the job or hold out for a different opportunity altogether.

Evaluate How to Proceed

To determine whether to take the role, ask yourself some questions. For instance, “What new information has caused my interest in this opportunity to decline? How much has my interest waned?” And, “Does the new information compromise my core wants and needs?” Also, “Is there information I do not know that may change my mind? What is it?” Plus, “Do any aspects of this opportunity still appeal to me? What are they?” If more information is needed, stay in the running and wait for another interview. Write down the questions you need answered to make a better decision.

Take the Job If the Pros Outweigh the Cons

If the pros outweigh the cons, then take the job. For instance, the hours may be long, but the company will look great on your resume. Or, you may not be interested in one duty, but there are five you do enjoy. Perhaps the role is not very exciting, but your potential colleagues are amazing and an advanced position could be your dream job.

Decline the Job If You Truly Are Not Interested

If you are less than inspired by the role, then let the hiring manager know as soon as possible. Chances are remote that you will change your mind. Contact the hiring manager by phone or email. Be specific about your reasons for withdrawal and emphasize your gratitude for the interview. For instance, “Sarah, I want to thank you for the opportunity to interview for the Auditor role at Firm A. As I learned more about the position and organization, it was clear that I am not a good fit with company culture. I appreciate getting to know you and hope you find the right candidate soon. Best regards, Rebekah Freiberg”.

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