Why negotiating ALL benefits when interviewing matters!

Negotiating is a skill we all practice throughout our lives personally or professionally. 

Whether it’s negotiating what restaurant to eat at on the weekend, where to live, what movie to see, etc. as you can see, they range from the smallest of things to major choices we make in our lives.

In our careers, it’s no different and many times, it’s in our professional lives we seem to get tripped up and don’t consider ALL our options as we consider what’s important to us, especially when we’re interviewing.  With enough experience, practice and time, it’s a skill that can be nurtured especially when it comes to negotiating money.

Most candidates when they’re interviewing think of the monetary benefits they’re hoping to earn – a bump on their base salary as they consider their next move.  Salary and bonuses are usually at the top of the list amongst a number of other motivators that are important when interviewing.  Depending on what’s driving your move and desire to change, they may vary in level of importance.

So why do we get choked up when it comes to asking for money?

The truth is, most people are uncomfortable asking for what they want, especially money and more importantly, are not always prepared for the discussion or how to ask.  When I was in the very early stages of my career, I remember sitting across from a manager I had at the time who I admired and happened to be male and I flat out told him, “I hate asking for money…” and his answer to me was, “why?  You work hard, you’re performing, you should ask for what you want.”  That’s it.  Nothing complex, no long lecture, just, ask for what you want.

Of course, there’s more to it and it takes time, experience, practice, etc. to get comfortable with negotiating (and personally, I’m still working at it), but I never forgot that.

Remember, if you don’t ask, the answer will always be NO so if there’s anything you take from this post, ASK for what you want! 

When you’re interviewing and you’re lucky enough to make it to an offer stage, here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

Be open and transparent with your salary expectations – this should really be shared before you get to this stage as most companies will want to understand if they can afford you at the early stages of the interview process.  The last thing you want to do is go through a number of interviews only to reach an offer stage and learn the company just doesn’t have the budget to meet your salary expectations.  Having said that, be clear with what you’re looking for – i.e. 10% increase on my base, $10K sign on bonus to cover X, etc.

Be prepared to negotiate ALL benefits – as mentioned earlier, everyone has various motivating drivers that are important to them and salary is not always the main and only benefit of interest.  What else is important to you?  Work from home?  Vacation time?  Commute allowance?  Think about what these options are.  Also, consider discussing what the flex is around these items early in the process.  Some benefits are company-wide policies that are less flexible to be offered to new hires coming on board.  Again, be prepared to discuss openly the benefits that are important to you.

Ask a trusted colleague or friend if you’re unsure of how to deliver your message and articulate what you want – again, for the purpose of asking for what you want, if negotiating isn’t something that comes easy to you, practice ahead of time with someone you trust and know.  Ask them to role play with you and ask for feedback.  We don’t always see our own blind spots, so asking for someone else’s perspective can be helpful.

Be prepared to get a NO to what you asked for – so this is not always easy to hear and can be deflating especially if you’re trying to seal the deal with a company and new opportunity.  Going back to the above, consider other options you can negotiate, but also, consider this to be a sign that it may not be the right fit if none of your requests or asks were met.  This isn’t about giving up and walking away, however, if you’ve made every effort to explore and consider ALL your options, the one to walk away is also one to consider if you’re requirements aren’t met.

Now, I’d love to hear from you! What would you add to these suggestions? Is there a negotiation strategy you’ve used that’s been effective?

Happy negotiating!

Lisa xo

Lead with the WHOLE you at work – not just the professional


In the past, jobs were about muscles, now they’re about the brain, but in the future, they’ll be about the heart.

Minouche Shafik, Director, London School of Economics

Showing up holistically in every aspect of your life takes courage and knowing who you are.  We’ve been conditioned to believe that, in the workplace, work is work and the parts of you that make you human don’t belong there.  Time amongst others is challenging us to evolve and begin to look at our employee’s or ‘our people’ in the workplace as a WHOLE person.  Not just the professional that’s at work Monday- Friday.

Our work places are changing, the way we work is changing and it’s time we do too.

I’m thrilled to see that there’s increasing conversations on how to evolve leadership. Thereby challenging the way we bring ourselves to work, challenging the way we hire talent, challenging our expectations of what the workplace means today.  Can we start to see more organizations modeling these changes as part of their core values?

Part of adopting this as a core value in your company – one that prioritizes people first, and thereby accepting your employee in full, is leading by example.  Leadership in its truest forms.  It’s leading with people first over profits. 

It’s understanding that as individuals, we’re whole rather than just playing a role in the workplace.  Yes, you need to make money, yes you run a business, yes you need the best people to perform to help run and drive your business. You can do all of that while accepting your people as whole individuals, vs. just professionals.

Brene Brown, author of Dare to Lead. Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts, discusses leadership in the most courageous way and challenges our definition of what leadership looks like. For me at least it has. We need more conversations around brave work, tough conversations and leading with whole hearts.

Having productive discussions on what I like to call, leading with heart, is one thing but modeling this behavior is another.  When you lead as the whole you and not just as the President/CEO/Manager, you encourage others to do the same. You create a culture where it’s acceptable to bring your whole self to the work table. You’ve invested in your people as whole human beings.

When you’re leading as a whole person and not just the professional, here’s what that leadership looks like:

  1. Leading with your whole heart
  2. Demonstrating kindness, openness, and transparency
  3. Leading with self-compassion, compassion for others and empathy
  4. Embracing diversity and celebrating inclusiveness
  5. Getting up after you fall and trying again
  6. Celebrating all wins big and small
  7. Practicing recognition and gratitude daily
  8. Honoring downtime as much as work time
  9. Embracing creative solutions
  10. Mirroring your purpose and values

What might happen if you began to lead with your whole self and created a culture where your employees were free to be themselves?

If you’re motivated to evolve and embrace a new way of leading, a new way of working, start by making a conscious choice to lead differently. Years of ‘doing things the way it’s always been done,’ doesn’t mean it needs to take years to unlearn and embrace a new way of being.

Now I’d love to hear from you!

What’s one thing you can do today to embrace a NEW way to lead?

Leave a comment below and remember, inspired action comes from a desire to change and a willingness to move forward. 👊

With so much love ❤

Lisa xo

4 interview tips to help you prepare as a NEW manager 👊

So, you just got promoted (yay!) and are now managing people for the first time (another yay!).  It’s a great opportunity for anyone to gain people management experience and when you do, you learn a ton not only about others but about yourself.

When you step into your first leadership role, you’ll inevitably be faced with the task of hiring people as well.  Whether it’s hiring someone for your own team, or simply participating in an interview for a role in your dept./division and you’re elected to be on the interview slate.  What’s important in either situation, especially if it’s your first time is knowing how to conduct an effective interview.

There’s no manual on how to perfect an interview and I would confidently say, it’s all about practice, practice, practice!  But there are some best practices you can learn and adopt to ensure you’re starting off on the right foot.  I for one early in my career remember sitting in on interviews as an observer, listening in and it was a great learning opportunity on not only to understand what questions to ask (pertaining to that specific role) but the importance of preparing ahead of time.

Besides, second to being a great leader and leading your high performing team, hiring people will be one of the most important sets of responsibilities you’ll hold in your role.  Too many times, new managers are entering their leadership position with little to no guidance on how to interview and more importantly, how to assess talent.   Having some guidance and structure on what to keep in mind at the offset can be helpful and set you up for success!

Keep in mind your approach may vary depending on if you’re hiring for your team or someone else’s, however the below tips can serve as a great starting point to help you prepare before diving into your first interview as a first-time manager.

  • This may seem obvious; however, be sure to understand the position / scope of the role you’re hiring for AND ensure everyone that’s part of the hiring team is aligned and on the same page on what to look for.  The last thing you want to do is walk into an interview and not be clear on expectations and what you or your team are collectively looking for.  This will allow you to position and customize your questions appropriately.
  • Ask what you want to know. 
    • I can’t stress this one enough.  It’s been my experience, too many hiring managers will draw conclusions or make assumptions based on what a candidate said in passing or a comment they made vs. having asked a specific question.  *Get curious*, ask open-ended questions, learn the story, then form an assessment. 
  • Talk to your boss or other colleagues who have experience interviewing.  
    • You’re likely not the only one going to be interviewing whether for your direct team or someone else’s.  Find out if there’s a structure in place amongst the interviewers on the interview slate.  In some instances, if there are multiple interviewers, each person may focus on assessing a different skill set or component of a candidates background specific to the open position, i.e. one interviewer interviews for technical aptitude, another interviewer focuses on assessing for team or project management skills, etc. etc.
  • Design your questions to learn of a candidate’s WHOLE self vs. just their professional skill set
    • As a first-time manager new to interviewing, this is a great opportunity to develop a best practice of assessing for a candidate’s WHOLE self vs. just their professional background.  Learn to get to know the individual and assess for all skills. 

Remember, interviewing is a practice and a skill to cultivate.  The best thing you can do is prepare, then practice.  The best opportunities to learn are also when you fail, so if you feel as though your first interview doesn’t go as well as you would have liked, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try again.  Learn from those experiences and apply those learnings to your next interview.

Here are 2 questions I’d love to get your thoughts on. Leave a comment below and share your experience!

What other tips would you add to the above list?

If you’ve gone through this experience before, how did you prepare as an interviewer when you became a manager for the first time?

Stepping into your first people leadership role can be nerve wrecking to say the least, so be brave and share your experience that might just help someone who’s in this very place today.

With so much love ❤,

Lisa xo

What skills should you take notice of and why are they important?

What’s the most important skill you’re assessing when you’re interviewing talent?

Does a talent’s soft skill vs. hard skill and/or competencies to do a job hold the same level of importance for you?  I can probably guess that your answer would likely be no, although I’m sure you would agree it’s important just not as important as the hard skills to actually do the job.

In a world where artificial intelligence is creeping its way into many different industries and jobs, there will be forever the skills that AI simply will not be able to offer or do. That’s the human skills that we bring to the table, or otherwise known as soft skills.  Effective communication, compassion, empathy, passion, drive, etc. just to name a few. 

Why is this important and how does it effect you?  Well, if you’re a company that hires people, you want to focus on the FULL package a talent has to offer; meaning ALL skills are becoming increasingly important.  Not just their ability to perform a task and do a job.  It all matters.  In fact, LinkedIn‘s data as noted in their 50 Big Ideas in 2019:  What to watch in the year ahead article, suggests the fastest growing skills gap are related to soft skills.

If you’re someone who will likely be looking for a job at some point in your lifetime, your creative abilities and soft skills are what will set you apart.  They are the skills that can not be taken away from you and be automated.  The workplace is evolving, technology is constantly changing and skills and jobs are being automated.  As a job seeker, you want to understand how this affects you.

Now, I’m sure you can imagine, soft skills I find are typically more difficult to measure and assessing them can be tricky.  Simply reviewing a resume for key or ‘buzz’ words isn’t enough either.

For hiring managers and recruiters, here are some questions you can ask to help measure a few of the more common and important soft skills during interviews:

  • Communication skillsTell me a time when your communication skills were imperative to a problem you solved?  How were they used and what was important about that? (here, you’re not just looking for oral or written. Communication also includes what’s not being said – body language. You want to go deeper here)
  • Adaptability & FlexibilityHow have you dealt with change in your organization and what soft skills were critical to demonstrate during that time?
  • CollaborationWhat are some examples you can share when you’ve had to work with others you don’t know and how did you approach the situation? 
  • EmpathyShare an example of a customer service issue with your company or make one up.  Ask what soft skills they would demonstrate in that situation

I would also add to these.  You can also ask a candidate to share a real-life work issue at their current company (if they’re employed), and what soft skills are needed to solve it.

There are all kinds of different questions you can come up with and likely add to this.  The ones above are those I have found helpful in my experience, but please feel free to play around with these.   Also, don’t be shy to ask directly, what soft skills they deem themselves to be strengths of their’s and how they would relate to the position at hand.  As simplistic and obvious as it may sound, it’s a good question to ask, as chances are, candidates aren’t commonly being asked about their soft skills.

What are your thoughts on the skills gap being related to soft skills?  

How important are soft skills when you’re assessing talent for your organization? 

Please share your thoughts below! 

Thanks so much for your time,

Lisa  😉