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Be positive to ease the sorrow and land a job

Published on Friday, 19 Oct 2012
Louisa Yeung

I'm an executive director at an industry association who feels disgusted at the office politics played by the board of directors. This has had such a huge negative impact that staff morale and productivity are very low. I have tried to motivate staff and lead them in generating more income. But jealous board members have played politics against me, trying to weaken my leadership. So I've decided to move on, but have had many unsuccessful interviews. I am 51 and currently earn HK$35,000 a month. Am I too old or asking for too much if I request around HK$40,000 for a manager or CEO post? I see myself as an experienced administrator and my performance has always been satisfactory. How I can find a way out? I have a bachelor's degree and a master's degree, with 25 years of working experience. Nil

It sounds like you are experiencing quite a stressful situation. However, it is good that you are trying to stay focused and motivate staff to generate more income.

Your experience, degree qualifications and consistent job performance puts you in a good position to secure another job at your level. I do not think your age or your salary expectations are the reason why you are not progressing beyond the first interview. It is good to be upfront about salary expectations so that employers are aware of this.

In my opinion, a possible reason for why you are not progressing beyond the first interview could be because you are disheartened by the experiences in your current role and this is apparent to the hiring employer. Some interviewers are adept at seeing through candidate responses to uncover strong negative emotions.

To improve on your interview delivery, the key is to be positive when answering questions about your present role, think and talk proactively, and be honest about your reasons for wanting to leave the association. This will indicate that while you may not be happy in your current position, you are looking to take the next step and are positive about working in a role and company that better suits your career goals.

As well as this improved attitude, you can also better your chances by preparing answers to commonly asked questions.

Louisa Yeung is the managing director of Michael Page International in Hong Kong and Southern China.

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