Salary Negotiation - A Tricky Business
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Whether you live to work or work to live, there comes a point in your job
search when you are going to have to talk money, and as much as we either love
or need the stuff, this is a conversation that few of us look forward to. If we
settle for too little, we are likely to spend the next few years kicking
ourselves, and perhaps even feeling resentful towards our employer. If we ask
for too much, we risk losing the job offer. A careful balancing act is called
for…and nerves of steel.
The first question to consider when it comes to salary negotiation is when to
have the conversation, and it is crucial to remember here that employers DO use
both salary expectations and current earnings to sift candidates in and out.
Show your hand too early and you might never even have the chance to reach the
negotiation stage. The other thing to bear in mind is that until such time as
you have been interviewed and had the opportunity to find out precisely what the
position involves, you cannot possibly know what it is worth. Never include a
salary expectation or indicate your current or past salaries in your resume or
on an application form, never discuss remuneration at a first interview and
always leave it to the employer to raise the subject at all. The time to talk
money is only after you have received a job offer. Before this point, all of
your efforts should be on impressing the recruiter with your skills,
accomplishments and enthusiasm. When you know for certain that the company wants
to hire you, your bargaining power will be at its strongest.
When the appropriate time for the conversation does arrive, one of the most
important things to remember is that whatever you agree to at the outset will
set the baseline for all subsequent raises, bonuses and benefits, many of which
are calculated as a percentage of current earnings. Whatever you accept in the
first instance, therefore, will not only affect you in the short term, but
potentially for years to come.
Here are a few tips to bear in mind:
1. Before you even get to the negotiation stage, be sure to quantify your
achievements in precise terms so that the employer can see clearly what value
and benefit you will bring to his business. If you can express these in monetary
terms (how much you can either make him or save him), then it will be so much
easier to justify a good salary.
2. If you find yourself in a situation where an employer is pressing you to
discuss money prematurely, speak only in terms of a salary range so that he
understands that you are aware of what the going rate is, and then make it
abundantly clear that the matter is negotiable.
3. Salary negotiation is about compromise and achieving a win-win situation for
you and the employer. Be prepared to be flexible but do go into the negotiation
knowing your own bottom line. There is absolutely no point in allowing yourself
to be pushed to a point which simply is not financially viable.
4. Do your research. Find out as much as you can about the pay scale of the
company that you are applying to and what the going rate is for similar
positions within similar companies. Remember too that salaries do vary from
region to region and just because you could command one figure in one location
does not mean that it is necessarily reasonable in yours. I will come back to
the issue of how to determine your own worth in another post.
5. Part of understanding what it is reasonable to expect involves understanding
whether employees in your particular role, or who have your particular skills
and qualifications, are currently in demand. The laws of supply and demand apply
equally to the job market as to any other.
6. Use your experience to your advantage. The ability to ‘hit the ground
running’ without incurring the time and expense of training is worth money.
7. Do not forget that remuneration is not just about money. Medical, dental, eye
care and life insurance, company vehicles, vacation days, sick/personal days,
401(k) plans and pension plans, stock options, health club memberships and
expenses reimbursement are just some of the things that can be used as part of
8. Try not to dive in too quickly to accept an offer. Even if it seems pretty
reasonable, a moment’s hesitation might persuade the employer to up it. If he
does not, and his first offer is entirely acceptable to you, do not be afraid to
9. Try not to dive in too quickly to reject an offer. If you do so without even
appearing to consider it, you may be viewed as greedy or a little too cocky. If
what you consider to be a reasonable offer is not ultimately forthcoming,
however, do not be afraid to walk away from the deal.
10. Leave your personal financial considerations out of the negotiation. While
it is important that you know your bottom line, employers are not interested in
how much your mortgage or your credit card payments are costing you.
11. Keep the negotiations friendly and always remain calm and in control.
Throwing your toys out of your crib because you cannot get what you want will
not impress your future boss. A salary negotiation is a business exchange which
is aimed at reaching a mutually acceptable agreement and should be kept
professional at all times.
12. In the same way that you would prepare for your interview questions, you
should also prepare for a salary negotiation. Think beforehand about how you are
going to respond if the employer suggests that you are asking too much or comes
in with a low offer based on lack of experience or qualifications.
About the Author
I am committed to providing people quick access to job search and career
information. Over 20 years of experience in the HR and Career Coaching field has
given me a vast amount of information and resources to share with you. My
natural curiosity and desire to be on the leading edge of EVERYTHING, brings
value to you as a blog participant because I will keep you informed of updates,
changes and innovations that will assist you in finding the job.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-06-25 20:38:54 in Employee Articles