Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Let's Talk $$ (Salary Negotiations)

Let's talk Money $$$ (Salary- to Negotiate or Not)

In today’s economy, many people are just hoping to land an interview, and then get the job...right?  But can you also land the job and bargain for a better salary as well? Or should you just be thankful you are being offered the job?

The right time to ask for or negotiate your salary is once a concrete job offer has been made. Until that point, asking about salary or asking for a higher salary during the interview process will give the impression that you are only interested in working for the company based on money and not the job or company itself. We as recruiters and hiring managers don’t want to hear your salary negotiating BEFORE it’s been decided that you are a match for our company, and we are a match for you.

Once you are negotiating your salary, keep in mind that the initial job offer and salary is just the beginning and if you work well and prove yourself to the company, the sky is the limit. Remember, employee evaluations take place in a company every six months or year.  So if you don’t get your initial salary you had wanted, you can prove to the company that you are deserving of that increase once you are hired.

Here are seven mistakes professionals make when negotiating salary:

Being afraid to ask. Some job seekers fear asking for a better offer because they think it could damage their relationship with the new employer. Remember: It never hurts to ask, and you have your greatest leverage when you receive the job offer.

Failing to do your homework. Don't ask for a specific salary simply because it sounds good. Always conduct research to determine your market value by reviewing sources, and talking to colleagues and recruiters for their insights.  There is plenty of online research where you can find out what someone with your experience might expect to make in a given job.

Focusing only on salary. Consider the benefits package in addition to compensation. If higher base pay isn't available, perhaps the employer could offer a signing bonus or early salary review. I know of one employer who couldn’t give the job applicant a higher starting salary but were willing to add additional benefits that equaled in the end to that higher salary.  Remember, your earnings are more than just your base pay.  Benefits, time off and other perks should also be taken into consideration.

Tipping your hand. If you're desperate to leave your current job, keep it to yourself. The conversation should remain focused on the position for which you are applying.  Don’t come across as so desperate to leave your current job (or get hired if you’re unemployed) that you will take anything.  It will show, and you will likely get a lowball offer.

Thinking you can't say 'no.' Some people by nature always want to be accommodating, but being able to say 'no' is critical when negotiating. If an offer is less than you think it should be, point it out politely then counter with your desired salary. If the employer can't meet this request, you will need to decide whether or not you can accept the lower pay. It will depend on your need for immediate employment, as well as how excited you are about this particular opportunity.

Failing to get it in writing. Once you've agreed on terms, ask the employer to draw up a letter that outlines the specifics of the offer. This will help you avoid any misunderstandings before you start the job.  Most companies do this as part of their hiring process, but some smaller companies may not.  GET IT IN WRITING-Period!  Make sure key things such as base, commission, title, start date, etc.. are agreed upon in PRINT!

Forgetting your manners. Regardless of how the negotiations turn out, be professional and courteous. You don't want to burn any bridges.  If you don’t get the salary you were hoping for, but it is still a job you want, you can still accept it with grace and go in there and show them what you’re really worth!  As a proven commodity (once you’re an employee who has proven yourself) is worth far more than an unknown (a candidate who the company knows very little about other than from their interviews).

Salary negotiation can be a very tense ordeal if you haven’t done it before, or don’t feel comfortable discussing money.  My advice to you is GET OVER IT!  It's your money we're talking about, so find a way to make yourself comfortable discussing it.  Keep in mind that you believe you deserve this salary amount. At the same time if you are requiring a higher salary, be sure that you are going to prove to the company once you are hired that it was the right decision for the company to make. 

The sky’s the limit!  Until next time, continued career success to you and yours!!

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