Show Me the Money!

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Apr 7, 2011 in , , | No Comments

Once job seekers move past the initial interview, the next hurdle is salary negotiation.

Often dreaded and misunderstood, successful salary negotiation is an essential element in job seeking.

In order to achieve a win-win situation between you and the potential employer, you’ve got to do your homework. Know what the range is for this position, which is usually posted on the employers job site. Whether it is or isn’t there, go to the OOH (Occupational Outlook Handbook) site to verify the salary range for the position. Be sure to know what kind of salaries are typical for your particular area. Big cities command higher salaries, on average, than do small towns. Also, figure out what your skills, experience, and accomplishments are worth to an employer.

A Win-Win Situation

While the employer is interested in getting the best employee for the least amount of money, they will also pay more when you prove your worth. When you feel you are paid a fair wage, productivity is high, and your employer is happy. However, if one party feels cheated in the deal, something will suffer. This is why, from the beginning, you’ll need to set the stage for a win-win situation.

Where to Begin

In some situations, it will be difficult to know who will be doing the interviewing, in situations that involve a committee for example. But often, you may be able to find out and this will be a plus. Online you can look up what they’ve done within the company, their work history past and any other interests they have outside of the office (see LinkedIn). This valuable information will assist you in your interview. When you understand who they are and what they want from you, you’re one step ahead of the crowd. Find out about the company too, know their needs, history and where they seem to be headed.

Deepak Malhotra, coauthor of “Negotiation Genius“, believes that a job seeker should, “…learn as much about the organization as possible. Talk to current and former employees, visit a career placement office and conduct research regarding what the job entails and how much flexibility there is in your role and compensation.”

While In Negotiation

Malhotra says it’s important to keep negotiations positive from the beginning, “Always define your task as having two objectives: to manage your outcomes and manage their satisfaction.” You’ll want to maintain a good relationship with your interviewers, after all, you’ll most likely be working with them once hired. Effective negotiation means you will get a good deal and foster good relations.

Most Common Mistakes

One of the top mistakes job seekers make is not doing enough preparation. The next mistakes–talking too much, or too little–can sink an interview, along with not asking relevant questions. Don’t be too focused on one issue in your negotiations, salary, but rather understand that there is more to consider. Maybe the job doesn’t offer the exact salary range or position you seek, but they’ll be happy to supply a company car, dental, or an option to work from home one day per week.

Justify the Salary

In your negotiations, you will need to justify your request for a certain salary by proving your value to the potential employer. Give them evidence in the way of past accomplishments. Bring proof with you to the interview in the form of presentations you’ve written, letters of recommendation from supervisors highlighting your efforts and also from former colleagues.

The Most Dreaded Question

“What is your salary range?”, a question that causes so much tension in the room–on both sides–you could cut it with a knife. Here is where your research pays off big time. Before the interview, have information to answer the personal question, “What salary can I justify?” Providing data that proves your unique abilities and important aspects of your background, is essential. This is the time to reinforce qualifications, accomplishments and give the interviewer a clear idea of your value.

Do you speak and write another language? Do you have a specialized degree? What about volunteer work or internships in your community? Remember to include all related experience–that includes your internships and volunteer work–on your resume and in your cover letter.

Discussing the whole package with the potential employer is essential before any dollar figure is mentioned. Verify the salary range, if it fits with what you’ve researched, you might say, “That fits within my range”.  Then proceed to give them more facts about what you bring to the table. If they throw out a specific salary number, you may want to take time to think about that offer. You could say, “Thank you for that offer, but I’d like to think about it and get back to you tomorrow.” This gives you time to consider all that’s been said in the interview. You might feel you do deserve more, then you may counter their offer. It also gives the potential employer time to adjust their offer if it was too low. Often times meeting in the middle creates a win-win outcome for all.