Negotiating the Salary Effectively

SHOULD I NEGOTIATE?

It is important to understand that negotiating the salary package is usually not only expected but appreciated. It affords the potential employer an opportunity to observe the employee’s skills in operation and solidifies the probable working relationship. However, the approach to negotiation is key so consider the following:

The interview went remarkably well, the job offer has been extended, and the candidate is thrilled because this position seems to be a perfect fit. The only remaining unknown is the salary. Her jaw tenses and, like many others, she mentally begins putting on the boxing gloves to prepare for the inevitable sparring match. With sweaty palms, she takes a deep breath, looks her opponent square in the eye, and silently declares, “Let’s get ready to rumble!”.

This is the first negotiation misstep and defeating this adversarial mindset is paramount. Remember, the prospective employee and potential employer are on the same side. Win-win solutions should be the goal of both and while healthy companies undoubtedly want the best person for the job at the lowest wage possible, they do realize the importance of ensuring that employee recompense is at a competitive market value. A poorly compensated staff member will certainly become dissatisfied and ineffective, often leaving the organization impulsively. At the same time, a good employee is focused on the overall picture, securing appropriate personal financial gain while considering the solvency of the establishment. With this attitude, the needs of both the organization and the individual are considered, leading to productive dialogue to guide negotiations.

Neither party should wield ultimatums during negotiations, nor should overly personal information be divulged.  Both should maintain a calm, confident demeanor, keeping emotions in check, and while negotiations can take place for virtually any wage level, it should ALWAYS be utilized by those with an annual salary of $100K and over.

HOW DO I NEGOTIATE?

Timing is everything in negotiations and the proper time to ask about salary is after an offer to hire has been made. Asking the financial question too early can lead the employer to believe that money is the only motive which usually means the new employee may always be looking for a better opportunity. Communicating commitment and stability will strongly contribute to the efforts towards an offer.

Avoid being the one to set the base amount for negotiating the salary. Wait for the hiring manager to make the financial offer first as there is usually an approved salary range to work with and most often the offer starts at the minimum threshold. Carefully navigate questions about how much salary is needed, putting the impetus back on the hiring manager. If this cannot be avoided, use a broad range that encompasses national averages. After a salary offer has been made, make the counteroffer then be ready to justify the request.

Well-prepared facts and data help convince the hiring manager of the potential employee’s increased value and worth. Share specific instances and amounts that saved money or generated income for previous companies. Know the salary ranges for the position, industry, and region in which the organization is located as well as those for the specific company. Also, make sure that there is clarity on the job description and expectations. The compensation package should consider being required to be on-call once a month, the executive who must be available 24/7, use of a personal cell phone or another device, and other special circumstances. Take time. Don’t be in a hurry and think through everything very carefully.

WHAT SHOULD I NEGOTIATE?

If the actual salary cannot be increased or the maximum has been reached during negotiations but is still not where it needs to be, there are several other options that can be considered. Contemplate a bonus structure that is tied to individual or group performance. Ask for a personalized benefits package based on what is personally valuable: extended vacation time, telecommuting, paternity leave, a flexible schedule, title, corner office, paid or designated parking space, relocation expenses, or fuel allowance. There are many non-tangibles that contribute to the quality of life and can make up for less-than-desired compensation.

Once a salary and benefits package has been agreed upon, make sure that everything is put in writing. Discussions are “forgotten” easily and in some cases, the hiring manager leaves the company, so the negotiated agreement goes with him unless there is written documentation.

WHO CAN HELP ME NEGOTIATE?

A Compensation Coach can offer direction and support for the salary negotiation journey. Here at M. Santiago Group, we not only provide you with expert assistance in this area, but we can help you with your resumé, job search, and interviews. We’ll help ease the pain of negotiating the salary, contact us at https://www.msantiagogroup.com.