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16 Feb 2011

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The Gentle Art of Salary Negotiation

 

Learning how to negotiate the best salary for your new career is an art that you can learn.  It is interesting to note that salary negotiations are often one of the most neglected, not to mention under-rated, efforts of a job search. You should never accept a job with a salary that is lower than what you know your experience and education are worth in the hopes that that there will be raises to look forward to down the line. Instead, you should not settle, but negotiate. 
 
Arm Yourself with Information
 
It is important that you have enough information at your disposal when it comes to negotiating a fair salary. In other words, be prepared.  Conduct market research on what the current salary for your position is, and if possible, try to find information on what your corporation is paying your peers. 
 
Courtesy is First and Foremost
 
Always approach the negotiations in a manner that will not sully your image. Do not be brash, obnoxious or downright belligerent. Keep in mind that the person with whom you are negotiating a salary will be someone that you will be working with on a regular basis.  Mind your manners during negotiations to ensure that you can still have a successful future with the company. Proceed but proceed gingerly!
 
Understand the Priorities of Both Sides
 
When negotiating for a salary with a prospective employer, it is important that you know what your priorities are, as well as understand the priorities of the person sitting in front of you who represents the company. For example, on a scale of one to 10, how important it is for you to have job security?  Can you handle fluctuations in income from year to year? If you can receive a large stake in equity, are you willing to accept a lower salary?
 
Knowing your needs also helps you in deciding what kind of company is an ideal fit for you. Once you understand your priorities, you can ascertain if what they can offer you is in line with what you require.
 
You need to adequately size up the job situation with a particular company. If you are the most qualified person for the job, then you have more bargaining power when it comes to salary. If the company desperately needs your contacts to expand their market exposure, then you can certainly negotiate for a higher salary. However, if you are one of a number of qualified candidates, then your bargaining power is reduced, and it is important to keep this in mind when you are discussing numbers.    
 
Flash the Right Cards
 
Always tell the truth during negotiations, but be discriminating in how you choose to answer questions and what you choose to tell the employer.  If you have several other job offers on the table, but they are offering lower salaries, you can simply flash the card that other companies are interested in you – omitting the fact that those salaries are lower. 
 
It never hurts to have a dress rehearsal of possible scenarios that might occur in your salary negotiations before you are actually sitting in front of the employer.
 
In addition, you should keep in mind that most employers want to offer a salary that is fair and reasonable.  The employer must work within the organizational structure of the company and the budget, but fairness does play a key role in negotiations. In fact, if you understand the significance that fairness plays in negotiations, this can make a tremendous difference in whether you are offered the salary you desire or not.
 
Do not give too much information away, but instead use a potential employer’s uncertainty about what it will take to get you onboard to your advantage. You are more likely to be offered the best salary possible if the employer is somewhat kept in the dark about your specific expectations.
 
Be Creative in Your Tradeoffs
 
Use your creativity to negotiate. Be willing to make trade-offs where it is necessary.
Do not focus on your limitations but your strengths. Concentrate on the value of the complete package – not just the salary number.  
 
Always focus on the goals you wish to achieve in the salary negotiations as opposed to simply coming out the winner. Strive for balance and reciprocity. Bear in mind that your future career at the company is dependent on the relationship you develop with the person in front of you today.
 
Know When Negotiations Have Ended
 
Last but not least, know when it is time to call an end to the bargaining process. You both want to be treated fairly and to be happy with the end result. In the best negotiations, both sides come out winners, and you do not push so hard that you end up looking completely selfish and self absorbed. 
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77 Responses

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