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Salary negotiation – tips for employees

Salary negotiation – tips for employees

ImagePeople who join happy that they’ve been given a fair deal are more likely to stay, and less likely have feelings of being ‘bought’ for less than they deserve. Main criteria is new joining to be happy and sustainable.

Employers who recruit people at less than their market worth might think they’ve done a good deal, whereas in fact such employees are likely to become frustrated and feel ‘cheated’. Help employees to make good, right, and fair decisions about their careers, and they will respect you and your organisation for doing so.

That said, from the employee’s viewpoint, changing jobs is a very good opportunity to increase your salary level. Critically, to take advantage of this opportunity you must negotiate before you accept the new job offer, whether the job is an internal or external move. Any manager who fails to give this opportunity to a new recruit is likely to be putting a problem into store for the future.

The most important thing from the employee’s perspective is to secure the job offer first. There is no point in negotiating until then.

The employer’s initial offer will be based on their own budget and internal pay-scale reference points, and what level of reward they feel is necessary to secure you (or a suitable alternative candidate), and this salary/package level is nearly always negotiable.

The stronger you convince the interviewer and employer that you are the best person for the job – in all respects that need to appeal to them – then the more likely you are to do well when it comes to negotiating the package.

If the employer asks you before or during the interview to confirm your salary/package expectations, give them a broad indication at the top of the range that has already been indicated or discussed for the role (plus 10-20 per cent for good measure if you wish), and say that ultimately your decision will be based on comparing your options (think and behave as if you expect to have more than one).

Tell them ‘Let’s see if you like me first – then we can discuss/agree the detail.’

It’s a matter of personal feeling as to where you set your target salary level for a particular job, ie., how much you’ll eventually be happy to accept, and how firmly you hold out for it and anything above it. This will be a combination of what you want, need, whether you have another real offer, and generally what your market value is – these are the reference points.

In terms of negotiating salary and package, your best position is always to secure two job offers from two different employers, which gives you the huge advantage of choice. If you can’t or don’t, (which is normal), then behave as if you have other options, which of course you do, if not right now.

Do not allow the interviewer/negotiator to set, suggest or argue for a salary level based on your previous one (assuming it’s lower) – be very firm about this. It’s not relevant. What you earned before and why you worked for that wage is not their business and has no bearing on your value to them and the market now (make that point politely not aggressively of course).

What’s relevant is your value in the market, and how much the employer wants you compared to other candidates and their respective salary expectations. It’s important to give them the feeling that you are entirely confident in being able to go elsewhere if the deal’s not right. Bear in mind also that you can always buy some time to ‘think about it’ whatever they offer you. Time will generally work in your favour if they want you. They will worry that they’ll lose you, perhaps even to a competitor, and so will be more likely to increase their offer, and to justify some extra budget if required.

You do not need to give them a rushed answer whether to accept their offer just because they’d like one. Of course they’d like one quickly because they know they’ll get a better deal that way, and they’d like to finalise the recruitment ASAP.

Generally a good manager and employer will respect you more, and feel you are more valuable, if they get the impression that you are in demand elsewhere.

During the negotiation be sure to maintain a positive and committed view towards the prospective new company and the job (assuming of course you feel that way about them). This will prevent the risk of their coming to the view that you are wasting their time or stringing them along. It’s important to be fair and right with people, even while negotiating.

While acknowledging the appeal of the opportunity, conduct your discussions professionally, firmly, confidently, and at the same time ask for their understanding that you have a responsibility to yourself and your family to achieve the best ‘price’ for what you can do in your particular job market.

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  1. Venkatesh, Bangalore
    April 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I recently attended an interview and finalised a job offer. Many of the points mentioned here makes a lot of sense.

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