Q: What tips do you have for negotiating salary?
A: This is a good question, because there are lots of factors to consider when it comes to salary negotiations.
My first recommendation when considering salary negotiation is to do research so you understand the market and how you and your salary, or salary offer, fit in it. Salary.com is a good place to start to get a base salary range relevant to your position and experience, but then you have to consider the employer’s situation, the job market (demand) for that position and the economy overall in your area. If you are interviewing for a new job, the salary you are offered is based on these things, as well as how your interview goes and whether or not you are currently employed and, if so, what you’re currently making, as well as how your experience and education compares to current employees and their compensation within the organization. The employer will make you a salary offer based on all of these factors. They may make another candidate a different salary offer for the same position.
Understanding the situation is important so that you go into the negotiation (or not) with the right expectations. In my work, it’s common to see candidates whose expectations are out-of-line get stuck without a job because they don’t get offers or turn them down because they are below their out-of-line expectations.
Once you have vetted your expectations, here are a few ‘do’s and don’ts’:
Understand what you’re worth – Understanding your value will help you enter negotiations with a realistic outlook. A recruiter can help you understand what salary range is appropriate for your industry and experience levels.
‘Monetize’ your skills – Where it’s appropriate, frame your work in terms that show real monetary value. For example, customer support skills can be framed in terms of how much time or money was saved by resolving issues faster.
Remember why you’re doing this – Think about why you want the job and what it is that you’re looking for. It shouldn’t only be about the money. Even if that’s an important factor, keeping the other reasons in mind will help you focus on the big picture.
Don’t mention money too early – Let the employer bring up the subject first. If you ask about salary too early in the process, it will seem as though this is your primary interest. Focus on getting the offer first! Some interviewers bring the topic up early to use it as a screening tool. In that case, you can respond with an honest answer about what you’re currently earning and what your hopes are, but you should also stress how important it is to you to find a rewarding job.
Don’t ignore other parts of the compensation package – Salary is only part of an offer; it’s important to consider the whole package and the other benefits being offered, such as healthcare insurance, retirement investment programs, tuition reimbursement, etc. as well as other aspects of the work like the size, culture and reputation of the organization, the commute and more.
Don’t lose track of the big picture – When candidates become too focused on one particular aspect of the job search – getting a raise of a certain percentage, being offered a certain job title – they run the risk of missing out on opportunities that might be right for them.
About the Recruiter
Frank Gentile is a 20+ year veteran of the staffing industry and an experienced recruiter. As a Director at Professional Staffing Group (PSG) Frank oversees the permanent placement division.