I recently entertained a group of young friends with a ‘Danish’ breakfast and asked their opinion on quite a few topics, however, the main topic was what they would like to see on my semi-weekly BLOG. The primary suggestion/request was how to negotiate a salary; as stated in my BLOG entitled Hiring Millennials, it is reputedly known in the Human Resources’ world that salary is not seen as a ‘top’ priority for this generation. Loving what they do is much more important…as it should be.
However, there is a serious skill involved in negotiations….I have to honestly admit, I don’t think I have it but even though some may say it is an inherent skill, I believe that it can be learned. I do recognize and understand it. Here are some facts (possibly disputable) about salary negotiations…women are not nearly as good at negotiating salaries as men for a new position. Women generally will accept an offer as is. Another fact that IS indisputable: One needs the ability to negotiate for business success. In a famous study by Landa Babcock for her book, Women Don’t Ask, it wasrevealed that only about 7% of women attempted to negotiate their first salary, while 57% of men did. Of the women that entered negotiations, they were able to increase their initial salary by over 7%.
To be fair to my colleagues on/off the internet, one can find a plethora of information all over the place on salary negotiations. I am not reinventing the wheel but I will give you what I think are the most important techniques to master and the most important attributes to develop to better negotiate a higher salary.
Please also remember that by the time you get to the offer, you have gone through the more challenging aspects of job hunting whether you approached the search from an unemployment perspective or from an existing employment perspective.
1. Know your Strengths/Weaknesses: You have obviously done something right to receive the job offer. The offer may/may not have come with a salary attached to it…you would like more. You need to re-evaluate what you are going to do for this company for them to up your offer. You also need to know what differentiates you from your competition. They chose you for a reason; you want to reiterate that reason. Have you ever done a Strength Finder or a SWOT test? If not, google these tests and take them online…the results will be surprising to you but helpful in more ways than this negotiating stint…Be able to point out your strengths and what you will be bringing to the table…they know this but it is good to verbalize it again to them.
2. Research: Again, you probably did some research on the company that is making you the offer. Now, research in every way you can think of to find out
the salary levels of the position you are being offered….demographics, ranges, etc. Talk to recruiters, friends in Human Resources, friends with other companies…you need to walk into these negotiations with a number….and as specific a number as possible. Do not say $60,000 if you would have learned that the norm for this type of position is $62,300. Research benefit packages that the company’s competition is offering its employees…put everything together and ask for a ‘package’.
3. Set appointment (try to avoid doing over the phone; much prefer SKYPE, if you have to): Once you have received the offer with/without a salary number, attempt to make an appointment for a conversation to ‘discuss’ your salary package. If you are a good distance from the location, ask if you can have a SKYPE interview. Always note that it is important for the company representatives to see your pleasure in having been offered the position and your confidence during your negotiating…
4. Practice your negotiation skills: Call your friends, family, recruiters, neighbors or colleagues who know you are looking for another position. Practice your approach: Start with Questions; Give them a reason to want to meet your salary request; Focus on the future, not the Past; Think about the person with whom you are going to be negotiating with…try to see things from their perspective; stay positive and NOT pushy and ask for a little more than you want with a specific number, do not give them a ‘range’; always focus on the market value; Do NOT ever mention personal needs and always, always BE Kind, but firm....
5. Show Confidence: The main and primary attribute to have and to show is confidence. Please, please come across positive in your negotiations. If you have to do this over the phone, the tone of your voice can be a determinant as to whether you will falter when the company hesitates to or refuses to counter with a higher offer. Practice doing a ‘power pose’…standing in front of a mirror with hands on your hips, chin/chest raised in pride and your feet firmly on the group. This practice raises testosterone, which influences confidence and reduces stress. You can always drink a cup of coffee, also…might make you a little bit jittery but it will keep you on your toes!
6. Define your Walk Away Point (if you have one): What is the bottom line that you will accept? If they won’t move from the original offer or if their counter offer is much lower than yours, ask them about extra days off, paying for your full medical coverage or other perks that you could accept in lieu of the salary package that you would like. See if they will give you an evaluation after three (3) months in case they are not willing to move. If there is not any movement in your favor then you will have to decide whether you will accept the position or not. They may never reveal to you that there is another candidate in the ‘wings’ that will accept an even lower offer but you were the ‘better’ of the two (2).
These are the keys to what I consider to be the ‘best practice’ when negotiating salary for a job offer…it should work pretty well for a salary increase as well. Regardless, you need to show that you will think of yourself in order for your potential employer to understand that you will think of them, also.
Now, the primary key in all of this is once you agree to the salary package, please always (and this is NOT negotiable) get everything in writing!!!
If you need help with your salary negotiating skills, please feel free to call Rosanne Bennett at 484-798-1236 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good Luck!