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Salary Negotiations

You have been looking for a job, and, one day, you hear the words, “We would like you to come to work for us.” What should you do next?

What You Need to Know Before Accepting a Job Offer

The stages of salary negotiation are critical to obtaining the income you want and deserve.  This process starts before you are even offered the job, and there are four stages:

  1. Negotiate the position.
  2. Surpass and survive your opposition – the company must need YOU and know the value YOU can add to their organization before you discuss compensation.
  3. Get the job offer.
  4. Negotiate the compensation package.

Understand that you must influence individuals other than those in the Human Resources Department. You have to convince the rest of the team that they need you and that you will be a perfect fit in their organization.

Many job seekers think that you simply go to a job interview and accept the position without discussing salary options. They believe that the salary the company offers is something you either take or leave. You need to remember that the company is already interested in you; otherwise, an interview would never have taken place.

There are many tricks employers use to find out what salary you are willing to accept or to get you to accept a lower salary than what they have offered. One is to offer you the job and ask when you can start – with no mention of salary. Another is to ask what salary you need. Don’t fall into the trap of answering. To get around this, explain that you really need to know more about the position, the responsibilities, the level of authority, and the accountability before you can further discuss salary expectations.

Company benefits, commissions, and bonuses are part of the salary negotiation. Remember, a salary is more than just money. Ask about commissions, vacation time, health plans, a company vehicle, expenses, flexi-time, or reimbursement for training and education.

Research the company, and find out as much as possible about company benefits, the working environment, salary ranges, and the going rate for the position, based on number of years’ experience. The more information you have, the more prepared you will be.

The company needs to know that you are negotiating a mutually beneficial arrangement, not just what is right for you. State what you feel you are worth, and have your detailed reasons in front of you during the discussion. Wait and let them make a counter offer. This is an important opportunity for you to show your worth and how you will contribute to the company’s bottom line and long-term goals. Let them know that you want to be a part of their team. Reiterate your relevant skills, accomplishments, and qualifications.

When you are presented with an offer, do not immediately accept it. Ask for a few days to think it over to determine if this is really the job and compensation package you want. Think about your career plan. If this is not what you want and you believe it will not satisfy you, let them know. It is your decision, and you have total control of your career destiny.

If you are happy with what is offered, make sure that you get the following in writing: everything that was discussed, not only the salary but also the health plan, vacations, etc. The majority of companies will provide this in writing. If not, move on to a more professional company. We have seen job seekers accept positions with promises for salary and benefits that never materialized.

Learn more about the art of salary negotiation, how to request a raise, and other career techniques on this site.

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Candace Davies ACCC, CRW, CIC, CPRW, CEIP, CECC
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