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Negotiation – The Final Step in your Job Search

September 21, 2009


“I know that negotiating salary is something that I’d like to do, but I don’t exactly know how to do it.” Is this something that you’ve asked yourself when you’re offered a job? I’m sure like me, many of you would answer YES.  A tough economy doesn’t mean that you cannot try to get a better salary, additional benefits and opportunities than you were offered.

The first thing you need to determine is when to begin the negotiation process with an employer. You may already be aware that a first interview is not the time to discuss compensation with a potential employer (unless the interviewer brings up the topic). So when is the best time to bring up your salary requirement? The ideal time would be when the job is officially offered to you. At this time you want to get a clear understanding of the salary and benefits being offered to you, so negotiating compensation can naturally work itself into the conversation. Occasionally you will come across an employer who wants to firm up salary details prior extending an offer of employment. This situation often arises when the company is deciding between two top candidates for the position. In this case, negotiate just as you would if you had already been offered the position, putting particular emphasis on why you are the best candidate for the job.

Think about your salary negotiation as you approach other things in your day to day life. Every day you negotiate things at work and you’re probably not even thinking about it. The trick here is to use those skills into leveraging more money for a job offer. Take for example a deadline for an assignment given to you from your boss.  You need more time for it because you didn’t get it done yet.  When your boss asks you about the task, you reply that you have XYZ done, but want to finalize it more to make the final outcome the best you possibly can. You may see this as telling your boss an excuse as to why you need more time, but really what you’re doing is negotiating for more time so that you can get the job done well. Emphasizing your examples, qualities and reasons why you should get more money are going to be important when you negotiate.

The number one thing to keep in mind when you’re being offered a job is to keep your self-confidence at a high level.  Remember – you have a lot of great assets to offer this company, you have a wealth of experience and you can benefit this company in many ways.  Another thing to keep in mind is that if you have several job offers at one time, be sure to let the employer know  as it could give you that appealing edge that makes you more desirable to a company (however – never lie about this, because it could backfire on you).

Finally, when negotiating your compensation, keep in mind that money isn’t the only thing to focus on. Consider the other benefits you will receive from your employer, such as paid time off and health insurance. See if it is possible for you to start off with the same amount of vacation time that someone who has been employer there five years would be offered. Ask the employer to waive the rule that you must be employed 90 days prior to receiving health coverage. If your future supervisor is insistent that the salary and benefits package is non-negotiable, try a different approach. Ask to receive a performance evaluation three months after your start date, at which time you could be eligible for a bump in pay or benefits. Then work to the best of your ability, proving to your supervisor that you are deserving of a pay raise.

*Tammy and Holly*

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