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Practical Tips For Salary Negotiation

Dec 21, 2007
If there is one step in the interview process that people simultaneously desire and fear the most, it is the discussion of salary. It can cause a great deal of anxiety when you are not fully prepared for the conversation that will take place. Even for the employer, money is the one subject that is most difficult to raise for concern of either turning away a highly qualified applicant or pushing the limits of company budget constraints.

Many employers work within salary guidelines they are permitted to offer an applicant; however, much of the responsibility in final financial dealings falls into the lap of the applicant. This is called salary negotiation and is a critical component of the overall career search path.

Before you even walk though the door of a prospective employer, you must do some prior investigative work to determine comparable pay ranges for similar positions. Many web sites provide information about average pay for the position you seek and in the city where you will work. Of course, these are simply averages, but they help you to gauge an appropriate salary range. As part of your calculations, you should also consider amounts that will be extracted from the paycheck such as health benefits, 401K deductions, and typical taxes.

Afterward, look at your skills compared to what the employer seeks. If you have some, but not all, of the required skills, you may be offered the lower end of the salary range. Your skills - or lack thereof - will limit the force of your negotiations, so be realistic about the work you are capable of handling and skill sets the business actually needs. On the other hand, if you have a wealth of experience in your chosen field, you have good reason to request the higher salary range. Don't limit your salary expectations out of timidity if you have good reason to believe other businesses would be happy to have your services!

During this discussion, the interviewer may ask your current salary; your response needs to be honest, even if you expect more in this position. In fact, you can make the higher pay a personal requirement upon taking the job, so it is important that you are up front with your expectations. At that point, you will quickly learn whether the company is willing to pay above your current salary (if you are employed elsewhere). It is perfectly acceptable, though, to request more considering your goal of furthering your career.

Part of the salary negotiation includes a consideration of the employer's compensation package. Since company benefits are really a different form of "salary," then a smaller pay range with corresponding great health, dental, life insurance, and other benefits may actually be a better overall deal than the opposite (i.e. high pay with nominal benefits). So don't make the error of letting a "high salary ego" get in the way of clear thinking concerning the overall best salary/benefits package!

Finally, go into the negotiation phase with a positive attitude. You may not always come away with quite what you hope, but you need to be forthright during the discussions. The worst thing the employer can do is say no, and you then part as friends. However that end is preferable to taking less money than what you are actually worth and regretting it for months on end. So don't conclude you have to accept the first offer extended to you. There is always room for salary negotiation.
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For great job hunting & career information, visit http://www.job-hunting-careers.com, a site discussing practical career options.
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