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Master Your Next Salary Negotiation

Dec 29, 2007
I was recently speaking with a client interested in improving her negotiation skills for her upcoming salary review. She has been in her new position for just over four months. She has exceeded expectations, and feeling confident in her job. However, she is unhappy with her salary. Afraid to negotiate and risk losing the job offer, and grateful for the paycheck, she accepted the job offer without negotiating her salary or compensation package.

Salary negotiation is the most sensitive part of a job interview. We emotionalize it because we are uncomfortable talking about money. You needn't be afraid or feel at the mercy of your employer. They expect you to negotiate. In fact, in virtually all instances an interviewer has the power to negotiate a higher salary. However, you must prepare for your job interview including salary negotiation in the same manner you prepare your resume, cover letter, etc.

Starting a new job or position is the best time to get the salary or compensation package you want. After you are hired it becomes a bit more difficult to make up your salary.

Salary Negotiations Research Results

Research Question#1: Do you expect candidates to negotiate regarding their salary, benefits, and work schedules once you've made an offer?

82% reported that they did expect a candidate to negotiate.
18% reported they did not expect a candidate to negotiate.

Research Question #2: On average, how much of a range do you have to negotiate a higher salary with a professional candidate (not hourly personnel)?

64% reported they can negotiate up to 10% higher salary.
20% reported they can negotiate up to 20% higher salary.
18% reported they have no limit on salary negotiations.
0% reported they have no authorization to negotiate higher salary.

Salary negotiation is about what you think you are worth. Therefore, before entering into a salary negotiation you need to know the following:

-Know the market; research salaries
-Understand your value - what are you worth based on your skills and experiences?
-Be clear on the skills and qualifications required for the position
-Don't overlook the overall compensation package
-Know what you want

How do you go about negotiating your salary?

You should never bring up salary during the interview. Always let the employer bring it up. If a salary amount is offered take your time to consider it before accepting - 1-2 days is acceptable before approaching the negotiation process.

If you are asked your salary expectations, give a range based on your research or tell the employer you are open based on the position and the overall compensation package. Again the negotiation starts after the employer has made the offer.

During the negotiation process, you should consider the entire remuneration package, not just salary, including job related benefits, and working conditions like time off, location and other factors. If it's a job you want but the package is not ideal, be ready to try to influence the employer to improve the offer by pointing out your skill sets and ways in which you can add value to the company. If all else fails, be prepared to say 'No' if your bottom line needs are not being met.

Copyright 2007, Cecile Peterkin.
About the Author
Cecile Peterkin is a Certified Career and Life Coach. Feeling stuck in middle management or mid career? Claim your FR-EE Assessment and complimentary coaching session at our career guidance website.
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