The recruiter leans over and asks that critical question: “What is your salary expectation?” This is the turning point in the interview: too high and you might be eliminated; too low and you lose your perceived value. You need a game plan for negotiating the salary and work conditions you want. Here are 7 tips I use when coaching my clients to ensure they get that extra $10 – $15K, (and more):
Tip 1: Research to Clarify Salary Benchmarks
Be informed so you can negotiate with confidence. Access salary information through resources such as Glassdoor, Salary Wizard Canada, Job Bank – Government of Canada, professional associations, head-hunters, recruiting agencies (e.g. Robert Half publishes a national salary survey for accounting and finance careers) and your network of industry colleagues to determine salary ranges for the role.
Tip 2: When to Negotiate
Delay addressing salary details until you have enough information to know if the role is a fit, and you have determined the complexity of their requirements. When asked: “What is your salary expectation?”, respond with: “I appreciate your question but first I want to figure out if there’s an opportunity for me here.’’
Even with that reply, head-hunters and many recruiters will still push for your salary requirements. In these cases, provide a broad range which is negotiable. Consider: “I’m targeting something between $70,000 to $85,000 depending on the needs of the role” or, “All in I’m targeting a package valued at $130,000 to $140,000” or, “I’m targeting a base of $110,000 plus”.
Tip 3: When it’s more than Just the Money – Pick Your Perks
Always go into negotiations with a backup plan, and whenever possible have these conversations in person. Lead with your salary requirements and then add the perks you need to make the move to joining their organization. If the hiring manager can’t change the salary, he/she will do their best to offer additional benefits to compensate.
When organizations can’t be creative with finding more money, Salary.com’s article: Executive Compensation: Executive Negotiation Checklist suggests negotiating for:
- Extra vacation weeks
- Base pay
- Signing bonus
- Annual incentive – ensure you have a clear understanding of the performance objectives and that these are in writing
- Guaranteed minimum annual incentive
- Stock options (including discounted stock options, restricted stock, loan to purchase restricted stock, vesting options, exercising vesting options)
- Loan to purchase home and moving costs (should relocation be required)
- Immediate access to employee benefits
- Executive medical insurance and life insurance
- Executive retirement plan
- Club memberships
- First-class air travel
- Company car
- Termination of Employment / Severance Provisions* (see Tip #6: Cover Your Back Side – the Critical Role of an Employment Lawyer)
Tip 4: The Power of We
When negotiating salary and work conditions, leave your “I” language at home. Salary negotiations are not the time to state your demands. Instead, approach these conversations first noting your enthusiasm for the role and joining their team. Next, reinforce how you can add value to their organization. Then, close the deal by noting your salary and/or benefits needs.
Tip 5: Women’s Alert
The majority of times women fail to negotiate their worth. In fact, women earned only 77 cents for every dollar that men earned in 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
All too frequently women accept employment offers on the spot. Instead, buy yourself time to review the offer and counter with a request for more money and greater benefits. The risk of the job offer being rescinded is remote, and in fact, you will position yourself as a more desirable candidate.
Tip 6: Cover Your Back Side – the Critical Role of an Employment Lawyer
When it comes to Employment Letters of Offer I strongly suggest having these reviewed by a well-qualified Employment Lawyer. They will work with you to craft additions to your employment contract to ensure it outlines options that are in your best interest, including severance/termination provisions, non-compete clauses, and non-solicitation, confidentiality and invention assignments.
Tip 7: Role Play to Project Confidence
We don’t negotiate for ourselves every day so we need to spend time preparing and practicing to ensure we are projecting confidence and control, while maintaining that likeability factor which is so key to the hiring process. Consider the value of working with a Career Coach to strategize your negotiation game plan, and review your script to ensure you are putting your best foot forward.
Author: Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional. She specializes in coaching professional and executive clients, and providing career advancement strategies. Copyright JL Careers Inc. All rights reserved.
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