Before you begin speaking to potential employers and interviewing, it is critical that you prepare for salary negotiation. Don’t be caught off-guard by salary questions. If you wait until you have an offer in hand, you have waited too long! Understanding your priorities will help
Conduct a research of the market trends to uncover your worth, which is what the market will realistically pay for your background and skills, regardless of what you were paid previously. Connect with people who hold similar positions to the one you are looking for. Ask them what they think is a fair salary range. Do not ask what their salary is, but rather for their opinion. LinkedIn is a great place to find professionals similar to you. It is important to know your ‘bottom line’ – the lowest possible number you would accept for the type of position you are targeting. Having this number will allow you to negotiate more effectively and also know when to turn down an offer that doesn’t meet your needs in terms of financial and non-financial compensation. Financial compensation refers to the basic salary, bonuses, insurance benefits, retirement plans and paid time-off. Non-financial compensation is the room for advancement, the work environment and the people you will be working with.
Hone your skills
Handle salary discussions skilfully. If asked what your salary expectations are in an initial conversation, consider using these responses ndash; ‘Let’s discuss the details of the job first, so I can understand exactly what you need.’ Or, ‘I am interested in finding a job where I am a good fit and can make an impact. I’m sure whatever salary you’re paying is consistent with the rest of the market.’ You should always be prepared to discuss the salary range.
Always get your offer in writing, including all benefits, costs and logistics. Never accept an offer verbally; always thank the employer, let them know you’re excited about possibly working for them and ask for time to review the offer. Communicate with other in-process opportunities. Comparing offers gives you more negotiation power and options. After you’ve had any necessary questions answered and thoroughly evaluated your employment offer, it’s time for action. Set up a time to meet with the employer. When negotiating, back up your requests with data such as accomplishments from your background that warrant a higher pay because of the value you will bring to the company. Remember you can negotiate benefits and perks other than salary during this process.
Whether or not you accept an offer, build positive relationships and always remain professional. You never know where the professionals you’re speaking with today may be in their careers down the road. If you had a good interview experience but did not land the job for any reason, consider connecting with your interviewer on LinkedIn. When you accept a position, show excitement and enthusiasm! And, remember, if you made the choice not to negotiate, you may be leaving money on the table, but you will also have future opportunities to prove your worth and negotiate increases once on the job. If you choose to reject an offer, do so with appreciation and tact. Make the conversation positive and diplomatic.
(Chaudhary is a Chandigarh-based image and style consultant)