Get Paid Right, From The Start! Salary Negotiation for a New Job: 85 Tips
Copyright 2011 © Position Ignition – Get Paid Right, From the Start! – Salary Negotiation for a New Job:85 Tips www.positionignition.com
When you’re starting a new job, there are a lot of things to consider and your salary is one of them. Although how much you get paid shouldn’t be the be all and end all, we do need to be realistic and accept that each of us requires a certain amount of money to live on. The amount we are paid also appeals to our sense of self-worth and is an acknowledgment of the value of the work we do. The salary each individual expects to be paid is dependent on that person’s unique talents, experience, workload and job spec, as well as the employer’s means, pay structure, policy and discretion. The one common factor that’s the same for everyone is the need for a salary that allows you to at least “exist”. This is the minimum requirement and many of us expect a salary equal to the value we give to our organisation. Depending on the extent of that value, each of us is able to live at a different level of comfort/wealth in accordance with our salary. However, it’s often not as simple as starting a new job and agreeing with the employer straightaway what your services are worth to them. This is where salary negotiation comes in. In a lot of cases, the employee and employer will negotiate their way to an agreement that suits them both. However, the process can be a challenge for a lot of individuals, regardless of how many times you’ve negotiated a salary for a new job before.
Copyright 2011 © Position Ignition – Get Paid Right, From the Start! – Salary Negotiation for a New Job:85 Tips www.positionignition.com
This eBook aims to give you fast, easy, takeaway tips to help you get the level of pay that you deserve, so that it not only covers your basic monetary needs and allows you to live at or above the level of comfort you’re accustomed to, but also reflects your true worth to your new employer. Areas we’ll cover include: • Preparing for negotiation • Knowing your market value • Doing the right things just before negotiations begin • Negotiating for success • Accepting an offer • Avoiding common negotiating mistakes.
Copyright 2011 © Position Ignition – Get Paid Right, From the Start! – Salary Negotiation for a New Job:85 Tips www.positionignition.com
Preparing for Negotiation Like most things in life, preparation is the key to a good negotiating strategy. Get clear on your objectives and do some market research to ensure you enter negotiations really knowing your ground. If you prepare properly and go in with a plan, you will understand your negotiating position and will know when to walk away if it’s clearly not going to work out, thereby keeping your credibility in an unemotional and mature way. On the contrary, if the decision-makers actually see how seriously you’ve thought this through and how thoroughly you’ve prepared for these negotiations, it may well turn their minds towards being more flexible than they originally intended to be. 1. Decide what you want from the process. Do you want these negotiations to be just money-based or do you have other benefits in mind, e.g. shares, options, hours, vacation time etc.? 2. Understand fully why you are moving jobs in the first place? What is important to you to get in this next role? Salary is one aspect perhaps but what else might you want to consider now too? 3. What are the goals of your negotiation? Think in detail about what you are really looking for and the various options and alternatives that could be acceptable and work well for you. 4. Before even applying for a new job, establish that the salary level is right for you to begin with; otherwise you may end up wasting a lot of time going after something that was never realistic in the first place.
5. Think about not only what you want, but about what’s easy to get. Some HR departments will just give you what they think is cheap to give away—but from your perspective, it could be something well worth having. Find out what your new employer gives out like water by discreetly talking to existing employees at the organisation. 6. Identify who it is who’s on your side in salary negotiations. If you’re going through a recruiter, use them as an intermediary through which to ask for what you want. If not, go straight to your future line manager and ask them to be your sponsor/advocate in negotiations. 7. Your recruiter is your best bet in helping you negotiate the salary of your new job. It is to their advantage to keep you happy and to seal the deal. They need to make the match work. Their client is the organisation as opposed to you, the candidate. However they only get their commission if this transaction goes ahead. Use this to your advantage. Make them do the negotiation for you if you can. 8. If you haven’t gone through an agency and there is no intermediary to negotiate on your behalf, think about who can help. Think also about who the budget holder is. Is it your boss in this case or is it HR? 5
9. When thinking about your boss, focus on building a relationship with them as opposed to the company’s HR department prior to negotiations. Your boss is the only one who’s going to fully understand and respect your value. Remember that HR won’t necessarily do that. 10. Establish which factors you can be flexible on, if any. You might go in wanting a certain salary, but if that’s not going to fly, would you be willing to accept an alternative, such as a pension plan or some options in the company? Identifying what your particular needs are and what scope there is for flexibility will put you in a strong position before you approach the negotiating table. 11. If you’re nervous about being in a negotiation situation, practice role-plays beforehand with someone who’s willing to help. Act out different potential scenarios with them until you’ve worked out your response to each possible situation. 12. Alternatively, practice by yourself by looking the mirror. Take note of the speed at which you talk and how confident you sound. Be sure to correct any negative body language such as hunching over or looking down.
Know Your Market and Market Value In order to put yourself in a strong position to negotiate the salary you desire, you need to know your market worth. This means, researching and fully understanding what the normal market rate is, what the spectrum and range of salaries are for your field of expertise and where you fit within that spectrum. 13. As part of your market research, find out about the salaries of people in similar roles to yours. You can do this by speaking to employees at your new company or you could talk to individuals who hold equivalent positions at your current/previous organisation. 14. You can also look at other companies’ adverts on job boards to get an idea of what the going rate is for your type of role. 15. Or call up different recruitment agencies to find out what salaries the employers they work with usually offer to candidates. 16. If you’re not long out of university, your Careers Service should also be able to help give you guidance on the different salaries that different careers generally offer. There are also salary surveys around for different industries and roles, which you may find helpful to look at. 17. Another way to get a general idea about different salaries is to go to the reference section in your local library and look at a directory of different careers. 7
18. Join a networking group or professional association that has members with similar roles to you. Once you’ve made a connection with a few people and feel comfortable with them, ask them what they think is a typical salary for the job title in question. 19. Also research the organisation you’re joining. Is it growing or shrinking? If it’s at a stage where it’s trying to expand and being really quite aggressive about it, it’ll have a larger budget for hiring and paying more of the best talent than, say, an employer who’s looking to cut costs. Find out where the company’s at by asking people in the know, looking at its website, reading its newsletter and looking out for any press on it. 20. You’ll also have to take into consideration what you’ll be expected to do in the job. Understanding the extent of your projected workload and the amount of responsibility that will be placed upon you will help you to form a clearer idea of what you should be looking for before you enter negotiations. 21. Preparing for negotiations is also about how you position yourself in the market. Think about what value you bring that deserves the salary you’re going to ask for. Think about: • What are you best at? • What do you find easy to do that others find hard? • What is your USP? What is your unique positioning? 22. How easy it at the moment to find someone with your skill-set? Is there a queue of people lining up for this role or are you a unique asset? If you don’t feel unique – how can you make yourself more appealing to this 8
employer so that they do attach a significantly higher value to you than they may to another candidate they interview and consider? 23. Go out and ask people if you’re not confident in assessing yourself in this way. Think carefully about who you ask so you receive accurate and useful feedback. It’s about gathering a depth and breadth of opinion from mature people. You probably want to stay away from families and parents because they know you too well and this will bias their opinion of you. Ask people who’ve seen you work and who know about the work that you do as well. 24. One thing that can put recruiters and organisations off you is if you have an inflated view of yourself. They’d prefer you to be more realistic, with a lower ego, or perhaps to even undervalue yourself a little. That’s quite difficult within the context of negotiation because you have to be a bit self-confident in the process whilst making sure you strike the right tone and balance in order to achieve an appropriate understanding of your own value. 25. One way to get the balance right is to prepare to address areas of concern as well as your strengths. Make a list of counter-arguments that the company might use, based on what it perceives as your ‘weaknesses’. Be ready to speak about how you’re working on improving these areas, complete with examples.
Just Before Negotiations Begin Just as with a job interview, there are some things it’s advisable to do the day before, the night before and even in the hours before salary negotiations begin. Now the main elements of your heavy-duty preparation are over, this is the time to ensure you’re prepared in mind and body for what is to come. 26. The day before negotiations, get the rest of your affairs in order. Whether there is something you have to deal with at your current work or a conversation you need to hold with someone in your personal life—do it. Get rid of any unnecessary distractions so you can be 100% focused on the salary negotiations once they come around. 27. In order to clear your head the day before, it may also be beneficial to go for a walk or light jog by yourself. 28. If physical exercise is not for you, take a long soothing bath or put on some chilled-out music, close your eyes and just listen to it—do whatever it takes to make you relaxed. 29. It’s possible that you’ve only been to your new workplace once or twice before, so if salary negotiations are being held there, spend time checking the route you’re going to take and how much time you need to leave for the journey. 30. Get a full night’s sleep before the negotiations open. If you turn up to the negotiating table when you’re tired, you’ll have trouble thinking straight and this could affect the outcome of the process.
31. On the morning of the meeting, get up in plenty of time to get ready without feeling rushed. If you turn up to negotiations looking and feeling flustered, this will immediately set the wrong tone for the meeting. 32. Think about whom it is that you will be meeting and talking to. What is their view of you currently? What is their position within the company? How can you talk in ‘their’ language so that you can connect and come up with a win-win for all? 33. Be clear about your boundaries. What will you be happy with and what will you walk away from? What will you negotiate over? What is flexible and a nice to have and what is a must have? 34. Dress smartly, but in something you feel comfortable in. Wearing uncomfortable clothes during negotiations will just make you feel uncomfortable with the whole situation and you’ll be unable to focus. 35. Leave in plenty of time to take the route that you decided upon yesterday. It’s better to arrive early than to arrive late and instantly create a bad impression. 36. Eat something healthy relatively near to the time negotiations begin. This will ensure your blood sugar levels are up as you enter negotiations, making you both more alert and affable during the meeting. 11
37. It’s also important to hydrate yourself by drinking enough water beforehand. Dehydration, like lack of sleep and low blood sugar levels, can lead to sluggishness and irritability. 38. You might even take a bottle of water into the room with you, to ensure you remain hydrated throughout the meeting. 39. Be confident in yourself and what you have to offer. Be confident in the knowledge that you have, the research that you have done and the value that you are bringing to this employer. 40. Block out any negative thoughts you may have. This employer doesn’t know about your past or what may have or may not have happened before. They haven’t pigeon-holed you into any specific position or role yet. You have the opportunity to make a real impression and to sell yourself as a valuable asset to them and to show them your worth. 41. Turn your phone off before you get in the room. If it rings during a meeting as important as this, you’ll look unprofessional, harming your chances of convincing the negotiators that you’re worth what you’re asking for.
Negotiating for Success Now that you’re all prepared and in the room, the hard part begins—the actual process of negotiation. No matter how many salary negotiations you’ve been through before, you can always take new tips on board, work on areas of improvement and better your last performance. Don’t underestimate how important negotiating smartly is. Apart from the issue of the actual salary, these negotiations will set the tone for the rest of your, hopefully long, relationship with your new employer. Make sure that your behaviour and approach at the negotiating table sets a positive tone. 42. Remember that you may well have to work with whoever you’re negotiating with after you’ve come to an agreement. Remain civil and polite to them at all times. If you feel you’re going to lose your temper or get upset, excuse yourself to the bathroom and take a few deep breaths or go to the nearest water cooler, fill up a cup and sip it calmly for a few minutes. 43. Do not negotiate on your salary until you have secured a job offer first. This may sound basic but make sure you stick to it. You need your employer to be convinced that they need you first before thinking about the subject of pay. 44. Never allow yourself to get complacent during the negotiations. Even if you know you have skills in great demand within the wider labour market, be aware that there may be lots of other equally qualified candidates willing to step into this particular job if you’re unable to make a deal with the employer. Always conduct yourself with respect towards the employer and don’t get cocky. 13
45. Appeal to the negotiators’ sense of fairness. If the employer is reasonable, they’ll be more than willing to give you what’s fair, so ask for what’s fair and no more-- back it up with examples of why your value to the company justifies your requests. 46. Although you should be clear in your own head on what the absolute minimum you’ll accept is, don’t feel obliged to tell the negotiators what the minimum is. If the organisation knows how little it can get away with giving you, that’s all it’ll give you. 47. For similar reasons, don’t divulge what your current compensation is—if your new company finds out what you’re presently being paid, it’s likely to be influenced by this figure rather than your actual value. 48. If you’re asked outright what your previous or current salary was/is, respond by asking what the salary range or pay structure pertaining to this position is. This is a polite but firm way of steering the conversation away from your salary history and back to the present negotiations. 49. Although it’s best to avoid giving out too much information, you may be asked to name a figure and that’s that! If this is the case, avoid going for a rounded number, because that makes it very easy for the negotiators to shave off at least £5k or so – simply to get to another neat number. Instead, opt for a non-rounded, non-neat number i.e. something that 14
feels and is a bit more calculated. Basically that means avoid the 5s and 0s. 50. Remember to ask whether or not expenses such as travel costs will be covered. Expenses can soon add up, so it’s well worth your time to make sure you won’t be expected to foot the bill just for doing your job. 51. Be logical, reasonable and level-headed throughout negotiations. If you become too emotional, you’ll come across as needy rather than rational. 52. This may come as a surprise, but it’s not only acceptable to inject some humour into salary negotiations, it can even be quite useful. Money is typically seen as a serious and awkward subject to talk about, so if you can make a joke about the situation, this will get everyone to relax and it’ll be easier to discuss things openly. You could try saying something like, ‘well, I’m as ugly as Wayne Rooney, so I think I should earn as much as he does’. 53. Be sure to listen smartly as well as talk smartly. Really listen to what the negotiators are telling you as opposed to just hearing what you think they’re saying. If you need them to repeat something, simply ask them to repeat it.
54. When the negotiators make you a concrete offer, take time to think about it. Instead of accepting or declining it on the spot, ask if you can have some space to consider it. The employer may well set you a deadline by which you have to decide and this is reasonable enough, so be sure to use that time wisely by thinking carefully about the offer. 55. What you could do whilst considering the offer is to talk it over with someone you respect and trust. 56. Feel free to go back to the negotiators whilst you’re considering the offer and ask if there’s any flexibility around it. 57. Don’t rush your thinking time and decision-making. At the same time don’t pressurise your counterpart to rush their decisions either. You need to patient when dealing with a delicate issue like salary. 58. If you say ‘no’ to an initial offer, make it clear that you’re open to further negotiation.
Accepting an Offer Once the employer makes an offer that you decide to accept after considering it, this doesn’t signal the end of the process. Before accepting it formally, there are some things to consider apart from whether you actually want what’s on offer. 59. Be sure you actually understand the offer before accepting it. If you need some elements of it explaining to you, then ask. There’s no point in being too proud or shy to request clarification, only to end up with something different to what you were expecting once you’ve signed the contract. 60. Of course, it’s vital to make sure that there actually is a written contract to sign. Whatever agreement you reach, it must be in writing in order to be fair to all parties. 61. Read the contract before you sign it. It sounds obvious, but we’ve all signed documents without reading them thoroughly. Your work and salary terms are too important not to read this document 62. After you’ve read the agreement, ask for any items or points that you feel are missing to be added in. Now is the time to speak up—don’t leave it until it’s too late. 63. Similarly, ask for clarification on any elements of the contract you don’t understand, even if the offer was verbally explained to you several times before you saw the written contract. 64. If you feel you need to take the contract away and spend time examining it before you sign it, do so. 17
65. If you do take the contract home for a night or two, it may be a good idea to get someone you know and trust to also read through it in case you’ve missed something. .If you have a friend with legal training or someone with a good idea for detail, ask them to give you their view. 66. Even when an offer is in writing, it can get withdrawn at the last minute. So once you’ve signed the agreement, continue to remain professional and behave well even if you’re not immediately starting in the new position— don’t give the employer a reason to tear up the contract. 67. One way of keeping the employer sweet between signing the contract and starting the job is to send/email a thank you note to the HR department, your line manager and whoever else was involved in negotiations. Express your gratitude that negotiations went so smoothly and that the outcome is to your liking.
Avoiding Common Negotiating Mistakes Just as there are some things you should do when it comes to salary negotiations, there are also some things you definitely shouldn’t do. The following are examples of mistakes that are all too common amongst people negotiating their salary—and all too damaging to their hopes of getting the salary they deserve. 68. Don’t settle or avoid negotiating simply to avoid the stress or challenge of it. Often people decide to accept whatever offer comes their way in order to avoid the negotiation process all together. If you do this, you are letting the employer take advantage of you potentially, and you will also be letting yourself down. 69. Don’t be greedy. There comes a point in every salary negotiation when you’ve gotten everything you’re going to get. If you continue to knowingly push your luck beyond this point, this could damage your future relationship with the employer. 70. Don’t let the past dictate or predict your future. Perhaps you felt undervalued and underappreciated before and your salary has never been especially high. Don’t let this put you down or stop you from seeking what you deserve. 71. Don’t lie in salary negotiations in order to gain the advantage. Not only is it tacky, unprofessional and morally wrong, but you will get found out, if not now, but further down the line. You hopefully didn’t lie in your initial job interviews for this role, so why lie now?
72. Don’t become obsessed with winning ‘the argument’. You might get so caught up in getting your own way that you find yourself becoming inflexible during the negotiations and refusing to settle for anything less than your initial demands, even if the organisation is actually offering you a perfectly fair deal. If you stubbornly stick to your guns just for the sake of it, you could find the company withdrawing a good deal before you’ve even given yourself the chance to consider it. 73. Don’t demand the salary you want, be forceful, belittling or rude. This never works as a strategy and is likely to make your future employer think less of you than get you the outcome that you want 74. Don’t talk – talk - talk or talk at your employer. Remember to listen to what they are saying and to try and understand what they are after as well. The more you can understand their point of view, their needs and goals as an organisation, the more likely you will be able to come up with a solution that can work for both parties. 75. Don’t accept the first offer the organisation makes you just because it’s an offer. Judge the offer on merit and judge all subsequent offers in the same way too. 20
76. Don’t reveal what you would accept too early on. The earlier you give up this information, the less room you will have to manoeuvre. 77. Don’t decline offers too quickly. The quicker you shut something down the harder it will be keep the doors open to you. If the money is ok but not as good as you’d like it to be, look at the benefits and what else could make up for the difference. Don’t reject the offer and move off too soon as you may be missing out on a great opportunity. 78. Don’t go back and forth with offers too often. Some negotiation is fairly expected, however continuing this back and forth negotiation can get tiresome. After a while the employer may believe that you are no longer worth the trouble and retract their offer to you. Choose your battles wisely. 79. Don’t negotiate after you’ve accepted an offer. This is a really bad idea. If you have already accepted something, then stick to it otherwise I’m afraid you will only make yourself look bad. Risking your reputation over a few pounds won’t put you great stead for future pay rises and growth within the business. Don’t accept an offer too soon but if you have jumped at it, be prepared to stick with what you’ve agreed to. 80. Make sure that you get your offer in writing. No legitimate employer will work on purely a verbal offer only but if you come across one that does, think carefully as this should create alarm bells for you. Be sure to keep a copy of your offer in hardcopy for your own records and to use as a reference point should you need it. 81. Don’t take it personally. The issue of money can be tied to your feeling of worth and it can be a highly emotional, sensitive and personal subject. However, remember that this is a business situation and that 21
whatever happens, it is not necessarily to do with you personally. If you have received an offer of the job at whatever level it is, it indicates that the employer does want you. So, even if negotiations don’t take you any further you can be sure to know that they did want you but because of where they are at the moment they may not be able to give you what you seek. 82. Think about the long term as well as the short term. If your employer cannot give you what you want right now, what else can they give you and what are your longer term prospects like? In some cases it may be worth accepting something that is lower than your ideal to start with, in return for a much higher pay rise later on. 83. Know when to quit. If a negotiation is really not going in the right direction for you, then ask yourself if you really want to be working for this company. Is it the right place for you? Is it worth this effort to continue trying to increase your pay to the level you think is right but that they perhaps do not agree with? 84. Know when to compromise. If this job is what you really want – i.e. the culture is right, the role is right, the people you get on with well, you get good benefits and can see yourself growing, being stimulated and enjoying yourself at this company – then go with it. Find a compromise rather than losing this opportunity. 22
85. Once you’ve come to an agreement all parties are happy with, don’t underestimate what an achievement it is to have successfully navigated the negotiation waters with the result of getting what you deserve. Celebrate the achievement by organising a family meal, going out for a drink or treating yourself to a new book. Well done—you’ve successfully negotiated a salary for your new job!
Further Reading Give Me More Money! – Smart Salary Negotiation Tips for Getting What You’re Really Worth by Ron L Krannich Salary Tutor: Learn the Salary Negotiation Secrets No One Ever Taught You by Jim Hopkinson The Ultimate Guide to Salary Negotiations by Jack Van Minden Salary Negotiation Tips for Professionals: Compensation That Reflects Your Value by Ron L. Krannich How to Negotiate your Salary – by Alan Jones Six Figure Salary Negotiations: Industry Insiders Show You How to Get the Money You Deserve by Michael Zwell The Negotiation Phase Book: Words You Should Say to Get What You Want by Angelique Pinet 24
More Position Ignition eBooks (Visit our website to download: www.positionignition.com) o Up Your Game, Up Your Pay! (85 Tips in Salary Negotiation) o How to Get the Job You Want o How to Ace the Interview o 135 Networking Career Tips o 125 LinkedIn Job Search Tips o 125 Twitter Job Search Tips o 100 Essential Career Change Tips o 85 Mid-Life Career Change Tips o Moving into Retirement in the 21st Century 25
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