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Learn how to negotiate your salary like a pro

Salary Negotiation: 9 Tips From A Recruiting Insider

Aug 15, 2016 1:35:58 PM
By Leslie Haber

With all the focus on resumes, cover letters, and the dreaded interview process, many job seekers, some fresh off a college degree, make the crucial mistake of forgetting to research what they should be making in a new role.

Even worse, some job seekers are so eager to find work, they merely accept what is offered to them out of fear of not finding other work, or rocking the boat with their potential employer.

While any job opportunity is about more than just money – know your worth!

Despite what stage of your career you’re in, there’s a lot you can do to avoid getting tongue tied when asked the awkward ‘money question’

TPD’s experienced Recruiter Sepand Zarrabi has some insightful answers to the salary negotiation questions you’ve probably had.

1) If you're not sure if you're the choice candidate - should you still name a figure?

This is always a tough call. First, the employer needs to know if you are in their range of possibility and that you won’t be wasting their time. On the other hand, it’s important not to low-ball yourself or conversely, take yourself out of the running by being overly ambitious or greedy.

Answer the question with a question "What is the salary range for the role?" Then respond with saying something like "This is within my range as well so it would be a fit."

2) What else is worth considering other than salary?

Lots. Keep in mind that the compensation goes beyond just salary. Think about vacation, benefits, working hours.

Don’t forget the intangibles like career growth - Is there room for upward movement? Money should never be the end all be all. Many successful professionals have even taken a slight step back compensation wise, in order to get into a role/company with strong upward potential.

Respond with "Although compensation is important, it's not #1 on my list ... There are other factors to consider such as joining a company where I can truly have an impact and contribute, opportunity to take on more responsibility, etc.."

3) Where should I research to determine the salary I deserve?

If you are working with a Recruiter, they typically have their finger on the pulse of the market, and can guide you accordingly. When it comes to agency Recruiters, in most scenarios, your motivation and theirs is harmonized because the way their compensation works - If they low-ball you, they are really low-balling themselves.

If you aren’t working with a recruiter, online resources like Job Bank and PayScale are great places to compile research.

4) What about benefits - are those negotiable?

Benefits are often very hard to negotiate so you may want to pick your battles. You could however negotiate weeks of vacation, flex time, or maybe working some days remotely if the job allows it.

5) At what point does it make sense to walk away?

This is a very personal question, and before you decide, there is a lot to consider.

Why are you leaving your current employer? Are you currently employed? How badly do you need a paycheque? What is the long term potential of the role? The list is endless.

Ultimately, the best way to make your decision is through a pro/con list, or by using someone more experienced that you’re comfortable discussing salary with as a sounding board. Chances are high that someone with decades of work experience has been through this process themselves many times.

6) Should I start off firm and negotiate later? Or should I be open to negotiation right away?

Refrain from giving hard numbers right out of the gate. Make sure you gain their interest first, and that you can see a full picture of the job opportunity, not just how much money you’d be making.

Once an employer has demonstrated interest, you have more leverage. Likewise, if you have a better understanding of what the role and company offers, you will be able to make smarter decisions about how hard to push.

7) Does it have to be in writing?

Most offers are done verbally first. If it's an entry level role, you may even sign on your first day.

This differs significantly for more senior level roles, where you will want to have it in writing before you put in your resignation.

8) Is it inappropriate to overshoot and hope you get the salary you actually deserve?

Yes. You risk pricing yourself out of the running before even getting started. As well, doing this at a later stage of the interviewing process may be a turnoff for the employer.

9) With raises - when is it okay to ask?

When negotiating the offer before starting a job, you may be able to negotiate a "salary review after probation" as part of the offer.

Typically salary reviews are done annually and they don't guarantee a raise.


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