Monday, September 21, 2009

Don't Shy Away From Salary Negotiations

Even in a tough job market, negotiating salary is something job candidates should feel comfortable doing with prospective employers. In fact, many employers expect job candidates to negotiate—demonstrating confidence and a valuable, core business skill. But many people are unsure of how and when to discuss salary. The below are some general tips on negotiating salary.

Do your research: Be prepared and empowered with information—know what you’re worth. Salary information is abundant, and it behooves you to research the range of salaries within the industry and occupation you are pursuing. One source you can use is the career optimizer in Career Transitions. By selecting at least one career, industry and state target, the career optimizer will display average salary results for these targets based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Sell your value: Sell your abilities and skills—see yourself as an asset to any company. Find out as much as possible about the role you’re applying for in terms of how your filling the position will help solve a major issue for the company or increase sales, etc.

Determine your salary range: Before you can start salary negotiations, you need to identify what you consider a comfortable salary range. Don’t be afraid to aim high, but make sure your range is also a fair market price.

Talk with the decision maker(s): In many cases, your first few interviews may be with a recruiter or human resource contact, and not the hiring manager. It is in your best interest to quickly identify who will be making the final hiring decision, and conduct your salary negotiations with this individual.

Negotiate later and let the employer make the first move: Keep salary negotiations at bay until you have a firm job offer. However, many employers will raise the question earlier in the interview process. If this occurs, respond by stating that you are flexible about salary and that your decision is based on the complete compensation package. If the employer presses further and you have an understanding of the job’s salary range, state the top-end of that range.

Take time to consider any job offer: Take some time to consider the job offer, before making any final decision. Look at the entire compensation package, and if you find the salary less than you desire and the employer unwilling to budge, consider negotiating non-salary benefits like additional vacation days, etc.

To read about a real-life example of negotiating salary in this down economy, click here.

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