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Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Salaries Are Always Negotiable - Even in a Recession

February 17, 2009 Written by 

From 2/16/09 ComputerWorld... 
You're a strong advocate of negotiating for a higher starting salary. How is that possible when there's so much competition for every job?

Many job seekers erroneously believe that they can't negotiate wages, benefits or perks in a tight labor market for fear of losing a job offer. Because of this, many people enter new jobs feeling like they've been taken advantage of. As a result, they ultimately lose motivation to excel, which in turn means raises and/or promotions don't come as rapidly -- or not at all.

Job seekers need to understand a few realities about the hiring and negotiation process. First, if you don't ask for more, you will never get more. Even if you don't get everything you want, getting a little bit of something is better than getting a whole lot of nothing. If you end up with nothing, you've lost nothing. Second, compensation negotiation isn't a zero-sum game. Both parties can end up winners instead of one having to lose so the other can win. Third, the employer wouldn't be looking if it weren't in need. This puts some immediate negotiation power into the hands of the job seeker who fits the needs of the employer.

There's a belief that every employer is looking for the cheapest worker it can find. In some instances this is true, but in reality most employers realize that paying a fair and equitable wage is one of the best ways to keep good workers, maintain quality and increase productivity.

What if it's clear that there's just no wiggle room on salary?

If they can't give you any more money, negotiate for things that you'd spend money for, things that make you a more valuable employee, things that enhance your quality of life or things that can be turned into money later.

Examples of things you would spend money for are job-related tools, including computers and software; allowances for clothing, parking, gas and day care; or company products or promotional items the company might receive or distribute, such as event tickets. You can also ask if the company gets corporate product discounts on vehicles, credit card interest rates, food supplies, home furnishings, etc. If it does, negotiate for inclusion of these types of things.

Things that make you more valuable might include an educational allowance, or ongoing and on-the-job training (preferably in Hawaii).

Quality-of-life items include reduced travel, a day of telecommuting or a work schedule that fits around family needs.

And things that can be turned into money later include stock options, profit sharing, deferred compensation, cost-of-living increases and bonuses for exceptional work.

What sort of information should a person have at hand in order to negotiate more effectively?

  • A thorough knowledge of what makes you unique and a list of 30 to 60 of your most marketable skills.
  • A list of previous accomplishments and how those accomplishments benefited the prior company's bottom line.
  • Letters of recommendation from previous employers and co-workers highlighting your immediate value to the company.
  • A solid understanding of the needs and problems you can solve at the company to which you're applying.
  • A salary survey for people with your skills and experience in your general work locale.
  • Considerable practice giving verbal examples of how hiring you will benefit the company's bottom line.
Read 3441 times Last modified on Monday, 30 April 2012 12:35
Gary Zander

Gary is President of Project One.

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