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Archive for the ‘Salary Negotiation Techniques’ Category

Negotiate a higher salary in 2011? It’s possible.

If you’re currently employed and are wondering about next year’s salary, brace yourself. We’re about to say something you don’t usually hear: The economy is working in your favor.
According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 31 percent of employers are willing to negotiate salary increases with their current employees next year. Could this be tied to the fact that 43 percent of employers are concerned that their best workers are going to pick up and bolt as soon as the economy improves and more businesses are hiring?
The fear of losing in-demand workers does seem to factor in to how much negotiating your boss is willing to do. At least, the industries with high demands are the ones with the most wiggle room. When it comes to negotiating with current employers in 2011, who’s willing to talk it out?
  • 45 percent of IT employers
  • 41 percent of professional and business services employers
  • 39 percent of retail employers
  • 38 percent of sales employers
If you’re looking for a new job, don’t think your salary has been left out in the cold. Half of employers will leave some room for negotiation when they make a job offer to a new employee. And 21 percent of employers are willing to extend multiple offers to the same candidate, so some job seekers have more room to play hardball.
What should you expect?
Just because employers are willing to negotiate salaries, don’t assume you’re going to get a raise just by saying, “More money, please!” Before your boss can consider giving you a raise, you need to give him or her a reason to do so. When asked what you can do to improve your chances of getting a fatter paycheck, employers cited these methods as the most effective:
  • Cite specific accomplishments
  • Present the salary range you want and be able to justify it
  • Display an understanding of what’s important to the company
  • Bring your past performance reviews with you
If you walk into the meeting with enough preparation, you’ll hopefully walk out of it with a higher salary. However, not all bosses are in the position to offer higher salaries. Your boss might be on your side and think you’re worth the extra money, but the higher ups won’t put any extra dollars in the budget. That’s when you and your boss can shift your focus to other perks. Remember, compensation includes more than just a dollar amount, although everyone loves a hefty paycheck.
If they can’t offer you more money, surveyed bosses are willing to extend other offers to you in hopes of keeping you satisfied. These perks are the most popular you’re likely to receive in lieu of a higher salary:
  • More flexible hours
  • Bonuses
  • Training
  • Vacation
  • Most casual dress code
Although salaries probably won’t skyrocket in 2011 and employers continue to be cautiously optimistic about the economy, take heart that bosses are willing to have these conversations at all. In worse climates, think 2008, bosses had layoffs on their minds, not salary negotiations. So let’s hope this is the beginning of a trend to higher paychecks in the future.

Top Myths and Realities of Salary/Job Offer Negotiation

Receiving a job offer is one of the most exciting events for job-seekers it means all your hard work in tracking down job leads, submitting resumes and application packets, and preparing for job interviews has paid off. Receiving a job offer, though, is also one of the most stressful times for job-seekers, as many people agonize over the terms of the offer and whether to take the plunge into negotiating a better deal.
Negotiating a better salary — or other terms in your job offer — should not be feared or loathed… as in buying a car or a home, a job offer is a starting point. The offer could be the employer’s best offer, but more than likely there is room to negotiate as long as job-seekers understand the rules and overcome some very common myths about the process.
Here is our list of the top myths along with the realities of salary and job offer negotiation.
Salary Myth: Asking for a Lower Salary Will Improve Chances of Hire
If you do not believe in your worth in the value you will bring to the job why should the employer? Most employers are not looking for the cheapest hire, but the best hire for the job. By requesting a lower salary for yourself, you set yourself up for failure (either in not even being considered for the position, or, if hired, struggling to overcome the low salary).
Special note for new college grads and career-changers: Because of your inexperience level in your field, you may need to start at a lower salary than others with relevant experience, but that does not mean you should automatically downgrade your salary request. Always conduct your research and be realistic in your salary request.
Salary Myth: Negotiating Salary of Other Parts of Job Offer Frowned Upon
There’s a common fear among job-seekers that employers frown upon job-seekers who want to negotiate part of the job offer. As long as you respect and understand the process and do not ask for unattainable or unrealistic changes employers generally respect your desire to receive the best possible offer.
Note: Some employers absolutely refuse to negotiate any part of a job offer, but they generally state that up front in the process. For these employers, any attempt at negotiating could result in the employer rescinding the job offer.
Salary Myth: Accepting First Offer is Safest Strategy for Job-Seekers
Job-seekers often have the sense that if they don’t immediately accept an employer’s job offer, that the employer or hiring manager is just waiting to make the offer to the next job-seeker on the short list. The reality is that the employer chose you as the best candidate for the position and bought into you as the top choice so you should not feel pressure to immediately accept the offer. And if you are also interviewing with other employers and close to receiving another offer, you should at least negotiate more time to consider the offer.
Note: Be wary of employers who try to rush you into accepting an offer or who want a decision on the spot. Even if you have no other employment possibilities, always request some time to consider the offer before making a decision.
Salary Myth: Negotiating Salary in a Weak Economy is a Bad Idea
Some job-seekers mistakenly believe that a weak economy means that employers don’t have the money to pay better salaries, but these employers would not be hiring if they did not have the resources to pay new hires. While it’s true that job-seekers may find fewer job openings and have fewer job offers in a weak job market, once you are the person the employer wants to hire, you have room to negotiate.
Note: In a slow or weak economy, some employers might be a bit more sensitive to negotiating salary, but still open to negotiating other aspects of the job offer. Research is again key to knowing the best strategy to follow.
Salary Myth: Believing That Everything is Negotiable in Job Offer
Typical advice given to job-seekers is that all aspects of a job offer are negotiable, but the reality of your situation depends on several factors. As mentioned earlier, some employers simply do not negotiate job offers. In other cases, the level of the job dictates the amount of room for negotiation. Typically, the lower the level of the position, the less room for negotiation. Thus, college grads may find little room for negotiation while mid-level and senior management job-seekers may find the entire offer up for negotiation.
Note: The best source for determining your ability to negotiate one or more aspects of your job offer is an inside source. The power of a strong network is not in just helping you secure job leads but in providing you with key insider information that you can use to receive and negotiate a job offer.
Salary Myth: Asking for Offer in Writing Will Offend Employer
No one should ever accept a job offer without receiving the terms in writing whether in the form of an employment contract or job-offer letter and no legitimate employer will ever question your motives for asking for such. When you receive a job offer during an interview or over the phone, the best strategy is to probe for some of the details (most hiring managers don’t know all the details) and then ask when you should expect the offer in writing.
Note: Another benefit of receiving the offer in writing is that it gives you more time to understand and evaluate the full offer (including salary, additional compensation, and benefits/perks) and whether you want to negotiate any of the terms of the offer.
Final Thoughts
While receiving a job offer is exciting for job-seekers, it’s important that you understand the realities of salary and job-offer negotiation as well as the rules.

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How to win salary negotiations – according to CNN

While some employment opportunities state in black and white what wage an applicant can expect if hired, other positions are grayer in terms of salary.

Talking about money with a potential employer might feel a bit awkward, but coming to terms that leave both sides content is crucial.

Below, experts offer suggestions on how to prepare for salary negotiations.

Not wanting to look like they are only in it for the money, job seekers often hesitate to break the ice on the issue of salary. Is it OK for a candidate to bring up the topic?

“I get asked this question by friends all the time, and the honest answer is that it depends entirely on the position,” says Paul Peterson, national talent resource manager with Grant Thornton in Toronto.

“If you are a campus hire, you do not ask upfront (first interview) as it can give the impression that you are solely money-focused. For experienced candidates, it’s perfectly appropriate to bring up the topic, especially if you want to ensure that you are at least close in range.”

Anastasia Valentine, a product strategist and career coach from Ottawa, agrees that it is fine to bring up salary during the initial meeting — but not as the first point in the conversation. If the employer doesn’t eventually broach the subject, a tasteful approach is to ask for a salary range.

The dreaded question
Perhaps no question scares candidates as much as, “What salary are you expecting from this position?” The last thing the applicant wants to do is sell himself short, but he also might fear pricing himself out of the running.

Jen Rallis, author of “Ugly Résumés Get Jobs,” suggests turning the tables by asking, “What salary range are you willing to pay for this position?” Once the employer provides a range, the candidate can simply respond, “That’s suitable” if the numbers are in line with his needs.

Likewise, job seekers being pressed for figures can offer the employer a suitable range. To avoid making an uneducated guess, candidates should find out before the interview what similar positions in the field are paying.

“Being prepared and understanding market rates for the worth of experience and skills not only demonstrates confidence and preparation, it also keeps the discussion on a factual versus emotional level,” Valentine says. “This speaks volumes to an employer beyond the request for a specific dollar amount.”

Peterson advises choosing numbers carefully.

“Candidates need to remember the cardinal rule when giving ranges: If you give a range, for example 60-75K, the employer generally remembers the 60 while the candidate remains focused on the 75. Be prepared to give a small range.”

Proving worth
Candidates who land offers at the higher end of a salary range are ones who can demonstrate to an employer that they are worth the price. Some ways to do that include:

Quantifying experience. (“My client increased sales by 8 percent after implementing my marketing idea.”)

Researching the company beforehand so that you can tailor information to its needs. (“I see the company is interested in becoming ‘greener.’ Here are some ways I might be of help.”)

Pointing out any extras that set you apart (advanced training, special certifications, knowledge of a second language, etc.).

Reaching an agreement
Ideally, both sides should have similar expectations regarding salary by the time an offer is issued. Yet sometimes there are surprises.

Lisa Martin of Vancouver, British Columbia, a top talent consultant and coach for Lisa Martin International, suggests this diplomatic approach to dealing with an unfavorable offer:

“Call back the next day (do not use e-mail or any other electronic format where your intent can be misunderstood) and tell the interviewer all the reasons you’d like to work with the company but that after due consideration there seems to be a misalignment with their needs and the value you bring to the organization. Ask if there is a way to bring the two into better alignment. If there seems to be interest, make a counteroffer.”

Rallis agrees that most employers will leave room for negotiation if not on salary then on other benefits. “Ask if a car allowance, cell phone allowance or extra vacation days are available to compensate for a lower salary.”

Finally, try to view negotiations as seeking a win-win situation for all involved. An employer with enough interest to go through all the stages leading up to an offer has already invested a fair amount of time and energy. The company may be just as eager as you to make things work.

By Beth Braccio Hering

Negotiating Salary After Disclosing Current Salary or Salary Expectations

Oops, you already told the employer what you’re making or expect to be making. Now what?

All is not lost! Just because they know your current salary or salary expectations doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate for a fair market value.

Once you’ve broken the sound barrier, so to speak, on your salary, you at least have one advantage: no more tug-o-war between you and your potential employer about revealing salary.

If salary bumped you out of interviewing, it will be hard to gain reentry at all, and even if you do, it might be at the price of an informal pre-interview agreement that if chosen, you’ll consider a pay cut.

If you’re still in the running, however, your “disclosed” circumstances make it doubly important to do your research well. In this case, you don’t need to address salary again until there’s an offer. At that point use researched facts, not your past salary, to substantiate your salary request.

When they’ve decided on YOU, that is, when they’re making you the offer, not your competitor(s), then it’s time to make the move away from the number you disclosed to your ideal compensation. Don’t let your past salary be the starting point for negotiations. Let your own satisfaction and joy of receiving great pay be the motivating force behind you at this point.

Remember that what you negotiate now is what you’ll live with for a long time. A minute or two here can engender months and months of satisfaction — or the opposite if you miss this opportunity. Let’s assume they’ve made an offer. What do you say?

Respond with: “I know I’ve discussed my [current] salary/salary expectations. I want to make sure from this point forward that we’re looking for a compensation package that is not just a ‘raise’ from my previous job, but rather a motivating, fair, value-based salary we will both be satisfied with. Can we agree on that principle?”

Once you have your agreement on that, then follow the rest of the salary negotiation rules.

by Jack Chapman

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Job Offer Too Low? Use These Key Salary Negotiation Techniques to Write a Counter Proposal Letter

Here’s an ideal scenario: After a grueling number of job interviews with a prospective employer who is hiring someone for the job of your dreams, you’re again meeting with the hiring manager when she turns to face you and gives you the job offer, but at a salary below what you had expected. You are still excited, elated actually, but what you do next could have consequences for years to come.

Even if the job offer is acceptable to you, most career experts agree that you should take the time to clear your head and consider the offer — away from the pressure of an interview. So, make sure to thank the interviewer for the job offer and express your interest in the job and the company, but ask for some time to consider all the details.

But what if the offer is unacceptable to you? If it really is one of your dream jobs or even simply a job you really want — you should consider moving into the negotiation phase by making a counter proposal to the employer. That’s what this article is all about — taking you through the key negotiation strategies you should apply and providing you with one key tool — the counter proposal letter — as a means to negotiating a better offer for yourself.

Key Salary Negotiation Strategies

  1. Delay salary and benefit negotiations for as long as possible in the interview process. You’ll have more power to negotiate when the field of candidates has been reduced to just you — when the employer is completely sold on you as the best candidate for the position.
  2. Remember that you’ll have your greatest negotiation leverage between the time the employer makes the original offer and the time you accept the final offer. Once you accept an offer, you have little to no room to negotiate.
  3. Don’t negotiate at the time the initial job offer is made. Thank the employer for the offer and express your strong interest and enthusiasm in the job, but state that you’ll need time to evaluate the entire compensation package. Most employers are willing to give you a fair amount of time to review — and if you run across an employer who wants a decision immediately, consider long and hard whether you want to work for such a company.
  4. Do your research. The greatest tool in any negotiation is information. Make sure you have done a thorough job of determining your fair market value for the job you are seeking, the salary range of the job for this specific employer, and geographic, economic, industry, and company-specific factors that might affect the given salary. Also try to obtain information on the employer’s standard benefits package so that you have information beyond salary.
  5. Just do it. While a large percentage of corporate recruiters (four out of five in one study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management) are willing to negotiate compensation, only a small percentage of job-seekers actually do so. You don’t have to be an expert negotiator to get a sweeter deal; you just need to know the rules and strategies of negotiation.
  6. Negotiate to your strength. If you are a smooth talker (an extravert), call the employer and ask for a follow-up meeting to discuss a counter proposal. If you communicate better in writing, follow our guidelines for writing a counter proposal letter (below).
  7. Always ask for a higher salary (within acceptable limits) than you are willing to accept so that when the employer counters your proposal, the salary should be near your original goal. And when possible, try and show how your actions (once on board) will recoup the extra amount (or more) that you are seeking — through cost savings or increased sales revenue, productivity, efficiencies.
  8. If the salary you’re offered is on the low end — and the employer has stated that salary is not negotiable (probably due to corporate salary ranges or pay grade levels), consider negotiating for a signing bonus, higher performance bonuses, or a shorter time frame for a performance review and raise. Always negotiate base salary first, and then move on to other elements of the job offer.
  9. When presenting a counter proposal to the employer, be sure and include a few benefits that are expendable so that you can drop them in a concession to the employer as negotiations continue.
  10. Remember that even if all salary issues are “off the table,” there are still numerous other benefits you can negotiate, such as moving expenses, paid vacation or personal days, professional training, and more. See the sidebar for the entire list of negotiable items.
  11. Never stop selling yourself throughout the negotiation process. Keep reminding the employer of the impact you will make, the problems you will solve, the revenue you will generate. And continue expressing interest and enthusiasm for the job and the company.
  12. If you have no intention of accepting the company’s offer, don’t waste your time or the company’s by entering into negotiation. Negotiation is a process designed to find common ground between two or more parties.
  13. If you have multiple job offers, don’t put the companies into a bidding war for your services; it rarely works out.
  14. Don’t enter negotiations with the wrong attitude. Always have in the back of your mind that your goal with these negotiations is a win-win situation. You want to get a better deal, but you also need to let the employer feel as though they got a good deal as well.
  15. Given a number of factors, such as the strength of the economy, the size and vitality of the company, and the supply of job candidates with similar qualifications, some employers simply will not negotiate.
  16. Never make demands. Instead, raise questions and make requests during negotiations. Keep the tone conversational, not confrontational.
  17. Be prepared for any of a number of possible reactions to your counter proposal, from complete acceptance to agreeing to some concessions to refusal to negotiate.
  18. You have to be willing to walk away from negotiations. If you don’t have a strong position (a good current job or one or more current or potential job offers), it will be harder for you to negotiate. If you really need or want the job, be more careful in your negotiations.
  19. Once the employer agrees to your compensation requests, the negotiations are over. You cannot ask for anything more or risk appearing immature or greedy and having the employer’s offer withdrawn or rescinded.
  20. Always be sure to get the final offer in writing. Be extremely wary of companies that are not willing to do so. Note: one advantage of writing a counter proposal letter is that you list the terms of the offer in your letter.

Negotiable Elements of a Job Offer

  • Salary
  • Non-salary Compensation: signing bonus; performance bonus; profit-sharing, deferred compensation; severance package, stock options
  • Relocation Expenses: house-hunting, temporary living allowance, closing costs, travel expenses, spouse job-hunting/re-employment expenses
  • Benefits: vacation days (number, amount paid, timing), personal days, sick days, insurance (medical, dental, vision, life, disability), automobile (or other transportation) allowance, professional training/conference attendance, continuing education (tuition reimbursement), professional memberships, club (country or athletic) memberships, product discounts, clothing allowance, short-term loans

Job-Specific: frequency of performance reviews, job title/role/duties, location/office, telecommuting, work hours and flexibility, starting date, performance standards/goals

Writing the Counter Proposal Letter
While there is not a specific formula to writing a successful counter proposal letter, there is a basic structure you can follow for maximum likelihood of success.

First Paragraph: Statement of Interest and Enthusiasm for Job/Company; Key Selling Factors
This paragraph is critical in setting up the tone and direction of the negotiations. Be direct and sincere in expressing your interest for the company, thanking the employer for the job offer. Be sure to follow-up with your key selling points – how you will make a direct and immediate (or longer-term) impact on the organization.

Second Paragraph: Negotiating Item #1 — Offer and Counter Proposal
Restate the particular point from the original offer that you wish to negotiate, followed by your counter proposal — ideally supported through research, a desire to be fairly compensated, or reinforced by the value you will bring to the company.

Third Paragraph: Negotiating Item #2 — Offer and Counter Proposal
Restate the particular point from the original offer that you wish to negotiate, followed by your counter proposal — ideally supported through research, a desire to be fairly compensated, or reinforced by the value you will bring to the company.

Fourth Paragraph: Negotiating Item #3 — Offer and Counter Proposal
Restate the particular point from the original offer that you wish to negotiate, followed by your counter proposal — ideally supported through research, a desire to be fairly compensated, or reinforced by the value you will bring to the company.

Fifth Paragraph: Negotiating Item #4 — Offer and Counter Proposal
Restate the particular point from the original offer that you wish to negotiate, followed by your counter proposal — ideally supported through research, a desire to be fairly compensated, or reinforced by the value you will bring to the company.

Concluding Paragraph:
Conciliatory Comments with Strong Moving-Forward Statement
Stress that your requests are modest and that your potential impact is great — and that you look forward to accepting the job offer and getting a jump-start on the position as soon as possible.

You can also include paragraphs for items of the original proposal that you completely agree on — doing so makes the letter seem more balanced and that you are not picking apart the entire offer.

You can also include paragraphs for any items in the offer that you need clarification- – or where you are seeking more information, typically for complex issues such as confidentiality and non-compete agreements, bonus plans.

Free Sample Job Offer Counter Proposal Letter
What does a salary negotiation counter proposal look like? See our sample counter proposal letter given below:

Lisa Lively
3428 Talamas Drive SE
Clemson, SC 29631

Mr. Frank Ian
Director, Industrial Systems
General Electric Company
41 Woodford Avenue
Plainville, CT 06062

Dear Frank:

I am excited about the offer you extended on October 29, 2009, and look forward to accepting it. I feel confident I will make a significant contribution to the growth and profitability of General Electric’s Industrial Systems division over the short and long term. The terms you have described in the offer are acceptable, with a few minor changes.

Base Salary: $55,000 per annum
The research I’ve done on comparable salaries and cost of living differences between Clemson and Plainville show that a base salary of $75,000 would be the market value of my experience for this position. The current offer of $55,000 would result in a dramatic reduction in living standard. Based on the above, I would like you to consider as a compromise a base salary of $65,000.

Bonus Opportunity: 3% of quarterly team results above stated quotas
Because I expect to have an immediate impact on both cost-savings and increased sales revenues, I would like to suggest increasing the bonus percentage 6% of results above quota.

Relocation Package: GE will compensate up to $10,000 for your reasonable costs incurred for relocation to Plainville, CT. Further, GE will provide temporary living assistance and reimburse for any commuting for up to 6 months from date of hire.
As far as relocation is concerned, I feel your relocation package is quite generous and I appreciate the company’s policy.

Stock Option Plan: developed and implemented after 1 year of service
If this policy is standard for all employees, I can accept it, but again, I am convinced that I will make an immediate impact on a key division of GE, and I would like to see the stock option plan developed in the first six months of employment.

Benefits Package: standard employee benefits package
In discussing the standard benefits package with Jim Cline in HR, I am quite pleased with the GE benefits package. I would only ask that the waiting period for these benefits be waived.

Start Date: December 3, 2009
I am actually available to start to telecommute as early as next week — as soon as we agree on the final aspects of the offer.

If you could see to making these modest improvements to your offer, my performance will show you a handsome return. I am prepared to hit the ground running as part of the GE Industrial Systems team, and achieve the next “home run” for this division.


Lisa Lively

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

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