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Getting the Salary You Deserve

Career Corner: A Monthly Executive Search Firm News Article Series.

November 1st, 2010

 Salary is quite often the determining factor in whether or not an interviewee accepts a job offer. Compensation is also a competing factor for employers who are trying to sway a candidate from accepting an offer at another company. In other instances, many people are often intimidated asking their boss for a raise or a change in benefits, bonuses, or even salary. What can be even more difficult and nerve-racking is negotiating a salary when a candidate first enters the workforce or when they are completely new to an industry. Shefali Anand from The Wall Street Journal states that “although junior-level positions are generally fixed, mid- to senior-level employees and managers have more flexibility to negotiate their salaries.” Even if a person is desperate for work, they should still take the time to confirm they are getting the appropriate payment for the labor they are contributing to the company. The bottom line is, know the worth of both your job and yourself going into any negotiation.

 Research is Key

  In this day and age, the internet is one of the best and most effective ways to research what a candidate should be getting paid in accordance with where they live and what their previous education and work experience is. Websites like salary.com and glassdoor.com are two of the most popular sites used to determine what other employees in similar positions and locations are getting paid. These sites also review companies by enabling current of former employees to blog about their experiences with current or past employers. This gives people more information, whether helpful or harmful, on the specific company they are researching. Candidates can also try using the website, LinkedIn.com, to connect with people in the field or company they are interested in, whom in turn can provide further guidance. Another critical factor in researching fair compensation comes from contacting trustworthy friends and colleagues who may know what an appropriate salary is for the specified position. People working with a recruiting agency may also be able to obtain a more accurate salary range by working closely with their recruiter.

 Be Patient

  Courtesy is a large part of getting a job in general. These attributes are especially important when negotiating a salary. Candidates need to be patient and should strike a balance between appearing interested in the job and not appearing too eager. The candidate does not want to come across too “money-minded,” as Zak Parker, regional HR Director of North Africa, Middle East, and Southern Asia for security services firm G4S PLC stated. For the candidate, it is extremely important to wait for the company to begin the negotiation. If the salary is fixed and there is no room for compromise, then candidates are encouraged to ask for additional perks instead, whether a signing bonus, fixed bonus, or raise within a certain amount of time. Doing this enables both parties to get what they need out of the deal.

 The Offer

  Most experts recommend that candidates should not immediately give in to the first salary offer- that is candidates who are mid-to senior-level. There are many polite and effective ways for a potential employee to both express what they want and deserve. Anand also gives a couple great ways to get the point across in a professional demeanor. One of the examples he gives states, “I’d really like to work for you, but the financials are not really working out. Is there a possibility that we can look at this again?” By asking the question in this manner, a candidate lets the company know that they are interested, yet it still leaves plenty of room for negotiation.

 Take It Or Leave It

 Many times it is best, for people who are not in dire need of a job, to walk away from the offer if the salary is not what the candidate had in mind. This of course is always risky because there is always the slight chance that the candidate may never hear back at all. The most successful way to work a negotiation is for both the company and candidate to work with each other and be as honest as possible, so both sides are clued in to each other’s situations and needs. Ultimately, the choice to take the salary and job is up to the candidate. Ideally, negotiating a win-win for both parties is the most successful way to come to a fair offer in a reasonable amount of time.