Learn to negotiate your salary like a boss, plus 5 tips to getting the most out of a job interview


Supposedly the hard part is over — you got the job. You have gone through a myriad of interviews, sold your skills like the best car salesman on the lot and asked questions, (because you must have a question or two) but now you are stumped on the numbers, the moolah, the salary.

The good part is that you are thinking about it. According to the 2017 Job Seeker Nation Study conducted by Jobvite, a software and recruiting company, only 29 percent of job seekers negotiated their salary at their current or most recent job. The study went on to note that confidence and comfortability are key components to negotiating salaries and found that 56 percent of men felt comfortable, while 38 percent of women felt the same.

Joanna Gammon, the talent acquisition recruiter with Compass Group, believes negotiating is well, non-negotiable.

Several years ago, Gammon remembers participating in a ‘Lean In’ session (sparked by Facebook COO Sheryl Sanberg’s book of the same name), where the topic was specific to women and negotiating in the workplace.

“When the position has a salary range posted, a woman thinks you can only negotiate within that range,” Gammon said. “A man will negotiate outside of the range. When there is no range but an exact salary is stated, a woman thinks that must be the best offer. A man will negotiate. You get the gist, there was a male business owner in the room [that day].  He shared that every man he has ever hired has always negotiated and that every woman he has hired has not. My point is, always negotiate.”

Negotiation is a delicate process, and is not only about getting more money in the short-term, but also long-term gains, and non-monetary benefits. To prepare, Carmen Silva, executive recruiter – creative and digital marketing for TalentBridge, recommends doing as much research about the position as possible beforehand, evaluating your personal and family budgets, as well as salary information.

“Compensation for the same position and experience level varies across location, industry, company size, public vs. private vs. non-profit vs. education, etc.,” Silva said.

Certified life and career coach, and Athena Consultants owner, Tara Goodfellow, says it is key to also evaluate non-monetary benefits.

“It depends on what you value,” Goodfellow said. “For some, a long commute is no problem. For others, it adds immense anxiety and stress.”

She helps her clients develop compensation strategies and advises them to think about medical, dental, 401K match, vacation time, total PTO, company car, car allowance, flex schedule, phone, tuition reimbursement, maternity leave, etc. too.

There are many things to think about when it comes to negotiating your salary, but one consistent rule, among recruiters, career and life coaches, and HR professionals, is that the job seeker should not be the one to bring up the salary conversation.

“Remember, it’s not best to make it all about the money,” Gammon said. “Talk about the position, show your enthusiasm, ask good questions, provide examples of your worth (your background, experiences, skills) and show confidence.”

Here are five more expert tips you will want to know before your next interview.

(1) Use best websites/apps to find out what is a fair salary

Gammon shares her thoughts on …

Glassdoor:  “Not only can you get salary information here, you can see company reviews and participate in the ‘know your worth’ section.”
CEB now Gartner:  “This is more geared towards those within my industry (recruiting) and may be by membership only, but they post great content on their LinkedIn page that is beneficial to anyone in the job market.”
PayScale:  “Click on ‘Get a free salary report’ and then click one of the three options (choose #1 so you can see where you stack up against others in your position first), then enter as much detailed information as possible and at the end click ‘just show my salary report’ and ‘I don’t want to save my report’ for the information. All of this is anonymous.”
Indeed:  “Click on ‘Find Salaries’; this is also good for company reviews too.”

(2) How to properly answer the ‘desired salary’ question

I’m not a fan of the spitting out a specific number approach,” Silva said. “When they ask, I recommend giving a range such as $60-65k per year or $60-70k, dependent on the benefits package offered.”

(3) A job title is not as important as it may seem

“Do not get hung up on a job title,” Gammon said. “To me, titles do not mean anything. What matters most is your productivity, what you bring to the table. I want to see numbers, projects you’ve worked on, etc. Your salary should reflect your output. Besides, when you’ve ‘made it’ in your career, it shouldn’t always be about your title. ‘Made it’ is what it means to you, not what others think.”

(4) Try a holistic approach to researching a fair salary

“Ask an agency recruiter in your field and location for the most up-to-date salary information,” Silva said. “Ask a variety of people who work in that field/industry for the same information, both men and women. Then combine this information with what you see online. The internet is a great treasure of information, but sometimes that information is unreliable.”

(5) It is important to figure out how to balance moving up the corporate ladder with living a full life

“Being prepared, proactive, and comfortable communicating your needs and wishes are important,” Goodfellow said. “I remember once telling my boss, after he mentioned I may no longer have an office when we moved locations, ‘Well, I’ll just quit. I can’t work in a cube. I feel like a caged bird.’ That was hardly professional. [It’s important] to take time to explain the ‘why’ and the benefit it’ll potentially bring to the company.”

Take these tips on your next interview and remember, when negotiating, it’s not just about the money!

Photo: Sherwin Torres


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