All Things Negotiating Salary
Part II

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Let the Employer Broach The Subject Of Salary First. Once the topic is on the table what should you do? Let the employer broach the subject of salary first. That way you have a firm starting point that you can be assured of, when it is your turn. In the worst case scenario, if they go first, you certainly won't get less than their initial offer. Additionally, there is always the chance that they will exceed the starting salary figure you were planning to mention.

Repeat the Amount of the Offer and Then Remain Silent. Your first response should be to repeat the amount of the offer and then remain silent as if you are thinking about it. Don't jump at the first offer. People value what they have to work to get. And, if they have given you a low-ball offer, now is the time for them to increase their offer. You also want to give yourself a chance to digest their offer.

Don't haul out your research too soon! Give yourself time to understand and evaluate the total compensation package including benefits that is being offered. If you have been thorough in your preparation you should be able to compute the dollar worth of those benefits and add this figure to the base salary for a more accurate compensation amount.

Look at the Total Package. In evaluating the proposal, take into account the dollar value of benefits and leaves, stock option and 401(k) plans, tuition reimbursement, employee assistance programs or vacation days. as well as such non-monetary aspects as title or free employee assistance programs. If the starting salary is not as high as you'd like, are there bonuses, performance-based raises or promotion opportunities that sweeten the deal? If accepting the offer will require you to move, tally up projected relocation expenses so that you can negotiate who will be the responsible party.

Before you start negotiating you want to understand the value of the total compensation package. So ask questions. You can be up front about what you are doing. You need a certain amount of compensation in order to pay your mortgage and/or provide for your family and you are trying to understand the complete offer.

Share Your Research. Now is the time to share your research. Share your research for starting salary range and establish your individual value. Make sure your requested salary range is within the local market value for your profession in the geographic area. Be prepared with facts and figures. If you don't have justifications for what you are asking; if you can't answer why you're worth something, you won't be successful in salary negotiations

You might start your response by saying: "Based on what others in this role are making at similar companies, the 15 years of experience I bring to the job and the commitment I'd like to make to the company, I believe your offer is on the conservative side." Compare your research with your offer. Are you under market, over market, or right in the range?

If your salary research indicates that the offer is below the range for your specific job and responsibilities, now is the time to discuss your research and discuss how the employer arrived at his/her estimates. Often you will find some points of disagreement on which to negotiate an increase. Present your research and conclusions in terms of fair market value for the position and work required.

Make the Case For Your Value As An Employee. Include a record of your contributions that defend the amount of compensation you are requesting. If you're in demand elsewhere, you have leverage. Draw attention to it, but be careful not to emphasize it too much.

Emphasize The Benefits Of Your Skills. Talk about your past experiences and have ready a list of what you have to offer. When you talk about your last job, describe your accomplishments and quantify your successes in terms of cost savings, increased productivity and overall contribution to the company. If you earned performance bonuses or incentive awards, mention those so that you'll be viewed as an achiever, well worth top dollar.

Be Ready to Demonstrate That You Have the Exact Skills the Company Needs. Be sure to address any doubt that may have been raised about your suitability for the position. Be organized and informed. This will help an interviewer recognize the benefits of having you join their team, and will help boost the salary offer.

Keep in mind that an employer will likely view compensation data differently than you do. Two common points employers raise about this kind of research are the sources used to obtain the data, and whether the data matches your job profile, the company profile, and job location. So work out answers to both in advance.

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