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Nine Salary Negotiation Questions


Robby

At some point in your career you’re going to have a discussion with an employer about how much they should pay you. I know, we live in Indiana, and Midwest sensibility is not to be pushy. But that’s not what it means to negotiate.

Here are nine questions people ask on the topic of salary negotiation and some good answers for them.

Negotiation
© Flickr User Mike Rosenberg

1. Will negotiating cause your future employer thing less of you?

If anything, not negotiating will give your future employer less confidence in your ability to be assertive. Keep in mind that if someone refuses to negotiate with you and then you take that job, you are setting the stage for a workplace where there is no compromise.

2. How much more should you ask for after they offer?

It’s not wise to ask for much more than 10% over what you were offered. But if you’re responding to their figure, you are already coming from behind.

3. What are other benefits to consider in addition to base salary?

Besides the obvious benefits, such as vacation, retirement / employee ownership, or health benefits, it’s good to look at things you already pay for and ask if they can be written into your offer. This might include your gym membership, your dry cleaning, or a company car. If the organization supports working from home, ask them to budget for your home office furniture and equipment. You can also ask them to make a recurring donation to a non-profit or foundation in your honor.

4. What is right response to the first offer? To the second counter offer?

That depends on how far the first offer is from what you think is reasonable. If it’s already close—or if it’s higher than you expected—you can respond with other kinds of benefits. Generally speaking, you should take or reject the second counter offer.

5. Any specific tactics that help the new hire get a higher salary?

It’s good to acknowledge the lunacy of the process with the hiring manager. On the basis of a handful of interviews and a résumé, they are planning to spend thousands of dollars a month on you with the understanding it may be as much as year before you are fully productive. That is what we do, and it’s insane. Instead, offer to come work for a week on a trial basis for something modest, and then reapproach the salary discussion then. This brings you and the hiring manager to the same side of the table: you both will know more about what you can do, and be in a better position to agree on your value.

Another technique is to refuse to consider an offer until you’ve met more of the team. If you have had a chance to build rapport with a wider variety of team members, you’ll be in a stronger negotiating position.

6.If the employer won’t budge, then what are other ways to help ensure that a raise/promotion could be reviewed down the line?

Ask for a raise to be written into the offer letter with a specific date, and specify a minimum and maximum range (say, 5% to 20%). The low end is to ensure that you will get the new amount, and the high end is to show your confidence of how much value you could provide. If the hiring manager pushes back on the minimum, you can remind them that there’s always the option to part ways on that date as well.

7. If the new hire wants a higher base salary, what should they say?

The more you can break down your value, the better. If you’re in a sales role, show your history and demonstrate what you would bring. If your role is internal, look for firms that offer contractors with published rates.

You can also ask questions, such as “how did you come up with that figure?” and “what level of work would you expect for 20% more, or 20% less?”

8. What are things to never say in the negotiation process?

Don’t be cheesy or aggressive. “I know you have more money” or “You can do better than that” should both be avoided. Also, “I think we both know I am worth more” could be upsetting.

9. Any other advice?

Be willing to walk away. Be willing to ask more people to come in the room to take part in the negotiation. Use the time they give you. And act like you don’t need the job or the money.

Remember: it’s not about how much you’re making, it’s about how much they are paying you. The more you are being paid, the more your opinion will be valued.

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About the Blogger:

Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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