by Amy Gubser
Aug 28 2014
In the workplace, everything is up for negotiation. However, your best chance for bargaining happens when you first get offered a position. Keep this fact in mind: The largest salary increases you’ll likely ever earn are when you go to work for a new employer. Employers expect you to negotiate the offer, not just your executive compensation, so don’t be shy. It’s up to you to ASK for what is fair. There are many executives who DO NOT take this opportunity to give themselves the biggest raise ever.
Becoming a better negotiator requires you to practice your approach and do some research. When you put numbers and solid facts in front of either your current employer or your future employer, it often adds the element of support that is needed to convince them that your request is worthy of their attention. Would a lawyer go into a courtroom without any evidence or factual support? Absolutely not! So why should you negotiate without backup? Here are five strategies for becoming a better negotiator and increase your executive compensation:
1. Never mention money first. The key is don’t go first –don’t name a number from the beginning. You don’t want to over/under name a figure that may put you out of the running. If the employer requests a salary history when applying for a job — just ignore it. If the HR professional digs in, respond in a pleasant professional tone. Instead of revealing your salary, offer a statement of fact by citing a salary survey source. Salary calculators are available through professional associations and on the Internet.
2. Make them fall in love with you before you talk money. Be prepared to discuss how your skills and background benefit the employer. Make them see your value and see why you would be the best fit. At the conclusion of your meeting, repeat your applicable attributes and tell the employer you’re very interested in the position.
3. Ask for a fair price–preserving your salary is of key importance. There is no reason to take any salary cut or to “start over” just because you are entering a new job. Keep your new executive salary separate from your former salary.
4. Know what you want. List the negotiable and non-negotiable areas and decide which ones are most important to you. Here’s the response I give all my clients when negotiating: I want a salary that matches my worth in the marketplace.
5. Evaluate and review the entire offer and compare with your long-term goals, career growth, and job security.
Bottom line: Once you have a job offer in writing from your prospective employer, let the negotiation process commence. There’s a lot at stake, so before you begin make sure you overcome the biggest obstacle by making sure your prospective boss understands your value. The next few interactions can put thousands more dollars in your pocket. If you are like many candidates, especially women, and you don’t ASK, you’ll leave a lot of money on the table that the company was prepared to pay you.