I am super excited about this post. We’re going to talk about negotiating your salary. Who doesn’t love negotiating their salary? I don’t know if I have met anybody who actually enjoys this part of the process because as exciting as it is, it’s also confusing. I get you don’t do this for a living. You don’t do it very often.
A good negotiation philosophies
What I want to give you in this post is. I have written a lot about this topic. There is a whole how-to in Interview Intervention. I have included a checklist here in the notes for you. I really want to give you the philosophies around what makes a good negotiation. I don’t even love the word, but the one thing I think is really, really important is, I would almost throw out the window everything you have heard about sales negotiations.
This is not about a sales negotiation. You are both coming together to come to an initial agreement because that is all it is, its an initial agreement, of what they are going to pay you for your services. This is not you selling somebody a product who is going to go off and use or selling your services, which are going to be over in a finite a period of time. You are a team and this is something we are going to talk about. I want you to understand this takes on different characteristics than just a sale. Now if you have done your job in the interviewing process, they like you. They love you. They want to give you a great offer, so let us just run through some of these philosophies.
Dos and don’ts while negotiating salary
The first thing I talk about is when to discuss this. I am going to mix in some dos and don’ts along the way as it relates to each one of these, but one of the first things that I would suggest to employers and to job candidates is you never, ever talk about compensation at the beginning of the process and here’s why. You, the job candidate, want to talk about it when your stock is highest. It’s not highest before they have interviewed. It should be highest at the very end. The more information they know about you, the more they should like you, the more they should want you, the more they are willing to pay. At the beginning of the process you also don’t know them, so for them to say, “Here is what the job pays” is unlikely, in most cases, there are flexibility and ranges in what the job can pay.
Not all, but most, so I don’t know why employers would share that with you either. I also don’t know why they would want to ask you, “What is it that you want in the way of compensation?” I’ll tell you why you don’t want to answer that. Because you have absolutely no idea what the entire package, and by the package, I don’t mean financial package, I mean the entire package of working at that company, entails. You may love the fact that it’s across the street from your house. You may love that you get to travel internationally or you are going to be working with fantastic people or you are going to get to learn new skills that you otherwise wouldn’t have. These are malleable pieces of your pie and the financial component is one of them, so for you to give them an answer, it’s completely uneducated.
Whatever you do, do not, I repeat, do not. The biggest mistake people make is talking money at the beginning of the process when negotiating salary. What would strongly suggest is, if they do ask you about money upfront, just provide them what you were currently earning or what you most recently earned. Then just say, “I am sure that if we are right for each other, we will be able to come to something amenable toward the end of the process.” I just want to make sure that you know that. Don’t do that up front, but now you’re here, you are at the end, so I wanted to get that out of the way.
At the end
When negotiating a salary at the end, remember to think about, the mentality of negotiation. It’s a compromise. You both want to be happy. A compromise is really bringing you both together so that you’re both happy. We want you to get paid fairly and in a value that makes you feel appreciated and we don’t want the employer to overpay. If the employer overpays, their expectations are going to be a lot higher. If you feel underpaid, you’re going to be disgruntled. If you feel overpaid, you might be a little bit nervous. Ringing every last dollar out of the employer is not always a great thing. I know more money is always better, but sometimes it comes at a cost. You don’t get anything for free, so to speak.
You got to think, "Okay, it
s a compromise. It's a compromise." I also want you to think in terms of the entire package. We talked a little bit about this a few minutes ago. What I get to do, who I get to do it with, how it matches all of my requirements. Am I going 20 for 20? Oh my goodness, this is such a great place to work. I'm willing to sacrifice a little bit. Maybe you're trading some certainty dollars for performance dollars. There's a lot of different ways, but you need to look at it holistically. Dont just get down. This is an analogous situation to when you are deciding whether or not you want to work at the company.