Become a Salary Negotiations Expert
Salary negotiations do's and don'ts
Here are the keys to successful salary negotiation. Follow these simple rules, and you should achieve success in this important strategic tool of job-hunting, by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
- Do make sure you’ve done your research on the salary you should expect for the position you’re seeking. And do use sources such as salary.com and others.
- Don't bring up salary before the employer does. And do delay salary negotiation for as long as possible (until you know exactly what the position entails).
- Do be aware of your strengths and achievements. And do be sure to demonstrate the value you’ll bring to the employer.
- Do let the employer make the first salary offer. And do, if asked, say you expect a salary that is competitive with the market - or give a salary range that you find acceptable. [Laso adds: Try not to state a particular number. You could price yourself out of the range by $500, or undercut yourself by $3000.]
- Don't inflate your current earnings just to get a higher salary offer.
- Don't feel obligated to accept the first salary offer. And do negotiate salary if the offer made is inadequate.
- Don't get overly aggressive in negotiating the salary you want.
- Don't just focus on salary. Do look at the entire compensation package. [Laso adds: Consider the cost for health, dental, vision, and life insurance. Look at the company’s 401K, pension, and/or stock option plans. Find out about vacation and holidays, medical flex accounts, child care, car allowance, and flexible work schedules. All these benefits contribute to your total compensation package.]
- Do try to obtain other concessions (shorter review time, better title, better workspace) or benefits (bonuses, vacation time) if you aren’t successful at negotiating a salary you want.
- Don't enter salary negotiations as part of an ego trip or a game.
- Don't accept the first acceptable salary offer you receive if you’re not sure about the job or the company.
- Do get the offer in writing.
Talk to Laso before you get to salary negotiations. Ask us to guide you through the process.
Try to prevent counter offers
Your current employer will often extend a counter offer after you have resigned.
Why companies extend a counter offer:
- Department morale suffers when people leave.
- Employee resignations do not look good on a manager's record.
- It is cheaper to give you a raise than it would be to recruit a new employee.
- The project you were working on will suffer delays because of your departure.
- Companies want a low turnover rate.
- Companies do not want sensitive or confidential information going to a competitor.
- Companies do not want skilled professionals leaving for competitors.
Why not to accept a counter offer
From "Negotiate Your Job Offer", by Mary B. Simon
- Aside from money, your original reasons for leaving your job may still be present after accepting a counter offer.
- The money extended to you in the counter offer often comes out of your next raise or bonus; companies usually have strict guidelines about salary increases and promotions.
- You will not be considered a loyal employee from here on out; therefore, you will never be included in the inner circle.
- When promotion time comes around, managers remember who was loyal and who was not.
- If the company hits rough waters, you will be the first to be let go.
- You had to threaten to leave in order to receive the rewards and career path you have earned.
- Often, when you accept a counter offer, your manager will already be looking for your replacement.
- Statistically, 80% of all employees who accept a company's counter offer end up leaving that company within 6 to 9 months.
Don’t ever let it get to a counter offer!
- The key to avoiding the potential pitfalls of counter offers is to have open and ongoing communication with your employer about your career.
- Asking for projects that are exciting to you lets your boss know the direction you would like to develop.
- In your periodic review, discuss your career path, ideas for training, and your interests. Be proactive.
- Keeping your boss included along the way will help at the time you give notice. There will be no surprises. Your boss will realize that your current employer is not able to give you what you need, and you will guard against burning a bridge.
Counter offer statistics not promising
According to national surveys of employees that accept counter offers, 50-80 percent voluntarily leave their employer within six months of accepting the counter offer because of unkept promises. The majority of the balance of employees that accept counter offers involuntarily leave their current employers within 12 months of accepting the counter offer (terminated, fired, or laid off).
As attractive as counter offers may appear, they greatly decrease your chances of achieving your career potential.