One step forward; one step back; step together, and back again.
To perform the job interview salary negotiation dance steps, you must have a good sense of balance. Knowing your value and your worth will help you feel more confident about staying in step during the salary negotiation process. The employer takes the lead and you follow, staying with the rhythm. You move together through the interview process; aware of the other, taking care not to step on one another. The salary negotiation dance is never confrontational or harsh, but smooth and in harmony.
It is not uncommon for the first step to begin on the phone. The interviewer asks for your salary requirement, or what salary you are currently making.
You take a step back and try to postpone this discussion until you have more information.
“Could you could tell me the range budgeted for this position?” Or, “What salary would you typically pay someone with my background and experience?”
Postponing the salary discussion is the best step for you, at least until you have the information needed. By doing research ahead of time, you will feel confident knowing your worth. There is a point during the interview when the range, or your expectations, will be revealed, but it is better to wait for the interviewer to lead and give out the information first.
If the interviewing employer determines that you are right for the job, they will take the lead and make an offer. It is now your turn to move the salary negotiation dance to the next stage. But, first you must evaluate the package. Take into consideration the –
Base rate (always the top priority) – timing of annual job reviews
Alternative compensation – bonus, commission, stock options, profit sharing
Benefits – premiums for insurance, paid time off, matching, working conditions
Other perks – car, education reimbursement, job training, laptop computer, iphone, ipad
Basic calculations will tell you how closely the offer meets your needs, values and worth.
The Salary Negotiation Tango
You call the hiring manager and tell her how delighted you are to receive the job offer; however, you have some questions and concerns. Scripting your dialog ahead of time will give you confidence to be succinct regarding what you want.
“Based on my eight years experience in this industry, my MBA degree, and my proven ability to raise funds, and build teams, I feel that the base rate offered is low. Is there any flexibility here?” you ask.
In stride with you, the hiring manager asks what you have in mind. And, because you have done the pre-work, and know your value and worth, you are able to sell yourself based on what you will bring to the company.
“Based on the research I have done, I feel someone with my experience and background should be in the upper level of the range we have been discussing.”
Hold your position – count to 10. Silence is a strong tool in salary negotiation. She waits through the silence and then tells you she will get back to you. She is in sync with your movements – she wants you in this position. You’ve presented your case well.
The Final Steps
Whether you are negotiating for more money, or for some other perks: benefits, a bonus or commission, more stock options, training or education – the rules remain the same. Let the interviewing employer lead and you follow, maintaining your own sense of balance.
By preparing and researching ahead of time, you can feel more empowered in the salary negotiation process of a job interview – as a partner in a dance – moving with the flow. The rhythm of the negotiation should be smooth, moving toward the final step – acceptance of the position and agreement – a win/win situation for all.