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How to Craft a Salary Negotiation Story

salary negotiationNever bargain or job hunt from a position of weakness. Soar like an eagle, even when you are feeling like a wounded pigeon. –George C. Fraser, Chairman and CEO, FraserNet Inc.

Every job seeker should learn how to craft a salary negotiation story long before there is a job offer. It allows them to weigh their options before saying “Yes!”

This salary negotiation article, while not written along gender lines, was prompted by the recent comment by Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, who said that women should not ask for a raise, but have faith that the system will reward them well. (He has since issued a retraction).

“Very Good News!” stated the Subject line in an email from a client. It was an invitation to be formally presented with a job offer. He and I had had a salary negotiation discussion which ended on the assumption that he was not going to accept the offer immediately.

He called after the meeting to say, “I gladly accepted the offer on the spot.” When I asked why, he said it was the salary he was expecting, so he just “…took it”. Clearly, he was thrilled, and I didn’t blame him, but waiting another day or so to think of other non-monetary benefits, would not have hurt his chances.

Salary negotiation conversations are not easy, especially if a candidate is afraid he or she might lose out on an opportunity if they mention a figure – high or low. But, the candidate who begins to craft their negotiation story long before an offer is presented is the one who will appear at the negotiation table well-prepared and confident. At minimum they would’ve asked themselves:

  • What’s the minimum will I accept?
  • What is the going rate for people in my field and at my level?
  • What other non-monetary benefits are being offered?

In addition, they will have considered the following five points:

  • Conduct research to find out what the average salary and benefit packages are in other companies for people in their industry.
  • Review labour market information and salary websites to find salary information on many professions. Websites such as: www.salary.com, salary.monster.ca, www.payscale.com, http://monsterca.salary.com/CanadaSalaryWizard/ & www.salaryexpert.com are good places to start. Keep in mind that the figures quoted on these sites are not universally applicable. However, having this information puts the candidate in a better position to negotiate.
  • Take time to review the offer. Most times, employers expect the candidate would want some time to consider the offer before giving them an answer. No need to get nervous and think the offer is going to be withdrawn if it’s not accepted immediately.
  • Negotiate for more than money. The salary figure is not everything. Think of non-monetary benefits and perks that could come with the position: an extra week’s vacation, reimbursement for professional development courses, extra health and wellness coverage, etc.
  • Firm with their expectations, but are ready to compromise if the offer appears reasonable and if there is a sense they are doing their best.

If a candidate has the confidence to tell a compelling negotiation story, it’s an indication they could be great negotiators on behalf of the company, and if given the opportunity.

Job seeker, it is up to you to convince the employer of the value you will bring to the organization. That makes it easier for them to accept your salary negotiation story.

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Parts of this blog post have been excerpted from my new book Tell Stories, Get Hired to be available soon.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net