Author Topic: Need advice on salary negotiations  (Read 3975 times)

zellfaze

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Need advice on salary negotiations
« on: January 30, 2016, 02:20:33 AM »
Hello all!

I am currently in the process of looking for work, and recently had an interview that I think went pretty well.  If I get a call back, I know one of the next things we'll have to discuss is salary.

I've not really had many jobs in my life (I'm young) and during most salary negotiations I feel like I haven't really been a good advocate for myself.  Does anyone have any advice on salary negotiations?  The higher a salary I can get now, the less I'll have to work to achieve my goal of early retirement, and I feel like I remember reading that when you are getting hired at a new place is the best time to try to increase your income level.

Edit: I live in the DC Metro area in the US and work in Information Technology if that helps at all for anyone.

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Need advice on salary negotiations
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2016, 06:16:14 AM »
Try to avoid being the first one to give a number. They're probably going to want you to state your requirement. Put this off as long as possible. Say that the your expectations are negotiable and you need to learn more about the position first. Ideally you want them to give you a clue what they're willing to pay first and you want to avoid discussing money until they're sold on you.

Do some research on what the position should pay. Factor in any previous experience you may have, the industry, the competition level, etc. Know what your minimum number is but don't share it. If they can't meet your minimum requirements, keep looking.

Let's say you've stalled for as long as possible and they will not proceed unless you give them a number. Give a range based on your research. The best salary you think they may offer should be in the middle of that range. For example, if the lowest you would accept is 50k and think the most they would initially offer is 60k, state your range as 55-65k.

GrOW

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Re: Need advice on salary negotiations
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2016, 12:30:52 PM »
If they won't give you a number, ask them to describe how they determine salary for the position now and over time. This usually lead to the company saying something about a range or scale or working to a mid point. Ask for the starting and mid point. If you can bet this far, you have what you need to set your number within their range.

merryt

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Re: Need advice on salary negotiations
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2016, 01:20:58 PM »
If you are making less then average (salery, indeed, glassdoor, etc) for your position in DC, and they aren't throwing out a number first, give the average as an anchoring point. Then explain that you are young, but the value you bring to the table by [all the ways you will benefit the company] should be taken into consideration when considering you for the position.

Pretty much what DebtFreeBy25 said, but with the addition of constantly be telling them why you will add value to their company.

Give a range based on your research. The best salary you think they may offer should be in the middle of that range. For example, if the lowest you would accept is 50k and think the most they would initially offer is 60k, state your range as 55-65k.

BlueHouse

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Re: Need advice on salary negotiations
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2016, 02:17:26 PM »
Remember that you can't really determine salary requirements until you understand the entire compensation package. 

Comp package includes any of the following.
Vacation & holidays
Benefits - insurance, 401k match, profit sharing, Stock purchase option
Gym membership
Comp time
paid lunches
other perks
housing subsidy

So if your new company is including a housing subsidy (fat chance), then of course you can afford a lower salary.  But saying that your requirements would depend on the entire compensation package is a good way to deflect the question. 

If that doesn't work, ask direct questions back --
1.  What is the salary range for this position?



ender

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Re: Need advice on salary negotiations
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2016, 04:12:01 PM »
If they won't give you a number, ask them to describe how they determine salary for the position now and over time. This usually lead to the company saying something about a range or scale or working to a mid point. Ask for the starting and mid point. If you can bet this far, you have what you need to set your number within their range.

The last time I was pressed into giving a specific number, I basically countered by asking for the pay range for the position.


mozar

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Re: Need advice on salary negotiations
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2016, 06:28:52 PM »
What I did:
Talk to as many recruiters, hr, hiring managers as possible. The very first place I talked to I told them I made 75k and that they could hire me away for 86k. Second recruiter asks what I want, I say another recruiter is offering 86k. Second recruiter says we can do 88k. Third recruiter says how much do you want? I say my highest offer is 88k. They say we can do 90. I say sorry that's not competitive with my other offers, I need 94k. Company says OK.
Are you on LinkedIn?

fitfrugalfab

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Re: Need advice on salary negotiations
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2016, 08:37:56 PM »
I used to be a recruiter and I'm located in the D.C. area. The best thing you can do is do research on your job roles so you have an idea of what the average salary range is. If your recruiter/interviewer doesn't give you the salary range they have in mind and directly as you what you're looking for, I would suggest the high end of the range that way if there are negotiations, the recruiter will bounce back toward the middle of the salary range. Good luck!

BlueHouse

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Re: Need advice on salary negotiations
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2016, 11:53:35 AM »
Be prepared for them to ask "how much are you making now?" or "What were you making at ...." as it's just another way to justify a lower offer.  So while, I've sometimes been successful deflecting that (explained that a new contract wasn't the same work as a previous contract, etc), I've never found the right way to deflect this without coming off as outright rude.  So I've done similar to Mozar's approach above and in the first instance, when I tell them my current salary, I include any benefits, bonuses, etc.  So if making 75K, I might say, "85K, including bonus".  They just hear the 85 and then start negotiating up from there. 
The first number used though is the anchor -- so start out higher -- even if you have to include the value of every company-paid lunch or gift given to you as justification for the higher start.

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Need advice on salary negotiations
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2016, 12:11:16 PM »
Be prepared for them to ask "how much are you making now?" or "What were you making at ...." as it's just another way to justify a lower offer.  So while, I've sometimes been successful deflecting that (explained that a new contract wasn't the same work as a previous contract, etc), I've never found the right way to deflect this without coming off as outright rude.  So I've done similar to Mozar's approach above and in the first instance, when I tell them my current salary, I include any benefits, bonuses, etc.  So if making 75K, I might say, "85K, including bonus".  They just hear the 85 and then start negotiating up from there. 
The first number used though is the anchor -- so start out higher -- even if you have to include the value of every company-paid lunch or gift given to you as justification for the higher start.

This is excellent advice. Be sure that you mention that you're referring to your total compensation though. Many organizations will call your previous employers to confirm your position held, dates and salary before making a formal offer. Note: this is the extent of the information that former employers can legally provide in most states, so it is possible to sue an employer if you can prove that they prevented you from getting another position by providing extra details or commentary. If potential employer contacts your former employer and FE states that your salary was 75k, PE may assume they were misled without giving you an opportunity to explain.

mozar

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Re: Need advice on salary negotiations
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2016, 12:32:29 PM »
Quote
Many organizations will call your previous employers to confirm your position held, dates and salary before making a formal offer.
I used to be afraid of that, but I've never had an employer call a previous employer, and I've never had a previous employer return anybody's phone calls at all.
I think these days an employer will say you worked there and that's it, if they return calls at all. But I always start with my true salary because otherwise my voice will sound hesitant and how confident I sound is more important than anything.

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Need advice on salary negotiations
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2016, 12:59:37 PM »
Quote
Many organizations will call your previous employers to confirm your position held, dates and salary before making a formal offer.
I used to be afraid of that, but I've never had an employer call a previous employer, and I've never had a previous employer return anybody's phone calls at all.
I think these days an employer will say you worked there and that's it, if they return calls at all. But I always start with my true salary because otherwise my voice will sound hesitant and how confident I sound is more important than anything.

It's not a common practice, but my current employer did call my former employers. Their background check and screening processes are also quite intense. In my experience, I believe you can gauge the probability of a potential employer verifying details on your application by how rigorous their screening process is. For example, if they require a drug test, several references and a full background screen, they're probably going to call your former employers.

letired

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Re: Need advice on salary negotiations
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2016, 01:07:47 PM »
At my most recent job, they definitely contacted all my references. It's going to depend on the specific company.

I've had the most luck with having competing job offers. It takes some work to get the timing right.  I got one offer that put the upper end of my range on the table, and finished the final interview at the second job with an offer of that + 5k. I went back to the first job that I wanted more and asked if they could match.

If you are interviewing with smaller companies, make sure you get some details re: benefits and retirement. The second job mentioned above didn't have a 401k/retirement program, which in addition to other factors, made the first job that much more attractive.

mozar

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Re: Need advice on salary negotiations
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2016, 10:38:24 AM »
Yes it depends on the industry.  I'm a contractor for the federal government. I had to get a security clearance that verified the past 7 years of my life. They sent letters to my previous employers asking to verify that I worked there. Also in the last 2 places I've worked, it says in the hr handbook that they will give dates of employment to inquiries and that's it. I work in a particularly litigious field though. Everyone is afraid of being sued. Companies don't even ask me for references anymore. But I still think its not something to worry about. Even if your employer does respond and they something stupid, life goes on. You'll still get a job somewhere if you have skills that are desired in the marketplace.

BlueHouse

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Re: Need advice on salary negotiations
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2016, 10:52:55 AM »
Even if your employer does respond and they something stupid, life goes on. You'll still get a job somewhere if you have skills that are desired in the marketplace.
My high school job was for a small company and the owner's last name was part of the company name.  But it was a funny sounding last name, and no one liked to say it, so we always went by the initials.  When I interviewed for my first post-college job, they called companies and found a company in the same town with the same initials!  The name of the other company was "Pr0n-Seekers International" (Actually the first letter was a "T" and it was a different name, but I'm trying to remain anonymous).   
thankfully, the HR lady called me and asked if that was the company I had worked for.  I'm pretty sure she could tell just by looking at me (because I look like an uptight prude) that I deserved the benefit of the doubt.  Either that or it was just her way of torturing me.  She was rather evil in the 4 years I worked at that company, so that's possible too. 

Fishindude

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Re: Need advice on salary negotiations
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2016, 10:58:21 AM »
Speaking as a guy that has hired a lot of managers, I would refrain from leading off with money discussions, but shortly after they have explained the work and you have shared your unique skills, etc. I would suggest that you very politely, but openly get the money discussions out on the table.
No point in both parties dancing around too long if you are too far apart on compensation.


Matumba

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Re: Need advice on salary negotiations
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2016, 11:09:04 AM »
If they ask you about this previous salaries,  just bullshit them.  Make up your salary history so that your target salary is about 10% high than current.

If they ask a personal question,  they'll get a bullshit answer.