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5 Golden Rules for Negotiating Salary


6/17/2011 1:47:43 PM

5 Golden Rules for Negotiating Salary? By Bill Humbert, RecruiterGuy.com

Recruiter Reveals Insider's Secrets To Getting Paid What You Want

As the job market recovers, a unique phenomenon is beginning to happen, and one expert warns it could cost you money.

"As people who have been looking for work a long time start to get back into the workforce, many of them are so happy just to get a job that they sometimes accept a lower salary than they have to," said Bill Humbert, author of RecruiterGuy's Guide to Finding a Job (www.recruiterguy.com.). "Some employers feel that they can probably get away with a lowball offer, and many job hunters will grab it just so they can have a job. The truth is there are ways to get the job and still get what you want."

Humbert isn't a career coach, but rather his expertise comes from working the opposite side of the job stream as a recruiting consultant for corporations. He knows how companies calculate salary, and how to judge their thresholds. His advice for job hunters includes:

1. Don’t Offer Salary Requirements – When you are asked to include salary requirements with your resume, that is typically a company’s first screen, and it can be used against you. I’ve seen people agonize over what to reveal, because they are afraid of pricing themselves out of a good job. My advice is to simply put “Open” in that spot. If your qualifications are on target, they’ll call you. If in the interview you’re asked what you made at your last job, reply by asking about the range for the one you are applying. You’d be surprised how managers or human resource representatives will tell you.

2. Don’t Give Away Too Much - In many job applications, an employer will ask for your salary history. It is perfectly acceptable to write “Willing to discuss at appropriate time during interview process” and leave those numbers blank. Writing down those numbers pigeonholes you, and reduces your negotiation power.

3. Don’t Negotiate Salary - That’s right. Don’t negotiate salary in the interviews. Instead, negotiate when you’ll give them your salary requirements. When they ask you for that figure, tell them you don’t know what you’d require until you have a clear picture of the job requirements and potential for advancement over the next five years. After you have that information, and you’re asked again for that number, respond by asking to go through what I call your “impacts” – areas of your job that directly impact the company’s bottom line. This discussion will allow you to demonstrate what you bring to the table. At the end of that discussion, simply tell them that you are very interested in the position, and that you’d seriously consider any offer they’d like to make.

4. Keep Networking – Once you have a job offer, it’s not a done deal until you accept it. Until that happens, keep networking and looking for jobs. It may give you valuable market-worth data about the position you’ve been offered. It may also be a safety net in case something goes awry between the time you receive an offer and the time you accept it.

5. Accepting the Offer - Once an offer is given, you have the right to ask for a clarification on it. Asking “Is there any flexibility in this offer?” may help to open a discussion of increasing the offer. If it does, don’t expect a large boost in base pay, but rather, an extra week of paid vacation, a signing bonus or other such perks.

About the Author

Bill Humbert, also known as RecruiterGuy, is a Washington, DC native and a graduate of Assumption College in Worcester, MA. He has been a professional recruiter since 1981, having worked with clients such as MCI Telecommunications, The Washington Post, Comsat Labs, USF&G Insurance, Geico Insurance, CSX Technology, Telegroup, LeFebure, Intermec Technologies, Digital Broadband Communications, Trex Company, Acciona Energy and others. He is also an AIRS trained contract recruiter consultant. He has read more than 400,000 resumes, interviewed more than 13,000 candidates over the phone or in person, and has worked with more than 3,000 hiring managers. In the past 15 years, he has helped companies hire more than 1,300 new employees nationwide from the C – Level (CEO/CFO/CIO) to college recruit.

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