Despite seismic shifts in the job market and their ongoing aftermath since 2001, job market is actually not as bad as most fear. The gloomy job-market picture media has portrayed since then has scared job seekers into retreating to settle for whatever is offered to them. The following prescription is a proven process for getting top compensation:
1. When asked early in the process do not give salary; give a range
2. Avoid early salary discussions by stating that you have not assessed the job and that you would be better able to do that after exploration.
3. Focus on your strengths/value. Also come back to what you do well and how the employer will benefit from it.
4. When the process is at a point where the salary discussion is appropriate, let the hiring manager raise it. Remember, in negotiating, the one who speaks first gets the short end of the stick.
5. When asked what salary you desire, first ask if that means that they are offering you the job. If the answer is a no, issue a look that makes them feel foolish without saying a word. If the answer is a yes, thank them and then ask what position is being offered.
6. Once you know what position is being offered (don’t assume that what you applied for is what is being offered), ask what salary range for the position is. They’re legally required to tell you this.
7. Once you know the range, emphasize that you consider it within target. Never throw a number (Remember #4)
8. Once they give you a number do not show an emotional reaction. Coolly nod your head and say, “That is an interesting number. May I see that in an offer, please?” Your next response should be that you would reflect on the offer and get back to them in a few days. Avoid giving an instant response.
9. If you want to later negotiate that offer, ask first if they are open to it. If they are, then tell them that you would like be compensated with a higher number because you consider yourself a top performer. Again, avoid giving numbers and see if you can let them come back. Having some ammunition from the market helps. Never lie.
10. Once you agree, accept, and send a thank you letter with the signed offer.
© 2004 Dilip G. Saraf: A career counselor at Career Transitions Unlimited, in the Silicon Valley, CA, Dilip has authored three books on career transitions based on research helping reinvent nearly 1600 clients since early 2001. A graduate of IIT-Bombay and Stanford, starting as an engineer, Dilip has changed three careers. For more information visit: www.7keys.org