Saturday, November 23, 2013

Competency #22 I Can Negotiate a Salary Above What the Employer Initially Offers

Employers know that negotiation is an integral part of doing business, especially to find the right talent.  That talent is YOU.

Many career services experts have written about this topic, but my go-to guru on this topic is none other than Richard Bolles.  Dick’s What Color is Your Parachute book's (written originally in the 80’s and updated regularly) approach to negotiation is sound, practical and is proven successful.

Bolles has six “secrets” or rules to salary negotiation:
  1. Never discuss salary until the end of the interviewing process when they have definitely said they want you
  2. Salary negotiation is to uncover the most that an employer is willing to pay to get you
  3. Never be the first one to mention a salary figure (S/he who mentions salary first, generally loses)
  4. Always do careful research on typical salaries for your field and/or that organization
  5. Research the range that the employer has in mind, and then define an interrelated range for yourself
  6. Know how to bring salary negotiations to a close; don't leave it 'just hanging'

Assuming you haven’t broken rules #1-3, and have impressed the employer enough to get an initial salary offer, it is time to have a strategy to meet your salary/compensation needs. Never, ever low-ball what you’re worth. Remember, the purpose of negotiation is to discover how much an employer is willing to do in order for you to want to work there, NOT to discover how little they’ll need to pay you in order to get you to want to work there.

Prior to obtaining the offer, you should have determined the typical salary range for someone in your field, and, ideally, someone with your level of expertise and years of experience. Hopefully, you’ve used information from, since the site offers salary information, company information, and, best of all, feedback about working for the employer from current and past employees.

So, your offer was not satisfactory to you, and you’d like to counter offer.  Let’s say you’ve been offered a range of $50-$60K. You’ve defined your range to be $60,000-$70,000, where your minimum “hooks in” to theirs. You’re not so far off, right?  The magic here is that both you and the employer agree on something ($60,000). Your script could sound something like the following:
“I certainly appreciate the offer, and understand you might have some constraints.  However, I believe my productivity (expertise, years experience, unique skills, etc) will prove to you that it would justify a range of “$60-$70K.”  Be sure to be ready to talk about in what ways you will prove to them that you are the superstar you (and I) believe you are.

We all know negotiations can and do go awry, but like so many other aspects of the job search process, the more you prepare, the more successful you’ll be.  Just don’t forget to privately high-five Dick Bolles.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Competency #21: I Can Follow Up on Job Interviews

So, you’ve had your interview, and it went really, really well.  Congratulations- you’re done with the process, and all you need to do now is to sit and….wait, right?  No, no, and NO.

One of the most important actions you can do after a job interview is to follow up with the interviewer. There are several tasks to this process, however.  The first task is to send a thank-you note immediately post-interview, and you can only do this if you have contact information for everyone you met. (Did you ask for business cards during the interview?) Your correspondence can be sent either via email, or you can pen a short note and send it via  “snail” mail.  This note should thank the interviewer(s) for the opportunity to discuss your qualifications for the job, and also mention (briefly) something noteworthy discussed during the interview.  For example, if you mentioned your talent in writing code in Python, and they seemed very impressed, you could mention it again in the note: “As we discussed during my interview, I’ve had several years experience in developing software using Python.”

Also, in your note/email, strongly consider a statement like the following: “I plan to follow up with you in ten days, if I don’t hear from you, to check on the status of my application.” Of course, this means you WILL follow up. 

If you think I'm crazy, let me suggest to you that this tactic really does work.  Why?  Most applicants don’t even consider this step, assuming they’ve done all they need to do. Employers, however, generally appreciate (and most often expect) your efforts to reach out to them post-interview, as it sends a strong message that you truly ARE interested in working for them.

“Staying in the game” well after the interview will pay off for you.  This means not only maintaining a positive attitude, but also taking action to successfully manage the entire process. The fortune is in the follow up!