The word “negotiation” frightens some people, let alone when combined with money. It can have a love/hate connotation depending on what side of the coin you end up on. It doesn’t have to be something that is feared or loathed on either end of the particular deal. Unfortunately, many people tend to associate salary negotiation with something like buying a house. You find that one house that appears to fit all of your needs, only to have to deal with less than desirable circumstances as a result.
Why is salary negotiation still viewed like this?
It is perceived as something where one side is trying to win. Negotiating is not about one side winning. Good negotiating is about making both sides a winner where everyone is pleased with the outcome.
When it comes to negotiation a job offer, people often dread this as much as the house buying stand-off. Who has the final say? Is the company in control or is the candidate in the driver’s seat? There seems to be no true answer to this question, only variables that influence or change the outcome.
If the company is a large, established company there could be a few salary bands that each particular position falls into. This limits the amount of negotiation or control the candidate has in the offer stage. The problem that can occur here is getting to the offer stage only to find out the salary expectations of the candidate do not align with the company’s.
How do we avoid this? Simple answer: clear expectations at the initial screening stages.
The other end of that spectrum is the newly funded start up who is trying to snag the best talent on the market. They will pay a premium for this talent. And if this talent is aware that he/she is a highly sought commodity, their price goes up. If you are the premium candidate, you are certainly in the driver’s seat. A company might pay well over market salary for you.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when getting to that offer stage:
- Know your true market value. Like you would when buying a house, do some research and compare your skill at a variety of companies. There are many tools and sites that can give you your proper value.
- Know the company who is courting you. Are they a large, stable employer or are they the emerging start-up. The stability or volatility of a company should be a factor in what salary you will be offered.
- Have a top number, a settling number, and a walk away number. Stick with these throughout the process. You don’t have to share ALL with the prospective employer, but you do want to set that proper expectation.
- Be happy with the outcome. If you are not happy with the outcome, something went wrong. Do your homework on all levels and the negotiation can be a fun, or at least a win-win.
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