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Negotiation Happens – at the Right Time

Q. I believe I will be getting an offer. Given the current economy, and employment situation, can I negotiate my salary? If so, what factors should I consider while asking for certain salary range?

A. In a competitive market, people worry about “starting over”, making less, or being taken advantage of by hiring organizations. In a job market where you may feel lucky to get a job offer, you may also be tempted to take what you can get in terms of an employment package. However, you don’t have to settle for the first offer just because we are in a recession. So, how do you negotiate and what do you consider?

Know When to Start
– Negotiations always begin AFTER you get an offer. Each interaction you have should increase the value they see in what you offer, and enhance the potential they see. Your goal is to build their need to have you join the organization.

Preparation is Critical:
– Do your homework – When you identify target positions and industries, research the current market value for your skill sets. You can do this by querying your network (using Linkedin, Jigsaw and others) to determine what the industry standard is based on your discipline and level of experience. You can also use your network to determine whether the company has been known to make competitive offers or not.

– Create the list of what matters to you, and prioritize the must have’s and the nice to have’s.

– What do they want? – During the interview process, listen to what the company’s most critical needs are and prepare the cased for why you’ll exceed expectations in terms of the value you will add. .

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– Think broadly – Salary and vacation are two components most candidates focus on, but you can also negotiate things like relocation expenses, your title, percentage of travel time, cost of health benefits, commuting subsidies and the option to telecommute.

When you Get the Offer
Say “Thank you for this offer. I am excited about the opportunity, and know I will be able to make significant contributions to the company.” Get the offer in writing and then take the time to review everything that is included.

– Prioritize – Decide what you really want and focus on it, be willing to be creative and balance the give and take.

– Be realistic – It’s okay to ask for more especially if you have done your market research with competitive organizations. How you handle this situation will show your professionalism, and is often considered to be a highlight of things to come – for both sides. Ask for what you think is fair based on your experience, the complexity of the position, and the market rate, keeping in mind the value of the position to the organization.

Negotiation is a natural part of the hiring process, so be positive, professional and focused; not only on what you want, but also on the talents you will bring to their organization in return.

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