Many people have a difficult time when it comes to talking about the compensation structure that an employer has. It is not easy to ask for the things we think we should be getting. This is one of the most critical parts of the interview/offer process. I include interview in this as there are fatal mistakes made by job searchers during the interview that can affect compensation. Below are a few tips to help you prepare to negotiate.
First, like everything else do your research. Look on salary surveys or websites and see what people in comparable jobs are making. There are several sites that you can do this with. It is important to note that most of these sites will give a minimum, median and maximum salary range. Just because there is a maximum number does not mean that you should be asking for that amount. When reviewing this information remember that there are a lot of factors taken into consideration when coming up with these ranges. Some of which will include; years of experience, education and industry. For example, the oil and gas industry generally pays more than other industries. If you do not have the oil and gas experience or are not applying for a position in oil and gas, you will not get the same salary considerations.
Secondly, never negotiate in the interview. This is the worst thing you can do. The interviewer will most likely ask you what your salary expectations are. If you have done your research, you will know what an acceptable range is. If not, you might blow your chance at the position. If you bring up the subject during the interview, you will give the impression that money or compensation is all that matters to you. I know that this is important for everyone, but it is not everything. I once had a job searcher go into a second interview with the VP of a company with a one page list of demands that were so unreasonable the VP ended the interview almost immediately. It is okay to have general discussions about ranges, but the particulars should be left for when an offer is made. See what the company has to offer before you ask for anything.
The last thing to look at is what is most important to you. If you are currently working, really examine the reasons that you are looking for new employment. Is the drive to far, the company culture not right or maybe you do not enjoy working with the people? Whatever your reasons are for looking, it is usually not money that tops the list. Think about that when considering what to negotiate. If you are currently working downtown where the parking costs are expensive and the new position is closer to home and provides parking, you should consider adjusting your expectations.
It is important to have all the facts when negotiating. The only way to have all those facts is after an offer is made. One positive, when working with a recruiter at an employment agency they will help you through this process and usually negotiate on your behalf.
Do you find it difficult to negotiate your compensation?