A TV host said that women are at a disadvantage when negotiating for a salary because they aren’t experienced or forceful enough. Not true. I always come out on the short end when I try to negotiate with my wife. Women have an intuitive sense of persuasion.
Here are some thoughts about negotiations, be it a man or woman. When you get a job offer with compensation dollars less than you expected, never say “no” to the offer. Instead, say “maybe” with the following alternatives:
1. Make sure you researched the position and comparable compensation. Look at the factors that determine salary levels such as education, prior experiences, responsibilities, and organizational level. Most companies want to pay at the mid-point or less within the salary range unless your skills are in demand or you have experiences that they must have. However, the lower the offer in the range, the more room to move up over time.
2. Communicate your rationale with these comments or questions:
“I was expecting a higher percent increase in salary. Do you have any flexibility within your control to increase the offer just a bit?”
“Given the market demand, this type of position is being paid between $X and $Y. (assuming you did your homework) Can you increase the offer to $Z?”
“Is there a reason why the salary is below or at the low end for this position?”
“The salary is below what I was expecting. If I accept your offer, can I have a performance and merit review after 6 months in order to move it closer to my anticipated value?” (Ask only if you’re really sure of yourself. There’s a risk involved)
“I would like to accept the offer even though it’s below my expectation. Can I expect a substantial increase/promotion after the first year assuming a high performance level?”
“Based on my track record of results, I know I can be an outstanding contributor to your objectives. I believe my value is worth an additional X% to your offer.” (Just make sure you can deliver)
“Until I know the complete compensation picture (bonus, incentive, benefits, costs to me, and expectation for results) I would find it hard to accept a final offer.”
In the end, you need to decide whether:
1. You’re in need of a new job and this is the best one so far, so you better take it
2. The job is what you want career-wise, even if the salary is below your expectations
3. You are willing to accept the offer as you see longer term opportunities
4. You feel comfortable enough to ask for an exception to the offer, at a higher level
5. You will stand behind your conviction of value and not accept the offer unless modified
6. You can find something better
Negotiations are dependent upon the balance of who needs the other more urgently. If you are one of a few that have something unique that the company needs, your position is strong. If you are one of many with the same skills in a flooded market, then you’re at a disadvantage in negotiations.
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