Negotiating Compensation Effectively When
by Kevin T. Buckley, CPC
increasing competition from people who were recently
downsized to restructured how do you negotiate
compensation effectively and avoid under or over selling
yourself and pricing yourself out of the market?
is not a topic that should come up from the person being
interviewed. Bringing up the issue of compensation first
puts you at a disadvantage. Let the potential employer
bring up the subject.
often will ask you what your compensation expectations
are to determine whether or not you fit into their
company salary scales. There are some useful ways of
handling this type of questioning effectively so that
you do not box yourself in or out of the salary range.
assuming of course that you have already done your
Internet research to try to determine what the average
salary range is a position that you are applying for.
If you have
not done this there are a number of different sites that
you can google on the Internet which provide both
regional and national salary levels for numerous
If you work
in a specific industry, you might consider contacting
your governing industry association or organization and
ask for them if there are any particular websites or
companies that are familiar with salaries in your
The key to
handling compensation questions is to engage in an
open-ended discussion. You need to understand what is in
the employer's mind when the question is asked. One way
of doing this is to answer the question in these terms:
" I would
like to understand clearly what your expectations are
before committing to a figure. How do you see my
experience and qualifications fitting the demands of
This is a
way of bypassing the question and asking the employer
what his/her opinion of your experience is in relation
to the job hiring criteria. It solicits more detail from
the employer and gives you time to think.
You can then
follow up with something like this:
"I'm sure we
could come to an agreement that would be fair given my
experience and my track record in this area. What do you
see as the most important part of the job?"
have done is to establish a) that you are open to
discussion and are flexible and b) you have retained
control of the discussion by asking an open-ended
question seeking more information to make an informed
employer's response to you will likely focus on those
key areas of job performance that are of critical
interest and will serve as the basis for making their
making the final hiring decision. You can then proceed
to give examples of you skills, experience, track record
and accomplishments that would support those key
performance areas. This increases your appeal and their
interest in you as a potential employee.
you will be pressed for an answer. In this instance, you
can answer in the following way:
"Well, so I
understand clearly, what is the middle salary range for
this position in your company?"
you did not ask what is the lowest or highest salary
that you offer, you're trying to stay in the middle
averages. This is a reasonable area to discuss and
should elicit some figures to discuss.
employers will be looking at people who are between jobs
as easily employable and will look for evidence of
nervousness or strong eagerness to accept the position.
It is a fine line between appearing to be motivated and
appearing to be desperate. A motivated person will
expect to have a little time to think about an offer and
may have questions that come to mind to clarify the
terms of the offer. An over-eager person telegraphs
their attitude by wanting to strike a deal on the spot.
That is being motivated by fear of losing out on the
opportunity and is deciding under pressure. You want to
avoid giving that impression.
confidence in your experience, skills and other
quailifications is expressed by how you handle this
important subject. It is always best to establish your
credibility by knowing yourself and what you can do and
expressing this clearly and giving the interviewer
evidence that supports your candidacy.
who has sincere interest in you as an employee -
not just for the short term but for future long-term
development - will handle this area professionally
and will convey to you a willingness to come to terms.
Remember that for some people vacation is more important
than salary, and that employers may be more willing to
give in this area if they are bound by corporate policy
on the salary scales. So, know what you want, what you
would gladly accept and what you would settle for given
the right opportunity.
what you have to offer and others will also.