Friday, September 7, 2012

How to negotiate a higher wage

You got the job!

I have had clients call me to say everything from “I think I just got hired.” To “I just lost the job with my counter offer.”  What I like to hear best is a flat out, unequivocal, “I got the job!”  Clear and simple.

Don’t let your nerves get the best of you when you receive a call for a job offer following a recent interview.  Listen to the employer and jot notes as he or she talks.  Be sure to take the time to clarify the following:

  1. What position are you being offered?
  2. When does the employer want you to start?
  3. What are the next steps in the hiring process?
  4. What is the pay, benefits, bonus?
  5. To whom and what location should you report?
  6. What additional paperwork or other things will you need to bring then?
  7. Who should you contact if you have questions prior to your start date?

You should be prepared to complete an I-9 form that will require you to confirm your identity via driver’s license and birth certificate or with a passport.  Read this article for more information on types of documentation that would be acceptable.

Hopefully you already have a good idea of the culture, dress and setting of your new job.  If you can clarify any of these concerns ahead of your start date it is a good idea to do so!  If you can’t carefully get any of these questions answered err on the side of caution and make sure to:

  • Dress a little better than you think is the typical attire – it is ok if you stand out a little bit as the new person, especially if you look and feel good!
  • Get a good night rest the night before and leave plenty of time for breakfast in the morning.
  • Pack some snacks to have just in case – your first day will likely fly by and lunch may get lost in the shuffle if you are being oriented by more than one person.
  • If it is an office job make sure to have a planner, notebook, and/or pen with you just in case.

You should already have a good idea of the wage being offered for this position, but if you receive an offer that is too low and you would like to negotiate you should:

  1. Research prevailing wages via and and have that wage information available.
  2. Think very carefully about asking for a higher salary – it is an employer’s market out there right now!
  3. Ask if the wage is negotiable or if it is a firm offer – be prepared to carefully discuss a possible counter offer
  4. Consider asking when you could effect and increase as you are willing to prove yourself.
Again, I caution you to tread carefully!  I recently just heard about a job seeker offered $10,000 less than she hoped.  She made a counter offer and was provided with an offer for a sign on bonus of $7,000 instead.  The hopeful candidate asked if she could think about it and received a call 15 minutes later telling her that they were retracting their offer.  The employer was seeking an employee who was excited at the opportunity to work for them and she did not seem very excited.

Salary negotiation is a tight walk.  The alternative is to accept the job and see where it takes you – it will likely not be your last job and you can start job searching again whenever you like! In the end, a job offer is a good thing, whether you have to dance through negotiations or just accept it…

What other things can you think of to be prepared for that job offer? 

Other articles that may be of interest:

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