Monday, September 30, 2013

Negotiating Salary

This isn’t necessarily branding, but the way you negotiate with your company can impact future negotiations. Managers remember that if it’s easy to get you to take less money and they’ll often offer less in bonuses, raises, etc. Not necessarily because of maliciousness, but often because they think you’re easy to negotiate with and you’ll take what you’re offered.

I ran across this advice, aimed mainly for women, but it’s good salary negotiation advice in general. I’d encourage you to read the comments as well.

One thing I’d point out is that companies are paying for a job to get done, and I’ve always approached things that way. If you are paying $80k for a job, don’t expect me to do it for $60k. That being said, there often is some flex in the salary offer, and it’s up to you to use your brand to make the case for why you’re being offered more.

Never disclose current salary

I stand by this. I might give a range of salary (“I’m making in the upper 70s”), but only after they’ve made an offer. If they ask me what I want to make, I ask them what the range is for the position. They have this information and it shouldn’t be secret. If it is, I’m usually thinking I need to walk away because this will always be a point of contention.


I have a friend, who’s been successful here, that always has a series of numbers for what each of his compensation items are. Salary, vacation, medical, etc. If one of those is reduced, then he wants another to go up.

For example, vacation is often hard to negotiate since it’s usually taken out of manager’s hands and handled by HR. The company may have a hard rule of 3 weeks PTO, unless you have some seniority. Managers can’t negotiate that.

My friend is used to 4 weeks, and that’s important. He is happy to take unpaid time off, but he wants the compensation. He counter offers, noting that he’d like a salary bump because the time off matters. It doesn’t always work out cleanly and involves come give and take, back and forth, but reasonable counter offers like this do play better with managers.

It’s business

The last thing I’ll say is don’t take this personally. HR people and managers are just trying to get this done. They have their own rules and problems with changing offers or getting you something out of the ordinary, but it’s not their money and often it isn’t personal. They may have a budget to work in, but that’s just a consideration for them. They don’t “dislike you” for asking for more and aren’t actively trying to reduce your income. They’re usually guessing about the value you’re worth.

Don’t take it personally and if they don’t agree to your terms or counter in some way, don’t get upset. Continue to negotiate and calmly work through why or why not something should be done.

No comments:

Post a Comment