Archive for: May, 2023

How to Negotiate a Job Offer The Easy Way!

May 21 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

You have been selected for the job. You are going to receive an offer – CELEBRATE! (The Kool and the Gang song will be running through my head for a week now.) How do you make the offer process successful?

Start here: Think about it – What do you want? Seriously, what do you want? This is the information that you desperately need to know in advance of your job search. The types of questions that you need to ask yourself are as follows:

  1. What am I currently making?
  2. What are other people in this same job making? (Do some Internet research)
  3. What is the reputation of this company? (Find out where this company falls on the pay scale – are they known for paying more or less than market?)
  4. What other benefits do they offer? (For example: benefits, relocation, bonuses etc… )
  5. What financial value do those benefits have for me? (For example: Will I accept less salary to get more vacation?)

Once you decide on the parameters of your salary expectations, do a double check. Is the amount reasonable? I add this because I have seen absolutely crazy requests from otherwise great candidates who missed out on their dream job.

  • For example, I saw a Software Engineer III who was currently making 62K ask for a minimum salary of 128K. (He felt he had been underpaid and his next employer needed to make up for it).
  • In another circumstance, I saw a Sr. Financial Analyst who was making 73K demand a salary of 110K minimum.
  • Lastly, I witnessed a negotiation for a Program Manager who was making 87K and he asked for a minimum salary of 125K and stock options worth over $2 million.

So the next question – What is reasonable? Each negotiation is unique dependent on your circumstance, market conditions, company culture and general expectations. To set a general guideline, when moving to another company, it is reasonable to expect a 5% to 15% increase in salary dependent on your current salary. When moving internally, a reasonable increase is usually in the 5% to 8% range.

We all have seen negotiations in TV programs and movies where someone gets a 30% or 40% increase. This is fiction. In over 20 years in HR, the largest increase that I ever saw was 16%. The absolute LARGEST!! Before writing this article, I decided to poll other HR professionals to see if my experience was unique. Consistently, the highest increases ever seen were UNDER 20%.

Hollywood is fun to watch but please don’t be mislead. Employers do not grant those types of increases.

Hopefully at this point, you will have a range in your head and some key items (i.e. vacation) where you are willing to negotiate – known as your “hot buttons”.

For those of you who are unemployed – it happens, be sure to provide your former salary if asked directly. Many employers will try and take advantage of the situation and provide a “low-ball” offer. Dependent on your situation, you need to decide what is important to you. Can you negotiate? Are you willing to walk away from the job? This is dependent on your personal situation.

Let’s back up – how do you get to the offer? The most important thing to remember is that as you are going through the interview process – do not tell them your current compensation (if possible). There are times when you will be asked this information VERY early in the process (i.e. the first interview). Although you don’t want to challenge the employer, in the same respect, it is important for you to understand the job BEFORE setting salary expectations.

So how and when do you reveal your current compensation? Here are some guidelines:

  1. Do not include your salary requirements when you submit your resume on-line or on the formal application. When requested, provide words like open or negotiable. Again, the longer that you can wait to provide this information, the better. Employers generally use the “percentage” increase so if they don’t know your salary, they can’t pre-decide what they would offer you. With that said, sometimes, you will need to tell them. Be positive and honest!!! Never lie, more and more, employers are requesting W-2′s and/ or tax documents. It is too easy to get caught so if you need to disclose salary, be honest!
  2. Try to wait to discuss salary whenever possible – Learn about the job First!!! So you are on a phone interview and the recruiter asks, “What is your current salary?” An acceptable (and respectful response) can include questions such as:
    • Before discussing my current salary, do you mind if I ask a few details about the job itself? I am not motivated by salary and would prefer to better understand the job.
    • Before discussing my current salary, can you please provide me with some more details about the job? I am more interested in learning about the job responsibilities, growth potential etc. In my opinion, the money will come with good performance and a good job fit.
    • Would you mind providing me with the salary range? I am not motivated by money but want to ensure a good job fit.

    These types of questions demonstrate professionalism and may allow you to side step the salary question. With that said, some employers will insist and if you are unwilling to provide it will screen you out of the process. In those circumstances, if you are interested in the job, you will need to disclose your salary.

  3. Express interest and your value: If you are really interested in the job, be sure to end the interview by reiterating how your skills tie to the job and that you are very interested and would love to move to the next step in the process.

Let’s return to the beginning of this article where you are about to receive an offer. (CELEBRATE!) Every negotiation is unique but the best way to handle any negotiation is as follows:

  • Respectfully listen to the details of the offer
  • Where unclear, be certain to ask for clarification
  • Be certain to get details on additional perks such as benefits, stocks, vacation etc…
  • Request the offer in writing
  • Respond enthusiastically regardless of the offer amount – Trust me, they are assessing your response to learn more about your professional behavior
  • Request a reasonable length of time to think about it and discuss with relevant people in your life

At this point, you need to make some decisions:

  • If the salary is higher than you expected it – CELEBRATE AGAIN! That is great news. Be certain that other expectations such as vacation are reasonable. In this case, if you want the job, accept it. Congratulations!!!!
  • If the salary is lower than you expected, factor in other items such as signing bonus, vacation etc. If you are still unhappy with the offer after factoring in these items, you have 3 options:
    1. Turn down the offer. You are not locked in and you can respectfully decline. You should always be willing to walk away.
    2. Attempt to negotiate salary. The best approach is to contact the employer and ask questions such as:
      • Is my experience relatively consistent with the remainder of the team? Am I coming into the role at the higher or lower end of the range?
      • Based on internal equity, do you believe this is a competitive offer?
      • I appreciate the offer but am slightly disappointed with the amount. Is there any room for negotiation? – (Be honest and respectful!!!!)
    3. In some circumstances, employers will not be willing to negotiate salary but you can negotiate other items such as the signing bonus, vacation etc… dependent on the result of this negotiation, you may be able to reach an agreement. In this case, you can ask questions such as:
      • Although the salary is not exactly what I expected, I am not motivated by money. There are a few auxiliary items which I would like to discuss. In particular, I have 3 weeks vacation with my current employer. Being able to spend this time with my family is very important to me. As a result, is vacation negotiable? (You can substitute a variety of things for vacation but as you can see, this type of negotiation is very professional and provides a respectful opportunity for discussion).

Keep in mind – this is your job search. You need to look at each offer and decide the best option for you. Be professional and willing to negotiate. Remember – an important part of negotiating is setting realistic expectations and asking questions that provide you with the information needed to make a good decision. Your next negotiation could lead to your dream job.

Comments are off for this post

Don’t Undersell Yourself – Negotiate A Better Deal

May 18 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Like anything in life, being a successful freelancer is all about the relationships that you form. Even a trip to the local supermarket is the birth of a brief fling, where for a few shared moments you and the retailer are going to help each other out. You want a loaf of bread, and the shop assistant, tired and frustrated, wants to have a break. But, acting on the part of the supermarket, he also wants to take your money. The client-freelancer relationship is exactly the same. As a freelance copywriter, I can offer web content, press releases and advice that helps the client attract, inform and satisfy customers. In turn, the client helps me by paying me a fee, which I can use to pay disgruntled shop assistants for my shopping. But, unfortunately, we do not live in a world where all exchanges are equal and exclusive. Although a client may want some work, it’s also fair to say that they want to have money left over to buy another service, or invest in other areas of their business. A determined freelancer wants to maximise revenue. A sensible business owner wants to keep costs low. So what can you do to find a balance between your own goals and those of your client? When should you use the art of negotiation to get a result that suits you, and which techniques can you use to help you maintain great relationships with your clients?

Why Negotiate?

Although negotiating a better price for your products or services immediately springs to mind, this is just one reason that negotiation is a useful skill in the world of business. Negotiation is an essential skill, covering the way that you do your work, the terms of your agreement, and the amount of money that you will receive. Recently, I was approached to write product descriptions for a leading online parenting community that also sells baby and toddler products. In this instance, the client started the process of negotiation, rightly identifying that so-called content farms could complete the task at a much lower rate. Unfortunately, I was unable to lower my price based on competitors. I sell my services based on quality, not price, and explained politely that the skills that I bring are worth the increased fee. But more importantly, I offered an alternative. I explained that, if the client could order a larger quantity of product descriptions at once, I would be able to give a small one-time discount. Although this did not bring my fee in line with his initial goal, I allowed the dialogue of negotiation to remain open. In essence, this is negotiation. A freelancer makes an offer by way of a quote or estimate. A client makes a counter-offer, changing terms of the agreement (eg, requesting an earlier delivery date) or the price to be paid. The freelancer accepts, rejects, or makes a further counter-offer. Freelancers are uniquely placed to negotiate in a way that larger companies simply can’t. Take advantage of this strength wherever you can to win more business, improve your return and create lasting, flexible relationships with your clients.

When To Negotiate

In my experience, negotiating with clients brings better results than sticking to your guns. The right time to negotiate is every single time. But that’s not to say that you should undervalue your services, or bend over backwards to suit a client with no thought for yourself. Indeed, it’s not unusual for a client to continually negotiate, pushing further and further until there is little motivation left for you to do the work. Negotiation is not blindly accepting terms. There is no simple answer to when you should change your initial quote or terms to suit your client – largely, this will depend on how much you need or want the work, from a financial or personal perspective. But, without a doubt, let your clients know that they are welcome to respond with requests or negotiations. In my earliest days as a freelance copywriter, I compiled detailed quotes for copywriting clients, only to never hear from them again once they saw the cost of the job. Now, I always make my potential clients aware that I am flexible and understanding. I would rather have a client respond to my quote and ask for the moon than have them disappear with no real understanding as to why.

Negotiate A Better Deal For Yourself

As well as being flexible with clients, if a client does not offer a deal that suits me, I am always ready to tell them what I need. You’d be surprised at how many of them can negotiate on their own terms or budget. One client came complete with their own payment terms, including an unrivalled 45-day turnaround on invoices payable. As a small business owner, this played havoc with my cash flow. So how was I to overcome this obstacle to my own success? I just asked them for better terms. Until I did, they had no way of knowing and understanding what their terms meant for me in practice. I proposed something that I needed, which would make me more able to deliver for the client.

3 Questions For Successful Negotiation

Successful negotiation doesn’t always come naturally. I consider the following guidelines when I deal with my clients:

1. What Do I Need?

How much money do you need to earn every single month to cover your costs? How much profit would you like to see from your own business? How long do you need to complete this task? Does the client offer you repeat business? How important is this consistency to you? In all areas of business, information is everything. A great benefit of being a freelancer is that you know every area of your business inside out. Go into every negotiation aware of what you need. Accept nothing less!

2. What Does My Client Need?

Forget that you might be dealing with large organisations – when you negotiate, you are dealing with people. Usually, you are dealing with one representative of the business that you serve. What does this individual really need? When a client asks for a discount, they might need to increase their margins. When a client attempts to negotiate faster delivery of the work, they might need to leave time for alterations, or to check the work before a deadline. Try to understand what your client really needs when they negotiate. If in doubt, ask them. Even if you can’t meet their request, you might be able to offer another solution.

3. What Can I Offer?

Finally, remember that clients give you money because they want something in return. Blankly refusing an attempt to negotiate sends a message that you are unwilling to give. Instead, always look for something to offer. If I am asked for bargain basement rates that I can’t afford to meet, I make sure that my client understands that I offer a better product, faster delivery, or value-adding advice. If a client needs instant turnaround on a project that doesn’t fit my schedule, I explain my work routine and how this guarantees higher quality. Sometimes, negotiations break down. That’s just how these things work. But, by being flexible, opening the door to compromise and attempting to offer something of value to your client, you can maximise your ability to win work, deliver effectively, and earn more revenue.

Comments are off for this post

« Newer posts