My summer reading includes career books, and I recently checked out Salary Negotiation Tips for Professionals by Ron & Caryl Krannich, Ph.D.s. Here are two more mistakes they say many professionals make when negotiating salary offers.
Mistake #2: Forgetting to calculate the value of benefits and only focusing on the gross salary figure. The Kranniches point out that benefits can account for up to 40 percent or more of your total compensation. Be sure to ask about the value of your benefits when you get to the point of seriously considering an offer. Later, the company may offer to pay for education or certifications, both of which have an immediate value and a future value (your worth in the market.)
Mistake #3: Focusing on your needs and not the employer’s. This is a common mistake for workers when they consider asking for a raise, as well. It’s important to realize that most of the time, salary is based on the job and its value to the company, and not on the person in the role. There are times when your talent will give a significant boost to what you’re offered; for example, if yours is a skill that is hard to find or will be hard to replace. For most workers, that’s simply not the case.
The Kranniches recommend basing your negotiation on research and outcomes from your work, rather than personal need. Mentioning any personal financial issues will usually present exactly the wrong image to your prospective employer – that you are more focused on your personal needs and goals than those of the company.
Here are the Kranniches’ recommendations for savvy negotiations:
- Approach the job hunt as a process of finding the right fit for your skills and interests. Focus on pursuing your passion and creating value.
- Conduct careful research on the current market value of your skills and the job you’re pursuing. When asked about salary during the interview process, you’ll be able to say with confidence, “ My research indicates that this position should pay around $60,000, and based on what I know so far, that would be within my range of salary expectation.”
- Focus on the job and the needs of the company. Savvy negotiators are focused on the other person’s needs and goals. Learn to speak the language of the employer and help them understand how hiring you will help them achieve results, save money, or solve problems. When they see clearly what value you will bring to the company, they will be willing to pay more for your services.