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  • Lori A. Jazvac

Dissecting the Puzzle of Salary Negotiation in a Job Interview

The word “salary” often lends itself to some perplexed views and misconceptions by jobseekers. As a jobseeker, you may hesitate to ask for a higher wage for fear of getting passed up for a job offer. The fear underlies not necessarily asking for too much or too less, but the values that we attach to salary and relate it to our own worth and value.

What most jobseekers forget when negotiating salary is that most salaries are negotiable. If you are asked about salary history and you feel pressured to name a figure, offer a range instead of your most recent salary. Be clear on what range you are comfortable with accepting. Do not forget to add: “...that does not include the value of insurance or other benefits.”

Salary/Compensation: What You Need to Know

Compensation entails salary, as well as other benefits such as health –– medical or dental along with other fringe benefits.

>> Benefits are often overlooked, but can make a huge difference in your compensation package. Benefits that can contribute to your compensation include life, dental, and disability insurance, bonus structures or profit-sharing plans, pension plans, vacation days, sick days, company car, tuition reimbursement, and signing bonuses.

The common myth that benefits are too hard to come by is not true.

>> Identify firsthand what benefits you need, then find out what type of compensation package is offered at the company you are applying to.

It has always been said to never include salary information in your résumé/cover letter. Use your discretion.

>> While this is true for the most part, some job postings request that you indicate a salary, so include a range.

>> Before that, conduct some thorough salary research on websites such as arms you with updated salary information for your job or industry, allowing you to compare benefits and calculate your cost of living in other cities.

Always do your homework about the company.

>> Websites like Glassdoor can provide insight into the company’s specific compensation structure.

>> Remember to, however, not raise the issue of money until the interviewer brings up money. Of course, you would not want to screen yourself out of a potentially good offer, nor do you want to settle for less than you are worth. Jobseekers who often settle for less than they are worth tend to feel less valued, which can affect their productivity levels and morale.

Consider alternative compensation packages.

>> Instead of cash, consider stock options, performance bonuses, incentives, equity positions, telecommuting or other alternative work options, or even a more comprehensive benefits package.

According to Workopolis, perks add up to 28% of your salary.

Carefully Weigh Your Options

Realize that you may make less money in your next position, at least at the beginning. Forty percent of workers will make the same amount as in their last job, and 20 percent will make more. The remaining 40 percent will make less.

If your salary isn’t the one that you envisioned, but the job offers the opportunity for higher learning and/or growth, consider taking the job with the goal of making yourself invaluable to the organization or positioning yourself for your next job.

At any rate, it is imperative to do your research and understand everything you need to about the company, including its compensation package, to determine a good fit, and ultimately, how you can contribute to the company’s strategic goals.

If growth is more important to you than salary, then you need to carefully weigh your options. Do not pass up a great opportunity though because the starting wage is slightly lower than your goal.

The key message: Compromise and smart negotiation is the best strategy. Evaluate the company and all your options.

For more information about salary negotiation, contact Creative Horizons Communications.

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