Sealing the Deal in Salary Negotiations

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionResearch and preparation are two critical tools to use in job hunting and compensation negotiation, a business executive and marketing research expert told Sacramento job seekers Tuesday.

A job opening is a need or problem that a company and its hiring manager are trying to solve by hiring the right candidate. Job hunters should research and understand an employer's needs, as well as their own needs and what they bring to the table, said MarkeTech Group partner Robert Enzerink, a past president of Sacramento Professional Network.

To prepare to negotiate compensation, you must understand the valuable skills you can bring to the employer, what you're worth and what the market pays for the position. The time to negotiate is when an offer is made – that indicates the employer is convinced of your value and is aware they must have you, Enzerink said.

 "As soon as an offer is made, the power shifts to you," he said at the South County Career "One-Stop" Center.

Employers expect you to negotiate. In fact, they may learn a lot about how you'd perform and how assertive and persuasive you'd be on the job based on how you conduct negotiations.

Key points: Be confident, direct and honest. Believe it or not, but your confidence in yourself can greatly impact your negotiating success. To be confident, do your research and practice.

Put personal integrity first and be trustingly collaborative. Negotiations aren't a battle. Seek a win-win outcome where you negotiate without damaging the relationship and without the power – or the desire to use power – to get your own way.

The best negotiators aim high and never give a single number for salary. If you say, "I need $80,000," that can be seen as an ultimatum and leaves no room to negotiate. Instead, try, "Well, based on my education and experience, and the skills I would bring (then list a couple skills important to the employer), I would expect a salary of $80,000 to $90,000" or something similar. 

If the offer is too low, one option is to be silent and wait a while without saying no. Wait to see if the hiring manager will make another offer or ask a question. "One-Stop" Center Supervisor Juanita Sendejas Lopez suggested job seekers may want to say something like, "I'd like to make this work and I think we're really close. It has to win for you and it has to win for me. I think (a salary range) will get us to this point."

Remember, the person you're negotiating with may not have the power to negotiate further. You might ask, "How much negotiating can you do?" If they say, "Not much," follow up by asking, "Then who can we bring in to this negotiation?"

There are also plenty of other items that can be negotiated as well – sometimes in addition to a higher salary or in lieu of a higher salary. Some items may cost an employer money, but others don't, Enzerink said.

Members can log into Sacramento Professional Network's website and learn more about the negotiating process, techniques and negotiable items.