Use an online salary calculator
Salary Wizards such as are available on Monster.com are a useful tool if you’re planning a career path or have just entered a new field. Once you enter a field (say, accounting) and your Zip code, the Salary Wizard will provide you with a bell curve of salary ranges in that field, letting you know instantly where your compensation offer falls on that curve.
Another resource is Payscale.com’s free salary report.
Monster and Payscale both have their strengths and weaknesses, so it can be useful to compare the two.
Schmooze, schmooze, schmooze
Social networks are your friends, so use them! Use professional events, meetups, and bar nights to meet people who are in your field, with your desired position. While you can’t always ask someone how much they make and expect to walk away without a punch in the face, you can always ask whether a particular range sounds appropriate, given your experience and the company.
Talking to people within your company can also have benefits. True story: After inadvertently discovering that his salary was significantly lower than others in the same company with his same position, a friend took his problem to human resources. Rather than lose a valuable employee, HR increased his salary and gave him back pay. We don’t recommend this approach — many companies have policies against discussing salary — but keeping your ears and eyes open never hurts.
Commit to negotiating
Negotiation begins the minute you start filling out a job application. If asked for a desired salary, indicate that it’s negotiable. If asked for a current salary, say you’ll disclose the information during an interview. Don’t accept offers at the conclusion of an interview; assuming the company has indicated you’re a good candidate for the job, set a later date to discuss salary and benefits, as you’ll need the time to give due consideration to such an important decision. Setting a later date also gives you an opportunity to mention competing offers, if you have any.
But don’t be a jerk
Salary negotiation may make you feel as ruthless as Gordon Gekko, but the basic rules of human decency still apply. After all, you will have to work with these people. Don’t hold out for the maximum offer. Don’t hint that you need the dough to pay off your gambling debts or your mother’s life-saving operation. Don’t complain that your best friend from high school is making twice as much… in an entirely different field. And don’t — we repeat, DON’T — bring the subject up in an interview. Wait until the interviewer brings it up, even if that means waiting for a second interview — which is what you were going to do in the first place, remember?
When negotiating compensation, many people find that the person across the table is a more experienced negotiator than they are. This is just due to how often one looks for a new job, versus how frequently managers hire new people. There are some strategies that one can use to level the playing field.
First, the cardinal rule of negotiating is that the power resides with the party who’s willing to walk away. It really helps to decide ahead of time how willing you are to do that if you don’t get what you want. Avoid giving in to requests for immediate answers to offers, so you have the time to really consider if you’re willing to walk away from the deal or not. If you decide an offer isn’t good enough, and you’re willing to walk, always give them a chance to make a counter offer.
Second, resist the temptation to justify why you want a particular level of compensation. Your reasons aren’t likely to matter to a prospective employer. If anything, an experienced hiring manager will be able to use your reasons as a basis for arguing you down to a lower offer. There are exceptions: when you’re considering leaving a current job, you want a higher salary; or when you’re going to incur expenses related to the job. If the company wants you to move to a new city, or if you’re going to stay in your current job unless you’re making more money, then let them know.
Discount future earnings
One of the most complicated parts of evaluating a compensation offer is judging the value of future earnings. What’s an offer of stock options worth? How about an annual performance bonus? A promise of a raise next year when the company has more budget? A common technique is to discount potential future earnings down to a present value. Then compare the present value to other immediate offers to decide which is worth more.
How do you decide how much to discount?
First, evaluate if the person making the promise of future compensation has the authority to follow through. A manager who tells you he’ll provide a raise next year may be dependent on his manager for a budget allocation. It’s completely appropriate to ask questions exploring a manager’s ability to follow through during the negotiations.
Next, what’s the companies track record in the past? Have annual performance bonuses been paid to all employees reliably for the last few years? Or are you being offered an unusual arrangement for the company?
Finally, how often does the form of compensation payout industry wide? It’s difficult to assess a single company’s track record on stock option grants, but you can look within an industry to judge what’s likely. Avoid the temptation to look at only the most impressive payouts. Most companies won’t see stock gains like Google did. Accountants or managers inside the industry at different companies can often provide a lot of insight about these questions.
Above all, be flexible
Remember that stock options, health insurance, and other benefits are equally valid forms of compensation. Inquire about starting and yearly bonuses, relocation compensation or tuition reimbursement. If possible, discuss these separately from your salary.
Keep your eyes open
It’s sad, but true. You’re much more likely to get a big raise by changing employers than by putting in your time for a single employer. Unless you’ve already scored your dream job, keep reading the RSS feeds of your favorite job sites, just in case something better comes along.
Don’t read this if you’re already a C-level executive or have been lucky enough to hitch a long ride on an IPO wave. Being paid what you’re really worth would mean a massive cut.
Article Source: http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Get_Paid_What_You_Are_Worth
Category: Get Schooled