Strategies For Getting What You’re Worth

For many people one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the selection process can be the salary negotiation phase.

You’ve worked hard throughout the selection process to win the role, but now comes the time to discuss the package. Do you accept whatever they put on the table and figure a-bird-in-the-hand is better than putting the offer at risk?  Do you go hard at the salary negotiations to try and lift their offer and get the most you can in your package? These are big questions and governed in most cases by your need financially for the role; your personal circumstances, values and experience; your motivations for wanting the role; and your feelings about risk.

Regardless, salary negotiation skills and effective preparation are important to ensuring you go through this phase smoothly. The following are some tips to help you during this phase.

  • One of the most important things to remember is that it isn’t a competition. It’s simply a discussion between you and the business to find a market figure for your salary and package that meets each party’s needs and help both to achieve the shared goals of having you employed with the organisation.
  • Before The Negotiation consider what level of remuneration you need given your personal circumstances. For some people obtaining a certain level of salary is critical to meeting their obligations. For other people the ability to break into a new industry or gain particular skills or experiences may mean they are willing to accept less than they have traditionally earned to achieve their long-term goals. These are important factors to contemplate.
  • Research Going Market Rates. Salary information can be found via the many salary calculators available online. When sourcing this information consider the integrity of the source and ensure it is current and relevant to the region you are applying to.
  • Once you know fair market value for the role start gathering data on your personal market value. Assess your experience, skills, industry exposure and traits in line with those preferred for the role.
  • Look at your achievements in past positions to highlight your ROI for  past employers. Eg As CFO with SuperCorp I implemented a new financial governance structure that brought transparency to potential cost leakages and saw the business save up to $300K in previously missed contract charges.
  • In the interview process, avoid discussions regarding pay or conditions until later in the selection process. At earlier stages you will often be one of many vying for the same position. At later stages the competition will be less, and the company will be more engaged with you and better able to appreciate what you offer.
  • If you are faced with these questions early, suggest you would like to hear a little more about the role before answering. If pressed respond honestly but emphasize that money is not your only motivator for the role. Instead of naming a magic figure discuss your understanding of fair market value for positions such as this and talk package ranges rather than salary as this gives more negotiation room for both parties.
  • After you have received an offer from a company assess the position not just on the salary and package but also on the other elements of the role. These can include (the hours and conditions of the role, the organisation size and culture, the location or travel time involved, the promotion prospects, the value the role brings to your longer term goals, the industry prospects and role stability, the flexibility of the role and its alignment with your personal life, and the content of the role and how well it aligns with your strengths and preferred skills.
  • If you have been given career coaching as part of an outplacement package you may want to discuss these issues with your Career Transition Consultant so they can help you navigate these complex processes.

If you have reviewed these aspects and would like to negotiate a counter-offer ensure to keep the communications open and professional. Thank them for the offer & reiterate your motivation for the role.

Discuss your understanding of your market value given industry salary benchmarks and your particular skillsets and how that relates to their offer and the role at hand.

Emphasise that you understand their circumstances and budgets but reinforce the potential ROI you bring the business through your skills, networks, knowledge and experience.

Clearly outline your well-thought out counter-offer. (If they have salary caps this may be an alternative scenario that may include different conditions, or an established salary review and increase at 3 months should you have achieved all targets etc);

Most importantly be confident in your value and clear in your own mind exactly how important salary is to you and what your walk away point is.

Happy negotiation. I wish you health, career satisfaction and happiness.