As part of the “What Color Is Your Parachute?” Flower Exercise (link to TNS blog post on salary), you’ve already thought a lot about what kind of salary, fringe benefits, and other non-compensatory perks you want to see in a job. On balance, you have a range that you need for your life to make a job work, but that’s only the first step in the process of salary negotiation.
There are a few key tips in the Parachute strategy on the next steps to best negotiate for a salary. At the top of the list is understanding a reasonable range for the employer to offer before you even get into the position of an offer. Salary information is often private and difficult to find, but some internet resources exist such as glassdoor and payscale. If it’s a government sector job, the salary range is likely in the posting to begin with, but can also be compared to a public interest database as well. When you have a sense of their range, you can then compare it to your range and you can set your goal based on where the two ranges overlap.
Ideally, your goal as a job seeker is to let the employer come at you with a figure first. As a part of negotiation, the employer expects you to counter offer and will leave room in their budget to go up if needed. Further, you want the employer to have made the decision to make an offer before you reveal your financial considerations. An offer is a cue from the employer that they believe you are the best candidate they interviewed for a job, and that is the sweet spot to get you the maximum negotiating position on a salary.
It’s important to recognize the other considerations from your Flower Exercise as part of overall compensation – health benefits, remote work options, professional development, or other non-monetary perks. These benefits can bring more satisfaction to your work or be worth a considerable amount of money, and they are part of the full balance of your compensation.
Finally, you should get your job offer confirmed in writing. Contracts exist to protect both parties, and you will both be protected from any sort of misunderstanding during the job hiring process. Full clarity on both sides on what exactly was promised helps both sides and if the employer isn’t willing to put it in writing, it’s a huge warning sign of their workplace culture.
With the job picture in flux due to COVID-19, many companies and more people will be making some big changes. Some are easier than others and some will stay with us longer than others. If you are a now a job-seeker during a pandemic, “What Color Is Your Parachute?” can help you walk through a personal inventory, identify goals in job seeking, strategies for networking and interviewing, and offers tips for how to close a salary negotiation. Please visit see our full blog series on job transition for the highlights and let us know what we can do to help you more.