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34 Secrets of Power Salary NegotiatingChapter 4 Handling the Issue of Money This is the most delicate issue to be raised in a negotia-tion. Employers will try to raise this issue early in the processbecause they don’t want to waste time on applicants they can’tafford. Also, they want to make your past earnings a big issuebecause they think it will lower your salary expectations. Youwant to delay the discussion of money as long as you possiblycan—until they are convinced that you’re the person they need.That way you’ll get a better offer. Here are some tips on how to handle this sensitive issue.What to Say When Asked“What You Are Getting Paid Now?” Try not to answer this question until they are drooling toget you on board, but if forced to answer, be sure that youinclude all your benefits, not just your salary. Your responseshould be, “I feel that my total package is worth about $80,000a year.” Your way of calculating that would include: Base salary. Bonuses, both actual and potential. Vacation pay. Stock options. Travel allowances. Health plans. Life insurance.
The Interview—Getting a Job Offer 35 Access to company health club. Employee discounts. The benefits of not having a long commute to work. Reimbursement for meals. Frequent flyer points collected. Hotel frequent guest points collected. Reimbursement for tuition. Training given by company beyond that of learning about the company. Retirement plans. 401(k) contributions. Free cappuccino machine in the lunchroom. (That’s two cups a day, which would be $3 each at Starbucks, for 250 working days in the year. That’s $1,500 right there!) As you can see, there is a huge difference between yourbase salary and your total compensation package. If you wereto respond to their question about current earnings by justgiving them your base salary, you would be vastly underratingyourself.What to Do if You Get a Low Offer for a Job Write them a sincere counter-offer letter or, better yet, calland ask for an appointment to discuss a counter-offer. Negotia-tions always work better face-to-face for several reasons: You can read the body language better face-to- face. You can communicate your seriousness better. You can shake hands and reach an agreement on the spot.
36 Secrets of Power Salary Negotiating If you are reduced to writing a letter, make these points: You sincerely admire the company, see great opportunity there, and want to work for them. The only stumbling block is the compensation. Restate all the great things you could do in the position. Mention that you have another offer available to you that pays more, but you really want to go with this company. Projecting that you have options gives you power. It also makes it easier for the HR director to sell his or her boss on paying you more. Ask for more than you expect to get so they can have a win with you. Imply some flexibility to encourage them to negotiate with you. Perhaps you could say, “I really feel that I’m well worth $100,000. I might take a little less.” Support your requested amount with research that justifies it. List the items on which you have reached agreement. It reminds the HR director of all the work he’s gone through to get this far. He is then more likely to be flexible because he subconsciously wants to recoup the time already invested.Once You Have Agreed on a Package,Ask for It in Writing Is it appropriate to ask for the offer in writing? Yes, by allmeans. Your new employer wants to eliminate any misunder-standings just as much as you do. Get it in writing and be surethat the letter includes all of the details. If it’s a high-levelposition, try to get it signed by an officer of the company.
The Interview—Getting a Job Offer 37321321 Key Points to Consider: Try not to answer the question of how much you’re making currently until the employer is drooling to get you on board. If forced to respond, quote the value of your total package including all benefits. If the employer makes a low offer, try to get an appointment to discuss it so that you can negotiate face-to-face. When negotiating, let the employer know that you have options. Ask for more than you expect to get, but imply some flexibility to encourage the employer to negotiate. Once you’ve reached an agreement, ask for it in writing so there are no misunderstandings.