$ Salary Savoir-faire
By Chelse Benham
“Passion Persuades.” – Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop
Salary aptitude may best be described as one’s ability to acquire the most salary
for a given job or job offer. Do you have that “salary savoir-faire?” Information on
salary negotiations is prolific and with good reason. Bottom line: money, how
much or how little of it, for many people determines their quality of life. If lack of
knowledge at how to negotiate your salary could mean a difference of thousands
of dollars, doesn’t it behoove you to go into negotiations well informed when it
comes time to talk money?
“Research is the most important piece of advice I can tell a student about the
salary process. They can find out what to expect to be paid by a number of
sources like the Census Bureau,” said Lourdes Servantes, placement specialist
at The University of Texas-Pan American’s Career Placement Services Office.
“Interested students can log onto www.panam.edu and go to the personnel site
and find classification and pay scale for just about any job that they are
interested in. Or they can come to our offices.”
At Web Women.com four steps are outlined to help manage the salary issue.
1. Know what the job is worth. Information can be found at PayScale.com, a
comprehensive salary assessment site.
2. Know what your work is worth. Visit SalaryExpert.com - a salary site
offering salaries, benefits and cost of living information for 30,000
positions in more than 45,000 locations.
3. Know the critical ingredients for salary discussions.
a. Evaluate your professional skills.
b. Consider your interpersonal or people skills.
c. Scrutinize your work ethic. This is perhaps your most valuable
asset. Are you at work on time? Do you stay late? Do you have a
positive attitude? Are you self-motivated and maintenance free?
4. Arm your self with assertive, non-aggressive, salary negotiating skills.
“I always tell students never bring up salary in the first interview,” Servantes said.
“That is not the time to address salary issues. Be open to the negotiating
process, don’t push.”
So when do you address the issue? At QuintessentialCareers. com they give 20
firm negotiating strategies and a few are listed here.
• Delay salary and benefit negotiations for as long as possible in the
• The greatest negotiation leverage is the time between the offer being
made and the when you accept or decline it.
• Don’t negotiate at the time the initial offer is made. Always say you’ll think
• Do your research. It should be clear by now to research, research,
• Be willing to negotiate.
• Always ask for a higher salary.
• Remember that even if all the salary issues are “off the table,” there are
still numerous other benefits you can negotiate, such as paid vacation,
personal days, professional training and much more.
The other elements or perks that contribute to job negotiation satisfaction are the
benefits. They are another important facet of the negotiating process and they
identified in four different categories:
• Non-salary compensation: signing bonus, performance bonus, profit
sharing and severance packages
• Relocation expenses: house hunting, temporary living allowance, closing
costs, travel expenses
• Benefits: vacation, personal days, sick leave, professional training
courses, conference attendance, continuing education, professional
memberships, athletic club memberships, product discounts, clothing
• Job specific criteria: frequency of performance reviews, job
title/role/authority/duties, work hours, starting date, standards and goals
If you are about to negotiate salary do you feel confident that you are well
prepared? To find out take the free quiz, “Salary Negotiation, Compensation and
Job offer Quiz” found at QuintessentialCareers. com. Identifying your negotiation
weaknesses can become your strengths.
Kathy L. Sims, director of the University of California at Las Angeles Career
Center said,”Make certain they know how excited you feel about the new job.
Your purpose in negotiations is to position yourself on the same side as the
employer. The focus should be on a win-win scenario not adversarial situation.”
“Do the research and go in knowing what the job pays and what you are worth,”
said Servantes, placement specialist at The University of Texas-Pan American’s
Career Placement Services Office. “Employers have their best interests at heart
and they may short-change your salary if you’re not prepared and you appear
likely to take less.”
Jack Chapman’s “Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1,000 a Minute” offers
this advice; never discuss salary until you have a clear, unambiguous indication
that they want to hire you. Then let your employer bring up the issue of salary
and state the range first. According to Chapman, he suggests you pause before
reiterating the highest number quoted and wait silently, “It’s amazing. People
often increase their offer.”
At QuintessentialCareers. com it warns that once the employer agrees to your
compensation requests, the negotiations are over. You cannot ask for anything
more – or risk appearing immature or greedy and that could cause you to loose
the offer entirely. Provided that the offer is agreed to by both parties, the most
important piece of advice is always getting your final offer in writing. Be extremely
wary of companies that are not willing to do so. One strategic maneuver is to
write an acceptance letter reiterating the terms of the offer in it to use to your
Being paid what you’re worth and being happy with the negotiations bolsters your
out look towards the company and you job. Fair and adequate compensation for
your services instills a sense of mutual respect between employee and employer.
“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to
reveal to him his own.” – Benjamin Disraeli, (1804-81) Known as a dandy, a
novelist, a brilliant debater and England's first and only Jewish prime minister