Monday, July 15, 2013

Negotiating The Money and The Big Picture

In my last blog entry I shared the most basic guidelines for a sensible way of looking at the subject of money and for what to aim. In fact, I suggest you step back and view it from a wider angle. 

There is and should be a balance and trade-off consideration. For example, if it’s a great job you may be a bit more flexible on your monetary demands and vice versa. But let’s say you get a verbal offer and the hiring manager floats a test balloon to see your reaction. If the money comes in lower than you wished or expected, your first reaction might be to counter immediately and begin the back and forth banter. However, not before you ask more questions and learn about the entire package. Anytime there is a bonus structure or benefits at stake you have to take into consideration the total cash value. For example, if they provide to you a cell phone for business, an expense account, or paid meals, a notebook or other things, these have cash value when you lump it all together. So, before you focus singly on the salary, get the full picture of what is being offered and how it is structured. 

Another important thing for you to consider; when is the first performance review, is there a probationary period linked to a pay increase? For example, they may start you out at a salary level that is lower than you want, but if you ask you may learn that after a short probation period it will be boosted close to where you’d like to be. Or, you may learn the first performance review is 6 months from start date, so if you prematurely roll your eyes and bristle at the low salary you are being offered before learning the additional details, you might make yourself look impulsive, short-sighted and not as clever as you may think you are, so use your head. Especially if it is a verbal offer relax, you’re not signing anything at the moment. On the other hand, they may make you an offer that, when you probe further, you’ll learn they scratched together enough to meet your salary expectations. However, the trade off is that you won’t be eligible for a pay increase for a year-and-a-half because, to get the deal done, they’re essentially bringing your first review pay increase forward now and the budget won’t allow another pay increase, which you would have gotten later. The only way to know this is to ask – and you should ask; they asked you a lot of questions to prove you are worthy of hiring, you should exercise the same scrutiny. 

Don’t lose sight of the opportunity itself, there may be a justifiable reason for sacrificing your wants a little bit to get your needs fulfilled and maybe the job in question has good job growth potential and/or security. My motto in any and every business endeavor, whenever possible, is a goal of both sides engaging from a standpoint of shared risk and mutual respect. Sometimes people enter a process with the right mindset but, as soon as money becomes the subject, they get tunnel vision, lose their mind and let greed take over. Falling into this trap can cause you to blow it so take stock occasionally as to what your primary motivation and goal was / is; it is never only about money. 

Clearly, during these last few years there are more people competing for jobs, and so employers are in a stronger position to dictate their terms. If you find yourself in a situation that is not to your advantage, much less fair, then you’ll be in the difficult position of deciding if it is better to say thanks, but no thanks and walk away. Hopefully, you’re pursuing more than one opportunity anyway. As an individual, only you know what you can and are willing to accept. Being well informed before making any decision is your burden, and not that of the company with whom you are seeking employment. 

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