Negotiating the Job
Okay you're interested in them and they are interested in you. How do you negotiate the job or the contract you want? And what are stock options anyway? What is important to you? How do you figure out your bottom line?
One of the questions asked frequently at The Job Forum is how to present your salary requirements to companies at which you'd like to work. So, here are some tips.
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As you think about your potential salary, it is helpful to frame your thinking in terms of total compensation (this is the way most contemporary organizations do look at "pay" for employees). Total compensation includes:
How do I know what is a fair range for salary?
The best way to determine the fair compensation level for you is to do some informal research. You can do this via networking with people in similar jobs at other companies or via the Internet, checking for job titles (and published salary ranges) in company employment sections of web sites.
Timing is important when discussing salary. On the one hand, you want the chance to be considered at a company that you are excited about. On the other hand, you want to know that the firm defines the job at a similar level of responsibility and importance as you do, and compensation is one indicator of this.
When you are early in the "getting to know the company" process, you may be questioned about your salary requirements or past salary. You can parry the questions by saying, "Tell me some more about the job responsibilities please, so I can better understand the opportunities and challenges", or "What range have you (the company) defined for this job description or this function? Have you already decided on the level of person you are seeking, or are you kind of open to exploring?".
It is preferable to negotiate the compensation after you understand as much as you can about what the company and hiring manager want to fill the job. Once you know their objectives, you can better present your talents and assess their motivation to fill the job. It is preferable to negotiate the salary after the employer wants to hire you.
How to Handle Salary Questions
When a company asks you in person or via the Internet for your "salary requirements", you are free to provide a range and also to reference the other aspects of a total compensation package you are particularly seeking. For example, you could say, "I am interested in a position with managerial responsibility in the range of x-y (could be a 20-30% range) and a bonus/incentive package consistent with your other mangers at my level. I am also interested in whether your firm provides dental care".
How much can you increase your salary?
When individuals transfer from one company to another, there is often an increase in total compensation paid by the new company that is part of the incentive to switch firms. Therefore, when switching jobs, the compensation you should present to companies is the range you want and can be justified based on the labor market for similar jobs. It is normal in a managerial position for this to be a 15-40% increase versus your last salary, depending on how competitive the job market is and how you judge the fit of your know-how and experience to the job challenges.