The Ins and Outs of Negotiating
Last week we hosted a negotiation panel in NYC. The intent? To discuss raises, promotions, and new job approaches with experienced talent acquisition professionals—and share the information with our community of members. One of the panelists, Gladys Chen, answers the most common questions from the conversation, below.
You got the job! You’re awesome. Next up: responding to the offer. We spoke with Sr. HR Business Partner and recruitment expert, Gladys Chen, to get all your questions about salary negotiation, answered.
Peter Handley (Left) and Gladys Chen (right) discuss the art of negotiation in New York City.
For the job seeker, what are the most important do’s and don’ts in the negotiation process?
Be clear on what you will and won’t accept. Know what your ideal outcome is and what’s second choice. Take an inventory of what you are not getting in your current job and what you need and want in a new role. What are your must-haves vs. nice-to-haves?
What is the first step you should take when deciding to negotiate your salary and benefits?
Prepare in advance everything from your salary history to projected total comp for this year and next. Be sure to think through and list the things that are less obvious, like how many years of service you have at your current firm or the fact that you will need to rebuild your reputation and credibility. These are things you’ll want to quantify in some way that will feel reasonable to your new employer and still feel fair to you when you settle in a your new job.
How should you approach the negotiation conversation?
Be nice, excited, and enthusiastic. Imagine yourself as already part of the new team and speak positively and specifically about contributing. It is so important to be upbeat and project that you are someone others will want to work with. It helps to imagine that you are already on the team and also helps guide the sorts of questions you might want to ask (projects you’ll be working on, expected deliverables, and benchmarks for early days of your performance, etc.). Make sure you position yourself as an asset to the team.
So, what’s the secret to winning the negotiation in your favor?
The very best practice in any negotiation is to persuade the other side to want to make you happy. Persuade them to want to be as generous and comprehensive with what they offer you. You want everyone to feel like they are getting what they paid for; you need to feel valued and that the new salary reflects the scope of the role. The new employer should price the qualities they see in you and their sense of what your contribution will be.
What are fair expectations in salary from a cost of living standpoint, especially for candidates moving to expensive markets such as NYC and San Francisco?
Most big firms will make adjustments for local market conditions but that can work against you if you are moving from NY to a smaller market. I think that a 20-25% increase in total comp is still pretty standard—but don’t forget to price in additional things like matching 401K, vacation time, flexible work arrangements, etc.
How much should a previous job’s salary be used to determine current market worth (especially if a candidate is under-market or coming from a lower paying industry such as non-profit)?
It is fair to want to be priced at your market value right from the get go. But all employers will try to take advantage of what you are being paid right now. Which means, it’s better for them if you are under market. You can try to carefully negotiate to get to your market value, but I wouldn’t lead with compensation being the main thing. Make it clear that your primary interest is in joining the team.
Any final advice?
I have found that if you love what you do and give your all, your success follows and that includes money. Sounds corny but people who are passionate about what they do, and are invested in the team, generally do just great.
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