THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Well, I finally had my job interview last Friday. For those that follow my blog, you know I have mentioned obtaining a new job as a goal of mine for a while now. I had really hoped to get the interview process over with in 2016 before the holidays so that I could slide right into the position early 2017. But unfortunately, the manager got sick, which delayed the interview.
It’s a job that is similar in nature to my background in finance and accounting, but a bit of a stretch in terms of responsibilities and duties. In some ways, I feel slightly unqualified, but then again, that’s how I feel whenever I move into a position that is going to stretch me.
Preparing for My Interview
I have been waiting to have this interview for over a month now. So needless to say, I’ve been a roller coaster of emotions over this past month. I did a ton of research on the job and made sure that I prepared with as many practice questions that I could get my hands on. On top of that, I had a friend do mock interviews with me so that I could burnish my interview skills.
The morning of my 9am interview, I woke up at 3:30 am wide awake. I was too nervous and excited to sleep any longer. Luckily, the interview went really well. All the preparation that I did made me confident in the answers that I provided. I’m hoping to hear from them in a month or so and plan to accept the job if it’s offered to me.
The position that I applied for unfortunately doesn’t have any wiggle room in terms of salary or benefits. One of the things that I wish I had done before I got hired by the government was negotiating my salary. I was so happy at the time to get the job that I naively assumed that there was no wiggle room and accepted the job. I was so wrong and left thousands of dollars on the table.
According to Salary.com survey, I’m not alone. About 20% of people never negotiate their salaries while 37% of people always negotiate salary. 44% say they negotiate occasionally.
Men & Women and Negotiations
In her book, Women Don’t Ask, Linda Babcock reveals the disparity between men and women when it comes to salary negotiations. While 57% of men attempted to negotiate their first salary, only about 7% of women tried to do so. On average, of those who tried to negotiate their salary, they were able to increase their salary by around 7%.
What Does 7% Really Look Like?
This figure may seem petty, but every bit helps. Think about it; over 35 years, you and an equivalent peer who was getting paid 7% less than you would have to work 8 more years to be as wealthy as you during retirement. Eight years is something!
Babcock asserts that by not negotiating at the beginning of your career causes one to leave anywhere between $1-$1.5 million on the table in lost earnings over the course of their life. $1 million dollars is something too!
Nowadays, it seems almost expected for a candidate to negotiate their salary. So it can’t hurt to respectfully and wisely seek a higher number. After all, if you don’t argue your own worth, then who will?
So for those of us that don’t negotiate our salaries, why don’t we? The biggest reason is fear. 32% of respondents said they were too worried about losing the job offer if they tried to negotiate. 22% said they didn’t ask for more simply because they lacked negotiation skills during the interview process. 18% said they found negotiating unpleasant at its core. Finally, around 9% said they lacked the necessary self-confidence.
New York career coach, Ellis Chase, stated that while a lot of people are afraid to negotiate, in reality, 99% of the time, a hiring manager will not rescind an offer.
So, how do you figure out how much you’re worth? An online search on Glassdoor or even asking people in your field can give you a good idea of your value.
Many advocate for you to assume that you are deserving of top pay. More than likely, the employer will negotiate down, so there really isn’t harm in over-projecting your worth.
Specifics are Best
Researchers at Columbia Business School have determined that one should request a very specific number—say, $69,750 rather than $70,000. These researchers found that when specific numbers are utilized, those individuals were more likely to receive a better final offer.
Walk Away Number
Every candidate should also have a “walk away number”. Whether based on financial need, market value, or just a bottom line number that you don’t want to drop below. you should also come up with a “walk away point”—a final offer that’s so low that you have to turn it down. Of course, walking away is never easy, especially after spending some time in the interview process, but it is important and empowering to know when saying “no” is appropriate.
Educate yourself on what type of benefits will come in addition to salary. Some of the best companies provide benefits that end up valuing 50% of your salary! So don’t neglect learning more about any and all benefits involved.
Benefits could include vacation time, moving allowance, or a signing bonus, to name a few. Of course, most entry-level employees will probably not be offered all of these. But, it’s good to know which are not included so that you can use the information as leverage and negotiate these into your offer. Additionally, moving bonuses are something worth mentioning when you are moving to a new city for a certain job.
So readers, what do you think? Do you always negotiate no matter the offer? Share your thoughts below.