Discussing salary can be intimidating. Fortunately we have Frank DeSafey, president of Sequence Staffing, to give us a few tips. He was one of the featured speakers of the Career Reality webinar "Compensation and Salary Negotiations," along with Krystyn Kitto, assistant director of Career Services and Alumni Relations at Rutgers' Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.
Check out the recording
What are the three things a candidate should do to prepare for the topic of salary?
Frank DeSafey: Make sure you start by investigating the position to see if it's the right match for both you and the employer before you get into the details of compensation. I always suggest getting them to love you before you negotiate.
With that said, know what your worth. Find out what the prospective employer is seeking to offer and the industry standard for your position.
If you know those three things, you are halfway to structuring the best compensation.
When discussing salary is it what you think the job is worth or what you think you're worth?
FD: Both. First, your value determines your compensation. Develop a value proposition, have a well-developed resume and supporting career marketing materials. In my experience, those with refined career documents and who express their value well often find themselves earning 10 to 15% more and are paid at the higher end of grade ranges.
How much room is there to negotiate? Is there a range or a rule of thumb?
FD: Pay and grade ranges are the norm, especially as you join larger organizations, but there is always room to negotiate. Don't be locked into a single way of approaching your desired compensation.
What, beyond money, should a candidate be thinking about?
FD: I am glad you asked that because that is just as important as compensation and something that isn't discussed or investigated enough by job seekers.
Important considerations such as health care, benefits, 401(k) packages and vacation/flex time, etc. Those can often be just as valuable, or more valuable, than compensation. Even just a small thing like being paid weekly instead of monthly or bi-weekly can be something of importance with your individual financial situation.
FD: Try to remember that the $1,000 you are holding out and fighting for so diligently is roughly around 48 cents an hour in a standard work year. I've had employees say, "I am only asking for $19.23 more a week. It may not seem like a very a significant amount, but is important to me with my personal finances." You would be surprised how fast that attitude when expressed can turn a salary conversation to the positive.
About the Author
Bobbie Albrecht is APA's Career Services Manager.
Image: In the Career Zone at the 2016 APA National Planning Conference. Photo by Joe Szurszewski.