We invited Aura Maria Huot, an HR business partner from Lactalis US Yogurt, Inc., to talk to us about tactics for negotiating salaries. Here are some of the tips and tricks that she shared with us.
1. Before applying for positions, make sure you do your research and that you are truly interested in the job.
What type of a business do you want to work for? Large, small, non-profit, public, etc.
Do you see yourself in this position? Are you REALLY interested in this job? If you aren’t really interested in the role, don’t waste your own time applying and don’t waste the organization’s time.
Do your due diligence and research the organization; make sure their ethics align with yours.
2. Before negotiating your salary, be clear in which job or role you are seeking. Research and understand the qualifications and skills that the job requires you to do.
Even if you don’t have all the skills, you can still apply for the job, as there are different levels or tiers within a job. You may be able to get a more entry-level role. The description of the position will help define if there are different levels within it.
If you meet 75%-80% of the job requirements, go for it and apply! Let them tell you no—don’t tell yourself no. A lot of places will look for a good cultural and personality fit, rather than someone that ‘checks all the boxes’.
Identify which parts of the role you are skilled in and be prepared to speak to your interests during the interview process.
Do not forget to read the summary of the job! Title is important, but you should have a solid understanding as to what they are asking you to do for the position.
3. Do some research to help determine the job title and range of salary by your location.
When researching salary ranges, leverage the location of the job. For example, if you live in New Hampshire but work in Massachusetts, you will use the location of the business in Massachusetts to determine the salary range.
Be mindful of the size of the business. Some smaller businesses may not be able to pay larger salaries for employees as you would get with a larger, corporate organization.
Use the following links to help you determine what your salary range should be:
Salary – www.salary.com
Pay scale – https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job
Indeed – https://www.indeed.com/career/salaries
Glassdoor – https://www.glassdoor.com/salaries/index.htm
Department of Labor – https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcst.htm
4. Review ALL of the compensation:
- Base salary
- Cost of benefits/what benefits the employer offers (Medical, Dental, life insurance, short term disability, long term disability). Find out the cost of all these items on a weekly basis and yearly basis. How much is the employer paying for? How much are you as the employee responsible for?
- Vacation time and sick time
- Flexibility in the schedule
- Bonuses (Yearly? Performance based?)
- Merit increases – do they offer every year?
- Negotiate time off between jobs, if you want it.
- Negotiate scope of the role if there is something you are passionate about and you want to include it in the role of the position.
As you get higher up in your career (typically director level or higher), you will discuss salary in terms of “all in”, meaning it includes your bonuses, stock shares, and base salary. Be sure to ask about this and be clear in whether you are talking about your base salary or your all-in salary.
5. Make sure you ask the employer questions and show up prepared. Some example questions:
- Am I going to be on call? What is that commitment? How many days? How many hours?
- Do I have to work overtime? You can negotiate this—if you want more or less, say it up front!
- Travel commitments?
- Average tenure
- Ask to speak to people that work there. Do they like it? What are the pros and cons?
- Write out your questions prior to the interview so that you can remember them!
- Come prepared with a few extra copies of your resume
6. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. If you counter-offer, it doesn’t mean they are going to take the job offer away. Back-and-forth is okay!
Rather than saying “This salary is low!” phrase it as “Is there anything you can do to increase this salary?” Ask your questions from a side of empathy; don’t take it personal. The recruiter is also a person!
7. When you get an offer, THINK ON IT. Assess the numbers with the salary and the cost of benefits. Be timely and get back to the organization if you are negotiating.
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