Felix had just concluded a job interview; the employer did not hide his interest in engaging him for the job based on his wealth of experience and the perceived values that he would add to the business.
However, because no mention was made of a salary demand another session of interview discussion was called at the instance of the employer and towards the tail-end of the interview Felix was asked, do you have any question? His response was yes:
“Sir, in your estimation, would you consider me appropriate for employment? The response was “yes we are very much interested in you”. Secondly, sir, what is the salary for the position?
The employer was hesitant and later asked, what is your demand? Felix was a bit startled and he answered; whatever you considered okay and appropriate for me would do sir.
Felix started the job without any specific salary offer to him and in about two weeks into the new job he was issued with an offer letter containing the same amount of salary that he earned from his last place of work from which he resigned to take up the new role.
The questions would be asked, did the employer played his role fairly in determining such a salary for Felix? The answer is yes based on his estimation of Felix’s ability and perceived value. On the other hand, should the blame go to Felix for not demanding and negotiating a higher salary? The fault was entirely his, because, he never made a demand.
Negotiating for a starting salary is an integral part of the employment processes, however, the failure of most job seekers in realizing this has not only shortchanged them of the huge opportunities that go with their job roles but the adjoining benefits that come with such decision at the start of the employment relationships.
THE IMPORTANCE OF REMUNERATION IN EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT
Employment is an exchange process that involves an individual’s giving his or her knowledge, skills and ability (KSA) towards the realization of an organization objective in exchange for a reward be it tangible (Monetary) and (or) intangible (Non-monetary rewards).
However, an employee’s starting salary will determine a whole lot about that employee’s career progression, the condition of living and other intrinsic rewards. It should be noted, that to a reasonable extent your salary would determine your standard of living, where you live, how you live are somewhat related to your income level. When you earn somewhat low salary this will to an extent impact your general welfare.
It is worthy of note that bonuses, 13th-Month Pay, leave and vacation payments, pension contribution, and other performance incentives are percentages of a person’s salary, hence, the higher the salary the higher are these other rewards, benefits, and incentives.
Except for an outright promotion to a higher office, a percentage increase in salary will also be determined by the employee’s current salary vis-à-vis his or her new rate of salary increment. For example, a 10 percent salary increase across the board will not be the same amount for different workers; a worker on N 50,000 basic salaries would get a higher percentage than another worker on N 25, 000 basic salaries.
Lastly, it should be understood, that intelligently negotiating for a better pay is expected during the interview session, making a demand professionally does not make you a greedy person or over-ambitious. However, it must be done with tact, and professionally.
THE KNOTTY NATURE OF SALARY NEGOTIATION
There are myths surrounding “asking for more”, it is perceived in some tradition that those who made a demand for higher pay are greedy, insatiable and are most likely going to keep making “unreasonable” demands for an increase in salary in the course of their employment. These misconceptions are further strengthened by the following causes and which are to a very large extent untruthful.
- THE LAST SALARY MYTH. Some job applicants would accept any salary offer slightly higher than their last salary as a good deal not minding that they could get something higher if they had to give it a little push. The notion of saying that it is better than my last salary will often place you at a salary disadvantage.
- THE FEAR OF BEING DISQUALIFIED FOR ASKING FOR TOO MUCH. It is important to note that nothing is too much and nothing is too little, it all depends on the value that you placed on your worth and some level of reasonableness in your demand.
- THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY JUSTIFICATION. Sometimes individuals price themselves out by rationalizing that since the economy is not doing so well, the employer is doing them A favor by employing them. It is important to note that you are employed for a purpose which the employer considered critical to his or her business survival hence; he knows that there is a price to it. Your employment should not be seen as a favor except if you don’t have any meaningful thing to offer.
- THE COMPANY’S SALARY STRUCTURE. The picture is painted by some that a company has a salary structure in place and that no matter your demand this structure would not be changed or alter therefore they accept whatever is push across to them.
- THE GENDER RELATED ISSUE. Women seem to be at the closed end because of the misconception that “women don’t negotiate salary” and “men are better negotiator” Irrespective of gender, your ability to negotiate is individual and tactical, male or female.
- “MY INTEREST IS BEST PROTECTED BY THE EMPLOYER”. It should be noted here that an average employer would want to save on overhead cost, and maximize profit at a minimal cost. Mind you, it is absolutely reasonable for the employer to pay minimum wage rate.
- THE ONLY AVAILABLE OFFER. Having been out of employment for a long time would sometimes demean applicants’ ability to demand a higher pay since they fear that such opportunity of securing the job may elude them.
THE PREMISE ON WHICH SALARY NEGOTIATION IS BASED.
The idea of negotiation provides that there are two or more different positions between parties who aim at harmonization having considered all divergent issues or differences. It is seen as a dialogue, a conversation or representation of an individual’s point of view with the object of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.
Taking it from the above angle, salary negotiation presents a mutually beneficial conversation between an employer and an employee in which two different remuneration or salaries offer and demand are harmonized in an atmosphere devoid of compulsion, intimidation or high-handedness.
Such negotiation should be done in such a way that the organization’s ability to pay is paramount having taken into account industry minimum wage standard, the cost of living, the employee’s worth and values to the organization.
STRATEGIES FOR NEGOTIATING A HIGHER STARTING SALARY
If you must get the best out of a salary negotiation you must be tactical, diplomatic and well-prepared. Getting a higher starting salary during a job interview is controlled by two variables, namely: your ability to showcase your worth and the value that you will bring to the organization both in qualitative and quantitative terms. The second variables are the perceived acceptance of your worth and choice as the best to the organization.
However, there are some noticeable strategies that can position you for a higher starting salary and these will include:
- By paying attention to the job and what you intend to bring on board. A job interview is the closest opportunity that you have to demonstrate to the employer that you are the best for the job. This can be achieved through your ability to demonstrate your worth based on educational and developmental achievement, acquired skills set relevant to the job, past achievement demonstrated in qualitative and quantitative terms and references from past employer attesting to your worth or other testimonials. It is important to note that until the interviewers or employer become convinced that you are the person that is best for the job and possesses the set of values that they are looking for they will not make an offer to you, hence, your primary focus is the ability to convince the employer that you are the best for the job.
- Have a fairly good knowledge of the company’s pay or the average pay in the industry. Every negotiation involves preparation, it is expected that before going into salary negotiation you should be fairly informed about the company’s salary structure or what is obtainable in the industry in which your prospective employer operates. Such common information could be gotten by talking to one or two persons in the company before the interviews and if such disclosure was unavailable asked or check online for the industry average pay rate. This will prepare you to negotiate better.
- Don’t make the demand first, allows the employer to make an offer to you before a counter-offer or outright acceptance. Do not be too pushy or forward in making a demand, waiting for an offer will position you to push for more.
- Be tactical and diplomatic when making your demand, do not enforce or be too rigid always back your argument for a better pay with fact and figure such as the value that you will bring onboard, the general cost of living and what will make you give the job your maximum effort.
- Go with a win-win attitude. Compromise is needed when negotiating for a higher salary. When you don’t get all that you demanded you can ask for other non-monetary benefits such as training, extended leave vacation or study leave.
- Play the time game. Though a little risky, if you don’t reach an agreement over your demands and the offer extended to you, you could ask for time to consider the employer’s offer. Such request will likely force a desperate employer to want to conclude immediately by shifting grounds in your favor. However, be specific as to when they should expect a feedback from you. This is better when you are in a job or have two competing offers.
- Expect a no. If you are needed by the employer even if she is unable to meet up with your demands, you may give considerations to the prospect of growth and development of the organization. If you consider the organization as having the capacity for growth you may want to consider taking the job.
- Close an unfavorable job interview on a good and positive note. Leave a good impression even when you declined an offer of a salary. Close the discussion expressing your desire to work for the organization and the value that you will bring onboard. State, however, that the salary is okay from the perspective of the employer but inadequate for you giving good reasons. In some cases, they are likely to call you for a renegotiation.
Asking for a higher starting salary requires moderation, some level of diplomacy and techniques. It requires a good knowledge and the ability to study the interviewers, the organization and the average salary in the industry. Having highlighted the key benefits of a higher starting salary it, therefore, behooves on the job seeker to be well prepared for the interview and in making his or her salaries demand.
I am wishing well in your next attempt
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