Here’s a sign the stumbling economy may be improving: Hiring executives say they’re more willing to negotiate starting salaries with qualified candidates.
In a survey of more than 1,600 chief financial officers, 38 percent said they were “much more willing” or “somewhat more willing” to bend on the salary offer made to job prospects.
“Job seekers, especially those with skills in high demand, are gaining leverage in salary discussions today,” says Max Messmer, chairman of Robert Half International, a worldwide staffing firm that developed the survey.
However, he cautions candidates to proceed cautiously in salary negotiations. Although almost 40 percent of CFOs questioned said they were more flexible on pay, 54 percent said their stance had not changed in the past year, according to the survey.
“There are many things than can go wrong when negotiating pay, and candidates should approach these discussions with a clear understanding of how far they should take the conversation,” said Messmer, author of Job Hunting for Dummies.
He offers several salary negotiating tips. For instance, prospects should research current compensation in their industry and region before starting salary talks. In addition, job hunters should wait for the interviewer to bring up pay.
“Make sure you fully understand the requirements of the position before answering questions about your desired pay,” Messmer says.
Tread carefully in salary talks
Job prospects face a delicate balancing act in salary negotiations, other experts agree. They shouldn’t appear desperate for a job and accept any compensation offered. At the same time, however, candidates shouldn’t be too aggressive in seeking higher pay – or they may lose out on the job.
Prospective employees should decide the lowest salary they will accept before negotiations begin, according to an article on AskMen.com.
“If you see the company is not able to match your minimum salary range, don’t be shy to ask about employee packages or even turn down the offer,” says the author, Armando Gomez.
He also says be prepared for the interviewer to push back on pay.
“Know exactly how to respond if he says ‘you’re not qualified enough’ or ‘you’re asking for too much,’” Gomez writes.
More salary negotiating tips
An article on Recruiter.com offers several other tips. The first: Look sharp for the job interview.
“If you want to make a million bucks, you need to look like a million bucks,” writes Sharon Alexander. “When going into salary negotiations, you need all the confidence that you can get. Looking at yourself dressed up and ready to take on the world, you will feel better about yourself.”
She also advises prospects to try to learn how their education and experience compare to other applicants.
“Would you be the only one in your department with a master’s degree?” Alexander writes. “Do you have more years of experience than others? Find your selling point and use it.”
If you’re looking for a job, good luck. Landing the position you want – at the salary you need – is never easy, especially now.
Take an honest look at the job market and at your credentials. Settle on a salary range you could accept if offered the job. Stay positive during salary negotiations and project confidence.
Make the hiring executive feel he or she can’t afford not to hire you.
Salary negotiations can be nerve-wracking. Lessen the pressure by being prepared. Know your unique qualifications for the job and the salary you’re seeking. Realize you may have to apply for several jobs and endure multiple salary negotiations before getting the perfect position.