Negotiate the Pay Rise You Want

Never negotiate early

If you are at the first interview stage and it is clear that there will be final selection interviews never let yourself be drawn into negotiations on wages, terms and conditions. The chances are that you will not even be talking to the person who has the power to agree rates. You will not be negotiating from a position of strength since there are still many possible candidates. Negotiations should only begin when you have been made a job offer and the company has only one or two likely reserve candidates. At this stage it will be clear to everyone that you are the best choice candidate for the job and people expect to pay more for quality and results. If you are the only suitable candidate then you are in a much stronger situation, since the company would have to repeat the costly recruitment exercise to find an alternative candidate.

If for any reason the interviewer starts to negotiate terms at interview ask if you are being offered the job. If not, do not be drawn into negotiations on salary or terms and conditions. You should not attempt to set a price before you are sure that the interviewer wants the goods. Continue to sell yourself in terms of what you can bring to the job. Until you are sure that the employer is ready to offer you a job you will be negotiating from a position of weakness. Also there is a danger that you will price yourself out of the job, before the interviewer has met all the candidates. Stall the interviewer by saying that you would like to discuss the requirements of the job in detail and would prefer to discuss terms later. Concentrate instead on performing well at interview and let the employer return to you as the best candidate at a later stage.

Do you really want the job?

Before you accept the offer of employment you need to consider a number of factors. Do you have the details of all the conditions of employment? You need to be aware of the total remuneration package including basic salary, scheduled overtime, shift premium, bonus schemes, pensions, company car or driving allowances, subsidised travel or canteen facilities, crèche facilities, product or service discounts, and other employee benefits. How does the total package compare with your current earnings? The offer should be in excess of your current earnings. You should negotiate for a differential of about 10 per cent over current earnings. You should have worked out your total earnings package in advance of the interview so that you know what you are aiming for. Remember that there are tax advantages in receiving certain benefits rather than a higher basic salary.

As well as the actual salary being offered you should ask about the upper and lower level of the salary range for that job. Ask how many increments there are and how long it takes to progress from one level to the next. Ask if salary review is based on performance appraisal, and if a recognised system is used or an ad-hoc arrangement. Find out what type of pension is on offer, and what contributions if any you would have to pay, and whether or not it is index linked to inflation. Get advice on whether or not it is better than average. Ask about the performance of previous bonus schemes.

If the offer is not better than your current package you would need to have a good reason for accepting it such as better prospects of promotion. Other conditions of work may also have an influence on your decision. These might include flexible working arrangements such as flexi-time, job-sharing, teleworking or working windows.

Be careful not to lose out because of the timing of the move. For instance your current employer may be about to make an annual pay rise settlement, while your new employer may have already settled, and your offer already includes this rise. In this case the new job needs to be compared with the amount you would receive in your existing job with the pay rise added on.

How does the rate of pay compare with competitors? How does the job compare with other jobs for which you are currently applying? If you expect to hear from another employer soon, you might be better to stall the company by asking for more time to consider. Alternatively you could say that you need to finish up some important task with your current employer before leaving.

Do you really understand the implications of taking the job? Is there anything that you should get the employer to clarify before accepting the offer? If the interviewer is going to be your superior in the new job, do you feel comfortable with the idea of working for him? Will you be happy in the new environment? Do you think you can do the work? Will you enjoy the work? Do you think you will fit in with the company culture? Will it be challenging enough? Will it make the most of your talents, skills and experience? Will there be scope for learning? Will the job hold your interest? Will you have responsibility for making key decisions and recommendations? Do the hours of work fit in with family commitments? Can either be altered to suit? Does the job offer a reasonable chance of progression within the firm? Does the job fit into a logical career progression path?

You should write a list of pros and cons for accepting the job rather than remaining in your current position or accepting a position elsewhere. Do not allow the employer to hurry you into making a decision. It is reasonable enough to ask for two days to consider the offer. After all it is just as important to the employer that you are happy enough with your choice to stay in the job.

Discussing the terms

Never, ever, accept the employers opening offer. It will represent the minimum that they would like to pay you. It will almost certainly be less than they are paying other people in similar jobs, and less than they have budgeted for the position. They will expect to have to pay more than the opening offer, and this is why they will offer less than they have budgeted. It is up to you to get them to pay what you are worth.

If you would like the job, but are unhappy with the terms then you should consider negotiating an improvement on terms rather than immediately turning down the job. After all the employer feels that you are the best person for the job, so he should expect to pay the market rate. If the total package is less than what you are currently earning you should point this out. Ask for a meeting to discuss the issue. Be clear about what you want, and justify your demands. Do not be concerned about negotiating for more. Most employers have some latitude in what they are prepared to pay, particularly if they are a small or private company, or if they do not have agreed union rates or rigid pay structures. Most employers will expect you to look after your own interests by seeking a better deal, particularly if you are being hired for a job in which you will have to negotiate on behalf of the company. This also applies for those seeking management positions. So by setting a higher price you are increasing your current and future status within the firm.

Rules of the negotiating game

The first rule of the negotiating game is that anything goes. Do not expect the company to be fair and honest with you. The majority of companies will offer as little as possible. They will mislead you on the amount available. They will tell you that you are overpricing yourself. They will try to put you under pressure. They will threaten to withdraw the offer. They will do anything to get you to sign on the dotted line as soon as possible for as little as possible. In short, if you let them, they will screw you.

This may seem unfair to you, but they have a business to run which involves maximising profits by minimising costs amongst other things. So they will minimise the cost of labour wherever possible.

You must make the interviewer think that you are negotiating from a position of strength. To do this employ the following tactics:

- never sound anxious to get the job, say that you would like the job on the right terms
- concentrate on the savings you can bring to the firm by your professionalism
- never make the opening bid, force the employer to name a reasonable price, then bid him upwards
- remind the interviewer that you both know that you are the best person for the job
- express surprise that the firm would be prepared to spend so much money on an expensive recruitment exercise, only to make a poor offer
- use silence effectively when made the offer
- say that you do not think the firm would expect you to settle for less than the going market rate
- relate the offer to your current package if it is not high enough, but beware that this may be setting a ceiling
- hint at offers from elsewhere

Naming your price

Do not name your price until the interviewer has made an opening offer. Whoever makes the opening offer will be negotiating from a position of weakness. So continually knock the ball back into the employers court by asking them to make an opening offer.

Employers will pay as little as they can get away with, so you need to show the true value of your contribution to the firm. If you do not ask for the correct rate you are unlikely to be offered it. You should make yourself aware of the going market rates for a job. The amount being paid by firms will vary from a lower rate to a higher rate. You should place yourself on the upper part of the scale. Your exact location will depend on your experience. If you have a lot of experience and qualifications you should by looking for about 85%+ of the upper limit. You can always revise your first request downwards if the employer offers less. If the employer accepts your first request immediately you will know that you have under priced yourself. There is little point in asking for more cash. The only saving tactic is to say that you would now like to discuss the benefits package. Then ask for more in terms of bonuses or other privileges.

If the employer makes an opening offer that is too low, the best initial ploy is to let him sweat it out by remaining silent as long as possible. He may well crack and improve the offer without you needing to say anything. If he waits you out say that you feel that the job involves sufficient responsibility and accountability to justify a higher salary. Point out that you will work hard and efficiently and that you intend to make significant savings for the company that will more than cover the cost of your salary. Let the employer know that it is the ‘fair market value’ that you are seeking. This will let him know that you will be a target from his competitors.

If you are getting nowhere on basic salary ask the employer if he can improve on other benefits. If applying for a management position you may be able to get some productivity or efficiency bonuses included in the package. You may be able to convince the employer that this will be a self-financing incentive. Do not be fobbed off by the employer promising to look at the issue after a period of service. Get him to state the level of increase and a definite period, such as five per cent on completion of satisfactory six month probation period. Get the agreement in writing, and have someone from the company sign it. If you don’t the employer will find plenty of reasons for not honouring his promise.

The conditional offer

Occasionally you may be made a conditional offer of employment. You are offered the job on condition of meeting certain terms. This might include the successful outcome of a medical, receipt of satisfactory references, proof of qualifications, work permits, etc. Treat such offers with caution. Do not give in your notice to your current employer until you have received and accepted in writing a firm written offer of employment.

Accepting the offer

Before accepting a job offer make sure you get the complete offer in writing from the company. If you negotiate a verbal offer do not accept immediately. Say that you would like to accept but you would like time to consider the offer and talk it over with your spouse. Ask the employer to put the offer, including the total pay and conditions package, in writing. The written offer may be accompanied by a contract of employment for you to sign and return. The offer should contain the following information:

1. The details of both parties to the agreement.
2. Job location, including department.
3. Job title and type of work.
4. Hours of work., length of week and holiday entitlement.
5. Pay and conditions, including basic pay, overtime bonuses, shift allowances, commissions, productivity bonuses, etc. Details of method and frequency of payment should be given.
6. Relocation allowances if applicable.
7. Any terms relating to incapacity to work, such as sick pay and pension plans.
8. Other benefits such as travel allowances, health cover,retirement plan, company car, etc.
9. The system for promotions and annual rises.
10. Starting date.
11. Induction details.
12. Details of any probation period.
13. Request for you to confirm your acceptance of the offer.
14. Notice required to terminate the contract by both parties.
15. Details of disciplinary and grievance procedures.
16. A job description.

Once you receive the written offer and have taken a day or two to reflect on the total package you should send a brief letter of acceptance to the firm so that they are sure of your commitment. Thank them for the offer, confirm your start date and say that you are looking forward to starting the job. Once you have formally accepted the offer in this manner it is very difficult for the company to withdraw the offer. Sometimes the firm will send you a contract of employment to sign in advance of your starting date. You should sign and return this with your letter of offer. Most firms will get you to sign the contract at induction when all the detailed terms and conditions of the job have been explained.

Just Exactly When Does A Negotiation Start?

While working with one of my sales negotiations students the other day I was asked a great question that I don’t often hear. The student had reported that she was feeling frustrated because she was working on a number of deals and when it came time to negotiate, the actual negotiations seemed to drag on forever. “Isn’t there a better way?” she asked. Turns out that there is…

Start Before You Start

If you want a sales negotiation to go quickly, then you need do everything possible to make the actual negotiation just a formality – work everything out before you sit down at the table. Sound impossible? It’s not.

A negotiation actually starts long before the first negotiation session. Chester Karrass, the godfather of negotiating, believes that it really starts when you first make contact with the other side of the table. What this means is that yes, a negotiation can extend over a very long time; however, that doesn’t mean that the actual process of negotiating needs to be lengthy.

The Power Of The Before Time

All too often, what sales negotiators don’t realize is that every moment of contact with the other side of the table is vitally important. When you are interacting with the other party and the negotiations have not formally started, this is exactly when the most valuable information can be learned.

If you are the one doing the buying in a sales negotiation, then this is the time that you can observe the salesperson on the other side. You make casual inquiries into such critical items as how they price their products, who has already bought the product, how the salespersons year is going, where they rank in their organization, etc.

This pre-negotiation time is just as valuable if you are trying to sell something in a sales negotiation. You can determine if this is the right person that you should be talking with, how much they have to spend as well as who really controls the money.

The Gift Of Gab

One of the most important things that you can use the early encounter time to do is to create a relationship with the other side. Ultimately, during any sales negotiation there will be a certain amount of tension on both sides of the table.

If you’ve been able to use your pre-negotiation contact time to develop a relationship with the other side of the table, then you’ll be able to quickly diffuse any stressful situations that pop up.

What All Of This Means For You

Novice sales negotiators don’t realize that a sales negotiation really starts long before either side sits down at the negotiating table. The process of reaching a deal really starts when the first contact is made.

Using the informal interaction time to explore where the other side of the table is coming from is a great way to use this opportunity. Taking the time to build a relationship with the other side will also pay dividends later on in the process.

Smart sales negotiators use all of the time that they have to move closer to reaching a successful agreement. They know that the time before negotiations start is very valuable and if used correctly, then they can make the outcome of the negotiations a foregone conclusion…

Secret Admirer? Let the Secret Out With These Fantastic Presents!

Valentine’s Day can leave some people feeling more than a little apprehensive. They may worry that they will not receive any Valentine’s Day cards at all, but it is always a lovely surprise to receive more of them than expected. The fact that they are anonymous can add to the excitement as we try to remember if we can recognise the handwriting, but more often than not the senders of these Valentine’s cards remain a mystery, which really defeats the object of sending them in the first place. Having a secret admirer is such a boost to your confidence; imagine how thrilling it is to find out exactly who is holding us close to their heart.

Of course it is even more exciting to receive Valentines Day presents as well. This gesture shows that the sender really does mean business if they have gone to the trouble of finding lovely Valentines Day presents for you, especially if they are secret admirers who probably do not know you well enough to be sure what kind of gifts you would really like to receive.

Whether your secret admirer wants you to find out who he or she is or whether they wish to keep it a secret, Valentines Day presents are a great way of showing they care. A lovely Valentine’s Day gift will be something that gets the message across to you loud and clear that they adore you. It may be from your spouse, partner, girlfriend or boyfriend or it could even be from someone who has noticed you across a crowded room but you do not even know they exist – yet. So when you open your Valentines Day presents on the day, remember the care and thought behind it before you phone all your friends up looking for clues as to who your secret admirer may be.

What could be better than to receive a delicious bottle of bubbly on Valentines Day, especially one that is personalised with a special label just for you, with a lovely heart-warming message? It may say ‘I love you’ or even ‘guess who’, but either way you can pour yourself a glass of champers while you consider who your admirer might be. If you are planning to send out lots of Valentines Day cards this year, the best cards are those which are handmade and the Valentine Kit is just what you need to make some lovely designs. The kit contains stencils, stickers, patterned paper, card and envelopes as well as an instruction leaflet that will help you to get started.

If you are planning a romantic dinner at home for the two of you, you will need the Love at First Sight Valentines Day presents with holographic glasses and a romantic candle. As you gaze lovingly into your true love’s eyes, a halo of hearts will appear around his or her head.

Humorous Valentines Day presents such as this are real ice breakers when the atmosphere may be a little tense and is sure to melt the ice and have you both giggling in each other’s arms in no time. For those of you who are confident that the evening is bound to be a definite success, Chocolate Body Paint is for all lovers looking for a little extra sensual treat. Equipped with soft brush, Valentines Day presents like this are definitely not for shy couples. If your Valentines Day date doesn’t work out, you have always got a big tube of chocolate to consume, even if you are on your own.

If you can remember all those teenage parties you used to go to, eagerly looking for the love of your life, you are bound to remember playing spin the bottle. The Deluxe Spin the Bottle is one of those Valentines Day presents that screams for a party with a few very good friends and with different strategies such as Strip and Deluxe Kiss, the party will certainly be one to remember. You could, of course, keep it for just the two of you, as this will be so much more fun. If you want to remain anonymous, send your love a Two Red Hearts Mini Token, a polished glass token featuring two cute hearts that makes a beautiful and stylish keepsake.

Do you love someone enough to give them your last Rolo? Now is your chance to do it in style with a sterling silver Rolo in its own presentation box. Add your own personal message and you know that you will come up trumps with your sweetheart on the day. You do not have to stay a secret admirer for long with these Valentines Day presents.