Second in a Series:
Missed Part I? Read it at: bit.ly/2YC44sF
Congratulations! You got the offer! The company has determined you are their number one candidate and tendered you an offer of employment. Now it’s time to negotiate for your total compensation package. Most veterans have never negotiated a job offer before, and that can feel intimidating. Consider these three steps to guide your way through to a successful salary negotiation.
Step 1: Know Your Worth
First, you must understand your value in the labor market and be able to determine what you are worth as a candidate. You will need to start by researching occupational salary ranges through the Department of Labor’s O*Net OnLine and Bureau of Labor Statistics’ websites and then use LinkedIn and Glassdoor to review company-specific information and likely salary ranges. I outlined this process in the July 2019 edition of G.I. Jobs in my article “Understanding the Labor Market and Knowing Your Worth.”
Step 2: Meet (and exceed) the Company’s Needs
Next, you need to assess how your qualifications meet or exceed the company’s requirements. Using a T-chart (see example above) is the easiest way to quickly align your qualifications with the company’s needs. Figure out how you meet or exceed the position requirements. Are you qualified, well-qualified, or highly qualified? During your salary research (step 1) you should have determined a salary range for the position. Sometimes, during the interview process the company will provide a salary range for the position. Once you know the range, you can determine your place within that range.
With candidate qualifications aligned next to company needs (as shown on chart above), it’s easy to see that the candidate meets all the requirements, and even exceeds some. She has an MBA, is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt and is a military veteran with proven leadership and logistics experience in a multinational environment. Based on these facts, the candidate is worth a salary in the “highly qualified” range.
Step 3: Be Prepared and Be Persuasive
Remember, words matter. Salary negotiation has nothing to do with what you need or what you want; it is only about what you are worth in the labor market and what you bring to the position that is of value to the company. According to a study by CareerBuilder, nearly half of all U.S. workers accept the first offer they receive; however, salary negotiation is a normal part of the employment process. If you’ve followed the first two steps as I outlined above, you have built a good case for why you may be worth more than the initial salary offer. Now it’s time to prepare to be persuasive. Before you make the phone call to negotiate your total compensation package, practice your pitch.
First and foremost, make it clear that you are excited about the job offer and that you want to be part of the team. Your goal during the salary negotiation is to bridge the gap between what you are worth (based on the research) and what the company has offered.
You need to communicate your counteroffer clearly and concisely. Present your case logically and make sure that any claims you make can be verified. Eliminate the following phrases from your pitch: “I think,” “I believe,” “I need” and “um, uh, er” or any other filler words. Instead, use powerful, persuasive phrases that demonstrate you have done your research and are prepared for this conversation. Phrases such as “the labor market research indicates,” and “based on my research” are powerful and professional ways to convey your value in the market. The phrase “similarly situated employees” is a great way to discuss the salary range of other employees with your experience and qualifications at that company.
And finally, the person you are speaking with may not have the final decision-making authority. If you are close to reaching an agreement, clearly communicate what you need to get to a “yes.” I really like the phrase, “If you can get [X], I’m on board!” For example, if they cannot increase the annual salary but are able to offer a signing bonus say, “If you can offer a $2,000 signing bonus, I’m on board!”
Finally, remember to say “thank you.”
Currently, the labor market is strong, unemployment is low, and companies must look harder for great employees. If you’ve been offered the job the company has already decided that you are their number one choice for the position. The result of the salary negotiation should be a “win/win.”
About the Author:
Jennifer Farrell is a Certified Workforce Development Professional (CWDP) and a Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) who has assisted thousands of service members and military spouses through the career transition process. She works as a Master Trainer and Onboarding Lead at GBX Consultants, Inc.
Check out this story and much more for FREE in the digital September 2019 issue of G.I. Jobs magazine!