Probably my least favorite part of being a recruiter is pay negotiations. I cringe every time they come up for many reasons. Reasons like when an applicant puts pay negotiable, gives me a number in the interview and we meet or exceed that number in our offer, but suddenly we need to consider paying more than that. I also cringe because I don’t have a lot of say in the negotiations and most candidates don’t handle pay negotiations gracefully. Because someone told you to negotiate I thought I’d list some things for you to consider when you are about to negotiate pay (from a little ol’ corporate recruiters perspective).
- Don’t wait two weeks to tell me what your counter offer is. You can tell me what you want it to be sooner rather than later. Having that conversation with me when you know what you want helps keep everyone on the same page and keeps the company from waiting around on you and losing another candidate. This may seem ideal for you as the candidate, but I can tell you, hiring managers don’t forget when you put them in a corner like that, whether you know about it or not.
- Know why you are asking for what you are asking for. Another week of vacation? Why? Because you have been earning that many weeks at your current job? Cool. Another 25k? Why? Just because you googled the going rate and that’s what you came up with? Not cool. A lot of companies have someone on staff dedicated to researching going rates for your education and experience level. They will typically take that information and compare it to their contract award or budget and where that compares with other employees already with the company with similar skills and background. There is a lot of work that goes into creating in offer, in most cases, so know why you think you are worth those additional dollars.
- Do not under any circumstances tell me you are just asking because someone told you never accept the first offer. I’m not trying to sell you a car, we are talking about a potential career. I have business to conduct. My hiring managers have business to conduct. Don’t say “it never hurts to ask.” It does hurt to ask if you are doing it for no reason. You could be viewed as cocky or ignorant depending on what kind of number you try to counter with.
- Also don’t tell me you know Bradley Justin that works for our company and you know he makes 88,000/yr so you would like the same amount just because. I will not talk about other employees pay rates with you, I just won’t.
- And don’t tell me you will save pay discussions for the “important people.” I’ll hope you meant hiring manager or higher and try not to take offense, but I won’t forget what you said and I will always have that in the back of my mind when you need something from me or my department in the future. I will always kill you with kindness and answer your questions because I’m really HR and that’s what I’m here for, but I won’t forget how rude you were from the beginning.
Just a few helpful tips from my desk to yours! I know you’re going to negotiate so by all means, negotiate the right way!
Yall may remember that my little brother graduated High School this year (and my little sister is graduating next year). With back to back graduations and my husbands siblings graduating a couple of years behind mine there has been a lot of chit-chat about grade point average lately. I also do a good amount of college recruiting for a technical company and we basically only consider students with a 3.5 or above, so we are always talking about GPA at work as well.
Ten years ago when I went to college no one told us to have a good GPA, they just told us to get our degree (I guess I didn’t even listen to those instructions). You may think that sounds silly and having a great GPA should be a given, but I think it should be emphasized to students that it’s expected. I cannot begin to count the students I’ve had to talk to at career fairs with less than a 3.0 GPA that seem totally shocked that it is a dis-qualifier (after all you don’t have any work experience, how else am I supposed to gauge what you are capable of?). Some of our kids must be getting the wrong message for this to still be an issue!
At annual conference (#SHRM14) we were so graced with the presence of Tom Friedman (my least favorite general session speaker) and he harped on the idea that average is disappearing. Hopefully he cleared this up during the details, but I kept losing focus. First, it’s mathematically impossible for average to disappear. Average will always exist. Second, we will always be redefining average. Getting a degree (or some technical certification, etc.) used to be encouraged, now it’s required. It’s a tool to prepare you to do a job/enter a career. It is not a tool to set you apart from other applicants anymore, they have a degree too. This doesn’t mean average is disappearing it means expectations are changing. Now to set yourself apart you must have a great GPA along with some other accomplishments. I actually interviewed a candidate this week that is looking for at least 14k more than what he makes now because he believes “his degree should be worth that.” No. It’s not just the degree, it’s the grades, it’s the previous experience and so on. It really irked me that he thought his degree alone was a sufficient explanation.
Maybe I’m too hard on folks.
My 1st job (that you read about here) didn’t suck that bad, but it kind of sucked. I had to work with my arch nemesis for starters… on a team…ick. Your first job should teach you teamwork. Teamwork with people you don’t want to be on a team with. Your 1st job should suck because you should work for people who piss you off, but it’s your 1st job so you can’t afford to quit. Your 1st job should teach you patience. Your 1st job should suck because you should have to work harder than you thought you would ever have to. Your 1st job should teach you appreciation. Your 1st job should suck because your parents will get a call at 12:01 when you’re not there yet, ya know because you were scheduled to be there at 12:00. Your 1st job should teach you to be punctual. Your 1st job should suck because you don’t understand the decisions the boss man makes, but you’re not in a place to speak up. Your 1st job should teach you trust.
I believe your first job should suck. You have to work some sucky jobs to appreciate a good job. And you can learn a lot from crappy jobs to apply to good jobs! I know this for a fact! If you haven’t had a crappy job, you’re really missing out on some good lessons and probably not appreciating your good job as much as you could. So go out there and get you a crappy job and learn as much as you can … and then… move on.