Money, money, money! Your friends and family think you are priceless, but how much does a Recruiting Director think you are worth?
Before you talk salary, you need to understand the perspective of the recruiting director and the company. They would like to pay you the least amount of money that they can. On the other hand, you would like to make the most money that you can. That’s why it’s a negotiation!
It’s perfectly acceptable to politely and professionally ask if there is a way to negotiate your job offer – not just your salary. You need to consider more than just your salary when looking at a job offer. In fact, you are more likely to find room for negotiating in some of the benefits beyond salary – things like vacation time, signing bonus, or tuition reimbursement. Especially for your first job, you need to have a reason to negotiate. For corporations and big businesses, most entry-level salaries are non-negotiable. Every single new hire gets the same starting salary.
That being said, if you think the offer is below standard, you can request a more competitive salary. Like everything in the job search, preparation is key. Before you go into an interview, make sure you’ve done some homework about salary. You want to have research and data to support your request.
Know What You’re Worth
If you do your homework, it’s so much easier to build a compelling case. Look at Web sites like Monster, HotJobs, and Salary.com to see what entry-level employees in your industry typically earn. If you realize that an Assistant Account Executive in Chicago typically makes between $32,000 – $35,000 and you’re only at $30,000 – it’s much easier to make your case. Similarly, if you are on the high side, or above the range, it will be more difficult. Of course, it is also easier to negotiate if you have an offer from another company.
Here are some negotiating scenarios:
1. “Based on my research, I’ve discovered that the salary range for entry-level accountants in Dallas is $35,000 – $45,000. Since my offer is for $32,000, I was hoping to make a salary within the normal range for Dallas.”
2. “In order to accept this job, I will have to move from Baton Rouge to Denver, and I was wondering if your company offers any type of relocation allowance.”
3. “I would absolutely love to accept your offer, and your company is my first choice, but I do have another offer that pays $3,000 more. If you would be able to match that salary, I would accept your offer right now.”
These are all perfectly legitimate ways to negotiate, but you may be met with a resounding “No!” If you receive a no, then absolutely stop the negotiating there.
The bottom line is that you should think about your first job as an investment in your career. Yes, you want to make good money. Yes, you want to have great benefits. But ultimately, you want to be happy, and you want to learn and grow. If that means you lose out on an extra $83 a paycheck – so be it!
Once you have worked for a company for six months to a year and established yourself as a valuable contributor, it is much easier to ask for a raise or for a promotion.
Brad Karsh is President and Courtney Pike is Director of Communications at JobBound (http://www.jobbound.com), a company dedicated to helping job seekers with resume writing, interviewing, career coaching and landing that dream job. JobBound has been featured on CNN, The Dr. Phil Show and CNBC and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Fortune, The Chicago Tribune and many others. Author of Confessions of a Recruiting Director: The Insider’s Guide to Landing Your First Job (Prentice Hall Press), Brad is considered one of the nation’s leading expert on the job search.