Professionals Aim to Negotiate Salaries

Seven pitfalls to avoid when talking about compensation

PRESS RELEASE

MENLO PARK, CA, April 28, 2011 -- Talking about compensation with a potential employer can be a nerve-racking experience, especially in a tight job market. But most of today's professionals aren't shy about asking companies to show them the money, a new Robert Half International survey suggests. Eight in 10 (81 percent) workers interviewed said they're comfortable negotiating a higher salary or better benefits, with 44 percent indicating they are very comfortable.

The survey was developed by Robert Half International, the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with 437 workers 18 years of age or older and employed in an office environment.

Workers were asked, "How comfortable would you be negotiating for a higher salary or better benefits with an employer who has offered you a job?" Their responses:

 

Very comfortable

44%

 

 

Somewhat comfortable

37%

 

 

Not at all comfortable

17%

 

 

Don't know/no answer

2%

 

 

 

100%

 

"As the job market improves, professionals have more negotiating power," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International and author of Job HuntingFor Dummies®, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "But, to keep compensation discussions headed toward a positive outcome, it's important for job seekers to understand just how much leverage they have. Researching prevailing salaries in their field can help professionals make more informed decisions."

Messmer added, "Salary is just one part of the overall compensation package. If a company cannot offer the desired base pay, job applicants should consider asking for extra benefits or perks, such as additional vacation time, a sign-on bonus or flexible scheduling."

Robert Half identifies the top seven mistakes professionals make when negotiating salary:

  1. Being afraid to ask. Some job seekers fear asking for a better offer because they think it could damage their relationship with the new employer. Remember: It never hurts to ask, and you have your greatest leverage when you receive the job offer.
  2. Failing to do your homework. Don't ask for a specific salary simply because it sounds good. Always conduct research to determine your market value by reviewing sources such as the annual Salary Guides from Robert Half and talking to colleagues and recruiters for their insights.
  3. Focusing only on salary. Consider the benefits package in addition to compensation. If higher base pay isn't available, perhaps the employer could offer a signing bonus or early salary review.
  4. Tipping your hand. If you're desperate to leave your current job, keep it to yourself. The conversation should remain focused on the position for which you are applying.
  5. Thinking you can't say 'no.' Some people by nature always want to be accommodating, but being able to say 'no' is critical when negotiating. If an offer is less than you think it should be, point it out politely then counter with your desired salary. If the employer can't meet this request, you will need to decide whether or not you can accept the lower pay. It will depend on your need for immediate employment, as well as how excited you are about this particular opportunity.
  6. Failing to get it in writing. Once you've agreed on terms, ask the employer to draw up a letter that outlines the specifics of the offer. This will help you avoid any misunderstandings before you start the job.
  7. Forgetting your manners. Regardless of how the negotiations turn out, be professional and courteous. You don't want to burn any bridges.

About Robert Half International Robert Half International was founded in 1948 and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Its financial staffing divisions include Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources, for temporary, full-time and senior-level project professionals, respectively.  

 

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