Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Salary Negotiations and Self Confidence

I recently learned the importance of negotiation, especially when it comes to salary. When I received a job offer letter from a small company offering a part-time position that will become full-time after a month, it looked good to me at first. Then, my eyes scanned down to the hourly rate listed, and I knew I had to start negotiating. While I understand that most companies of all sizes have had to downsize due to the lingering consequences of the recession, I knew immediately that I could not accept the offer as is.

From all that I have read and know from firsthand knowledge about salary negotiations, I am aware that many job seekers won't even attempt to start the process, which should happen right after an offer is made by a potential employer. Sometimes those who have been looking for employment for an extended period of time may be prone to jump on the first opportunity to come their way. I have different circumstances; I work as a consultant for several companies, and while I am open to a full-time position, it has to be something that will justify me giving up (or cutting down) on my other work projects. The position I was recently offered did not convince me to make any changes, because they are only willing to go up $1 an hour, and they are not offering any benefits.

My advice to anyone in this situation is to always see if there is any "wiggle room" in a job offer. If an increase in salary is not possible or not as high as you would like it to be, then a prospective employer may be open to other options, such as offering public transportation reimbursement, parking fees or a health insurance plan with varying levels of coverage. When I was negotiating my salary, I calculated how much my daily travel expenses to and from the location would be, and the result is one of the reasons why I decided not to accept the position.

I knew that if I accepted their terms with no hesitations, I would not be able to respect myself. I also think my would-be employer would have continued to undervalue me, knowing that I am willing to work for so little from the very beginning. Ultimately, I walked away from negotiations with my head held high, knowing that I made the right decision. Thankfully, I handled myself well enough that they are considering me for a per diem position, which I can definitely live with.

Do you have any salary negotiation stories to share?

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