1. Know what you’re worth. If you’ve been at
that former job for a while, despite what that naysayer inside you might
insist, the chances are you are underpaid.
You may find out that with those skills you picked up on the job (along with
perhaps more formal in-house or classroom training), your title,
responsibilities and pay
can be ratcheted up a bracket or two. Find out what your new title would
command in the market place by checking professional associations, journals,
websites, and periodicals. Don’t be afraid to contact a professional pay
consultant if you’re still unsure. Their day-to-day experience in the market
place can help speed up the process along with helping you brush up on your
negotiation skills. Thirty minutes with one of these experts should be all
you need to learn whether their cost to help boost your position is worth
it; as professionals, they don’t want to waste their time or your money any
more than you do.
2. Preparation, preparation, preparation.
Interview preparation, whether on your own or with a coach, is an absolute
must. To command the higher pay that comes with being their first choice for
the position, you need to be
their first choice; nothing will get you there quicker than stellar
performance in that second or third interview. Learn all you can about the
organization and the hiring manager as well as how they work. That knowledge
will pay big dividends when convincing interviewers you have what it takes
to handle the job. You’ll also learn things like
never disclose your former or current rate
of pay or even what you want to make. Reiterate that your first desire is to
know as much as you can about the job
and whether you’re the best fit; the time to talk money is always
after you have an offer, never before.
People are always surprised to learn that they left thousands of dollars on
the table when they let slip current or former pay rates in an interview but
it’s almost always the case. If the interviewer is insistent, stick with a
range and remind them, politely of course, that unless you are actually
the job, money talk is a complete waste of time, yours and theirs.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and
that extends beyond the cash portion of your compensation package to any and all
the benefits as well. Didn’t get exactly what you were hoping for in the
paycheck? You can easily make that up with perks like more paid vacation, an
expense account and/or acompany car. How about if the
company and not you foots the bill for your next laptop or cell phone or for
value-added (but always expensive) education. It’s all money in your pocket and
to them an expense line and a tax write-off to keep an important employee happy.
Candidates are always surprised to find out that the extras that sealed the deal
were there for them but they had to ask.
Be careful not to rely too heavily on non-cash items, though; remember,
healthcare benefits no matter how good can’t pay those other bills and you can’t
pay the rent or make your mortgage payment in stock options.