Salary Negotiation Best Saved
for Closing Stage ofJob Search
DOUG DIBBERT ' 70, president
LISA BEERS, accountant
BRENT CLARK ' 84, chief financial officer
SUNANDA DILLON, data entry clerk
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DIANE PADGETT ' 91, membership coordinator
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LAURA CARTNER ' 93, coordinator of reunions
LINDA CONKLIN, coordinator of career services
JENNIE HEMINGWAY, assist. coordinator of clubs
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TANEA PETTIS ' 95, assist. coord. ofstudent programs
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LINDA RAINEY ' 95 (MA), coordinator of clubs
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PUB LI CA TI 0NS
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RECORDS AND INfORMATION SYSTEMS
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MARTHA MILLS ' 80, records assistant
JOAN PENDERGRAPH, asst. director ofalumni records
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May / jun e 1999
Salary negotiation is perhaps the most mismanaged aspect of the job-search process. You should do everything
possible to delay discussing salary until you have a
firm job offer. This advice may seem difficult
to follow because most employers ask you to
send your salary requirements or salary history
as a condition ofapplying for a job.
Don't do it-even if the ad states that candidates who fail to provide salary information
won't be considered. Research shows that if
your qualifications are a good match for the
job, you won't be rejected because you did not
supply your salary history.
So how do you handle the salary question?
First, acknowledge the request. You don't want
to ignore it and have the employer think that
you are uncooperative or difficult. Suggest that
you would be glad to discuss salary in a personal
Another tactic is to say that salary is negotiable, based on the scope and responsibilities
of the job or on industry standards. Another
option is to give a salary range, such as
$35,000 to $45,000 for a $40,000-a-yearjob,
which still gives you room to negotiate.
Your goal in the job-search process is to be
interviewed for as many positions as possible.
Disclosing your salary requirements or salary
history early in the game could result in your
being eliminated from consideration.
Employers often use salary as a way to
screen candidates out of the interview process.
If your salary is perceived to be too high, they
may feel they can't afford you and will not
want to waste time interviewing you.
Salary history also is used to gauge your
value. Ifyour salary is too low, employers may
feel that you are not qualified or not experi-
enced enough, and you will be screened out.
Discussing salary too early also can keep
you from getting the best possible offer. Before
giving your salary requirements, you need to
know about the job-its scope and responsi-
bilities, where the job is located, amount of
travel, the challenges you will face and the
opportunities for advancement.
Ifyou were a builder and a client asked
what it would cost to build a house, how
would you respond? You would need to know
mOre about the project-the size ofthe house,
how many rooms, where it was to be built,
what features the client wanted. The same rea-
soning holds for salary negotiation.
In addition to learning about the job you
should determine your fair-market value. The
Internet can help; check out www.jobsmart.org
with LINDA C ONKLIN
for a listing of 120 online salary surveys.
You can check job postings on the Internet
to get an idea ofindustry standards. Reference
books such as the American Salaries and VVczges
Annual Survey and the Occupational Outlook
Handbook also can provide valuable informa-
tion. Or you can talk to people doing similar
jobs and ask what the salary range is for the
position in their company. Be prepared to share
your salary information with them.
The exception to the "do-not-tell" rule is
when you are working with a search firm.
Search firms, or recruiters, work for employers
to find qualified employees to fill job open-
ings. The recruiter has a list of the employer's
requirements that must be met.
The more closely you match these require-
ments, the more likely you will be considered
for the position. It is best that the recruiter
know as much about you as possible, includ-
ing salary requirements, to determine whether
you are a good match.
Before you start negotiating, know what
you need and what you want. What you need
is the borrom line-the minimum salary you
would accept and still be able to live with-
and support-yourself. What you want
includes the things that are important to your
job satisfaction. Your compensation package
involves more than just salary- insurance,
vacation, retirement plans and moving
expenses can be part of the negotiation
Ifyou feel the salary is low, try some cre-
ativity rather than compromise. Compromise
means both parties give up something; creativity
ensures that both parties are happy with the
outcome. Negotiate for more vacation, a six-
month salary review, a sign-on bonus, or
tuition reimbursement. Determine what is
important to you and work for a win-win
Linda Conklin is the GAA~ coordinator ofalumni
career services. For more iriformation on career-related
issues, contact her at (919) 962-3749 or bye-mail