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Tips for Negotiating Your Starting Salary

20 February 2018

Barbara read I Am A Recruiter And Here Are My Negotiating Tips for Women on Forbes.com and was reminded when something mattered more than money.

Tags: barbara read, careers, negotiating, women and leadership

Marissa Peretz believes women are more willing to negotiate for others than they are for themselves, but she explains how to do it and advises women to remember men are always doing it. That’s part of the reason their salaries are higher. I spent many years helping physicians get ready to negotiate administrative job offers. Regardless of your gender, I think this article provides helpful tips on how to get the salary and benefits you want.

Peretz says step one is to figure out what is nonnegotiable and “be prepared for the no and be ready to walk away.” When I took what turned out to be the longest job of my career, I said, “No,” to the first offer. It wasn’t about the money. I was asked to work out of my home office but once a week drive 100 miles to Tampa, FL, to spend two days in the main office. I had been making that trip every week for three years working on PhD in English, and I didn’t want to do it anymore, so after thinking about it for 24 hours I said so. The CEO said, “Is that all that is getting in the way of us cutting a deal?”

I said, “It is so big, I can’t think about anything else.” He said, “Go back and think some more and make me an offer.” Two days later I said, “I could come every other week.” I worked for him for 20 years.

As it begins to look possible that you might be given an offer, have a salary in mind, but if at all possible, let the employer bring up money first. However, if you are working with outside recruiters, tell them what you want because it’s their job to try to get both sides close to the same number.

If you get an offer that is exactly what you asked for, accept it. If you worry about what you left on the table and try asking for more, you will damage the relationship before you start to work. If the offer is too low, here's how Peretz recommends you respond, “I really want to join this organization. We are just a little bit off from what I was hoping for. Do you have flexibility?” But don’t do that unless you actually want the job. I’ve known some people who played that cat-and-mouse game just to see what they could get and for the interview practice when they knew they didn’t want the job. That kind of behavior can travel through the industry and hurt you in the long run.

Peretz starts her article with the sentence,”I negotiate for a living and it brings out the ugly in people.” I believe her tips can help you dread negotiating less, be more effective, and get better results. If negotiating is hard for you, pretend you are doing it for someone else, and write out what you would say, incorporating her tips. Then use what you’ve written to get the best deal you can while not damaging the relationships with the people you might one day work with and for.


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