Get more money on your next job

1. We have a lot of people at entry level on our site who may not know the way salary and benefit negotiations operate. Can you give us an overview?

Negotiations are a give and take which in the best case results in a better deal for everyone. When it comes to employment negotiating it is about getting the best package possible while building a good relationship with your future employer. There are lots of elements to consider beside just salary. There are bonus opportunities, equity (stock), benefits, title, job duties, training and development opportunities, potential for advancement, who you will be working for and with etc. Your goal is to get the best possible total package.

2. Negotiation needs negotiation skills, and confidence. Your website says people can just join your Business Forum, and you'll advise?

I answer general questions about the process, offer tips on negotiating but each negotiation is unique and if you need advice on how to negotiate your specific package you will need to retain a professional adviser to get specific advice.

3. How do you create a position of strength for your negotiations?

Preparation is critical. Knowing your market worth is important. Competition will also allow you to maximize your bargaining leverage because we all want what other people want. So if you are talking to other prospective employers, that will increase your ability to negotiate a good package. But since employers always want to hire someone who really wants to work for them, reassure your first choice employer that if the package is right you really want to work there.

4. How do you approach an employer on a value-for-value basis?

First get them to want to hire you before you ever talk about the package. (i.e. 'It's too early to discuss compensation. If I am the right person for the job and this is the right place for me I am sure we will work that out. Let's talk about what I'll be doing.') Focus on what your prospective boss is working on-- what his or her top priorities are and how you can help achieve them. Once they decide you are the right person for the job, negotiating becomes much easier. Specific negotiating techniques are detailed in the book.

5. What's the best way to deal with an offer that lowers or undercuts your position, or risks job security?

Tell them how much you really want the job and how you can help them achieve their goals but that you are a little disappointed with the offer. Describe your concerns and ask them if they can do any better. If they can't sometimes it is best to say no to the offer and tell them that if something else comes up in the future closer to what you are looking for that you would be interested in talking.

6. When do you make concessions, and how do you value them?

Make concessions when it is clear that the employer can't meet your requests but seek something else in return. If what you want is of critical importance to you, you may have to consider whether you really want to accept the position.

7. Should you be flexible, when negotiating, or should you stick to an objective approach?

Be as flexible as possible. Remember the total package is what is important. However, there may be certain things that are critically important to you. While those 'must haves' should be as few as possible and will differ from individual to individual, if something is critical to you, then you need to let the employer know. If they can't satisfy that interest in some way, you should pass on the offer.

8. Under what conditions do you reject an offer?

When the job offer doesn't meet some critical need that you have as discussed above or you have other better opportunities available to you.

9. What are the dangers in negotiations?

The biggest danger is to focus solely on salary. While money is important, training and development opportunities, the type of work you will be doing, potential for advancement, who you will be working for, and with, may be even more important to your long term career success. Choose jobs that allow you to learn and grow. Money will follow or you can take those new skills to a different employer who will pay your appropriately for them.

10. Getting value out of a job is a dream for some people, stuck in Stone Age jobs with fixed wages. How do they escape?

Learn new skills and take on new responsibilities. Go back to school and/or attend profession development programs. Stay current with technology. Become active in industry and professional organizations. Be willing to take thoughtful risks and don't be afraid of change. We limit ourselves by what we have done in the past and what we think we can do. In life, there are no limits except those that we place on ourselves.