What Most Employers Don’t Want You to Know When They Talk Salary

When hiring managers describe a salary and benefits package to you, they have one main objective in mind: To get the best possible talent for the least possible expense. They’re not going to volunteer the fact that they can go higher in salary or negotiate concessions in your benefits package. So, if you’re in the midst of a job change and salary negotiation, here are some important things to keep in mind: Know How Much You’re Worth: Well-managed companies conduct regular labor market assessments to determine if their salaries are competitive. They use this information to adjust their established pay ranges for each position. Because payroll is one of the biggest expenses of running a business, they often offer you the lowest salary possible and hope to keep you satisfied.

What they want you to know: That their philosophy is to pay competitively. They want you to feel that your skills and abilities are valued so you will stay and produce good work.

What they don’t want you to know: How your own salary compares with the established pay range. Don’t assume it’s within the range. Generally, if a hiring manager thinks you will be satisfied with a salary below the pay range, he or she will extend the initial offer below that spread. Remember, the employer’s first offer is the beginning of your negotiation discussion, not the end of it.

Consult these Web sites for more information on salaries and ranges:


Always ask for more than the initial offer, even if it’s only $2,000 or $3,000 more. Why? Simply because you won’t get more without asking. Even if you get a “No” it’s not a complete loss. You have communicated that you highly value yourself and the contributions you offer the company. This will send the company the signal to value you as well.

Think Beyond Salary: Find out if the company has a bonus or commission plan. Every company handles these plans differently, if they have a plan at all. If there is a high demand for your profession, you should ask for a signing bonus.

Most companies include merit increases as part of their performance review system. Find out what the review process is, how performance is measured and rewarded, and what percentage increase you could expect. Can you get reviewed earlier for a mid-year increase if your initial salary isn’t as high as you’d like?

Benefits Are Like Money In Your Pocket: Consider benefits carefully and in detail as you evaluate the entire compensation package. You can expect to get as much as another third of the value of your salary provided in benefits.

There are the basics, such as health insurance, sick leave, and vacation. Often there are additional perks, such as child care and 401k plans with matching contributions. You might be able to negotiate other benefits that aren’t named, such as paid tuition, company car, health club membership, or additional time off.

Make The Negotiation Work For You: Negotiating your total compensation requires that you be prepared with information and in mindset. Know your worth. Know what you want. Don’t be shy or appear desperate. Likewise, don’t worry about appearing greedy. Focus on appearing and being confident. Keep reminding yourself that you can and will perform for the company. Lastly, get the agreement in writing.

Finding and getting a new job can be an exciting new chapter in your career. Follow these tips to negotiate the salary you deserve and you’ll do just fine!

Copyright (c) 2007 Mary Foley