| We Americans are changing
jobs an average of ten times during our working lifetimes. Of course,
we change for all kinds of reasons. But we don't always get into the
highest possible salary range of the organizations we join. That's
not going to happen to you, though. Follow these methods, and you'll
dramatically increase your chances of being at the upper limits.
When changing organizations, the first rule to remember is never,
never, never tell the interviewer or compensation negotiator how much
you've been making! If you do, one of two things will happen, and
they're both bad. You'll either overprice yourself and the interview/negotiation
will be over, or you'll underprice yourself and you'll leave money
on the table. That's dumb!
Instead, when the subject of money comes up - how much you're making,
or how much you think you're worth - make it sound too complicated
for a quick answer. Say," well at Good Company, we enjoy(ed)
a generous, but complicated financial package (key words are complicated
package). It consisted of salary, incentives, bonuses, medical/dental/vision
benefits, free parking (or transportation), paid continuing education,
day care for the kids (and/or whatever other benefits you enjoyed).
May I suggest that rather than spend a half-hour talking about the
nuances of that package, we might discuss what problems you have,
and how I can help you solve them." Usually, the interviewer/negotiator
will not want to spend much time talking about "old news"
(your former package), and will break down and tell you the salary
range. Then, you must ask about the benefits/incentive/bonus package
This puts you in the negotiation driver's seat!
Remember that negotiation is like a pizza - there are many pieces/slices
to it - and salary is only one. All the benefits in your current or
former compensation package also are colored green (they're worth
money), and if you only talk about salary, you'll be missing the rest
of the pizza (the package).
Here's another problem with discussing only salary. If your current
or former organization has low salaries and high benefits/incentives/bonuses,
but the organization you're interviewing has high salaries and low
benefits/bonuses/incentives - and you only discuss salary - you'll
look under qualified. On the other hand, if the situation is reversed,
you'll look over qualified.
The next key to compensation negotiation is a discussion of your past
accomplishments. It's absolutely mandatory that you're articulate
about them. Now, don't confuse accomplishments with duties and responsibilities.
"Responsible for," is not the same as, "increased revenues
," or, "decreased cost by
," or, reduced
," or developed a system that
" Of course,
you must know the quantified numbers involved to prove the extent
and value of your accomplishments.
Next, try to "overlay" your accomplishments onto problems,
issues, or situations that exist in the new organization. Hopefully,
you will have done some homework about the company, and will have
discovered some of this information. If not, probe the interviewer/negotiator
about these, and then do your "overlays." Showing that you've
previously solved some of the same problems existing in this new organization
may just make their mouths water - which ups the ante for you!
Now, assuming you haven't told them what you are or were making, and
you've done a great job with your "overlays," you'll now
be playing the ratchet-up game. Well," you ask," what's
Let's say you're going to a movie at the mall on a Saturday night.
On the way to the theater, you pass a shoe store and you see a pair
of shoes for which you've been looking for six months. "Look
at that leather, look at those soles, look at the styling!" The
problem is, there's no price tag on the shoes, so you don't know what
Well, you go to the film, and despite the fact that it's a shoot-'em-up
with Pacino, Redford and Newman, you're paying no attention. You're
thinking about those shoes, how they'll look on your feet, how everyone
will envy you.
On the way to the car, you stop again and crave those shoes. But remember,
you don't know what they cost. That night you dream about them and
how they'll look and feel on your feet. The next morning, you race
back to the store and pantingly ask the salesperson the cost.
I guarantee, the price will be substantially lower than you'd expected.
Why? Because the shoes met your needs, but you didn't know their price.
Thus, in your mind, their value was ratcheted-up far beyond the actual
So it is with compensation negotiating. Never let the other side know
what you were making, or what you think you're worth. Instead, increase
your value by showing how you can solve their problems, or resolve
their issues. This way, you'll be ratcheting-up to more money.