Interview Preparation Tips (Part 1 of 20)

Examrace Placement Series prepares you for the toughest placement exams to top companies.

Suggested tips for negotiating a salary

Know the salary you can reasonably accept and expect for the type of position you seek in comparison with your experience, education, and the industry wage standards.

Try and find out the salary range for the position before the interview. Contacting the interviewer's secretary, the personnel office, or a networking contact that works in the company may be helpful.

It is not usually recommended to accept an offer on the spot. Express your appreciation and strong interest in the job. Request at least 24 hours to consider it, even when saying “Yes.” Ask any questions you need clarified.

Assess the job offer in terms of your needs, benefits, and long-term career and life goals. Talk it over with someone you respect. Make a list of the pros and cons of the job offer.

Consider if the job description is clear. Note your reporting relationships, authority, and advancement potential. Keep asking questions until it is clearly understood. Careful thought and consideration will only gain you respect.

If you want the job, make it clear that it is the job you want. If you are uncertain, state there are some items you would like to discuss before you can accept the job. Suggest meeting further to talk about the offer.

Begin the negotiation with reasonable requests. Those requests could include more money, Employee Benefits, tuition, training, more vacation time, a flexible schedule, stock options, company car, on-site daycare, parking privileges, etc.

Negotiations should never become emotional or hostile. Use your value, skills, experience, and education to negotiate. Do not use your need for the job to negotiate.

Listen carefully. If the offer is less than you expected, let them know that, but state you are still interested in the position if they want to reconsider their offer. Don't assume the first offer is fixed. Even if the interviewer tells you it is, it rarely is:

If the same figure is offered a couple days later, it probably is the last offer. In that case, you can ask for a salary review in six months to evaluate your performance and value, or you can turn the job down, asking that they keep you in mind for future openings paying more money.

Even when saying “no,” leave the door open to negotiation (Do not use this to negotiate a higher wage. When you say “no,” be ready to lose the job forever.).

When you reach an agreement, request the agreement in writing.

What to do if you can't compromise on compensation

Let interviewers know that although you are disappointed, you are still interested in working for the employer.

Be sure to thank them for their time and interest. Reemphasize the fact that if future openings occur, you would be interested.

Find out if there are, or might be, other openings they could suggest or other persons you could contact.

Many times the person selected ends up turning the job down or does not work out. Keep the communication line open, positive, and professional. This keeps your name in their mind for the next opening or future opportunities.

Ask if you could contact them every three or four months to find out about future job openings.

Stay positive. Congratulate yourself. You did get the interview, which means the employer was interested in you. Use positive self-talk.

Learn from the experience. Ask for feedback from the interviewer on what you could improve or do differently.

Keep trying. This is not the time to stop. Forge ahead. Act to stay in control of your job search.

Remember the salesperson's motto: “No” is another step closer to “Yes.”

Do not despair. Getting turned down happens to all of us at some point in our lives.

Before You Negotiate?

You need several pieces of information before you can negotiate successfully.

How much do you need to make?

Start by considering costs in various locations which interest you.

A good online site for this information is homefair. Com. You can use your present salary and budget to discover how much you would need to make in another location to live in a similar fashion. Another way to research this is by looking at

Apartments, Rentals and Moving Resources by Rent Net or

consult the classifieds of the city newspapers you are considering at

Yahoo! News and Media > Newspapers > By Region > U. S. States

Develop a budget that includes reasonable living costs in the new location, along with student loan payments, car payments, reasonable clothing and entertainment expenses, and money for savings.

As a separate item, add moving costs. Information is available at the above sites.

What kind of benefits are important to you? Most people do not receive all of these, so make a ranked list of those that are essential and those you would like:

Health, dental, optical, and life insurance?

Paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays?

Maternity/parental leave?

Retirement plan?

Profit-sharing plan or stock options?

Performance bonuses?

Annual salary review or cost-of-living increases?

Child-care services or assistance?

Company car or travel reimbursement?

Education reimbursement?

Fitness center availability or wellness program?

Relocation expenses?

Flex-time or unpaid leave time?

Input into relocation decisions?

Severance pay?

What do you offer that will persuade an employer to negotiate? These are points you should have made in your interview, but be able to provide a summary in the negotiation process also.

The Job Offer

When you receive an offer, express your interest in the company and enthusiasm for the job. If the company representative does not offer the information, ask about their benefit package. Take notes. It is easier to have a written offer in hand, but that is not always possible.

Ask for at least 24 hours after receiving the offer to make a decision, although you can ask for more if you are interviewing with other organizations. Tell the recruiter your career means a lot to you and you want to be very sure you are making the right decision.

After you have reviewed the offer carefully, decide which points you would like to negotiate.

Anticipate objections such as

“You don't have enough experience.”

“The budget won't permit it.”

“That is the maximum we pay for this position.”

“That is what we pay new hires.”

The Negotiation

Start with a positive statement about your appreciation of the offer and interest in the position, then indicate that you were hoping to receive at least (name your figure) in salary, or whatever you are negotiating.

If you have other offers at a higher figure, you can mention them at this point, or use information from your research to back up your request.

Ask if your figure is a possibility.

If the representative says it is not, ask if there are other ways you can achieve your goal, such as company assistance with housing or a car, an earlier salary review, a signing bonus, or different options on benefits so you can take home more.

Hopefully, the representative will be able to offer something you can accept.

Sometimes, the company policy is set and negotiation will not work. Your answer should be ready because you have already anticipated this. Either thank the representative for considering you and express regret that you cannot accept the offer, or accept the offer because of other things offered.

Even if your negotiations do not succeed, you have learned an important skill that will help you in the future.