Is your Salary killing you?


If you think about it, bull fighting and salary negotiations are not all that different. Both situations require you to be calm, composed, quick and precise – allat the same time. Negotiating the pay packet can turn out to be the most awkward part of the job hunt journey, the outcome of which has the power to make or break careers (and organizations). Here are five tips to bear in mind when negotiating salary.

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Know your (market) value

In a world where everything from a pin to a Pontiac is defined by its monetary value, and where time is equated to money, landing the wrong pay scale is a grave mistake. Like the pin and the Pontiac, your skill, proficiency, and experience, too, have a market value. As an employee, you are selling your time in exchange of money. How valuable is your time? It's your job to find that value. Talk to seniors in your area of expertise. If you hold a good and healthy relationship with your managers from previous jobs, you can take tips from them. Find a reputed head-hunter with knowledge of industry pay standards. Websites like and are of great help in finding pay standards. Once you get a picture of your worth, don't straightaway settle for that figure. You're unique. List down your strengths. If you have spent time and money in acquiring peripheral skills (foreign language proficiency or designing skills) that you'll be applying on the job directly or indirectly, you should expect to be paid for it. Do your homework thoroughly at the start of your job hunt. If you don't know your worth, your employer will not know it either.

Curb your enthusiasm

Never be the first one to quote a figure. Use polite stalling techniques when the employer begins to ask about your salary expectations. Use the Smith-Wenkle salary negotiation method. Replace your enthusiasm with confidence. But don't fake confidence. It will show in your body language if you do.

Make notes

New York-based career coach Ellis Chase advises his clients to carry a pen and notepad to salary negotiation meetings. Making notes shows that you are serious about getting what you deserve. It also shows your professionalism. Making notes lets you have a clear record of everything you agree upon.

Go beyond the base salary

Remember, the base salary is not the whole story. Be prepared to go into specifics beyond the base salary. Arm yourselves with questions on variable pay (incentives), perks, additional benefits, Salary increase schedule, bonus, vacation and so on.

Maintain professionalism

Employers have a lot to deal with at their end of the negotiation table. They have bigger things at stake. Naturally they will look to get maximum value from each and every resource. If the offer is not what you have in mind, do not get offended. This will only show your weakness and will give you a bad reputation. Always be cordial, polite, and professional. Make sure not to burn bridges.

In conclusion, salary negotiations are fragile situations that need to be handled with care not just by the candidate but by the company as well. The good old heartburn over the pay packet is one of the major reasons for attrition. Employers need to have a keen eye to see value in resources and must go beyond looking at employees as expenses. Setting the right standards in pay is a huge responsibility of any organization. Doing it right determines the organizations growth.