By Batia Segal, Business Editor
A person walks into their first major job interview with the hiring manager of the company. They are unsure how they landed the interview in the first place but nonetheless grateful for the opportunity. The hiring manager conducts the interview and is utterly impressed by the candidate sitting in front of them. She wants to do everything she can to ensure that this candidate becomes a part of the team so she makes an offer. The candidate accepts frantically, afraid that he will never land on an opportunity like this ever again.
To many, this is a familiar story. Settling because their own insecurities tell them that this opportunity landed upon them out of mere luck and never will it happen again.
The truth is, most things do not happen out of luck, they happen as a consequence of consistent efforts and proving qualification. This shift of perspective is the first step to being paid the salary one dreams of. A question probably pops into the minds of many; what does a dream salary look like? The answer is obvious, it varies from person to person. As mentioned earlier, the first step is recognizing that labor is worth something, the second step is determining how much it is worth. In other words, putting a dollar value on the work. This can involve checking the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the official US source for all labor records which includes salary information for every legally registered job, and coming up with a better understanding of how much the market pays for your expertise. For example, an aspiring software engineer may value his work at a yearly salary of a million dollars but placing that kind of demand on the table will deter employers from hiring him because that is more than what the market is willing to pay for a software engineer.
Once you decide how much the market is willing to pay for your expertise, it is time to determine what your worth is. That worth may include a yearly six figure salary, full health insurance coverage and 401k or it may include a much lower salary with stock options and living expense compensation. Already, you should go into the interview with more confidence and assertion because you’ve already determined what you want out of the potential job offer.
With this information in mind it is time to approach the job offer. The potential employee is given an offer by the hiring manager but he realizes she is not offering him the market value of his expertise. With his previously acquired knowledge he should inform the hiring manager of the market price for his labor and ask for at least that amount of money. Ultimately, the first offer is simply a first offer.
It is important to note that this is in no way a complete guide to negotiating salary but it is one small simple change we can all make to ensure that we are paid what we deserve at our jobs. It is an uncomfortable discussion to have but it’s important because at the end of the day it is you who suffers the consequences of your silence.