A new year occasions resolutions, retrospection and perhaps even renewal. Sure, calendar dates can be an arbitrary line in the sand-- but when it comes to corporate budgets for new hires or compensation discussions, that first quarter really is a moment to seize.
How does 2011 look for professionals whose salary goals have been kept at bay by the Great Recession? In "2011 Salary Negotiation Tactics," Kristina Cowan relays advice from negotiation experts about how to approach this conversation as the economy warms.
- Check the company's fiscal health. Find out whether your firm or the new company is growing and optimistic, said Michael Crom, chief learning officer at Dale Carnegie Training.
- Document your value. How have you made or saved the company money? Those are numbers you need to bring to the table, said Debra Benton, an executive coach based in Fort Collins, Colo. Collect documentation to prove it, and supply these to your boss the day before your performance review, said Danny Cahill, president of Hobson Associates, a recruiting firm in Connecticut. "Be gutsy and say, 'Based on what is in that portfolio, is it fair to say I deserve a raise?' "
- Polish your people skills. "Don't get emotional or confrontational in any way. Don't put the boss in a place where she will lose face," Crom said.
- Rehearse the conversation. Crom suggested role-playing beforehand. Consider objections and how you'll handle them in a professional, positive way. "How we respond to an objection could make all the difference in whether or not we get a raise," Crom said.
- Be first. When you interview for a job, ask about the salary range for the position before someone asks what salary you want, Benton said. "I suggest bringing up anything uncomfortable to talk about, and money is uncomfortable."
- Understand the salary range. If you're in the running for a job where the employer has listed the salary range at $130,000 to $180,000, don't be miffed if they offer you less than $180K, Cahill said. If you're currently earning $135K, and the employer offers you $150K, "you should be thrilled," he explains, because companies typically look at what you're earning, and offer that salary plus 8 percent to 10 percent.