December 11, 2017

New Ways To Ask An Old Question About Current Compensation

by Scot Dickerson

More and more states are passing legislation making it unlawful for companies to request pay history from a candidate. I am here to tell you that that’s okay! Pay history isn’t really the important variable.

Here are the important variables:

  • The candidate’s expectation based on what’s fair and competitive for their skill set
  • Backaground and experience
  • The company’s expectations on salary for the scope of the role
  • The market
  • Internal equity

The previous rule was that you get through the first face-to-face interview before the salary topic is approached. The thought process is that there is no sense in bringing up dollars and cents if you aren’t interested in the job or if the hiring manager and/or HR screening folks aren’t interested in you.

While this rule still holds true, if you are exploring each other’s expectations in a general sense, it is less important than it once was. A nitty gritty discussion on nickels and dimes is still best served towards the end of the interview process.

Ok, so let’s say here is the story…

  1. The broad discussion has been had regarding expectations
  2. Things have gone well throughout the interview process
  3. An offer is ready to be made and you are ready to hear the job offer
  4. You receive the job offer but it’s not quite there yet

Uh oh…Now what? You must now decide if you really want to work for this company. Because if you do, you never want to leave any stones unturned. That only leads to regret which can eat at you later. But how do you approach that next discussion? Here are some tips I helped gather from my friends over at Glassdoor:

1. People won’t want to expend political or social capital to get approval for a strong or improved offer if they suspect that at the end of the day, you’re still going to say, “No, thanks.”
If it is a negotiation that you want, then you need to tell the employer that you’re serious and bought into working with them. Balance that by saying why—or under what conditions—you would be happy to accept an offer.

2. This sounds basic, but it’s so true: People are going to fight for you only if they like you.
Anything you do in a negotiation that makes you less likable reduces the chances that the other side will work to get you a better offer. This is about managing inevitable tensions in negotiation, such as asking without seeming greedy and pointing out deficiencies in the offer without seeming petty.

3. Always tell the story that goes with your counteroffer.
Don’t just state your desire (a 15% higher salary, say, or permission to work from home one day a week); explain why it’s justified. If you have no justification for a demand, it may be unwise to make it. (Source: Glassdoor)

So now you’ve carefully relayed your counteroffer and they come back and meet your demands. Well, you better prepared to accept. Never ever decline if your demands have been met! Burning bridges can travel fast through the market. Unless something has changed on your end (and you better be prepared to explain what it is) it’s time to accept.


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