Whether you’ve been with a company for years or are just accepting a new position, negotiating salary is a tricky prospect. But with a little preparation and the right mindset, you can make the experience far less nerve-wracking — and far more lucrative. Below are a few tips to prepare you to negotiate your salary.
Do your research.
Before starting negotiations, you should know the average salary range for the position. This will give you a solid starting point and show that you have the industry knowledge to back up your income requirement. Always take into account your experience, education, and skill level. If you’re fresh out of college with no experience in the workforce, you’ll likely be on the lower end of that salary range. If you’ve held a similar position for several years or are requesting a raise in your existing job, try to aim for the higher end.
Adjust your mindset.
Many people go into salary negotiations under the mistaken impression that they’re being greedy by requesting a higher salary. While it’s true that you should always be friendly and respectful during these discussions, you should also be assertive. Hiring managers expect you to negotiate, so know your worth and ask for it. You should never be so tied to the outcome of your negotiations that you’re unwilling to take risks. Go into the interview with the knowledge that negotiating your salary is a mutually beneficial partnership with the hiring manager. You aren’t asking for something you don’t deserve.
Practice your tactics.
Always have a strategy in place before you start negotiating. Many recommend that you never give the first number. If the hiring manager pressures you to name a number, try to deflect whenever possible. You can say things like, “What do you think the position is worth?” or refer to your research into the average salary range. Try to get the interviewer to give the first number (it may even be higher than what you were inclined to offer). If they are unwilling to budge on salary, you have other tools at your disposal. You can ask for more vacation days, a flexible bonus structure, relocation fees, or other benefits to compensate for an initially lower salary.
Regardless of the amount, you shouldn’t accept the first offer, especially if it’s lower than what you need or deserve. If necessary, ask for time to think over the offer. If the number is well below your market value, don't be afraid to turn it down. But chances are, if you do your research and determine what your skills and experience are worth, you can come out of the negotiations with a comfortable salary and a strong relationship with your employer.
For many organizations today, finding top talent is a top priority. The IT talent gap makes it challenging to find appropriate candidates, let alone great ones — but the good news is, there are steps you can take to bring in a higher caliber of IT talent, and hire and retain candidates who are in the top 10 percent.
Your talent acquisition strategy is the key to attracting the best candidates to your organization. Here’s how you can improve your recruiting methods to get top talent interested in your open positions, and excited about working for your organization.
Build your employer brand
One of the most crucial elements of talent acquisition is also one that’s the most often overlooked. In order to attract the best IT talent, you need to make sure that your company is viewed as a great place to work — and that means building your brand as an employer.
Your employer brand is your work-life promise to your employees. This includes salary and benefits, working conditions, and especially your company culture. When it comes to talent acquisition, it’s important to have a strong understanding of your employer brand, as well as the type of person who flourish under your brand — employees who share similar values and objectives to your organization.
When you know your employer brand, you can use it in your recruitment process to attract the right kind of talent and hire the best candidates.
Keep your candidate profile real and marketable
Many organizations struggle with finding top talent not because candidates aren’t available, but because they’re looking for “purple squirrels” — rare, nearly mythical candidates who have exactly the right skills, education, and experience for a given position. The problem is that in general, purple squirrels don’t exist, and those that do are typically already employed and happy with their jobs.
You’ll have far more success with your talent acquisition strategy if you abandon the idea of purple squirrels, and instead look for high-quality candidates who can do the job and are a good fit with your company culture. Create a candidate profile that includes a realistic set of skills and competencies, and include your desired characteristics beyond technical skills to ensure a cultural fit, such as:
- Key personality traits
- Behavioral characteristics
- Soft skills (communication, values, work ethic)
Write a candidate-centric job description
A great job description is not a list of the skills and qualifications you’re looking for in a candidate. This type of dry, unappealing description focuses on what your organization needs — but if you want to improve your talent acquisition process, your job descriptions must focus on what the candidate needs.
Think of the job description as a sales tool, and what you’re selling is the opportunity to work for your organization. The elements of an enticing job description are:
- An appealing headline with a clear job title
- 3 to 4 critical skills and/or experience requirements
- Details about the position and the role of the candidate
- Key information about your employer brand
- Selling points that reveal why candidates should be interested (competitive salary, benefits, great company culture)
An extensive list of required skills, education, and experience will turn off even the most highly qualified candidates, because if they’re missing a few, they’ll feel it’s not worth their time to apply. You should also keep your job descriptions relatively short and to the point — overly wordy job descriptions typically go unread, especially by top candidates.
Make talent acquisition a priority
Attracting and hiring great talent is a time- and labor-intensive process. If you want to successfully acquire top IT talent, it’s essential to make recruiting a priority for your organization. Effective recruiting campaigns require strategic planning, responsiveness, and timely participation on the part of the employer in responding to and evaluating candidates.
Working with an experienced talent consultant like The Armada Group can help you relieve the stress of finding top talent. Armada’s goal in talent acquisition is to work closely to determine the unique staffing needs of your organization, and screen out 90 percent of potential candidates in order to present you with the top 10 percent to choose from. Learn more about our talent consultant services today.