What Stage in the Hiring Process Do You have the Most Leverage?

John Krautzel
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A salary negotiation isn't a game of chance; it's requires patience, strategy and tactfulness to play all your angles while remaining attractive to hiring managers. However, employers have to labor through the hiring process much longer than you do, making them motivated to seriously consider your salary requirements if they believe you're the best candidate. The offer stage is when you have the most leverage, so don't forfeit the opportunity to get what you're worth.

Why A Job Offer Is Empowering

Recruiting new workers is a long and costly process, and employers usually approve funds for hiring when they really need new workers. The hiring manager might be overburdened by work after a long unfilled vacancy, or the company may lack employees with the necessary skills to move in a new direction. Whatever the circumstances, employers have a crucial need that you can fill, and securing your expertise is the fastest way to end the cycle of drafting job descriptions, screening applicants and hosting interviews. As a result, you have substantial power and can put a competitive price on your skills and experience.

Unfortunately, job candidates are often alarmed by delays in the hiring process, driving them to skip salary negotiations. In a 2013 survey, CareerBuilder reported that 49 percent of job seekers accept the first offer they receive without a salary negotiation, even though 45 percent of employers are open to discussing compensation. Most employers expect a degree of haggling, so don't sell yourself short.

How to Stay Confident in Salary Negotiations

While the post-offer waiting period is most advantageous to you, sudden silence from hiring managers can cause panic as you rethink your reasons for holding off on accepting the job. In future job searches, remind yourself that hiring decisions may involve approval from several company leaders, especially if your salary requirements are higher than the employer's target range.

Strengthen your resolve in salary negotiations by preparing a strong game plan. Research salary ranges for your position, industry and geographic region, and come up with a minimum amount you're willing to accept. From there, you can rule out jobs that don't meet your baseline requirements. Prioritizing your needs can help you weigh offers at the lower end of your range if the benefits package is attractive.

Practice answers to common salary questions so you don't fumble during a real salary negotiation. For example, navigate inquiries about past compensation by coming up with a brief statement explaining why your unique experience makes you worthy of a specific salary.

Employers don't want to lose a great a candidate over a salary negotiation. They're often happy to offer alternative perks, such as flexible schedules, telecommuting or extra vacation time, to create a favorable work experience. Take advantage of your bargaining position to get fair pay, but remember that a job offer encompasses many factors that determine whether your new position is a good fit.

Photo courtesy of bradleypjohnson at Flickr.com


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