Always Negotiate

When applying for work, always leave room to negotiate

Patrick McKenzie wrote a blog about this. His post inspires this one. I am writing this down so those who follow me may see it.

For me this has always been “get my mind in the interviewing mindset” piece.

I’ll start this with a quote from another older post of mine;

So interviewing is exciting.
It’s a way to get uncomfortable and see what is available in job-land. Something to keep in mind, interviews are a way for you and your employer to find a great fit for this position.

I enjoy interviewing, and some don’t but this will help you navigate this time better.

If you read nothing else read this;

  • Salary negotiations started as soon as you applied.
  • Salary isn’t the only thing being negotiated.
  • If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
  • Never give the number first, if pressed, deflect, if you can’t give a range.
  • Take notes when researching and interviewing.
  • Use your significant other or family to buy time and think about the offer.

When does the salary negotiation start?

Salary negotiations start the moment you apply for a job. So don’t submit a number on any form when you apply. That gives them a heads up where to start.

You might be thinking, “Jace, they need a number on the form. What do I put in there?” Yea, they generally have that. Put $1. They know that can’t be right. This will start the dialog. That dialog is critical.

You should know about what your average pay range is. Be aware of the range of pay for your skills demand.

At this point you might also be wondering what can you expect that conversation to go like. For me I’ve always been able to use the line from Patrick’s article, and I’m paraphrasing;

I’m more concerned at the moment with talking to you about discovering whether we’re a mutual fit. If we’re a great fit, then I can be flexible on the numbers with you and you can be flexible on the numbers with me.

Why negotiating matters

My first job into tech was help desk.
They paid me a few dollars more an hour than I made as hospital clergy.
Then I got a jump on to actual tech work. I didn’t know then what I know now.
I would tell myself, “Jace, you could ask for more.
You might not want to, but if you don’t you wont know unless you get another job after.”

If you don’t ask the answer is always no.
That’s something I’ve come to learn over time.
This is true with negotiating.
If the salary isn’t up to your needs and you still want to spend more time checking out the offer.
Take a few hours, or a few days and think about other benefits that are negotiable. Some ideas might be;

  • Paid time off - Recurring expense
  • Signing Bonus - One time expense
  • Relocation Stipend - One time expense they can limit
  • Equity/Stock options - A future expense that could be reduced over time
  • Flexible work schedule - Costs nearly nothing

I mean I never had any of success asking for these things but, you can’t get those things if you don’t ask.
If you’re walking away anyways, then ask.

“Interesting” is a wonderful word

It’s positive and non-commital. They give you a number you can tell them it’s interesting without giving the wrong impression.

Using a significant other and family can help buy time

Saying things like “This sounds great. Let me talk it over with the wife/husband.” will buy you time. Time to consider and after a call I’m generally excited willing to agree to most things.

The first rule is what everyone has told you: Never give a number first

This is true. When forced deflect. If you can’t deflect, give a range. I don’t think I have much more to add here.

Listen to what people tell you. Repeat it back to them.

When you see the job posting there are key phrases they use. You should note and use them with the company. See if any of those phrases jive with things you did in the past or are remotely like it, own it.

Bring a notebook

Nothing stops you from bringing in a notebook to take notes while interviewing. Taking notes is important. I know my memory is my worst enemy. This is literally why I write this stuff down to better remember. Point is, write down the things they say that stand out. Those notes are great things to follow up on, and think about.

Research the company

Look up the company, try to figure out how their lines of business. This helps frame what will be important to the business. I like to try to find who my co-workers might be ahead of time. Some sites offer past questions asked for the employer. I’ve never had success with those but it gives you an idea of what might be asked.

Thoughts and sources

I just found the author at some point updated his post with a link to this great book(Fearless Salary Negotiation) and resource.

If you’ve found this helpful, let me know.

Edit this page

Avatar
Jace Benson
ServiceNow Developer

ServiceNow is my day job, JAMStack is my passion.