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The Worst Salary Negotiation Mistake EVER

The Worst Salary Negotiation Mistake EVER

Salary and your career

By Mark Swartz
Monster Senior Contributing Writer



During the interviewing process you’ve just completed, you and the company never did get around to discussing salary much. They had asked you at one point what you were earning at your most recent job. You’d answered honestly.



But that was about it in terms of talking compensation. So you figured that because they knew what you were used to making, and it didn’t seem to bother them, that they were comfortable with this figure. Hopefully they’d go higher if possible.
Now here it is at last: the job offer you’ve worked so hard to get. It just came through by e-mail. As you read it, you scrunch your forehead and make a face. The salary is disappointing.

Now you have a day, maybe two at most to consider the offer. Whether you accept it “as is,” try to negotiate for more, or reject it politely, you’ve already made the biggest negotiation mistake of all – not knowing in advance the range this particular employer pays for the type of job you’ve applied for.

How Not To Make The Worst Salary Negotiation Mistake

There’s an expression that says knowledge is power. If that’s true, then knowledge about compensation ranges gives you power when negotiating. That’s why you should do what you can to find out in advance approximately what an employer pays.

How do you do this? Like so…

1. Get a general idea of what your type of job pays

You already know what you’ve been earning throughout your career. But is that consistent with what others are getting paid? Use the SalaryWizard to compare. Also try our free Career Benchmarking tool as a signed-in member for additional comparison. Canada’s federal government has a useful resource as well at its Labour Market Information site.
2. Ask around.

If you are working with recruiters or placement agencies as part of your job search, they should be able to give you a very good idea of what specific employers pay for employees like you. You can also query your network on Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn and other social sites.
3. Don’t forget the value of benefits

Job-seekers tend to focus on salary when they negotiate a job offer. “If only they’d give me another 15% in pay I’d be truly happy.” So if the employer won’t budge on salary, think about what your benefits are worth. An extra week of paid vacation, a good pension and insurance plan, and some flex-time hours might well be worth that 15% or more.


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