Negotiating a salary

interpolator
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Stinger88 interpolator
As i'm in the process of looking for a new Job. I got thinking about the interview process. I've had quite a few Interviews in my life and I consider myself quite competent in interviews but I have never negotiated my wage. I walked into my last Job after a degree so I pretty much just got student salary and pay rises there after. I was starting to pluck the courage up to negotiate a wage I thought I deserved when the company announced redundancies....DOH!

I suppose that you don't really get to negotiate till your application has been successful. And you get the letter saying "I am please to say you get the job. You start on Monday".

Ok. Great. But what happens after that. You end up sitting at your desk like a good new employee and eventually you forget about negotiating. Coz you have a job that pay's the bills. Then a few year later you realise you could have been on a proper wage if you had just asked.

Anyway.

I just want to ask if anyone has advice on negotiating a salary.
How do you work out what an employer will be willing to pay?
Has anyone negotiated successfully and got the target figure they were after, or more?
Has anyone tried and failed, and maybe even left a job because they felt they deserved more?

Cheers

Replies

  • aesir
  • mathes
    They'll most likely ask for your salary expectations in the interview, so have that number prepared beforehand.
  • Wells
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    Wells polycounter lvl 14
    After an interview, if they say they would like to hire you, that is a good time to negotiate your salary, though generally that information should have been acquired prior to that point. You won't start work on Monday until you've signed some papers that says you agreed to a specific amount.

    At my current job, I brought up the salary I wanted to make in the interview with the GM. This generally takes place at the end of the interview day. It was immediately shot down. Counter offer followed, bargaining ensued.

    I've had what I expect to be paid asked during phone interviews as well.



    If you're already hired, a yearly review is a perfect time to bring that up. Assuming you've done enough to warrant a raise :poly124:
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher polycount lvl 666
    usually for me they ask me what I would be looking for in terms of compensation in my initial phone interview, I highball it as any company will immediately try to under cut it by a couple thousand. dont be afraid to ask for money, if you lowball they will probably make some excuse to offer you less still. I find asking for 5G more than you want to end up making usually leads to making what you would hope for.

    if they play hardball with money ask for another week of vacation time or some other type of compensation, if a company truly wants you they will have some wiggle room. you shouldnt be cocky about it like you think you are hot shit, but you also should feel intimidated to snap up the 1st deal they offer.

    using those tactics and the nature of Vancouver being all contract work I am now making significantly more than I was 8 months ago, most of the time the only big raise you will get is when you leave one company to join another so make it count.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD interpolator
    The rough thing about salaries is that they change drastically depending on your work experience and the local cost of living, and you don't want to come from LA making 50k a year as a junior artist, to somewhere in Texas with a much lower cost of living and asking for 60k.
  • bluekangaroo
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    bluekangaroo polycounter lvl 10
    also, find out and be aware of what your colleagues are making just so you have a good starting point in your head to figure out what is fair for you to make. After all you dont want be a year or so into your job and find out you've been underpaid the entire time
  • Firebert
    Whatever you do, DO NOT come up with a "range" like.... "I would like to make between $X - $Z."

    You just screwed yourself by saying you would work for peanuts, or maybe even just the shells of peanuts. No employer will pay you "$Z" if you already told them you would work for "$X"

    Come up with a solid figure like PixelMasher suggested.
    Figure up what you need to survive (i'm talking about scraping by), tack on more money that would be spending money to get your "desired salary", then tack on your negotiation room.
  • Cyrael
    DKK wrote: »
    I thought a lot of places had it as a term of contract that you couldn't discuss salaries with anyone other than bosses.

    Let me point you in the direction of this thread. and more importantly this link. Which basically states its illegal for your employers to prohibit you from discussing such things.
  • catstyle
    Cyrael wrote: »
    Let me point you in the direction of this thread. and more importantly this link. Which basically states its illegal for your employers to prohibit you from discussing such things.

    is this true of the UK aswell?
  • Cyrael
    catstyle wrote: »
    is this true of the UK aswell?

    that I'm not sure of...
  • doc rob
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    doc rob polycounter lvl 12
    Most of the stuff you will find with a google search advocates not quoting a number. You're supposed to get them to make the first offer, as people typically undervalue what they are worth. It's in the company's best interest to get you to give them a number, then they know the absolute minimum you will work for, which is what they will offer. Studies have shown that if you stick to a line like "I'll consider any reasonable offer" while keeping things positive and not confrontational, you will get a higher offer than you expected.

    So make sure you have agreed on a role and responsibilities - keep the focus on your skills and qualifications, and just ask what they think you are worth given all of that.

    If they are hardcore about it though, it's ok to give a range, just make sure that the low end is your real target, and the high end is a "blue sky" number.

    Also, check out the Game Developer salary survey and glassdoor.com, be aware of cost of living in your area, and your market value in general. Come prepared with ammunition in case they lowball you.
  • Firebert
    doc rob wrote: »
    Most of the stuff you will find with a google search advocates not quoting a number. You're supposed to get them to make the first offer, as people typically undervalue what they are worth. It's in the company's best interest to get you to give them a number, then they know the absolute minimum you will work for, which is what they will offer. Studies have shown that if you stick to a line like "I'll consider any reasonable offer" while keeping things positive and not confrontational, you will get a higher offer than you expected.

    So make sure you have agreed on a role and responsibilities - keep the focus on your skills and qualifications, and just ask what they think you are worth given all of that.

    If they are hardcore about it though, it's ok to give a range, just make sure that the low end is your real target, and the high end is a "blue sky" number.

    Also, check out the Game Developer salary survey and glassdoor.com, be aware of cost of living in your area, and your market value in general. Come prepared with ammunition in case they lowball you.

    I agree on all your points except for giving a range for your desired salary... look at it this way.

    I'm selling a car with no price tag, you come up and look at it and say you are interested. Awesome, now we are in a situation of negotiation. I am the one wanting the money (employee) you are the one that has the money (employer). You ask me how much I'm selling the car for, and I tell you $2,500 - $3,000.

    Which price tag would you want? Even then, you would want to undercut my lowest asking price wouldn't you? Get more bang for your buck?

    While getting the employer to make the first offer is a very, very smart move, giving a desired salary range is not. Now, if the lowest number in your "range" offer is a fair amount above your actual desired salary, that could possibly work, but even then you are pushing the envelope of reality vs hilarity as the higher you go, the more risk you are taking for turning the employer off.
  • Autocon
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    Autocon polycounter lvl 10
    Just dont do something stupid when pressured again and again to give a number of what you expect or what you use to make and say something like "oh im not really sure on salary at this time, I was really only making 10 dollars an hour at my internship"

    its like a horrible train wreck you are watching as the words are coming out of your mouth but its to horrible and late to stop it.


    thats the biggest problem I have had. it has always been suggested to never make the first move in the numbers game but every time money is brought up the other person persists until it seems they wont accept my "oh I will have to look into what would be ideal based on the cost of moving and higher cost of living, yahda yahda yahda" Always seem they wont drop the subject until I give some kinda number.
  • Jon Rush
    Haha Autocon - been there, done that :P

    I'm sure it's already been suggested in this thread, but I suggest laying down a range rather than a specific figure.

    The median of that range should be more than what you're secretly wanting to get.

    Don't forget to throw in other benefits as well. They should effect your expected #'s. How are the benefits? Do you get stock? What % do they match for your 401k? How much PTO can you accrue per year, etc..
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