Sunday, September 9, 2007

  When to talk salary It's better not to be the first person to raise the salary issue. Ideally, you want to see what the employer is willing to pay before you say what you are willing to accept. The time when you will have the most negotiating power is after you have been offered the job and before you have accepted it but salary often comes up much earlier in the negotiations. In many cases, you will be asked what sort of salary you are looking for. How you answer is a personal issue. You could stall and say, 'I would need to know a lot more detail about the role before I could answer that'. Let's face it, if the role involves having a desk near a window with a great view or having access to a lot of amenities not readily available in our country then maybe you will forgo a few thousand dollars. Or the job might offer a really clear promotion path and being promoted means access to pay negotiations and more money. Pretend you have two jobs to consider. Job A pays N30k more but there is nowhere to go in the organisation so that initial N30k plus soon becomes a minus if you stay a few years as without a promotion, how are you going to justify a decent salary increase? Same goes for subsidised or fully funded training. Gaining further knowledge will add plenty of Naira to your professional bottom line. If you're asked what you currently earn, my advice is to be honest. There are two reasons for this. Your salary could be verified later on revealing you as a liar or, more importantly, the salary range on offer could be so far below what you believe you are worth that to go further with the screening process would be a waste of your time. You don't have to commit to a salary at the interview.You can say 'while I am earning x amount now, this role is more challenging and requires a more unusual combination of skills so is worth a higher salary' without saying what that higher salary should be. If pressed, it's fine to tell the interviewer that you need time to think about the ideal salary range and then move the conversation along. Be warned that if you do commit to a figure at interview then there could be dangers associated with changing that figure after offer. You might be the best candidate at N75k but suddenly asking for N85k when offered the role, they might then see you compared to a more senior crop of candidates and found wanting. Alternatively, the fact you had asked for a specific salary and then asking for more  after offer may leave you looking sly or tricky. If you accept a job you really like but the money is not quite what you're after then it's a good idea to negotiate a pay review date at the time of offer for three to six months after you start to give you time to prove your worth.


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