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10 Things You Should and Shouldn’t Say in a Salary Negotiation

10 Things You Should and Shouldn’t Say in a Salary Negotiation

Getting a raise is hard. That’s why a lot of people choose to move companies to get a better job or to make more money instead. But if you are rated as an above average performer and your company is doing well, getting a raise should not be too hard.

If you find yourself in this situation, however, you will still have to make a case for it and convince your boss you really are worth the extra money. On the other hand, if you are struggling on the job, or making mistakes, then think about what you need to do to improve so a raise will be possible in the future. Whatever you do, don’t make the silly mistakes below, which will make you look and sound childish and won’t help you achieve your goal of a raise. Here’s how to get it right in a salary negotiation.

Do Say:

1. “I’ve earned it.” Say this with confidence if it’s true, and then back it up with data. If your company has a good performance management process, you should have all the documentation you need to support your claim for more money. But typically those systems are poorly used or relied upon, even if an annual or semi-annual review has been done. Your job is to keep track of your agreed objectives, and what you have achieved.

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To do this, keep a log. Each week, ideally on Friday, write down all that you accomplished that week, in short, point form notes. At the end of the quarter, go back to see what you were supposed to do, and what you still need to do before your next review. Prioritize and get anything you agreed to do done before the next review. If you weren’t awarded a four or five on your last review on a five-point scale, which mean Performing Above Expectations or Exceeding Expectations, a raise is not likely in the cards for you right now. If your last review was a three or less, which is Performing, Somewhat Performing or Needs Improvement, a raise is not going to make sense to your boss, because you clearly have improvements to make.

2. “I am ready for more challenging work.” Only say this if it’s true, of course! And only after you’ve proved you’re doing a great job in your current role. By saying you are ready to take on higher level work, or different work that will stretch you by learning new things, you show renewed commitment to the company and to your boss. That will show you are planning to stay and that a raise will keep you motivated to keep working hard, which is what your boss really wants to know. You might not get a raise right now, but it could lead to a promotion, which typically means more money.

3. “What do I need to do?” If you can’t get a raise right now and it’s not clear why, make sure you ask your boss what they need to see from you so that you will get one next time. Ask them to be very specific. Write down what they say and email it to them. Thank them for reviewing your request for a raise, and outline what they said you must do to be given a raise. Ask them to confirm it and let you know if you missed anything. If they don’t respond, keep asking until they do. That way you”ll know you have their commitment and can get on with the job.

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Don’t Say:

1. “I deserve it.” This may be true, but even if it is, you have to prove it. If it isn’t, and you know it, file this one until you can rely on facts.

2. “I work hard.” Everyone works hard, but not everyone will get a raise. In fact, even if you do work really hard and you can show results, there might not be any funds in the budget for your boss to give you a raise. Typically, each manager will have a fixed amount yearly to increase wages for their whole team, and that’s it. So making a good impression all year long is critical to standing out when it’s time for salary raises.

3. “I’ve been here a long time.” This won’t show that you deserve more money, just that you’ve been around a while. In fact, most poor performers have the longest tenure, often because they don’t get fired or have their performance evaluated. While it might seem like longevity should lead to a raise, it won’t in the private sector. Demonstrating value to the company is the only way to get a raise in today’s world.

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4. “So and So earns more than me.”
Comparing yourself to others is never a good tactic. Companies frown on people discussing salaries, and showing you know what others are paid can get your manager’s back up. The process of asking for a raise is hard enough, so keeping your boss on side is a better strategy.

If you really feel that you are underpaid for your job, do some research. Show that people in your role, in your industry, on average make more than you are now. It might take some work, as those figures are not always public, but there are lots of salary surveys out there that will let you search by job title, and location. Your boss might not accept this information, but it will show that you are serious and have done your best to make a business case for a raise. Even if you aren’t granted one, your boss will know that they’ll have to contend with this data next time and that you know your worth. If you are a great employee, they might even be worried about you leaving, which could lead to a raise unexpectedly.

5. “I guess I’ll look for another job then.” Saying this will always be a mistake. If you feel you have to move on, look for a job quietly. And when you find one, make sure you explain why you are leaving in a professional letter, which you should provide to your boss and Human Resources.

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6. “It’s not fair.” You might be right to say this. You might deserve a raise and have shown it, but still not get one. Don’t debase yourself with this childish remark. You will appear unable to take bad news, which will only make your future salary negotiations with your boss even more difficult.

7. “I quit!” Not getting a raise, especially if you feel you deserve it or you need it, is hard. But quitting is not a good idea if you need your job, which most people do. If your conversation with your boss got you hot under the collar, go cool off and think for a day or two about what was said. Were you turned down due to budget? Was it because the company is in trouble? Was there a blanket freeze so no one got a raise? Not granting a raise is often due to any one of these valid reasons, or else that your boss feels some improvement is needed in your work before a raise is due. If that’s the case, read the points above and follow the tips to be the best you can be at your job.

Featured photo credit: bradleypjohnson via flickr.com

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Published on September 17, 2018

17 Ways to Ace Your Next Phone Interview And Land the Job You Deserve

17 Ways to Ace Your Next Phone Interview And Land the Job You Deserve

There is one thing standing in the way of you and the job of your dreams: a phone interview. The screening interview is an opportunity for companies to narrow the list of presumably qualified applicants and determine who merits a closer look.

So many candidates exclude themselves from the phone interview by being unprepared or by failing to take this screening session seriously. A phone interview should not block you from living the life you have always imagined.

Here are 17 tips to help you ace your next one:

1. Clear the deck.

If you are reading this blog, you are likely busier than you would prefer or even imagine. Even when you schedule or accept phone interviews, they are likely sandwiched between meetings.

To show up fully present, energized and engaged, I recommend you clear the deck and give yourself at least an hour of uninterrupted time before and 30 minutes following the interview.

You can use the time to mentally prepare, develop a list of questions, rehearse answers to likely questions and ensure you are comfortable and ready for the interview.

2. Look the part.

It is no secret that we perform better when we look and feel the part. If you have a phone interview, dress up for the interview, if dressing up is comfortable and allows you to put your best foot forward.

Even though you will likely do the interview from home or a private location, be sure you are dressed professionally. This will allow you to be fully engaged and present.

In the event, the interviewer asks to connect with you via Zoom, Google Hangout or Skype, you will be prepared.

3. Resend your resume and cover letter prior to the call.

As a courtesy, resend your resume and cover letter prior to your screening interview. You never know if the person interviewing you has had a busy day or if a schedule change forced him or her to work from home rather than the office where the individual has access to their files.

There have been many times in my career where a last-minute change or a mix-up with support staff has left me scrambling at the last minute to find a candidate’s resume. It is quite embarrassing to misplace a resume and ask the interviewee to resubmit it.

You can save the interviewer the trouble and earn extra points by resending both documents in advance of your call. A simple message will suffice, such as “I am looking forward to speaking with you in an hour, and I am resending my resume to ensure it is at the top of your inbox.”

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4. Research the interviewer.

Once your interview is scheduled, be sure to research the person facilitating it.

You will want to Google the person and check their social media accounts. When you research the interviewer, try to get a sense of the individual’s personal and professional interests.

Once you identify those interests, acknowledge them in the interview, but do not dwell on them, because you do not want to make the interviewer uncomfortable. Follow his or her lead. If the interviewer indulges your questions or comments, by all means, continue the conversation.

I am always impressed when someone I am meeting with takes the opportunity to learn something about me ahead of time. This projects interest, which is important in my line of work.

5. Research the company.

In addition to researching the interviewer, be sure to research the company.

Ask people in your network if they know anyone who works or has worked for the organization in question. Conduct a Google search on the company, and be mindful to look beyond the first page of the search query.

If there are yelp reviews on the company, be careful to review those and look for trends as well as how recent the reviews were posted. While more recent reviews are obviously cause for pause, older reviews – depending on their nature – could be problematic as well.

6. Check the staff listing or “About Us” section of the company’s website.

Part of your research into a company is assessing whether you know staff or board members who are connected with the company.

Most organizations list their staff or board members in the “About Us” or “Our Team” section of the website. Prior to a phone interview, check these sections to determine whether you know someone who works for the company. If you do, reach out to that person to request a phone interview to learn more about the company.

7. Remember interviewing is a two-way street.

As much as the company representative wants to learn about you as the interviewee, you will want to learn about the organization.

Try to ferret out information on the company, the job for which you are applying as well as the manager to whom you would report. You will also want to ask questions to assess the interview process.

Additionally, because culture is important and will permit or slow your ability to do your job, ask questions to assess company culture, such as “What do your employees say they like most about working for your organization?” “What do employees say they like least?” “What do you do to create and maintain a healthy workplace culture?”

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8. Develop questions prior to the interview.

Prior to your interview, develop a list of questions about the company, the position for which you are applying, growth opportunities in the company, the ideal candidate for the position, and so forth. This will save you the trouble of thinking of questions on the spot during the interview.

I have found that once I become nervous, it is a lot harder to come up with questions on the spot, and interviews can be anxiety-producing without preparation.

9. Stand during the interview.

I train leaders and, incidentally, graduate students to become spokespersons.

I recommend that they stand during media interviews. I find that it helps the person speaking to project better, and it reduces the urge to get too comfortable in an interview setting and say something that could be too informal.

Similarly, I recommend interviewees stand for at least a portion of their phone interview.

10. Allow the interviewer to talk.

While it is essential you ask questions during an interview, you should not dominate the conversation.

Most people love talking about themselves and the company they represent, and it is your job as the interviewee to walk a fine line between allowing the interviewer to talk and interspersing questions when and where appropriate.

I am not suggesting you remain silent – you want the interviewer to learn about you; but you should ensure that the interviewer has ample opportunity to do what most people do best: talk about themselves and their work.

11. Refrain from multitasking.

We all live hurried lives, and most of us have to-do lists that are impossible to complete.

When we have multiple due dates and obligations, it is typical to want to avail oneself of every seemingly free moment of time.

When conducting or participating in a phone interview, be as present as possible. This means refraining from multitasking, which could mean responding to emails, text messages or social media messages. It could mean researching the company during the interview.

Whatever multitasking means for you, simply do not do it, especially during a screening interview.

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12. Conduct the phone interview in a place where there is minimal noise.

A common thread throughout this post has been that most of us live busy lives. So, it is natural to be on the go.

If you have the luxury of conducting a phone interview from home or a private office where there is minimal noise, do so. You may also rent a co-working space or ask a friend if you can borrow his or her office.

Whatever you do, select a place where there is minimal noise and distraction. The person interviewing you should not have to strain to hear what you are saying or compete with ambient noises.

When I am interviewing a candidate and competing with background noise, I grow frustrated and my focus can shift from getting to know the person to silencing the noise. Do not force your interviewer to choose.

13. Be punctual.

Do not leave the interviewer waiting. This is both rude and unprofessional, and it may count against you.

If you are able to follow my earlier advice and not schedule meetings within an hour of your phone interview, you should have no time being prompt for your discussion.

If you foresee that you will be late, be sure to give the interviewer a heads-up at least 15-20 minutes prior to the start of the call.

14. Focus on how you can and will help.

Let’s face it: people are naturally self-interested.

When you walk into an interview focused on what you can bring and how you can solve a hiring manager’s problems, you will set yourself and your candidacy apart.

Think about the challenges you could potentially solve and then share how your joining the team will benefit the company, not just you.

15. Take the interview seriously.

Do not assume you will have an opportunity to meet face to face with company representatives. Do not discount the weight that may be placed on phone interviews.

I once applied for a position on the East Coast while living on the West Coast. While my first interview was face to face, my interview with one senior leader was over the phone. I walked into the interview thinking it would be less intense than it was.

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From the moment the leader got on the phone with me, I was on my toes. I had to quickly recalibrate to handle the intensity of the questions lobbed on me.

To this day, more than six years later, that phone interview remains one of the most difficult interviews I have ever had. Fortunately for me, I was offered the job, but the experience still stands out as a learning lesson.

16. Send a thank-you note.

Kindness is underrated. We live in a society where most people are overscheduled and overbooked.

When faced with intense pressure, it can be easy to underestimate the role of kindness. But when someone shares a portion of the day with you by granting you an interview, you owe it to that individual and to yourself to send a thank-you note following the interview.

The note can be via email, a standard letter or a card. So few people do this that those who do stand out.

Become an individual who remembers this gesture of kindness and professional courtesy.

17. Be positive.

Energy really is contagious. If you don’t believe me, consider locking yourself in a room for one hour with people are upset. By the time you leave the room, you will be upset right along with them. It is natural to mirror the other person even if you do not realize you are doing it.

During your next phone interview, mirror positivity, both about the position, the company and most importantly, your skill sets. The interviewer will pick up on your energy and positivity and that will reflect favorably.

I cannot tell you how many times I have interviewed candidates who communicated no excitement or enthusiasm. Getting through the interview was difficult, not to mention, I kept thinking about what it would be like to work with the person daily.

Being positive not only helps you feel better, it helps the person interviewing you as well.

If you have read this list and want to add other tips, please tweet the link to this article and include the point you believe I missed. Use the hashtag #AceIt when you reach out.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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