After months of anticipation, which, perhaps, have been preceded by years of unsuccessful applications, you have been shortlisted for a job interview.
When this happens, Human Resource experts say it is normal to be excited, delirious even. As natural as this excitement may be, they say there is need for potential interviewees to avoid getting carried away as many have blown their chances as a result.
According to the experts, one of the biggest challenges one may face in the course of a job interview is negotiating a pay package.
This, they insist, is not because it is really that much of a challenge but because many people out of desperation demand pay packages way below what people at their level are paid, while others blow their chance by demanding outrageous salaries.
While experts say the list of steps that can aid the process of negotiating your salary is inexhaustible, they also agree that the tips listed below will be of assistance.
Research is important
A former Head of Human Resources, Theophilus Danjuma Foundation, Mr. Oluseye Oyeleye, says the first step to take before going ahead to negotiate your salary is to carry out research.
According to him, this will give you an idea of what people performing the same function are paid in other organisations and that in which you intend to take up a job.
Having this information, he explains, will ensure you do not sell yourself short.
Apart from knowing the salary structure in the industry, the Head, Tallent Intelligence Group, Workforce Management Centre, Mr. Akindele Afolabi, says it is important to understand the job.
According to him, understanding the job will help you determine whether you can add value, which in turn can boost your confidence and your bargaining power: “For you to be able to negotiate, you need to the grade you are applying for and the value placed on that grade in other organisations.”
For instance, he explains, if it is a position that requires common skills, demanding a big salary may cost you the job as the company will find it easy to get someone else to take the job for less pay.
On the flipside, he says where it is a job that requires special or rare competences, then the chances of the company finding people who will settle for less, will is lower, improving your chances of getting a better package.
Consider your experience
Eperts say people with more experience are in position to earn more money. They advise that when negotiating your salary you should remember to talk about the amount of experience you have and the value you expect to add to the organisation. If you do not have much experience they say you need to be realistic in your negotiation. Oyeleye says if you have not worked for up to three years or more, you have to bear in mind that your value will be less.
However, Oyeleye stresses that you must be careful when settling for far less than what people on the same grade you negotiating a salary for are being paid.
He explains that this is because, you may have difficulty getting your salary to match theirs even after years of working, and it can lead to dissatisfaction.
Don’t be desperate or afraid
Experts say it is not strange to come across an interviewee who resorts to begging to get a job. However, they stress that doing this is not in the best interest of the individual, especially in terms of negotiating your salary. Oyeleye says,having been chosen out of thousands for an interview shows that the company wants you. He advises that applicants should therefore negotiate their salaries with more confidence, bearing in mind that they would not have been invited or asked what amount they would like to earn if the company feels they have nothing ot offer. Afolabi adds that once you have done your research, understand the job and are convinced that you have something to offer, you will be in a better position to negotiate.
Place a value on your skills
Experts say the value you place on your skills is very important in negotiating your salary. By truly understanding your value, Afolabi says you can ‘change the game’. He adds that this will also guide an individual in accepting or rejecting an offer.
Before negotiating your salary, he says, “You have to decide your ideal salary expectation, the realistic salary and your minimum threshold.”
He said this way you know when to say no to an offer. To determine the minimum threshold, he explains that it is important to consider the physical requirement – things like transportation and feeding.
Lying can be counterproductive
After years of looking for a job with no luck, experts say many people resort to lying out of desperation. This also happens when such people are negotiating their salary because many companies are known to match what you were earning before or even top it, especially when poaching an individual from another company.
Though it works for some, experts advise against it.
For whatever reason, don’t ever lie, they say.
“What happens when the organisation does a background check and discovers that you lied? What impression do you want to create in that organisation? Even after getting the job, you can be sacked,” Afolabi warns.
He stresses that it is only those who have nothing to offer that resort to lies.
Experts say many people make the mistake of asking questions about their salaries when it is too late. According to them, when you are offered a salary, ask for a breakdown; what would you earn after tax? Are there other allowances? I’m I entitled to a health insurance? How many people does the insurance cover? Etc. They say this will help you determine the true value of the salary you have been offered.
Experts say some employees are likely to ask you why you have asked for a particular amount. When they do, they advise that you be as straight forward as possible, without telling the all the problems you have; it is about the value you are likely to add and the price of that value. According to them, asking for a salary can be likened to asking for a loan in which case you might have to give reasons for your request.
-By Simon Ejembi