10 IT salary negotiation do's and don'ts

10 IT salary negotiation do's and don'ts

Get the salary you deserve for that new job. Follow this advice on how to prepare – and how to avoid mistakes

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Digital transformation ROI

6. Don't: Drag negotiations on for more than a few days

Keep negotiations under three or four rounds or days, says Ross. if they go beyond four days, “Hiring managers may question your commitment and excitement for the role.” Beyond four rounds and you run the risk that “your future employer will feel they are being nickeled and dimed and get impatient. Truly understand what you’ll accept and what you’ll walk away from, and then be direct about it,” she says.

7. Do: Remember to separate salary and benefits

Understand salary versus benefits. “Money and benefits are not equal, and there are a lot of things you can negotiate in benefits,” advises Butler. In fact, he points out that those are often two completely separate budgets that add up to a bigger picture of your overall compensation.

“If the hiring manager’s answer to a salary increase is ‘no,’ don’t get discouraged,” advises Johnson. “There are other non-monetary perks you can negotiate as well. Would a few more vacation days or a flexible schedule make you happy? What about working from home one or two days a week? Ask if these options are available, and if you accept the position, consider revisiting the salary discussion down the line.”

8. Don't: Make apples-to-oranges comparisons of offers 

Comparing your offer to your friend's recent job offer is a bad idea, says Carol Lynn Thistle, managing director for Heller Search Associates. “The role, company, and culture are usually not apples to apples, and shouldn’t be compared as such,” she said “You can get hung up on what someone else is getting in their offer, and ruin your chances at a good one because it doesn’t seem to be comparable.”

However, you should keep an eye on what people in your field and region are being offered by recruiters, on an ongoing basis. 

9. Do: Respect the final offer

Know when it’s time to end the back and forth. All good negotiations have to come to a decision eventually (See item #6). Ross says, “Remember that hiring managers have a business to run and a budget to keep. If they say it’s the final offer, then it’s the final offer.”

10. Don't: Accept a lowball offer

“Be careful not to sell yourself short,” suggests Johnson of Robert Half Technology, “as setting salary expectations too low can hurt your earning potential over your tenure with the company.” Once you're in, dramatic salary changes become rarer.

Also, you may feel you've invested a lot of time and energy in the interview process – and you likely have. But you don't want to spend the first year feeling you were taken advantage of, either.

Bonus tip: Start smart

Don’t rely on HR alone when applying for jobs. “If at all possible, get interviews through leaders (CIO, CEO, etc.) in the company and not through HR,” says Abed. “If the president of the company wants to hire you, then he/she will do anything it takes to bring you on, even if it means paying you more.”

[ Read also: 10 things leaders with emotional intelligence never do. ]


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