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Effective Salary Negotiation

Jan. 15, 2001 (SmartPros) Salary negotiation is one of the most difficult aspects of the job interview process. Many job seekers are worried that asking for a higher salary will jeopardize their job prospects. But you may have the bargaining power, if you come prepared.

Your Personal Market Value
Before negotiating salary, objectively examine your skills. Evaluate your work history, knowledge of the latest software and knowledge of the company's industry. Review industry and trade publications to research what today's firms are looking for in candidates in your field, and consult salary surveys. Gather as much information as possible about the position and the company before the meeting to assist you in estimating your value to them.
More than Money
While starting salary is an important consideration, don't overlook other negotiable factors. Vacation time, flexible work hours, tuition reimbursement and even gym membership may be important factors in your decision. Be sure to review the entire salary and benefits package before accepting a job offer. If the starting salary is less than market value, you can negotiate a performance review in three to six months to re-evaluate your compensation. But remember that the opportunity for professional growth and experience may be more valuable than any salary or benefits package.
The Final Decision
If you are unable to negotiate a reasonable offer, remain positive and be courteous with the employer. Politely decline, explaining that while you've given their offer careful consideration, it doesn't meet your current needs. Express your interest in being considered for any future opportunities.
If, however, your negotiation was successful and you have accepted the position, ask for a letter of agreement that details the specifics of the offer, including key responsibilities, salary and perks.

2001, Smartpros Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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