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Career Counselor
Negotiating Salary and Benefits: Proven Tactics

November 2006 As a job seeker, it may not be easy to determine just how much power you have with a potential employer. In a recent survey, 20 percent of workers said they were less willing to negotiate for a stronger compensation package today than they were 12 months ago.* The process shouldn't be a power struggle, however. It's more about striking a balance between what you have to offer a business and what it can do for you.

In fact, negotiation is a key element in the job-search process. Prepare for your meeting with the hiring manager by familiarizing yourself with the current compensation trends in your field. The Internet, including job-posting sites, is an excellent source of information and a good way to poll others in your area of expertise about compensation possibilities. Business journals and publications such as the 2007 Salary Guide from Robert Half International also can provide valuable insight.
Once you've done your homework, go into your meeting with a salary range in mind, including the low end of what is acceptable (and feasible for your lifestyle). However, don't jump the gun and start off the interview on the subject of money. Let the conversation work its way to the issue, and in the meantime focus on other aspects of the job that will be important to you: what types of responsibilities you will have, the potential for growth and the overall feel of the company, for instance.
Finally, flexibility is key. Both parties want something from one another, and by reaching a compromise, both can feel satisfied. If the salary offered is not as high as you had hoped, keep in mind that there are other types of compensation: stock options, performance-based bonuses and paid vacation days.
Even if you're entering the job market for the first time, engaging in a negotiation with the hiring manager offers you the opportunity to show you are a team player who takes what you do seriously. Ultimately, negotiating a compensation package establishes your worth, not just to your prospective employer, but to yourself as well.

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ACCOUNTEMPS is a specialized temporary staffing service for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps provides support throughout an accounting department. Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., Accountemps and has more than 270 offices in North America, Europe and Australia. Accountemps' Career Counselor column, a SmartPros staple for over four years, is refreshed twice a month.

* survey conducted by Robert Half International and

2006 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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