Centred Content

Dear Joanna,

After many job interviews, and plenty of help from my Reena job coach through the community participation program Channels, I am excited to report that I received a job offer for a receptionist position with a local social service agency.

But the salary is lower than the market rate by about 10 thousand dollars! I would like to negotiate the salary but am afraid of jeopardizing the success of my new position or the offer. I have spent countless months on this job search, and I just want a job. I don’t want to make my new employer angry and then renege on the job offer.

I am tempted to just accept the offer. However, I am concerned that I might be resentful after a while on the job given the salary is below my expectations. Please could you advise me on how to negotiate my salary in a professional and secure manner.

Thanks so much.

Signed: Salary Blues (SB)

Centred Content

Dear SB,

Congratulations on your new job. This is exciting news. It’s a complicated topic with many perspectives on negotiating the salary but all experts advise you to do so only after you receive the job offer!

Although dated, Shapiro (2008) offers relevant suggestions on how to negotiate your salary in her book “What Does Somebody Have to Do to Get a Job Around Here?”.  According to the author, the company wants you, needs you and has chosen you, and this is the one time you can ask for money and benefits that you desire and have the greatest chance of getting. Negotiating will show the company that you know that you are worth it and are not afraid to ask. This will help you enter your new position from a point of strength, solid ground, setting you up for success with key decision makers behind you. However, cautions Shapiro, the way you ask is critical to your success and you must prepare a script in advance if you do decide to approach the new employer.

Further, during the job interview, did you ask if there is room for promotion and career advancement with this position? If there is growth, then it could be worthwhile for you to accept the job and start building your career there rather than discuss the salary.

If you do decide to negotiate, Shapiro’s tips could help you to obtain your deserved salary.

  1. Make sure you know the market rate for you in this position. Remember that the salary you can command varies, based on where you live and your skills, experience and education. Check out other job postings for receptionist positions on Indeed, LinkedIn and other organizations in the same sector. You can also research salaries on www.payscale.com or www.glassdoor.com.
  2. Express your appreciation to the hiring manager for supporting your higher compensation package offer, before asking to negotiate further; consider ending off the conversation with “I’m thrilled about the additional ten percent; but I was really hoping for $x; is there anything else we can do here?”
  3. Prioritize. Determine the top one to three things you will be asking for and go back to the negotiating table no more than twice; negotiate each individual item before moving on to the next.
  4. Don’t rush. Keep calm and in control. The hiring manager might try to pressure you to make a quick decision, but take time to consider your options and make a decision you can live with.
  5. Be flexible. If you were not able to get the salary you were asking for, ask for extra vacation time or another priority on your list by saying something like “Would it be possible to make up the difference in the signing bonus?” You should also be aware when the negotiations are over, the hiring manager’s tone will change. At this point you must decide if you wish to accept the offer.

Additional tips are offered by Kearns (2011) in his article https://www.canadianliving.com/life-and-relationships/money-and-career/article/top-10-tips-for-salary-negotiations. He explains that negotiating the salary package is difficult, but the process could be a great opportunity for you to show that you can remain professional and clear-minded in any type of working environment. Plus, your pre-negotiation preparation could be the best investment you will ever make. So use these negotiation techniques and get the salary you really deserve.

For more information, check out Shapiro’s book and Kearns’ article in addition to countless blogs on the subject.

I wish you lots of success with your salary negotiations.


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