Let me explain. In the world of recruiting, I hear from many a jobseeker, “Once they meet me, they’re going to love me!” And what some (not all) folks actually mean by this is, “I know they said the salary is $50,000, but once they meet me, they’re going to love me! I bet they’d go up to $60,000.”
Real talk: Once they meet you, they might love you, but it doesn’t mean they’ll give you more money. Here’s why.
Today a successful job search looks like this:
1) Recruiting based on specific criteria—salary, flextime, benefits, vacation, job description, etc.
2) Rigorous interviewing, typically three to four rounds.
3) Job offer extended.
4) Job offer accepted.
Negotiating a salary after you receive a job offer was once the norm. Today it is not. When candidates try to negotiate a salary at the end of the process, it rarely comes through. And on the rare occasion it does, it starts the relationship off on the wrong foot. Rather than being the person who enthusiastically accepted the job, you are now the guy who quibbled over money after the offer was extended. (And who wants to be that guy?)
Here’s a better way to approach your job search and still get the money you want:
1) Be transparent. When we work with clients looking to hire marketing and creative talent, we know their criteria and budget right up front. You, the jobseeker, need to be equally transparent. In order for any of this to work, everyone needs to be honest about the number. A job search is too costly and time consuming for anyone’s time to be wasted due to wrong or withheld information.
2) Trust your recruiter. Is there ever a time to ask for more money in a recruiting process? Of course. There are instances when your recruiter can and should go to bat for you. One example would be if an offer comes in lower than what was discussed. Or, if at the beginning of the process, your salary requirements are above the client’s budget, but you are a perfect fit for the role. Work with a recruiter that you trust so you can feel confident that they will advocate for you in the same way you would advocate for yourself. And remember, a recruiter is compensated based on your salary, so it really is within your and the recruiter’s best interest to get the highest salary possible without ignoring or discounting a client’s budget.
3) Know your worth. A job search is not like buying a used car. Accepting a job offer is not an exercise in the art of negotiation. Know your worth going into a job search. Do your research and be realistic about the salary your experience and skills yield. Arm yourself with information so you know that you are getting paid—whether in salary or perks or a combination of both—what you deserve, without being unrealistic about what you can “get.”
In today’s market, the money is the money. Don’t make the mistake of approaching a job search as an opportunity to negotiate more money because “once they meet me, they’re going to love me.” Know what you want from the outset. Be clear about what you require for salary, benefits, flextime, and commute, so that when they do meet you and love you, you’ll be ready to accept a job that you want.