By Veronika Tyukova
Salary negotiation is a sensitive subject. In Russia, where I am from, it was considered bad manners to brag about yourself. In the US it’s called “selling yourself,” and you have to learn how to be good at it. You might be great at physics or chemistry, but if you don’t know how to “sell yourself,” you may not get the jobs you want or the salary you deserve.
So, how best to approach salary negotiation?
To find out, I attended “Salary Negotiation 101,” a webinar led by Niya Dragova from Candor, a human resource-negotiation company. Niya started with a test-case about a product manager who made $283K at his job and decided to move to another company that offered him $390K. He was happy to accept their offer, but Candor helped him to negotiate to a salary of $521K. This was a very impressive story. Niya had my attention.
What I Learned
Start with “WHY.” WHY are you applying for this job? WHY this company? Then think about how you can contribute and how you can take this company to the next level. Once you have answers to these questions, structure your conversation with people involved in the hiring process about value you are bringing and not about “what’s in it for me.” When all hiring managers see how you can help their company and want you to be part of their team, you are in a position to negotiate.
Know the basics. It is not just a salary; it is a compensation package. It may include equity, benefits like healthcare, vacation, signing bonus, relocation, annual bonus, free snacks, and other perks. For example, an annual bonus might be 10%-25% of your base salary, but it is not guaranteed. If an annual bonus is part of your package you may want to ask:
Equity is an important component of a compensation package. Shares of public companies, like Google and Facebook, are as good as cash. Shares of growth stage companies, like AirBnB, are worth 50%-150% of quoted value. With a startup company you are taking a risk with equity; you don’t know where the company is going to be five years from now, but you have more influence and negation power.
You may get RSUs (Restrictive Stock Unit) or ISOs (Incentive Stock Options). With RSUs, a company promises to give you shares when they go public or sell the company. RSUs are common with big public tech companies. Incentive stock options are more common with startups.
It is also important to understand vesting schedule-the time when you can get all or part of your shares. In many cases you will get a certain percentage (ex, 20%) after the first year and then get a smaller percentage (ex 2%) each month for the remaining vesting period.
If you are offered options here are some good questions to ask:
What you are paid has nothing to do with your cost of living. Sometimes people are happy with the first offer they receive (like our test case subject above) because it covers their costs or is more than what they used to make. Think what you could be doing with the extra money: invest in education, enjoy a hobby, travel, donate to a favorite charity, fund a non-profit organization, start your own company, etc.
At the end of the webinar, Niya shared her “Four Golden Rules of Salary Negotiation”:
You can potentially increase your compensation package by 50% just by communicating the value you are bringing and by asking the right questions. I wish I attended this webinar ages ago, before I started my first job. but, as the saying goes, it’s better late than never!
Your time. Reclaim it.
Brian is a marketing VP who, last week, reclaimed 4.5 daytime work hours by taking this calendar challenge.
Stretch your imagination and envision a blank calendar for the next two weeks. Consider your professional objectives and what your team is responsible to deliver. Then, challenge every proposed virtual/video, phone/audio or in-person meeting before it is added to the calendar. Ask yourself:
Brian now challenges every meeting against his newfound freedom: the stretches of uninterrupted time he is using to do the creative work he loves when he’s at his best – 10 AM – instead of 10 PM. He began by replacing the weekly, hour-long one-on-one video check-ins with 5 direct reports with an optional 15-minute check-in by phone. Everyone scheduled a call, got what they needed, and thanked Brian for saving their time.
What changes when you challenge every meeting before it hits your calendar? Are you ready to find out?
Want to know what your time is actually worth? Check out this post from Sarin A. Barsoumian:
What is your Time Worth?
You have heard the saying “time is money.” It is popular because it is true.
It is extremely useful to know how to value your own time. Use this equation to determine your hourly rate:
Salary / 52 / # of hours you work per week
Knowing how much money each hour is worth, will help you make smarter decisions about many subjects, including:
Deceptively simple, listening – really listening – is seldom easy. It is a skill that demands curiosity, consistency, and self-control.
Try this: turn a ring, watch, or bracelet into a powerful talisman that will instantly focus your attention and bring you a bit of good luck without anyone else noticing.
In Italy, one client’s antique ring (a treasured gift from her grandmother) is the trusted talisman she counts on in high stakes, high stress situations. It’s a secret reminder to tune-in and really listen as she consistently does these 6 things:
Pick your talisman. At the start of your next conversation, focus in by secretly running your thumb or finger across your bracelet, ring or watch. Keep it there while you pay close attention and convey the two messages everyone wants to hear: I see you. I hear you.
My friend and colleague Deb Kennedy, from Strategic Directions Coaching has written this interesting and helpful blog on how to move through procrastination and fear to find success!
Moving Beyond Procrastination – The Shift from Desire to Discipline
By: Deb Kennedy - Executive Coach, MBA/ ACC, CPC
How many times have you set out to accomplish something – a work assignment, a new project, skill, entrepreneurial venture, hobby or healthy habit – only to stop short before bringing your efforts through to completion? You’ve done your research, your enthusiasm is high and you have the necessary skills. And yet, days and weeks and sometimes months pass and you have made no progress toward your goal.
All of us deal with procrastination at times, but if you begin to notice that it is a regular ‘go-to’ for you, you may want to give it some attention.
Procrastination is a coping mechanism. It sometimes alleviates the stress of having to take on something we are unsure how to handle. Other times, we may procrastinate to protect ourselves from criticism. By avoiding taking a next step on a project, we don’t put our work in a position for comment or critique.
Research has shown that procrastination may be closely linked to perfectionism. The desire to complete an effort perfectly every time may have the effect of slowing our efforts and limiting our accomplishments. Procrastination also aligns with ‘people pleasing’ and the fear that others won’t understand or encourage our efforts. Below are some thoughts for your consideration: