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Money is not a five letter dirty word


Money is not a five letter dirty word


he adage "Dal roti khao, prabhu ke gun gao," which the pre-liberalisation era swore by, is passe. The roti, kapda and makan dream may have sent the adrenaline of the 50s generation running high. Today, in the post-liberalisation era, with a host of goodies whetting our insatiable consumerist appetite, McDonald’s pizzas have replaced the roti, dresses have to be the Vintage Rahul Bajaj, Armani collection and the house has been replaced by the five room air-conditioned apartment, with its own private water and electricity connections of course. The goodies come for a price.

So when the recruiter mentions the M-word, do not act coy, it's your rites of passage to the job. The recruiter wants you, to climb on to the company bandwagon. However, he’s playing for the lowest stakes to keep the bottom-line trim. You, obviously, are gunning for bigger bucks. But if you bid too high, you’ve blown it. If you bid too low, you run the risk of lowering your personal net worth. arms you with crucial salary negotiation tips to make you m-savvy.

Get to know your net worth: To be m-savvy you need to be market savvy. Research the job market to find the salary ranges offered for comparable positions. What are the ongoing competitive rates for your skill sets in the industry? This can be done by talking to human resources professionals or querying professional associations in your specialty. Do not hesitate in asking friends the money they make on a similar job. This will ensure that you are not short charged for your professional skills. If you can provide market data that supports your request for a higher salary, it will be easier to convince recruiters to loosen purse strings.

The three magic numbers: Once you have acquired basic information on salary ranges, come up with three figures before you sit down to negotiate with your employer. One, the lowest amount of money you are willing to work for, two, a realistic market figure. What is your skill and experience worth in today’s market? Three, the maximum you can ask for.

The first figure is your secret which you should carefully guard. Under no circumstances should you disclose this sum to the recruiter. Use the other two figures to compute a salary range, not a figure. This will help you to hammer out a mutually beneficial agreement with your recruiter.

Answering the first m-question: Do not make the mistake of uttering he M-word till your recruiter does. When the recruiter opens negotiations with: "What are your salary expectations" or a similar question, do not race to volunteer any information about the sum you have arrived at. In doing so, you run the risk of either overvaluing or undervaluing your skills. Volley the question right back into the recruiter’s court by saying; "I expect a fair salary which will reflect my skills and experience. What is the salary range for this job?" They'll give you a range, which will help you to revise the salary ranges you’ve arrived at.

If the recruiter offers a sum, even if it is a fairly high amount, do not jump at it. Remember it is in the recruiter’s interest to open negotiations at the lower end of the salary scale. Say, it sounds good as a starting point, but can we review the responsibilities for the job. Ask specific questions, such as: "How many projects will I be working on? In the next six months, will my work and responsibilities undergo a significant increase? How many hours will I be working every day?" The answers will help you persuade the recruiter to up the initial offered figure.

Negotiate for a package, not for a salary: Do not be hung up on the annual figure. Instead focus your energies towards negotiating the best benefit package. Find out if your company’s ready to pick the tab for your housing bill and medical expenses. Does your company subscribe to the Provident Fund? Are other incentives like travel and entertainment expense and e-sops on the cards. Find out if the company has a policy for pay for training and ongoing education. What are the bonus incentives given to employers? What is your vacation package likely to be? Will you get a phone connection or a computer from the company? Even if the proffered base salary is not very high, the inclusion of these benefits can make a critical difference to your lifestyle.

Dream salary... but not a career: In the techie job market, a job is more than just the salary. However fantastic the offer, restraint from accepting the job solely." Factor the rate of technology attrition in the industry. You may be getting a whopping salary but the next year your skills may be redundant in the job market. If the job does not offer an opportunity to constantly update and upgrade skills, it is in your interest to reject the offer.

Dream job.... but low salary: It’s the organisation you’ve wanted to work for, the job’s a challenge, the work environment excellent but ...hum ho... there’s a glitch and not a minor one at that. The proffered salary is lower than your monetary phpirations. Don’t turn down the offer. Try to convince the recruiter by placing a market value on past accomplishments.

This is a crucial selling stage of the game and it is important to establish how hiring you will contribute to the company’s bottom-line objectives, as well as your interest in joining their organization. Having a plan written out is also a good idea. If this does not work and you don’t want to bid adieu, negotiate for a substantial raise after the first three quarterly performance review.

The techniques of negotiation: Salary negotiation is essentially haggling for the right price for your skills, but do not view it as a either he wins or I win situation. Instead work towards a win-win situation by adopting a flexible, professional and confident approach. If the initial offer is disappointing, do not raise your voice or flex your muscles. Instead restate what you feel you are worth and why, and let the recruiter make the counter-offer.

Once the offer has been made, get it in writing. Make sure it includes (in addition to salary figures) bonuses, performance review schedules, and job descriptions and requirements.

The Final word: After getting the offer, take a day to reevaluate the terms and conditions. However, the most significant factor to consider is: whether you’ll have enjoy the work and what will you be able to accomplish. If you are satisfied on this count, pick up the pen to ink the contract .... what are you waiting for?

*The views expressed here are that of the author.

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