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#1 synlight  Icon User is offline

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Negotiating Salaries for Dummies

Post icon  Posted 17 October 2013 - 07:52 AM

I got my current job through a recruiter, as a contract-to-permanent position. My contract is nearing it's end, and I know the boss wants to hire me permanently. The thing is, I want more money. Competitive salaries in my area, for a position like mine, start much higher (~$15k) than what I am being paid right now.

I like my job, and I'd like to stay. But if the price isn't right, I will be looking for another job. I have no clue how to negotiate a salary. My reviews have been stellar, and I have a great working relationship with the boss. I am the only developer at the company, and I feel like that gives me some leverage (although I know everyone is replaceable).

So.. how does one go about negotiating for a permanent position? Do I just talk to him about what I want? Do I give him a figure higher than what I really want so we can hopefully meet in the middle with something I'm happy with? Do I just lay it out there, and tell him my walk away price?

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#2 snoj  Icon User is offline

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Re: Negotiating Salaries for Dummies

Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:17 AM

I haven't had many opportunities to talk salary, but when I have, I've had stats in my mental back pocket based off the job description I read and similar areas of work.

For my first, I did my homework and based my numbers off of what I was doing, what I would be asked to do and my geographical area. I didn't put too much stock in modifying for experience because of what was being asked of me.

When I got the offer letter, I was pretty stoked at the initial number. It was a huge amount of money for me at the time and quite a raise. However, because of my homework I knew similar positions paid more at starting. So I countered with bigger number, about 2x the original offer, but still less than the data tables had. They were taken back by it, but once it was explained that it was based off actual wage tables they were more receptive. In the end though, we settled on an amount in between.

In the end, the homework paid off and not only was I paid more, it also set me up for my marriage about a year and a half later to a woman I hadn't even considered dating yet. If I had started at the initial offer, I probably wouldn't have gotten married when I did, my wife and I likely wouldn't have been able to pay off her student loans during our first summer together, start our family or buy our house in the 6 years since starting that job.

So my advice is, just ask. The worst that happens is they tell you no, so you look for and find another job that does pay that 15K more at starting and maybe even more if your experience demands its. Company loyalty does have limits and sometimes that means loyalty goes to highest bidder (doesn't necessarily mean entirely with money).
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#3 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: Negotiating Salaries for Dummies

Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:20 AM

We all have our own techniques, and those techniques change depending who we're negotiating with.

Personally I'm a no fuss kind of guy, I lay it out there. The people I've always worked for know that's the kind of person I am, because I'm like that with all matters, not just negotiating raises.

My feeling is this on the matter, it's all in your conviction, and your conviction hinges on what you really believe.

When I go into a negotiation I know what I want. I know what I consider fair for me, and I won't take any lower than that. My conviction stands on the principal that I'm not afraid to walk if that comes. This doesn't guarantee getting the raise, it guarantees that whatever comes of it, you get what you want, because you know if you don't get X dollars, then you want to leave.

Of course though, always shoot higher than what you think is fair... make up for the fact that most of us think less of ourselves than our true value. Let them beat down to your 'fair' price, not you just hand it to them.

This post has been edited by lordofduct: 17 October 2013 - 08:22 AM

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#4 synlight  Icon User is offline

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Re: Negotiating Salaries for Dummies

Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:49 AM

Yeah I don't have a very good poker face. I'm a tell it like it is kinda person, and the boss appreciates that about me. My intention is to ask for $X/year and for the company to send me to a conference (of my choosing) once a year to further my skills. He can be a shark, though, in his business dealings. I kind of feel like I'm going to a slaughter.
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#5 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: Negotiating Salaries for Dummies

Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:42 AM

You should still have your number in line. Work with the fact you have a tell.

Still shoot high, he may see that he can beat you down, but when he hits that number that you don't want to go below, he'll know it. So either way, you'll have your line drawn.

That is as long as you have that line. Are you worried you can't find another job if you have to walk from here? If so, well then you need to work on that poker face. Don't let him know this is your only option.
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#6 jimblumberg  Icon User is offline

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Re: Negotiating Salaries for Dummies

Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:02 AM

Also don't forget that the recruiter was paid for finding you and many times your initial salary reflects this, so don't be afraid to ask for a more reasonable amount. If your bosses are truly happy with your performance they probably won't want to go thru the hassle of finding and training a new recruit.

Jim
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#7 synlight  Icon User is offline

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Re: Negotiating Salaries for Dummies

Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:23 AM

I know I can find another job, the market here is saturated with openings for developers. And now, I will have some real experience on the resume (I just graduated in May). Still need to work on the poker face, though.

So, what I'm taking away from this is:

1) Be prepared with competitive salary figures (that I can substantiate)
2) Have my sweet spot in mind, but ask for more to give myself some negotiating room
3) I KNOW that he doesn't want to find anyone else. They had a hard enough time finding me, because of the strange nature of the job. So.. that's my leverage.
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#8 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: Negotiating Salaries for Dummies

Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:44 AM

Sounds to me like you're prepared.
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#9 ckindt  Icon User is offline

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Re: Negotiating Salaries for Dummies

Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:03 PM

Note: this is my first post here. Please, be gentle.

I have a question: since this was a contract-to-hire with a recruiter wasn't the a hiring salary already on the table-with the original contract? From what I've seen (ok, not necessarily a statistically valid data set) a contract-to-hire should spell out the terms of hiring on.

That being said, if the recruiter for this didn't specify in the contract itself how it should be your contract rate does not lock in the hiring rate. The two are separate. In my area (both geographic and programming experience), contract rates are higher than permanent salaried positions almost without exception.

One other thought: when I negotiate I never give a $ number first: I want to hear what they (the client/employer/recruiter) would offer and go from there. Ok, one other thought: During initial negotiations, I generally ask for time to consider the offer, at least overnight. Even before giving a counter offer. I say, Make 'em wait!

Good luck!
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#10 synlight  Icon User is offline

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Re: Negotiating Salaries for Dummies

Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:07 PM

Welcome to posting ckindt! There is a "suggested" permanent salary on my contract, but my recruiter said it is on me to negotiate when it comes time to make the transition. I like the idea of seeing what he has to offer before I tell him what I want. I bet that would give me a leg up.
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#11 farrell2k  Icon User is offline

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Re: Negotiating Salaries for Dummies

Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:13 PM

If you know your boss wants hire you permanently, then tell him you want to be there permanently. Be honest with him. Let him know that you took the temp job with the lower than average pay to gain experience, and now that you have that experience, you have more options. Tell him that you do a great job and that you would love to stay where you are. He knows that it is costly and time-consuming to find and train someone to replace you. Also let him know that it is a hassle for you to find another job and to get acclimated to it. Tell him how much more you want, but make sure you go a bit over what the average salary is, because there is no way in hell you are going to get exactly what you as for. You will likely work out a price somewhere between. Don't let money be the deciding factor either. More vacation time and a salary bump is nice too.

Good luck man!
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#12 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Negotiating Salaries for Dummies

Posted 18 October 2013 - 05:15 AM

Local stats and knowing what the market will bear for your skillset/years of experience is definitely the way to go. I got a raise every year and one out of assessment cycle when I worked for a larger company.

"The client is very pleased with my work, bla bla bla. I currently make X, my research indicates that people with Z years of experience in this area make Y on average."
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#13 ckindt  Icon User is offline

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Re: Negotiating Salaries for Dummies

Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:07 AM

View Postsynlight, on 17 October 2013 - 02:07 PM, said:

Welcome to posting ckindt! There is a "suggested" permanent salary on my contract, but my recruiter said it is on me to negotiate when it comes time to make the transition. I like the idea of seeing what he has to offer before I tell him what I want. I bet that would give me a leg up.


Thanks synlight. One other random thought about contract to hire: the recruiter firm sometimes waives the recruiter/finder's fee (whatever you want to call it) because they make their $$ when they charge to the client (i.e. what they are paying to you is not what the client is paying to them). If this were a direct hire then I would agree with jimblumberg about initial salary.

I would also say you are doing it right and are in a good position for just coming out of school (I'm SO jealous! ://>) even with the 'strange nature of the job'. I've never had to programmed upside down, is it difficult? :D/>
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#14 synlight  Icon User is offline

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Re: Negotiating Salaries for Dummies

Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:23 AM

Yeah. It's hard as hell. Sometimes I wish I had taken a job as a junior developer somewhere so somebody could just tell me what to do. On the other hand, I have all the freedom in the world. The boss is not an IT person, he saw a need for some software and filled it. He doesn't really know or care what I do as long as I meet my deadlines.

When I came into this position, he had pulled a guy from sales that liked to make web pages, and made him a developer. This person tried his best to write the software, and a year later he thought it was done. So, sales guy leaves, boss hires me, and my task is to polish off the software and get it ready for release.

I sat down with it, and was able to throw a dozen different (major) errors in less than an hour of testing. I had the pleasure of going to the boss in my second week and telling him this project was a total failure. It was such a mess. He asked me for my recommendation, and I asked him to let me try it in C. He said okay, and I gave him a 2-3 month timeline. I had a working prototype in 3 weeks, that did everything the last version did. After that, he was sold.

But.. yeah. Teaching myself can be a struggle. The guys over on the C# and WPF forums have saved my butt more than once, though. Now the boss wants versions for iPhone and Android, so next I'll be teaching myself mobile dev LOL.
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#15 synlight  Icon User is offline

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Re: Negotiating Salaries for Dummies

Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:29 AM

Here's the stack of books I keep on my desk

Posted Image

This post has been edited by synlight: 18 October 2013 - 07:42 AM

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