You’re looking for a new job. Somewhere between updating your résumé and preparing your ‘interview outfit’ should be the answer to the question at hand. What’s your number? The number that is an equitable exchange for the sum of your talent, skill, and experience. The number guaranteed to put pen to paper.
If you’re going to get the pay you deserve. You’re going to need to determine what that number is as opposed to letting others determine it for you. So the next time you step up to the interview table remember the following.
Do your homework – Your potential employer does not determine what’s fair for your role, the market does. Talk to people in a similar role or to recruiters to establish the current compensation range.
Negotiate more than just your base pay – In today’s job market, your number should be more than numerical. Determine what your real needs are (e.g. flexible work schedule) and bring them into the negotiation.
Beware of the gender gap – The fight has begun but as with all socio-economic fights, the uptake will be slow. When doing your homework make sure to find out what both sides of the gender scale are being paid for the role in question.
Don’t take negotiations personally – Negotiating is a business. The counter offer is expected. Don’t bring emotion into it.
Focus more on what you have to offer the potential employer and less on what they are giving you – In an interview, your needs have only one caretaker. You. Don’t get swayed by seemingly great perks and empty promises.
Have the courage to walk away – The potential employer is not doing you a favor. Your not going to be earning a free pay check. Don’t settle for less than you’re worth. You’ll resent it and the resentment will eventually be felt by those around you and the result will be an unpleasant working experience.