Don’t be afraid to lean in.
These were the words a mentor and friend told me when I reached out to him for advice on negotiating a salary. As a woman, I feel as though I am auto-programmed to sell myself short when it comes to getting a compensation package that I am happy with. Time and time again I have been complacent and agreed to a salary or compensation that wasn’t what I wanted just because I knew there would be someone else just as willing to do the job. In conversations with fellow working-females my sentiment seems to be echoed more frequently than I’d like considering it is 2017!
Job hunting and the process of changing jobs is stressful. Although we are portrayed as “short attention spanned Millennials” the process of finding or starting a new job can take a mental and physical toll on you. Putting aside that sometimes we change positions for a better opportunity – nobody wants to job hop and create a choppy resume to escape a bad manager or a company who’s values don’t align with their own. With that being said, there are a few things I wish I knew about former employers, both individuals and the organization, as a whole.
Aside from the organization and individuals is another major topic. Salary. One day women will have equal pay and we won’t have to lean in so damn far to get what we deserve. In the meantime, I wanted to share some tips for all the ladies out there who need a little nudge to get what they deserve and to be as well informed as possible when having these types of somewhat difficult conversations.
Before we even get to the salary negotiation we should do thorough research and know what and who we are going to be dealing with.
Here are a few tips and practices I have gathered over the years from my own personal experience and from conversations from some of my mentors and colleagues who work in human resources:
I LOVE Glassdoor. Glassdoor is your FRIEND. I actually left reviews for all my previous employers – positive, negative and neutral. It is definitely important to take the things people say at face value because sometimes it’s a bitter former employee going off on a tangent. But Glassdoor also offers a ton of useful information like health benefits and vacation information that employees are offered. I don’t know about you but 401k, paid time off and health insurance are important to me. You have to make sure the company you will be working for is investing in you not just when it comes to salary. It is also a good place to get an idea how of the interview process works before you even apply for a company or have your initial phone screening.
I like to skim reviews and see the good, bad and the ugly. No company is going to be perfect but it’s nice to go into a phone screening, in person interview or even a new job feeling prepared!
Get your manager’s name and the name of your interviewers either before or after an interview and… stalk stalk stalk! Look for reviews from peers. Check out their previous jobs. See if you can determine who these people are as professionals. It’s really important to be able to go into a new job with a team that is easy to work with or with diverse backgrounds so that you can learn and grow. The purpose of any job you have is to prepare you for your next job. And most of what you will learn is from those around you.
Also, if you’re really curious, type their names into Google or into Facebook and see if you can peek behind the curtain and get a glimpse of their personalities. You’ll be spending most of your days around these individuals, getting a little insight into who they are as people won’t hurt. Just don’t be super creepy and send a friend request, nobody likes colleagues knowing their personal life let alone strangers. But if it’s public info, it’s fair game #UnspokenSocialMediaRules
I was one time promised a review and potential merit increase at my six month mark by an employer. That promise was as solid as my mom’s promises to me that I would get ice cream for breakfast if I finished my whole glass of milk as a child. I accepted the job under the premise that in six months I would have the opportunity to get a review and a raise. I know that I am hard working and accepted the challenge to bust my a$$ for six months and prove my value to the organization.
Six months came and went, I requested time and time again from the HR team and my manager a review and evaluation of my work. I figured that even if the review was going to have anything negative it would give me the opportunity to enhance any skills in question and propose a review and raise again after a few months. The months passed, nine and then twelve. No review. No raise. Had I documented that request from the start I would have had much more leverage to escalate that and get what I deserved. Lesson learned!
Know your worth, people! Glassdoor has a super easy to use tool that allows you to input your title, years of experience and city, then calculates a salary you should be asking for based on those pieces of information. I also suggest using good old Google to do some research, check the minimum and maximum salaries for several combinations of your title and industry to see what other companies are paying their employees to do what you plan to be doing.
Ex searches: Senior Business Analyst in NYC or Business Systems Analyst in NYC or Senior Analyst in NYC.
Based on what you find, propose a salary floor (the lowest you’ll take) and a desired salary (what you really want). The key is to always high-ball these numbers by 5-10% because the employer will likely push back and propose something in the middle of those two salaries. You should also always ask for 10% more than you’re currently making, depending on the nature of the work, people typically don’t leave a company for anything less than a 10% increase in their current salary. Make sure you also consider paid time off and company holidays, you sometimes have the opportunity to negotiate additional time off, which you can quickly calculate to see your total compensation with those days off.
Also, don’t forget that in the U.S., your income is taxed approximately 28-30% so make sure you’re doing the math. See how much you’ll be bringing home every month and your total expenses. Will it make financial sense for you and your family to switch jobs for an extra $200 a month?
And always remember this: It doesn’t matter if someone else is willing to do the job you’re being offered for equal or sometimes less than what is being presented to you. At the end of the day you should be valued by your employer and have a compensation that is fair.
Repeat after me, I am valuable, they need me, I am going to lean in!