By Bryan Tharpe, Fort Rucker Soldier for Life Transition Services ManagerOctober 27, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Negotiating a salary is every job hunter's final hurdle. Many times job seekers are so eager to have an offer that they forget to take advantage of the leverage they have at this critical moment.
Your negotiating strength is never stronger than at the moment when the company invites you to join their team. Many job seekers fail to prepare themselves for this final hurdle and may end up with less compensation than they are worth.
This can be avoided by researching, practicing and expecting negotiations.
Before you can begin to develop a negotiation strategy, you must learn about yourself. You can begin this process by analyzing your financial needs and wants. Determine what compensation you will require by preparing a brief balance sheet of your assets and liabilities. This simple exercise will quickly reveal your salary needs.
In addition, you need to research current compensation packages within your specific career field. You should become familiar with all parts of the compensation package because there are options with a civilian package that may be new to you. You can find salary information in the Jobs Rated Almanac, the American Almanac of Job Salaries and the Occupational Outlook Handbook, all of which are available on-line.
You should enter the negotiation process with a win-win attitude. The end result should be a benefit to you and the company. You should determine how soon the company needs to fill the position and whether or not you are a good fit.
Never be the first to mention money. The rule is, the first to mention money loses. This is true. You want the employer to reveal their money position first -- this gives you the upper hand in negotiation.
Always remember, you can come across too greedy and this may turn-off your potential employer. You must use tact and common sense during the negotiation.
If you find yourself at an impasse with a potential employer, try to negotiate something other than salary. There are a multitude of benefits other than salary that you may be able to negotiate, such as vacation/leave time, 401K plans, stock options and health benefits. Many times relocation benefits are also a negotiation point. Do not overlook these benefits when you begin to develop your own negotiation strategy.
In summary, the most important points are, never mention money first and always enter the negotiation with a win-win attitude. In order to receive the compensation you want, you will need to prepare so you will come across as calm confident and flexible. Communicate that you are searching for a mutually satisfactory agreement as a potential member of the team.
The Soldier for Life Center is available to assist you develop a negotiation strategy or to simply answer questions you may have about how to properly enter a salary negotiation.
Salary negotiation is part of the Department of Labor workshop and is taught during the job search process to transitioning Soldiers and their family members.
Fort Rucker counselors can be reached at 255-2558.