Negotiating: ‘The Pendulum Is Swinging More Toward the Candidate’

Susan Hall
Slide Show

Five Tips to Really Negotiate a Higher Salary

My colleague Don Tennant, writing about a Dice.com survey that found more than half of tech professionals accept the first salary offer without negotiating, argued that doing so could make it seem you’re more interested in the money than the job. That could get you off on the wrong foot, he said:

“If you feel compelled to haggle for more money after a potential employer makes you an offer, it follows that you don’t think he’s making you a fair offer. That means he’s trying to low-ball you. And if you think a potential employer is low-balling you, your best bet is to walk away, not feel like you need to play some negotiation game. If he’s trying to take advantage of you with the initial offer, what makes you think he won’t try to take advantage of you down the road?”

One-third of hiring managers and recruiters in the survey, however, said they “frequently” or “very frequently” raise the offer, and another 49 percent said they at least “occasionally” raise the offer.

The cost of not haggling in your first year averages $4,300, according to the survey. With raises generally a percentage of base salary, not haggling will continue to cost you every year after.

The shallow talent pool for some in-demand skills means companies have to be at the top of their game in their offers and as do candidates in knowing the market value of their skills. That’s where sites such as PayScale and Glassdoor some in.

Boston recruiter Rob Byron, principal consultant and team leader of information technology at WinterWyman Search, recently told me that negotiating has become much more common:

“We’re seeing in almost every deal we do these days, the candidates have a little more power. The pendulum is swinging more toward the candidate. In certain skill sets, there’s so much demand and there are not enough qualified candidates out there. So they have a little bit more cachet when they can say, ‘Can we get an extra 5 or 10K on top of that offer?’


“It’s not like the glory days when a candidate would have 10 offers, but it’s not like it was three years ago when there weren’t that many jobs out there. Candidates have more options and if companies want them, companies have to put together competitive offers and they have to be a little bit flexible on negotiating.”      



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