Salary Negotiation Tip & Tricks?

willanderson1111willanderson1111 Member Posts: 43 ■■□□□□□□□□
Up into now I had been passive and jump on any offers since I lacked experienced. I now have some leverage due to experience, degree, certs, clearance level that I obtained. I finally land an SA position and now I just need to negotiate my salary. I am making 50k as DS right now and I want to aim for 75k. All the S/A that I talked to told me to ask for a minimum of 75k. This is at the Pentagon.
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Comments

  • instant000instant000 Member Posts: 1,745
    1. Find out what the location pays people with your level of skill and exp first, no need to go into an expensive area, and be broke.
    2. Whoever offers first loses in this game. If you can get them to make an offer first, then you just shoot far enough up beyond that, that when you split the difference, you get the number you really wanted.


    For instance, if you want 56K, and the employer offers 52K, then shoot for 60K, then get them to meet you halfway.
    Or, if they offer 70K, but you want 75k, then spit out 80k.
    But, none of this helps, if you don't know what the position is paying already, so you can kind of slot in how much you think you're worth, in comparison.

    For instance, this graph here says the AVERAGE is 81K.

    Systems Administrator Salaries in Pentagon, DC | Simply Hired

    Just remember, the key is asking for more than you actually want, and then haggle over the rest.

    Without research, you could be selling yourself cheap.
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  • EveryoneEveryone Member Posts: 1,661
    $50k to $75k will be a hard jump to achieve, but only if you disclose your current salary. You'll find that recruiters, or the company HR, will ask you what your current salary expectations are during the initial phone screening, as well as what your desired salary is. If you tell them $50k, but you want to make $75k, they will tell you that it will be hard to justify that big of a jump in salary, and probably tell you that you can expect $55k to $60k if an offer is made.

    Here's a good way to overcome that. Instead of telling them your current salary, say "I'd prefer not to disclose my current salary. I'd like any offers to be made based on my experience and the value that I will bring to the company. I don't want my current salary to influence a decision."

    This won't work with every company. Some of them will require proof of your salary history, meaning W2s, pay stubs, etc. If they do, making a big salary jump will be a little more difficult. You will have to come up with a good reason as to why you're currently paid so low, and why you think you should get paid higher.

    It's really lame the way some companies play this game. They could be willing to pay up to $100k/yr for a position. If the most qualified candidates most recent salary was $50k, they'll offer $55k, maybe up to $60k, and not budge on the offer, even though they could offer you more and still come in well under budget for the position.
  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityMember Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    What is the saying, the first person who mentions a number looses? That being said, what you could say is when they ask what are you salary expectation, you could respond "I have a number range in my head, but before I can say an exact number, I would like to find out what my out of pocket costs for health insurance, etc etc"....

    Using the above example, lets say currently you make 50k a year but pay 0 out of pocket costs for health insurance. Now the new company, let's say they offer you 70k a year, BUT you will have to pay $150/pay check for your health insurance. Assuming you get paid twice a month, that is 300/mo going towards your health insurance * 12 = 3600 a year for health insurance. Subtract that from 70k and you are now at 66400 as your salary (not factoring taxes, 401k, etc).

    If they won't meet you where you'd like to be (btw I agree with Everyone, start high and negotiate down some) look at maybe having it written in after 6 months you will have a salary review. Or go for other perks. If they say they can only pay you 62500, ask if they would be willing to throw in more vacation time - if you accrue 15 days a year ask if they will give you 10 days vacation at day 1 and then you accrue the other 15 days. Or maybe see if you can work in a telecommute deal, or have them pay for you to take some courses/tests you want.
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  • keenonkeenon Member Posts: 1,922 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Everyone is very correct. Most places try not to do more than 10% of your current salary. Choosing not to disclose it is a gamble depending on the company but getting your desired rate isn't impossible.

    I have also read that mentioning that your under paid if you have to disclose is also good disclaimer. I saw a position for a cissp paying max of 60k. which we all know that is way under market rate.
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  • QHaloQHalo Member Posts: 1,488
    I've started asking them what the range is they're looking for when they call me asking what my range is. This tells me quick if further discussion is even warranted. Most places will tip their hand quickly I've seen as of late.
  • EveryoneEveryone Member Posts: 1,661
    I used the non-disclosure method getting the job I have now. The job I was at before that had a low salary because it was tied to a state controlled scale, and in the middle of nowhere Montana which had an extremely low cost of living. I ended up getting a 16% increase in salary, and was able to talk them into paying for all my moving expenses to move over 1500 miles, at the height of the recession.

    In my job search this time around, I've taken a slightly different approach. I've been disclosing my salary, but only after explaining that I currently live in an area that pays lower than much of the rest of the country, and also working for a non-profit hospital, which pays less than other industries. I explain that my desired salary is based on what I should get paid for the type of job and the years of experience I have, as well as the location of the job.

    If they aren't willing to work with me on it, I decline the interview. I've had a few recruiters tell me that my salary expectations are well within what the company is willing to pay (I usually have a pretty good idea of this before giving them my desired range) , but they may have a hard time justifying the increase of my current salary. They then tell me that they will not disclose my salary and just put me in for the amount I'm asking for, and see what they say. I've always received the interview doing this, because I give a realistic salary expectation that matches the position, not too low, not too high.

    Hopefully I will start getting some offers within the next week, so we'll see how my approach this time around works out. If I don't get offers from my current batch of interviews, I may switch back to the non-disclosure approach for the next batch.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Inactive Imported Users Posts: 5,031 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I think it depends on if you are dealing with recruiters or not. I talked to a recruiter and she asked me what I make. I told her. Then she she asked what did I want to make ( I said about a 10% raise). She basically told me I was looking for too much and I need to rethink what I was looking for. I told her I' d think about it....


    The job I am starting in about a week or so is giving me a 30% raise, well more than what my "max" was. That' s another thing, never ever give anyone a range just give them a bottom. What I mean is, if you don' t want to make under 40k say, at least 40k. They might be willing to pay you 55k. But if you say 40k-50k, you might limit yourself at the upper end. Don' t ever say you can' t pay me more than X amount...

    Oh and I do disclose my salary only if I feel that it is in my best interest to do so.
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Member Posts: 4,024
    rwmidl wrote: »
    Using the above example, lets say currently you make 50k a year but pay 0 out of pocket costs for health insurance. Now the new company, let's say they offer you 70k a year, BUT you will have to pay $150/pay check for your health insurance. Assuming you get paid twice a month, that is 300/mo going towards your health insurance * 24 = 7200 a year for health insurance.

    You may want to check your math. I'm pretty sure that 300 a month is not 7200, and I'm pretty sure there are only 12 months in a year, not 24 ;)
  • anothergeekanothergeek Member Posts: 30 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Never tell them how much you want let them make the first offer then counter it. On my new job I was able to double my salary plus some by letting them offer me a number then working my way up. Since the orginal offer was a lot more than what I was making I said why not let me add another 10k and they gave it to me.
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  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityMember Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    You may want to check your math. I'm pretty sure that 300 a month is not 7200, and I'm pretty sure there are only 12 months in a year, not 24 ;)

    And that is why I wasn't a math major.... icon_redface.gif
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  • AldurAldur Juniper Moderator Member Posts: 1,460
    Everyone wrote: »
    It's really lame the way some companies play this game. They could be willing to pay up to $100k/yr for a position. If the most qualified candidates most recent salary was $50k, they'll offer $55k, maybe up to $60k, and not budge on the offer, even though they could offer you more and still come in well under budget for the position.

    I have experienced this first hand to tell the truth. A couple of years ago, and a couple of jobs ago, I was making around 50k/yr and applied for a position that I knew people first hand that made over 100k/yr doing. I aced all the interviews and was offered the job. The recruiter offered me 60k/yr... I almost hung up on him. But instead I called the hiring manager, who was going to be my boss, and let my feelings known. Later that week I offer in hand that was acceptable.

    It just was shocking that the recruiter actually offered 60k for a job that I knew without a doubt was budgeted for over 100k... and the best part is that he stuck to his guns till I got the hiring manager involved. All said and done the recruiter was all butt hurt over the situation, guess he probably lost out on some commission. :)
    "Bribe is such an ugly word. I prefer extortion. The X makes it sound cool."

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  • NOC-NinjaNOC-Ninja Member Posts: 1,403
    <p>at my old job they offer me 60k . i said i need 85k and i ended up agreeing with 80k.</p>
  • ITdudeITdude Member Posts: 1,181 ■■■□□□□□□□
    rwmidl wrote: »
    And that is why I wasn't a math major.... icon_redface.gif

    And on the eighth day, God created calculators!:) icon_wink.gif
    I usually hang out on 224.0.0.10 (FF02::A) and 224.0.0.5 (FF02::5) when I'm in a non-proprietary mood.

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  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityMember Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    ITdude wrote: »
    And on the eighth day, God created calculators!:) icon_wink.gif

    The sad part is I WAS using a calculator! In my mind I just doubled the months and it transferred to the keys....
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  • KelkinKelkin Member Posts: 261 ■■■□□□□□□□
    rwmidl wrote: »
    The sad part is I WAS using a calculator! In my mind I just doubled the months and it transferred to the keys....

    Just stay away from my QoS Settings.. :)
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Member Posts: 4,024
    rwmidl wrote: »
    The sad part is I WAS using a calculator! In my mind I just doubled the months and it transferred to the keys....

    Trust me, you're not the only one who's ever had their brain going down one path, and their fingers another. Screwing up benefit calculation is relatively minor to causing a routing loop by mistyping a static route and losing customer data as a result!
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Member Posts: 4,024
    Aldur wrote: »
    It just was shocking that the recruiter actually offered 60k for a job that I knew without a doubt was budgeted for over 100k... and the best part is that he stuck to his guns till I got the hiring manager involved. All said and done the recruiter was all butt hurt over the situation, guess he probably lost out on some commission. :)

    Good move.

    I wish more employers would realize that if they're going to play the incremental increase from your old job game, that's just going to encourage employees to use your company as a stepping stone to the salary they want. Better to pay them what they're worth and try to actually hold on to them, than to have to fill the same position over and over because you're trying to save some money in the budget.
  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityMember Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Good move.

    I wish more employers would realize that if they're going to play the incremental increase from your old job game, that's just going to encourage employees to use your company as a stepping stone to the salary they want. Better to pay them what they're worth and try to actually hold on to them, than to have to fill the same position over and over because you're trying to save some money in the budget.

    +1! From what Aldur said, it sounds like the recruiter (I'm guessing a third party) was trying to possibly increase their commission check?
    CISSP | CISM | ACSS | ACIS | MCSA:2008 | MCITP:SA | MCSE:Security | MCSA:Security | Security + | MCTS
  • EveryoneEveryone Member Posts: 1,661
    rwmidl wrote: »
    +1! From what Aldur said, it sounds like the recruiter (I'm guessing a third party) was trying to possibly increase their commission check?

    This would only be possible if it were an internal recruiter. They MAY get bonuses for hiring people below the maximum salary for a position, but I've not heard of this, so really don't know.

    3rd party/external recruiters get paid a percentage of your first years salary, so it is in their best interest to get you the highest salary possible. A good one will be honest with you about this. One told me he would make 18% off me if I got hired, so he'd love for me to get a higher salary, but wanted me to aim for what he thought was a more realistic number.

    The flip side of that is, because it costs a company MORE to hire you through a 3rd party/external recruiter, they may want to offer you less than if you had gone to them directly. If they max out at $100k, and the recruiter gets 18%, you actually cost the company $118k for your 1st year of employment. If $100k was the max they were willing to pay, they may now only offer you $80k so that your first year salary will still fit inside their budget.
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Member Posts: 4,024
    Everyone wrote: »
    The flip side of that is, because it costs a company MORE to hire you through a 3rd party/external recruiter, they may want to offer you less than if you had gone to them directly. If they max out at $100k, and the recruiter gets 18%, you actually cost the company $118k for your 1st year of employment. If $100k was the max they were willing to pay, they may now only offer you $80k so that your first year salary will still fit inside their budget.

    I'd actually be willing to deal with that, *if* I got an enforceable contract with stiff penalties that said after my first year, I'd be bumped up to whatever they gave the recruiter in the first place.

    Most folks aren't willing to deal with that, though. They'll either just give you what you want, and pull it from some slush fund, or look at another candidate.
  • willanderson1111willanderson1111 Member Posts: 43 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Things got more interestingicon_rolleyes.gif While I was working today one of my customer told me there is a position open for something similar to what I am doing now which is DS. The starting pay is 70K and I have a real high chance of getting it. The only drawback is that the contract is up for renewal so there is no real guarantee. However, they feel very confident that the contract will be renew. So here is the dilemma I have been facing all day.

    1.Stay with my company and accept the SA position for 57K. The cost of taking the metro to the PNT will be an additional 3K/yr in transportation cost. However, I will gain valuable SA experience since I have no prior SA experience. The only problem I have is that I already started my Top Secret investigation. Before the company sponsored me they made me signed a two-year employment commitment. If I quit, can I tell them to terminate the investigation? I don't want to feel obligated or that I am taking advantage of them.

    2.Go for the interview with the other company and hope to get 70K. They will also sponsor me for a TS. The downside is that this is a mission critical org and is a 24/7 hour shop. Which mean I might be working some evenings and weekends but is rotational. I am single so this is not an issue beside the fact that I'll have to adjust. The SA position is the typical 9-5.
  • spicy ahispicy ahi Member Posts: 413 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Things got more interestingicon_rolleyes.gif While I was working today one of my customer told me there is a position open for something similar to what I am doing now which is DS. The starting pay is 70K and I have a real high chance of getting it. The only drawback is that the contract is up for renewal so there is no real guarantee. However, they feel very confident that the contract will be renew. So here is the dilemma I have been facing all day.

    1.Stay with my company and accept the SA position for 56K. The cost of taking the metro to the PNT will be an additional 3K/yr in transportation cost. However, I will gain valuable SA experience since I have no prior SA experience. The only problem I have is that I already started my Top Secret investigation. Before the company sponsored me they made me signed a two-year employment commitment. If I quit, can I tell them to terminate the investigation? I don't want to feel obligated or that I am taking advantage of them.

    2.Go for the interview with the other company and hope to get 70K. They will also sponsor me for a TS. The downside is that this is a mission critical org and is a 24/7 hour shop. Which mean I might be working some evenings and weekends but is rotational. I am single so this is not an issue beside the fact that I'll have to adjust. The SA position is the typical 9-5.

    If you quit, they will stop the investigation so no worries on that front. If it were me, I'd play it safe and stay with your current company. Wait until the investigation is completed and you earn your TS. During that time, you'd be gaining valuable SA experience as you said. Being single means you could probably adjust your style of living (move closer to work, etc.) to align your costs to make working there work out so it shouldn't be tough, should it?

    On another note, congratulations! There are probably a few people that wish they have the "problem" you have right now! :)
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  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Member Posts: 4,024
    Things got more interestingicon_rolleyes.gif While I was working today one of my customer told me there is a position open for something similar to what I am doing now which is DS. The starting pay is 70K and I have a real high chance of getting it. The only drawback is that the contract is up for renewal so there is no real guarantee. However, they feel very confident that the contract will be renew. So here is the dilemma I have been facing all day.

    Unless you've got no debt and a healthy amount of cash socked away, I wouldn't be gambling with the other company. If you take the job and then the contract doesn't renew, how will that affect you?

    Then there's the simple question of what do you want to do? If you enjoy Desktop Support, then maybe going for the higher paying job is worth it. If not, don't even consider it. The short term economic gain isn't worth retarding your long term career goals.
  • powerfoolpowerfool Senior Member Member Posts: 1,658 ■■■■■■■■□□
    My only advice is to be aggressive about your pay. Realistically, the best opportunity for pay increases is with job changes and roll that with personal development timetables (degree completion, recognized certifications). You need to be confident and take on work that is a stretch for you. As you do so, your resume will legitimately become much more attractive. I am to the point where I think I would demand a 15-25% pay bump for any job move, and as a nominal figure, it is a very substantial figure, as well.

    Also, don't discount the benefits. I was contacted by a recruiter two weeks ago, and I am currently on the hook to my employer for a significant amount if I leave (tuition reimbursement and such). With being said, I told them I was looking for a 25% bump and they indicated the figure was too much. I followed up with a 15% bump and it was right on target for them. After comparing benefits, it really only amounts to an 8% bump because I would have one fewer holiday and six fewer PTO days, not to mention that the 401k contributions would be much lower. At this point, that 15% bump is not worth it, and I don't even know the quality of the insurance coverage nor the cost of the premiums, which I assume would be more.

    When you start aggressively pursuing pay increases, you can truly shock yourself. I remember when I was in the middle of my undergrad studies, I got a job paying $56k, which is my state's average income; I was so happy to achieve that level of pay, but I felt disappointed because I figured my pay increases would be modest from that point forward. My next job bumped me to $65k, which was disappointing, but I received a nice raise after my first year and then a decent raise at the end of my second year, again shocking me. Then, my last job move was a 15% bump and I felt as though I was about to top out without a move into management... and then I received an 11% raise this past year. I started to get nervous because I figure that if something happened to this job, I would have a problem getting 80% of what I was making if I had to move on... and then this recruiter contacted me.

    This has to be one of the biggest long-term projects that you undertake. While it really starts to sting you with taxes (to the point that it is actually counterproductive once you are around the $100-110k mark), other items are typed to your salary that are very important, including 401k matching contributions (as a percentage) and life insurance (as a multiple).
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  • CodeBloxCodeBlox Member Posts: 1,363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Walk in there and say "Pay me properly, or I'm out the door!" :D

    Really though, this is something I will eventually have to do with my current employer.
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  • onesaintonesaint Member Posts: 801
    CodeBlox wrote: »
    Walk in there and say "Pay me properly, or I'm out the door!" :D

    Really though, this is something I will eventually have to do with my current employer.


    I think my first stop post CCNA will be my managers door for that exact reason. :)
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  • EveryoneEveryone Member Posts: 1,661
    onesaint wrote: »
    I think my first stop post CCNA will be my managers door for that exact reason. :)

    Hope you have another job lined up already when you do, otherwise you may find yourself without one. icon_redface.gif
  • WafflesAndRootbeerWafflesAndRootbeer Member Posts: 555
    onesaint wrote: »
    I think my first stop post CCNA will be my managers door for that exact reason. :)

    After that, your next stop will be the front of the building to wait for the bus, with your stuff in hand. Seriously, don't be one of those employees. CCNA-certified people are a dime a dozen and you need to really show the boss that you are providing them with something worth their money before asking for more of it.
  • powerfoolpowerfool Senior Member Member Posts: 1,658 ■■■■■■■■□□
    After that, your next stop will be the front of the building to wait for the bus, with your stuff in hand. Seriously, don't be one of those employees. CCNA-certified people are a dime a dozen and you need to really show the boss that you are providing them with something worth their money before asking for more of it.

    Definitely. This isn't 1999 or 2000 when a CCNA was worth a $10k pay bump. When I finally decided to go for my CCNA (as I had planned for it on numerous occasions during a seven year period) and then I passed it, my first step was to add it to my signature as it complemented my MCSE quite well, and that was about it. Heck, I got my CCSP this year and did the same thing...

    A certification isn't worth much... it is what you do with the knowledge. The certification should provide support for your experience or be used to get your foot in the door at more entry-level position in order to get more experience. If you have demonstrated value to your employer AND you have achieved this mark, wait until your review and show them that you are worth more; if you don't get what you expect, start looking for something more inline with what you want.
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  • onesaintonesaint Member Posts: 801
    Everyone wrote: »
    Hope you have another job lined up already when you do, otherwise you may find yourself without one. icon_redface.gif

    Agreed, I tend to try to keep my mouth shut unless I have insurance to cover opening it. =^)

    Additionally, seeing as were an SMB with a handful of Foundry (Brocade) switches and no Cisco, I dont think it would get me vary far. Or only as others have noted, as far as the front door.

    powerfool wrote: »
    The certification should provide support for your experience or be used to get your foot in the door at more entry-level position in order to get more experience. If you have demonstrated value to your employer AND you have achieved this mark, wait until your review and show them that you are worth more; if you don't get what you expect, start looking for something more inline with what you want.

    Well put. Certs are an affirmation of your skills and ability or training to woork as a door opening tool.
    Work in progress: picking up Postgres, elastisearch, redis, Cloudera, & AWS.
    Next up: eventually the RHCE and to start blogging again.

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