Negotiating your salary is a two-way street

Negotiating your salary is a two-way street.

When you are offered a job, it's important to come to a win-win solution since it can set the tone for your work life with the future employer. But wait until after you receive a job offer to start talking about salary. Everyone approaches the process differently. Use the tips below that you're most comfortable with.

Evaluate the offer wisely

  • Make sure you have a clear understanding of the job description. Note your reporting relationships, authority, and advancement potential.
  • Find out typical pay for the type of position. Unless you have an outstanding qualification that is unusual in your field, your expectation should match the typical pay for your level of experience in your location.
  • Remember that salary is only one part of job compensation. Often better benefits — like flexible schedules or excellent health insurance — make up for a lower salary.
  • Identify your own salary needs according to your household budget, so you know the salary you can afford to accept.
  • Consider the job offer in terms of your long-term career goals, the work environment, and the benefits. Talk it over with someone you respect. Make a list of the pros and cons of the job offer.

Communicate effectively

  • Begin the negotiation with reasonable requests. Be willing to accept compromises like receiving additional benefits in place of a higher salary. These could include tuition help, training, more vacation time, a flexible schedule, stock options, a company car, onsite daycare, parking privileges, etc.
  • Listen carefully. If the offer is less than you expected, let them know that. State you are still interested in the position if they want to reconsider their offer.
  • If you are uncertain if you want the job, state that you would like to discuss some items before you can accept the job. Suggest meeting again to talk about the offer.
  • Negotiations should never become emotional or hostile. Use your value, skills, experience, and education to negotiate. Do not use your need for the job to negotiate.

Understand the rules of the game

  • Don't assume the first offer is fixed. Even if the interviewer tells you it is, it rarely is.
  • If the same figure is offered a couple days later, it probably is the last offer. In that case, you can ask for a salary review in six months. Or you can turn the job down, asking that they keep you in mind for future openings paying more money. If you do this, remember to leave on good terms.
  • When you reach an agreement, request the agreement in writing. Review it carefully.
  • Even when saying "no," leave the door open to negotiation. However, do not use this as a trick to negotiate a higher wage. When you say "no," be ready to lose the job forever.

Negotiating Aviation Salaries

Negotiating Salaries:

Successful salary negotiation occurs after the job applicant and the employer share a common understanding of the job and the applicants willingness and ability to do it.

Ideal Salary agreements:
  • Are based on mutual respect
  • Create gain for both parties
  • Lay a firm foundation for a good working relationship

You're ready to negotiate when:

  • You've gathered information about the aviation labor market and you know how much a job like this typically pays
  • You've determined your needs and wants
  • You've gathered sufficient information about the employer, the work, the environment and the people with whom you will be working with
  • You've done all you can to convey your willingness and ability to do the job, and the employer has all the information needed to reach a decision about you
  • Typically, salary negotiation occurs toward the end of the interview or after the applicant receives a job offer from the employer

What is the job worth? 
It is important to remember that the relationship between the employer and the employee is a business relationship. Typically, employers analyze the dollar amount they have invested in employees and forecast the financial return they are likely to receive based on the efforts of the employees.

  • Employers know that new employees usually cost them more than they can expect in productivity. In time, new employees become experienced and more productive. Then the employer eventually breaks even and finally returns a dollar for each dollar of effort
  • Savvy job hunters know how long it will take to bring them up to speed. Their salary demands are based on that knowledge. Also, they coincide salary negotiations with their break-even period.

Gain leverage: 
Postpone salary discussions until you've shown that you are the best candidate for the job.  Mentioning specific sums of money in the preliminary information-gathering stages can eliminate you from the list of potential candidates before you've ha a chance to show what you can do.

  1. Salary question on the applicant form:
    Answer, Negotiable
  2. On a resume:
    Say, Salary is negotiable
  3. At the job interview:
    Let the employer be the first to mention salary.

Wait until you know more about the job and the employer and the employer knows you before you price yourself too low or too high.

It pays to increase your negotiation power
Your negotiating power reflects how much you're in demand. You have more room to negotiate when:

  • You work in a fast-growing field in which there are many job-openings with few skilled people to fill them
  • You can demonstrate unique strengths that few applicants have
  • You have job offers from more than one company, and you let potential employers know that you are in demand
  • You have a job or you have savings reserves to fall back on, and you're not feeling financial or psychological pressure to take the job.

Know your needs
How much salary do you need to support yourself and your family?
- Determine the minimum income you need.
- If the salary offer doesn't cover your needs, you can:

  • Accept the job and moonlight or find other work to supplement the income
  • Walk away from the job offer because the salary is non-negotiable and insufficient
  • Negotiate a higher salary

Know your wants
What extras would you like to afford, beyond the needs? Perhaps you want a better car, an annual vacation abroad or to save for retirement at a faster rate. Determine what salary would let you afford the extras that you want.

If the employer begins discussing salary in the early part of the interview, postpone negotiations by saying something like, Id like to discuss that but could you tell me a little more about the job first, to continue the information-gathering phase.

It pays to gather information about the aviation labor market before you negotiate your salary.

What you need to know:

  • What the job entails. Analyze all the details you've been given by the employer
  • What typical earnings are according to aviation industry standards.
    → See department of Labor statistics at your local city or county government office.
    → Write or telephone trade associations.
    → Take a look at the current Avjobs Salary Information.
    → Ask the reference librarian at your public library.
    → Search the Avjobs job system for comparable jobs.
    → Carry out informational interviews
  • What typical earnings are within the company and how they compare to the rest of the aviation industry.
    Find out the name of the company's closest competitor and ask them what they would pay. Its likely to be similar
  • Find out if there are many other applicants.
    How do they compare with you? This is difficult to investigate but employers will sometimes tell you up-front
  • Find out how long they've been looking for someone to fill the job.
    Employers may mention it in passing.  The longer a position has be vacant, the more an employer may be willing to pay

After you receive a job offer:

  • Is when you have the most negotiating leverage
  • Step back from the situation and evaluate the offer
  • List the pros and cons of accepting the offer as it stands
  • Determine what is acceptable and what could be better
  • In most cases - YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ACCEPT THE OFFER ON THE SPOT.  Mention that you would like to think it over, and provide your answer tomorrow or in the next few days.

Applicants should avoid accepting a salary that they feel is too low, so that they don't feel cheated in the long run.

Making a counteroffer
Many companies and governmental agencies have a published salary scale or range. Salary ranges allow for differences between candidates skills, qualifications and the amount of training they will need. If the job you seek is covered by a salary range your goal is to show that you have the strengths, skills and enthusiasm to merit a salary near the top of the range.

If the salary offer is low, make a counteroffer:

  • Compare it to aviation industry norms
  • Compare it to past work you've done that is similar, for which you were paid more
  • If you have a higher offer from another company, this is the time to mention it.
    Notice that in each case you peg your counteroffer to a real-world example of higher earnings. State your case simply without being arrogant.  Employment is a "2-Way" street.  You can always say "No, Thank you"

If the employer wont raise the starting salary and you still want the job:

  • Ask them to describe the conditions under which they would be willing to pay more
  • Focus on how you can either save the company money or generate more revenue for the company
  • Negotiate a contingency that your salary will be increased in 3 to 6 months if your work meets a certain criterion that you both agree upon. Get it in writing so that you have a record of the agreement in case the person who hires you leaves the company
  • Is there another aspect of the job offer that you can negotiate, besides the salary? For instance, could you have 3 weeks of paid vacation instead of 2 weeks, or maybe more benefits?
Employers need to avoid paying too much, so that they don't feel that the applicant has exploited them and is more of a burden than and asset.

When you accept an offer, do it graciously and get everything in writing.

Successful salary negotiation:

  • Is neither adversarial nor antagonistic. The employer and the applicant are not enemies
  • Gives both the employer and the applicant the feeling that they've won