Archive for September, 2007

How to negotiate on salary

Talented candidates for a job are all different, but there is one thing that they will all be looking for and that’s the best salary they can get. In today’s competitive market a company wanting to attract top talent to it must offer the chosen candidate an attractive salary.

The salary negotiation, however, brings hidden dangers if handled badly. Inevitably the company will want to recruit at the lowest salary they can whilst the prospective new hire is looking to increase it as far as possible. The moment a candidate knows the top end of the salary range they will strive towards that figure. The anticipated result is that both parties meet halfway so that everyone is happy! Too often this doesn’t happen

In the UK many senior jobs are advertised on a Circa £70k (salary about figure). This then becomes the expectation of the candidate whilst the Company will often have a salary figure between £65k to £72k in mind. So having identified their preferred candidate the company will come enter into salary negotiation and start at a salary bid below the one advertised(£68K) with a promise of an increase or bonus after a number of months satisfactory work.

The difficulty with this tactic is that it upsets the relationship with the preferred candidate at the earliest possible stage and the candidate now feels that the company is less trustworthy than anticipated. The result is that the prefferd candidate turns the offer down (causing wasted time and face as the company struggles to offer the post to the second or third candidate). If the preferred candidate accepts the job then it often results in early disgruntlement and the causes for early departure or lack of motivation.

The best position is for a company to make the salary a fixed one at their preferred rate of  £68K and to negotiate on a “reward package” which includes a bonus. Naturally the bonus will be based upon measurable results but the candidate will most likely accept this as a benefit that has been successfully negotiated from the company. As such he/she will congratulate themselves on gaining something that wasn’t on the table in the first place. Whilst the company can work within the salary scale they had originally envisaged paying whilst saying to the candidate that they have driven a hard bargain.

In this way both parties can be satisfied without any loss of face.

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Will Jobs Survive in Debt-Ridden Britain?

The long-awaited credit crunch has arrived.

Whilst many media commentators suggest that the effects will be increased re-posessions and defaulters (although being smaller than in the USA) the effects on the UK economy may be huge. Queues oustide Northern Rock offices to withdraw savings?will only heighten the more hysterical tabloid headlines and increase concern, despite?the fact that the UK economy is sounder than most of the other G7 countries.

However, the squeeze on credit is likely to cause layoffs and “Hiring freeze”. In fact, this has already begun with Lehaman Bros announcing job cuts and much of the UK’s financial square mile halting recruitment. The effect is likely to be increasing unemployment?that will ripple from the City’s square mile as other business prepare for hard times.

But actually halting recruitment altogether might not be a sensible strategic move. A company wanting to exit the downturn faster that its competitors might well use the opportunity to re-inforce its “Top Talent”.??

I’m not?not saying that?companies should?not downsize at all. Just that, if the business can afford it and most banks?and many other companies can, NOW might be the time to attract that “Top?Talent” required to weather the storm. The?talent that companies should consider as good investments?are?Grade “A” strategists, marketeers and salesteams.

Attracting “Top Talent”?at this time should be particularly easy when people in other companies feel pressured by staff cuts and a halt on recruitment. The result could reduce the time that most companies will feel current pain and create a springboard for increased competitiveness.

But one has to wonder how many will be brave enough!

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How to… know when to jump ship

Some months ago I was working with a client who had a senior member of staff, James, in the same job for over ten years. Whilst James had done an excellent job for the first six years he had lately lost the drive to implement new ideas. In recent times James admitted that the jobwas easy and enjoyed the social aspects of his work. He was well liked by his colleagues and those that reported to him.

James was full of expectation that he could remain with the company for many more years. However, he felt that the company should be rewarding him more for his long and faithful service. He had mentioned his expectation of a substantial increase to his salary to his new boss at the last appraisal.

James thought his new boss, Philip, was difficult to work with and had a difficult management style. James often found that his boss gave him irritating tasks to do and he often didn’t understand their purpose. James thought that Philip was demanding and often rejected his warnings that change caused reduced morale and confused working methods. In particular James was able to point out to Philip when suggested changes had been tried before and failed.

Philip, his boss, saw things differently, however. He felt that James was the kind of individual that he longed would leave so that a more enthusiastic employee could be recruited. Someone with new ideas and who wouldn’t always verbalise the reasons why something couldn’t be done. In fact James was the type of employee that the boss dreamed of supplying a job reference that read, James Smith has informed me that he has led the production department for the past ten years to HIS entire satisfaction. Philip was against giving James a merit increase on his salary for his past year’s work.

Indeed, for the past six months Philip has been working with HR Director to develop a strategy that would result in the Company not being taken to an Industrial Tribunal in the event of James being dismissed. Over the past twelve months Philip and the HR department has been creating a log of the times when requests had been made to James and which had not been carried out or completed in an unsatisfactory manner.

You don’t have to be a soothsayer to predict that James is heading for trouble and whilst not every situation is as clear-cut how do you recognise when it’s time to jump ship? After all, the trick is to jump ship on your terms and to avoid the situation where you are being asked to leave where there is little chance of a good severance package and it will be difficult to find another job.

There are three distinct areas that you should consider:
The first is the way you feel about the work itself

  • Has the work ceased to be fun?
  • Has the work ceased to be a challenge?
  • Have you stopped learning?
  • You’ve stopped communicating with the boss
  • The work is comfortable without being stretching or bringing joy
  • Does the current job afford you the benefits of a desired lifestyle in terms of leisure time, time with friends and family?

Secondly consider the management style of the boss and the actions that your boss might be taking. Never concentrate on just one of the situations detailed below to decide the time has come to find another job. Consider them in clusters and based upon past behaviour: ( If the boss begins to check you expense claim form in detail it might just be because the Finance Director or Accounts Department have instructed all managers to reduce expenses).
However, if three of more of the situations below become evident over a period of three or more months then alarm bells should be ringing.

  • The boss has become critical or irritated over small aspects of your work
  • Appraisal (performance review) results arn’t as positive
  • The boss has begun to check your work in detail
  • The boss had begun to check your expense claim form
  • The boss reminds you of previous instructions and is micro managing
  • People in authority no-longer listen to you with the same concentration as before

Finally there is your overall career pattern.

  • Is your CV (Resume) looking as if you’ve been taking a long rest?
  • How well is the business doing in relationship to the competition?
  • Are you in need of a boost to your salary? (Gaining substantial increases from an existing employer is more difficult than from a new one)
  • Would another company look better on your CV than the present one?
  • Are you of an age where to move would be a benefit as far as pension etc is concerned?

However, before you rush to write your resignation letter you might like to consider gaining some career advice from a professional. There are many companies on the Internet that offer such services. However, be clear about the sort of advice you are wanting as many of the companies that advertise on the Internet are job search firms and their advice may not be what you are looking for.

Then you need to develop that network of contacts you should have but never got around to contacting. Too often people leave a business and find that they have few people outside their current employers that can help find a new job or offer practical help and advice if wanting to change career. Joining on-line networking clubs such as Linkedin and Ecademy long before you jump ship can provide many contacts. In addition begin attending those networking events run by the institute that you are a member of or join one. Networking isn’t just something that the self-employed do, it’s important to everyone.

Choosing the exact time to jump ship is always problematical, not least because it often has an impact of family as well as oneself. The art is to do it at a time that suits you, giving a better set of work results than exist and which provides a further career prospects when it’s time to jump ship next.

Stephen Harvard Davis is a leading business relationship specialist and the author of  “Why do 40% of Executives Fail?”  He advises senior executives and organisations on transition management and how to attract and retain top talent within the business. He is also a sought after speaker at high profile conferences and business meetings. Stephen can be contacted on 44 (0) 1727 838321 &

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