Posted on Aug 20, 2014
Capt Byron Chen
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Just uploaded another interview with a veteran on his career and transition from the military and one of the really interesting discussions we have is about negotiating your first salary. This is something I'm guessing most veterans have not had to do and was wondering your take. Bottom line up front, I believe it is not only reasonable to do, but a must, if you consider the implications. These are a few of the things we concluded:

1. For mid-management type positions and beyond, negotiating your starting salary is not only acceptable, but expected -- it shows how you value yourself.
2. Recruiting companies may deter you from doing this, but they are not incentivized to get you a higher salary, just a job.
3. Companies spend a large amount to recruit talent, so if they are tendering you an offer, it is not unreasonable to ask for more. These costs are a part of their search.
4 You can negotiate more than just salary -- look at vacation time, tuition costs, relocation bonuses, etc.
5. Even if the company is not willing to offer you any more on the salary, you can ask to revisit at a specific time to evaluate performance and renegotiate then.
6. Your starting salary impacts all your future salaries. The impact on your potential earnings is huge!
7. The consequences of asking are probably far less dire than you are expecting.

What are your thoughts? Agree, disagree, caveats?

You can check out the rest of the interview here:
http://www.successvets.com/2014/08/18/matt-helbig-army-infantry-pharma-sales-defense-contracting-and-entrepreneurship/
Posted in these groups: Imgres Employment
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Responses: 6
SPC David Hannaman
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Absolutely you you should negotiate it!

I'm paid more than some of the people I work with simply because I negotiated better. I don't know how much more, but it's significant enough that my manager mentioned it. This is a trend that has repeated itself in the last two companies I've worked for.

As was mentioned previously, large companies have Salary ranges they are allotted. A good hiring manager will try to get new hires in at the middle of that range so there is room to grow, obviously you want to get in at the higher end of that range.

Small companies are a bit more interesting, they often have a distorted view of the market, it's usually good to have an idea what "market rate" for the skill you bring to the table is, the closer that set of skills matches their need the more negotiating power you have, for instance I had a friend who not only did computers and databases but also phones and data... he checked quite a few "need" boxes for a small company that was spending $300K a year on those services. Obviously that gave him a ton of negotiating power.

View yourself as a commodity. Just like electricity or paper... what do you bring to the profitability potential of the company?
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CPT Company Commander
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I fully agree. I look at it this way, if the company extends an offer of employment to you, they want to hire you, plain and simple, the worst thing that can come from asking for more anything is a "No" from them. I have negotiated when hired at every job I have ever had, including when I worked for my family. My most recent job was a difficult one for me to negotiate for personally, considering I had been looking for work for about a year and a half.

Once the company extended an offer, I knew they wanted to hire me. I ultimately negotiated a higher starting salary, a base pay increase after 90 days (5%), a monthly allowance to pay for Tricare Reserve Select, pay for my cellphone, give me a laptop, the ability to tele-commute once a week, and 2 full weeks of paid vacation starting after my 90 day review.

The worse thing that will happen is the company will say "no", they will not take back their offer for employment, unless your requests are outrageous. After being hired, the HR director actually told me that I was the only one to negotiate anything in the past year, and they have hired a lot of people.
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1SG Company First Sergeant
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Funny that I see this thread now. My fiance who is a polymer chemist took a job in North Carolina. After about 9 months of working there found something else back home. The last day of work there, her direct supervisor, and the owner of the company took her out to lunch. One of the things that the owner told her was that she should have negotiated her salary when she was offered the job. The main reason that she did not was because she had been searching for a while and this was the only firm offer that she had received. Coming fresh out of Grad School and knowing that student loans had to be repaid she took what she could get in her field.

Hind sight is 20/20 as they say, but securing a job in the moment sometimes overpowers the will/want to risk not getting the job by negotiating.
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Cpl Robert Masi
Cpl Robert Masi
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I'll tell you something, you never renegotiate your pay with your company if you are telling them you are going to another company. Lots of people have done that, and what they find is that they will get paid a little more, temporarily, until the company finds a replacement and fires them. That happens a lot
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Capt Byron Chen
Capt Byron Chen
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I agree with Cpl Masi. You never want to threaten in your negotiation. It's a hail mary tactic that leaves them, and you, with few options. Tact is sooo important. What you want to present is a fair offer, with options that lead to a win/win. You don't need to say "It's me, or the highway." Unless that's really the situation that you are in. Better to find common ground and exploring the possibilities. I relate this to my experience dealing with senior commanders. I would never go against their direct orders. But if the need arose, I would work with them to come up with solutions that fit their parameters. It was rarely a "you win, or I win" situation.
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