Execs More Open To Salary Negotiation With New Hires, Survey Says

Jobseekers may be more able to find a little “wiggle room” in job offers, a new survey from Robert Half reports.

The staffing firm asked 1600 CFOs from US and Canadian companies with 20 or more employees how willing they would be to negotiate salaries with top job candidates, compared to twelve months ago.

While most of the CFOs (54%) said their willingness had not changed, 27 percent were “somewhat more willing” and 11 percent were “much more willing,” with only 5 percent saying they were less willing.

“Job seekers, especially those with skills in high demand, are gaining leverage in salary discussions today,” Robert Half CEO Max Messmer said in a statement.

Robert Half concludes with seven good strategies for getting the best deal in negotiations.

They are:

  • Do a reality check. Is the firm in a position to bargain? Find out before attempting any salary negotiation. If you’ve been offered a job at a newly formed startup, or a company that recently announced layoffs or weak financial results, your leverage may be limited.
  • Get your figures right. Don’t enter negotiations without doing your homework. Research the latest salary trends for your city, industry and job title by reviewing compensation surveys and publications such as Robert Half’s 2012 Salary Guides and talking to colleagues and recruiters.
  • Don’t jump the gun. Wait for the hiring manager to bring up salary in the discussion, and make sure you fully understand the requirements of the position before answering questions about your desired pay. Ask prospective employers what they think would be an appropriate range for the position so you can avoid giving a range that is too high or low.
  • Go for your goal. If offered a salary figure that doesn’t meet your expectations, it’s OK to request additional compensation. Employers may start at the lower end of their salary range, leaving room to negotiate.
  • Don’t bluff. It’s never a good move to mislead a prospective employer about your current compensation or other higher-paying job offers in an effort to get more money. Instead, reiterate the value you can bring to the firm, and be honest about your desired salary.
  • Think beyond the paycheck. Be sure to look at the full picture when evaluating a job offer. A generous benefits package or opportunities to learn and grow with the company may compensate for a lower starting salary, for example.
  • End on a high note. If negotiations aren’t successful and you decide to walk away from an offer, remember to do so gracefully. You never know when you might cross paths with the hiring manager again.