Ten Rules for Negotiating IT Pay: Page 3

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7.) Don't play the pay grade game. Never fill in salary boxes. If you do so, you are pigeonholing yourself and will limit your ability to negotiate. Many employers will try and tell you they can only pay you within a certain pay grade range. This gambit almost always works for the recruiter. You can break free of these confines by arguing that your previous position and this position are different in many ways. So to reduce your previous or current role to a single number would require that you explain in full the many differences between the roles, or else a comparison is meaningless, or worse: misleading.

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Remember to look at yourself from the employer's point of view. Use this perspective to help you gain a better understanding of their needs in the context of the role or project you are trying to land. Consider whether the position is time sensitive and whether you could be quickly replaced. Ask yourself if there is anyone else who could fill this role or if there is anyone who can compare to your distinct combination of experience and skills. Most importantly, ask yourself whether this role fits within a defined category or grade. If you can persuade your manager why you are exceptional, your chances of getting placed into a higher pay grade or two will increase.

8.) Trade-offs. Never give a concession to a prospective employer without asking for one in return. If, for example, they insist they can only pay a certain salary at this time, then ask them to give a review performance after six months instead of the standard twelve months. Another gambit employers like to try is to ask you to name your salary range at the outset of the interview. By falling into this trap, you risk the danger of negating your ability to negotiate by anchoring yourself. Rather, turn the situation around by asking them what they are offering, or by responding that you are prepared to accept any offer that is reasonable. If they pressure you to state your preferred salary, then start right at the top of the salary grade. Negotiating downward is never a problem.

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