French & German Recruitment

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IT specialists: How to negotiate the best possible pay package

Posted: 2015-04-08
handshakeSo you have got yourself a job offer for an exciting IT specialist role - congratulations! But without the right know-how on the crucial next step of salary negotiation, you could lose out. Candidates whose worth might otherwise be much higher in the market, might find themselves given a raw deal. Having the smarts to negotiate an offer is a quality that is valuable in any field, and more so in the tech industry. 
 
I have often seen candidates making the same mistakes. Here are the top pitfalls you should avoid:

Not doing your homework

No matter how good you are at your job, you've got to be prepared. If you are walking into an interview, we can safely assume that you are interested in the job. In that case, make sure that there is as little a gap in your knowledge about your prospective employer and organisation as possible. In the process, figure out exactly what your new employers are looking for and how you can help solve their issues. 
 
When answering your potential employer's question about your salary expectations, you don't want to come off looking greedy but instead that you rightly deserve what you are demanding. Also remember that unpreparedness is a sign of disrespect in many cultures, and in case you're a bilingual candidate applying in a foreign country, make sure that you have spent a considerable amount of time and effort in picking up local customs.
 

Being too shy...

Check out salary comparison websites like payscale.com, while also maintaining that you should reach out to your professional or alumni network and talk to friends or colleagues as to what a reasonable salary for your post might be. Additionally, find out when the company gives increments: Have you missed the boat this year already or would you be eligible for a hike some time down the line based on your performance a few months after joining? Remember, there's no shame in asking and that it is not impolite or nagging. These are social notions that have been fed into our society by people who benefit from our unquestioning attitudes. Don't fall into such traps. And oh yes, once you've come up with a solid argument which will help tilt the scales in your favour, you may even rehearse with a friend so that you're prepared to defend your case without getting flustered on the day.
 

...or over-confident

Instead of counting on your brains or CV alone, you could try this: Go the extra mile by typing out a 90-day plan how you would tackle your prospective job's biggest challenges while keeping a humble demeanour. In order to convince the interviewer that you're a top performer, speak calmly and perhaps most importantly, don't get too pushy about the money bit at least until you've actually got the offer in hand.
 
Remember, soft skills matter a lot in any field, and that includes a "brainy" field like tech, because at the end of the day, we are all only human. An employer can replace someone brilliant but cocky; but if you really win them over, it's very likely that they will gravitate towards you even if they find you lacking or your pay package a bit daunting. At the same time, it's also really important to be confident and not a pushover. The right amount of attitude counts. 
 

Getting fooled by variables and perks

You might find that a bonus is part of your pay package. Different organisations work differently, but there are some who take into consideration whether you have hit targets or passed your annual appraisal and let these have a bearing on your bonus. That means that your bonus is not a constant at all. If that's the case, don't get fooled by your on-target earnings (OTE). 
 
Instead, you could ask for an increase in your basic salary to make up for the flaky bonus. Look at other perks like flexible hours, reimbursements, travel, private health insurance, extra annual leave days and so on. Maybe you live far away and if you can walk in at 10 in the morning, it's a real luxury for you. Or maybe the office is really close by, and that in itself is a huge bonus for you. It's all about a good quality of life at the end of the day, and sometimes money can't give you the same. You may be earning big money, but if you have to commute a long way or come  in really early, you might find that you're better off earning a little less but having a far more comfortable lifestyle.
 
Send us your CV now and we will contact you if a suitable multilingual tech role becomes available.