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Salary Negotiation in Job Interview



In this article you learn how to ensure the highest possible salary for yourself when you accept a new job.
Negotiating a salary and benefits package is one of the most difficult, yet potentially most rewarding, aspects of the job search. Talking turkey always makes us a bit uncomfortable, for many possible reasons:

1.Perhaps we feel a bit greedy asking for more money from the people who obviously like us and are nice enough to offer us a job.
2.Deep down inside we may be a bit uneasy about whether we actually deserve the bigger bucks we're asking for.
3.We are afraid that if we appear too greedy the job offer may be withdrawn.
4.Most of us don't have a lot of practice in negotiating skills, and we're afraid we're completely out of our league.
5.Maybe we're worried that if we don't negotiate well enough we could end up with much less than we might have had.

How can you lessen your anxiety over the negotiation process and increase your prospects of coming out ahead at the same time? Just a little preparation goes a long way toward making the most of a negotiating opportunity. Once you are familiar with the rules of the game, it's easy to develop a winning strategy.

THE SEVEN RULES TO REMEMBER WHEN NEGOTIATING SALARY


A few basic principles to salary negotiation are important to fellow carefully:

KNOW YOUR BOTTOM LINE


Whether you are negotiating for a new car, a new house, or a new job, it is always important to know your bottom line going into the deal. Do this in three steps:

Step 1.
1. Hone in on the figure that fits in the blank, "I absolutely cannot accept a position that pays less than $____."
2. Be realistic. If this were an absolutely wonderful company with wonderful growth potential and other good perks, what would be the absolute lowest salary you would accept? If this is a marginal company of lesser interest to you, what would be the lowest salary you would accept?
Once you have determined this figure for each individual company with which you interview, store it in your head and keep it hidden there. This figure is for no ears to hear. It is simply a guidepost for you at one end of your negotiation parameters.

Step 2.
1. Now identify a second figure. This is a realistic salary expectation based upon your value in the current market. Ask headhunters for advice on where you fit into the market monetarily or speak to others in the field who hold similar positions. You might also check the library for reference books on the subject. Find out where you fit in and fill in the blank to the statement, "I would be happy with a salary offer of $____".
This will be your middle point.

Step 3.
1. The third figure you should identify before entering into negotiations is the salary that would raise your eyebrows at the very mention of it: the salary you never really thought you could possibly get. Arrive at this figure by adding 20% to 30% to the annual figure in Step 2. Fill in the blank to this sentence: "I would be extremely happy with an offer of $____"
You have now identified a starting point, a mid-point, and a high point to your salary possibilities.

2. LET THE COMPANY START THE MONEY TALK FIRST


It is wise to let the company open the door to the salary issue. In all cases, do not bring up the subject of salary until the deal has progressed quite far and the possibility of an offer is strong. In fact, if you suspect that the salary will be somewhere in the right ballpark anyway, it is safer to put off salary talks until an offer is made.
You may be tempted to argue that this seems foolish, since the salary you are offered will play a very significant part in your decision whether or not to work there, and it could be a waste of everyone's time to continue with a series of interviews if the company can't come up with an appropriate salary for you.
But talking money too soon can only do you harm. If you insist upon a high salary early in the game, you may knock yourself right out of the running. Once the company has made the commitment to hire you, it will be more willing to increase the salary to meet your needs.

3. AVOID MONEY TALK, EVEN IF THE INTERVIEWER BRINGS UP THE SUBJECT


Occasionally, an employer throws out a money question in the very first interview. She may ask something like, "What would it take to make you happy here?" or "What are your salary expectations for this position?" The best answer for such questions is, "I'm quite flexible in terms of salary," or "I am looking for a salary that is suitable for my experience and skills as they relate to the challenges of this position." Naming a figure at this point is a mistake.

4. HE WHO SPEAKS FIRST LOSES


The subject of salary can arise at many places and times long before an interview has reached the serious stage.
1. Newspaper employment ads often ask you to submit "salary history" or "salary expectations" along with your resume.
2. Respond to this request with a polite statement, "My salary expectations are open." or "My salary history has been progressively competitive," and leave it at that. Only if the ad states that you must submit salary information in order to be considered for the position, should you oblige with the requested figure.
3. In a screening interview, the human resources department may ask you to name a figure, either your current salary or your salary expectations.
4. Respond to this with polite vagueness. "My current salary is competitive in the market" or "I am open in terms of salary." Or, you might try, "It would be helpful to learn some background on the position first before we discuss salary."
5. When filling out a job application, you often run across a spot to list past salaries.
6. Application blocks typically ask for a salary background. When filling in these blocks, remember that offering this information up front can only hurt you in the negotiation process. For salary requirements, list "open" or "negotiable." When the application form asks for salary history, say "progressively competitive."

5. ALWAYS SPEAK IN TERMS OF RANGES


When you are asked to give your salary requirements, whether it is on the application, in the screening interview, or even in answering the employment ad, giving a solid figure can be deadly.
Let's say you tell them you are looking for $40,000. What if they were hoping to offer only $35,000? You may have knocked yourself out of the game before you had a chance to convince them that you were worth the extra $5,000. On the other hand, if you tell them you would like $40,000, and they had been willing to pay $50,000, how do you think this will affect the offer? Will they still offer you $50,000? Doubtful.
Be as vague as possible when answering questions about salary history or salary expectations. And if you get backed into a corner on it, offer a range. "My most recent salary was in the $40,000 to $50,000 range," or "My salary expectations are in the $40,000 to $50,000 range."

6. SPEAK OF YOUR MARKET VALUE, NOT OF YOUR NEEDS


So what if you have a big mortgage, a new baby, a big car payment, and college tuition to manage into your budget? The employer may be sympathetic, but these expenses will not convince her to pay you a higher salary.
An employer can justify paying you more money only if you convince her that you are worth the money to her, that you offer unique and valuable skills that are worth the extra dollars.
The easiest way to convince an employer of your worth is to relate your skills and qualifications in terms of his needs for the position.
Give the employer good reasons to give you the higher salary figure you request. Justify it with solid examples of past performance, accomplishments, and successes so that your interviewer can champion your case with upper management.

7. UNDERSTAND THE BOUNDS OF REALITY


While we would all like to make a high six-figure salary, most of us don't. And while we absolutely must shoot for the highest reasonable salary when negotiating an offer, we must understand what is realistic. Some basic guidelines:
1. The higher the position level, the easier it is to negotiate. Entry-level positions tend to have little negotiating room. On the other hand, negotiations are expected for lower-, middle-, and upper-level management positions.
2. Negotiating a 10- to 20-percent increase over the salary originally offered to you is not unreasonable.
3. Begin by asking for a 20- to 25-percent increase over the potential employer's first offer. Remember, it is always easier to negotiate down than it is to negotiate up.
4. Never begin negotiations by mentioning your current salary. Your future salary should be based upon your value in the market and your value to the potential employer, not on your salary history.

HOW TO PLAY THE RANGE GAME AT OFFER TIME


It is important to remember this rule, even at offer time:
He who speaks first loses.
If you can enter the negotiations armed with knowledge about what the employer is willing to pay, without having revealed what you are willing to take, you are in the best possible negotiating position.
Let's look at an example:
The interviewer turns to you and says, "We like your qualifications and would like to bring you on board. How much will it take to get you?"
You answer wisely by saying, "I'm hoping for a salary that matches my skills and experience. What is the salary range for this position?"
The interviewer answers that the salary range is between $40,000 and $45,000.

Good! You have managed to get the interviewer to reveal the salary range to you before you have revealed any figures yourself. Armed with this information, you can now adjust your salary range to encompass what the company has to offer. Remember, don't shoot for the lower end of the range even if that is what you had originally intended.
Use this knowledge to give yourself a possible salary boost:
"That range sounds similar to what I had in mind. I am looking for no less than $42,000 with an ideal of $47,000."
Now ask a vital question, and be sure to word it just this way:
"Do you have any flexibility at the top of your salary range?"
While you may not get them to blow the roof out of the top of their range, you are at least encouraging them to think at the upper end of the range.
Employers Start on the Low End Employers usually have a salary range in mind for each position, and their first offer will typically be at the lower end of that range to allow room for negotiating.


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