You are trying to obtain your first engineering job. Appointed interview will take place in a few days; your family and friends give advice of all sorts and kinds. But you wish to know how to negotiate your wage correctly. Advertisement only said that it’s competitive and the manager, inviting you for the interview, didn’t mention the salary level. So what are the ways to discuss the desired salary? We collected advice to feel steady in this situation:
Explore some facts. Study the market and find out an average salary level of young engineers. Salary.com can be very useful in this regard. Information on entry-level salaries can also be found in professional networking groups (which you should already join). You can communicate with members of industry organizations, and try to find out how much graduates usually get. Define your salary requirements and put it in a bracket, when you are asked about the desired salary, don’t mention an exact amount, it’s better to give the bracket.
Wait until employer speaks about salary. In case if the interviewer asks you about desired salary, the best way is to ask him about its scale without stating certain amount. Such way you show your flexibility and willingness to work in this company. Remember, it would be improper to compare salaries in different companies to wring the best one for yourself.
Discuss salary with your "equity." You should know that mostemployers’ offers start at the bottom of the range. This is the time to advertise your skills and abilities, which advantageously distinguish you from other candidates. Pay attention to your qualification, skills, internship or other practical experience “equity”, as the reason to consider increase of salary.
Do not be distracted by benefits. The most required ones - health and life insurance, 401K – usually aren’t under discussion and become “company standard.” Other benefits, such as office size, expense accounts, company car, ski condo in Aspen — mostly are provided to experienced engineers and managers, and are not on consideration. The main point of the negotiation should remain salary. Mentioning bonuses wouldn’t be praiseworthy as they are based on work results and you haven’t shown yourself yet.
Conclude with a written agreement. Though you have oral arrangements about salary, title of your position and duties, a necessary next step is to detail it in written form, for example, by email or snail mail. Your employer will appreciate if you supply him with draft agreement letter, in which he should only confirm the key terms.
Feel free to speak out in the comments section below if you have any ideas for young engineering graduates concerning salary negotiations.