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How much are you worth?

How much are you worth? That is the question you should ask yourself when you are interviewing for a new job. Today I attended the APEG Salary Seminar in UBC. The main presentation in the seminar is on how to negotiate your salary. The seminar’s target audience is engineering students graduating this year, but the insight in the seminar applies anytime anywhere, especially when you are looking for a new job. I wish I had attend a seminar like this when I was in school.

The rule of thumb in salary negotiation is don’t sell yourself short. Your starting salary will affect your future pay raise and your value in the company. Contrary to common misunderstanding, salary negotiation won’t affect the hiring decision. By the time you negotiate your salary with HR, you are already hired. It is important to research the market salary of your job before the interview. Here are some useful links:
APEGBC Compensation Survey
hitechsalary.com
payscale.com

In negotiation, whoever names the number first loses. If the HR ask how much you are expecting, DON’T give a figure. You should answer with questions, asking what is the salary range for the same position in the company or how is the compensation compare to industry average or the APEG salary survey. Don’t get cornered into naming a number, that’s the job of the HR to give you a number. When you receive your contract, carefully review all the details. You can blackout and initial things that you can’t agree with. You don’t have to sign the boiler plate employment contract. You should understand the performance review process and get your first review within 6 months. You can only get a raise or promotion if your performance is evaluated.

Don’t forget to act professionally in the salary negotiation. Don’t play off the offers from two companies to fish for higher pay, the HR have their own circle and you will be black-listed. Don’t directly discuss other offers in the negotiation. You should join the company because you like the job and feel fairly compensated, you don’t work for whoever give the highest pay. Talk about other offers directly will usually cause backfire.

The last bit of tips in presentation really apply to me. You should re-evaluate your salary every year. The largest increase in your salary occur when you move to a new job. Always keep your resume up to date and ready to go. If your qualification or experience level change, it is a good idea give the new resume to your employer so the company can re-evaluate your value.

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