Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Negotiating a Full-Time Job and Pay

I have been recently hired as a full-time accounts payable processor in a large corporation through a temp-work agency. My minimum requirement for temp-work at the time of my application was $12/hr. This was due to having another part-time job that I worked 25-30 hours each week and loved.

I needed a little more income, and when this opportunity came along, I was quite interested. Since being in the accounting office, I've enjoyed my position and excelled at it. My supervisor here has assured me of a full-time position after a 90-day period.

We're coming up on 90 days now, and I'm wondering how to best negotiate my permanent work status and pay. The temp-agency pays me $12/hr, but I know for a fact they charge the company I work for at least $20/hr. Do I ask for $20/hr off the bat? How would I best feel around for the best price?

By the way, I do like the new job a lot, and currently have no benefits to speak of. I know my supervisor and the rest of the department highly value my work - and I am fully trained in the position they would be hiring me for. What do you think?
---Waiting and wondering in the Carolinas

by John West Hadley, Career Search Counselor, “Helping Job Seekers Who Are Frustrated With Their Search”

Dear “Waiting and Wondering”:
Your focus in the discussions needs to be centered squarely on the value you are bringing to their operations, and how passionate you are about what you are doing for them now and will be able to do for them in the future. Start the discussions with that, and then get into the rate. The most relevant question for them is not how much they are currently paying to get your services, but what value those services are providing them.

Research the going rate in the market for this job at similar companies. You can do this via networking, searching job and company websites for comparable job postings, looking at salary websites, and talking to staffing agencies. Also do some sleuthing into what the pay scales are at your company for others in similar roles or roles with similar types of duties. Use this to construct your case. For example, if this job typically pays $25/hour in the market, and that is well within the pay scale available for the job at your company, then the company is currently getting a huge bargain at $20/hour, and you have some serious negotiating room.

You will need to take into account any difference in benefits. As a temp, you probably aren’t receiving any benefits or paid time off. You will need to look at what you will receive from the company. Estimate the cost of the benefits you don’t have now that you would become eligible for as a full-timer. Those are additional costs to the company (and additional compensation to you) on top of whatever hourly rate they offer you. Be sure to take this into account in your determination of the pay level that you ask for.

Don’t forget to consider vacation and other paid time off (sick days, personal days, company holidays), that you would not have received under the temp arrangement. For example, let’s assume you receive no paid time off currently. If the company has 10 paid holidays and will provide you 2 weeks of vacation and 1 week of other paid time off (sick and personal days), that’s 5 weeks out of a 52 week year, or about 10% additional compensation.

Once you’ve done the homework above, figure out both a rate that you believe you want to seek, and a rate that would be your bottom line requirement. Then have the discussion, first focusing on your passion for the job and the results you have achieved for them and plan to continue to achieve if given the opportunity to come on board full time. Now you have 2 options:

1. You can sit back and wait to see what they offer you, in effect letting them make the first move.
2. You can present your case for what you feel would be a fair rate (the rate you want to seek) for the new position.

If they offer you something lower than what you seek, try sitting quietly for a few moments, looking like you are thinking hard about it. Let the silence go on for at least 10 seconds; generally it will be hard for the other party not to jump in and fill the silence. If ultimately you must speak, try saying something simple like, “that seems a little light”, and then be quiet.

No matter what they offer you, do not accept on the spot. Make sure you have all of your questions answered as to the job, job duties, compensation and benefits. Tell them how pleased you are that they think highly enough of your work to make you this offer, and that you need a day or two to think it over.

Now go back and review the homework you did ahead of time, and everything you learned in the conversation, to see if you have any unanswered questions. If so, you will want to come back to them to get those questions answered, again taking at least a day after you have your answers before giving them your response.

Finally, you can come back to them with a counteroffer, if you aren’t satisfied with the amount. Also think about whether there are any alternatives you might consider if they aren’t prepared to match your counteroffer, such as additional paid time off, the ability to have flexible hours, etc.

There are a variety of articles on my website relating to Career Growth that you may find helpful once you take on the full-time role.

Wishing you a great outcome in your negotiations!

No comments: