Salary Negotiation Etiquette

During the interview process, salary discussions and negotiations are usually, if not always, the last thing discussed. This is often after numerous interviews that may be rigorous in nature. When you think about it, how the whole thing works really is kind of humorous.

Hotel and restaurant managers spend all day long figuring out, and talking about, how they can enhance the guest experience so they can make more income for their owners or shareholders. There is nothing wrong with that, after all, because hotels and restaurants are businesses, and businesses are in business to make money, right?

Then why is it taboo to talk about salaries up front in an interview? What’s wrong with discussing early in an interview how much income the candidate can make for themselves or their family to support the necessities that come with living or having the funds to support education, retirement, etc.? Aren’t these good and reasonable questions? Is it really an issue of tradition or etiquette, or is it an issue of an individual’s motivation? Is wanting to earn more money and talking about it up front considered shallow? Individually, it might be considered that way, although a business has the same aspirations. So what’s the difference?

The difference is that businesses are looking for individuals who are passionate in what they do, and therefore money is a reward, not the primary driver. Businesses want people who are motivated to be of service to others. In the hospitality industry, this is what drives guest satisfaction and, in the end, what drives profits. Proper etiquette says that if you want the job, and if you want a better chance at getting the salary you want then first do a good job of showing your value to the business and let salary be the last item on the agenda!

Quick Tips for Salary Negotiations

Step 1

Take a breather. There is nothing wrong with taking a weekend to mull it over. Just as companies invest in you, you also invest in them—months and years of your life. It’s your future after all that you’re negotiating. So take your time.

Step 2

If the proposed salary falls short of fabulous, come in with a polite counter offer. If you know you’re one of the top candidates, write a counter proposal letter (list the items up for negotiation) or express your desired salary in-person. Elaborate as to what makes you a hot commodity in the industry. It may or may not help your case to mention other better offers.

Step 3

Don’t be timid. People barter and bargain throughout the world. Don’t underplay your worth. Get to the point and get in the game.

Quick Tips to Seal the Deal

  • Research the industry and compare salaries for your desired position
  • Don’t begin negotiations until you are one of the final candidates
  • If your research confirms you’re being shorted, then suggest a higher number
  • Sell yourself and use your strengths to market your stellar skills and track record
  • Make sure you understand the whole package, including benefits and compensation
  • If they reject your counter offer, then try negotiating other parts of the contract
  • Know when to throw in the towel…You did your best and now you have to decide
  • Save everyone’s time and if you don’t like what’s on the table, then move on
  • Maintain a professional status and politely decline the job
  • Take time to review the final offer and be proud of your decision
  • In the end, both sides should feel as though they’ve won

Show Me the Money: What to expect and when to accept

How do you respond when an interviewer asks: “What are your salary expectations?”

For many anxious job seekers, it’s no doubt a little easier to think a number than to say one. This is especially true if it’s your dream job that’s being served up and you don’t want to spoil your chances of employment.

“It’s alright to ask for a little more money,” says Randy Goldberg, Executive Director Recruiting, of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. “But in my opinion don’t veer too far off from the original offer.”

The most important thing is to understand the corporate culture. Research the company and its reputation in the hospitality industry. Is the company competitive with salaries and wages? Do current employees have good things to say? If it’s all smooth sailing, then question whether you want to rock the boat with a bid to increase your pay.

“I want to hear from a candidate that salary is important, but not the most important factor in his or her decision-making process,” says Jason Lessman, Manager of Corporate Recruiting, of Boston Market. “If they make salary or wage the number one factor, than they are more likely to leave you as soon as they find a slightly higher-paying job.”

Why may you negotiate?

People negotiate salary, benefits, bonuses and compensation to ensure financial stability and job satisfaction. The negotiation process is tricky and time-consuming. Self-confidence is a prerequisite. Negotiations involve researching, strategizing, goal-setting, communicating and decision-making. But don’t fret. Hard work pays off.

Who may negotiate?

Never make demands unless you are in the position to do so. Goldberg notes that most hourly positions in the hospitality industry are fixed, whereas management positions offer more room for negotiations.

When may you negotiate?

Most interviewers are going to bring up salary early on in the interview process. This means you should have already done your research, comparing pay and work conditions for similar positions in the hospitality industry. Find out what the salary range is, or suggest a range.

Goldberg sheds some light: “It doesn’t do the interviewer or the interviewee any good to go through the entire interview process if the two parties are not in some basic agreement regarding salary. If you are not asked by the time of the first interview I would suggest that you ask what the salary range is for the position that you are interviewing for.”

How may you negotiate?

“Candidates may also want to reiterate their relevant education and experience before quoting a salary. It may help to offer a range, or to say that you are flexible and will consider a fair offer for the right opportunity,” says Kate Laing, Human Resources Manager, of Pacrim Hospitality Services, Inc.

What can you negotiate?

1) Salary/Wage

-The subject of money

Money is one of the reasons you take a job. Are you satisfied with the proposed offer? What is the length of your contract and probation period? How long until a pay raise? How content are the other employees?

2) Benefits

  • Medical, life and disability insurance
  • Vacation days and pay
  • Sick days
  • Personal days
  • Vehicle mileage, gas and insurance
  • Continuing education and professional training
  • Professional or club memberships

Benefits will depend of course on your terms of employment. Whether you are fulltime, part-time, casual or contract makes a difference.

3) Other Benefits

  • Stock options
  • Signing bonus
  • Performance review bonus
  • Incentives
  • Discounts on hospitality services
  • Severance package

Such benefits are usually more applicable to higher paid management positions.

4) Moving Compensation

  • Flights
  • Moving van fees and shipping
  • Hotels or temporary accommodation
  • Closing costs of buying or selling a home

Relocation costs are not always covered, but if you or your position is in demand then take advantage. Companies understand that it’s pricey and time-consuming to move. They just might need to be reminded of it.

Asking for a Raise? Five Do’s and Don’ts to Keep in Mind

Are you beginning to feel like your paycheck doesn’t reflect your true value to the company? Is your compensation long overdue for reconsideration? Do you feel like it’s time to talk dollars and cents with your boss?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re not alone. One recent survey found that getting a raise is a top priority for over half of all currently-employed workers, with just over 50% of all respondents naming a salary boost as their number-one career goal for the coming year. But a nearly equal number also reported feeling nervous about the prospect of kicking off the money discussion.

Plan to Pump Up Your Paycheck

Let’s face it -- asking for a raise can be a nerve-wracking experience. But like many things in life, investing a bit of time in planning and preparation can do a lot to ease your raise request anxiety.

According to Ron Krannich, PhD, author of Get a Raise in 7 Days: 10 Salary Savvy Steps to Success, sketching out your salary-boosting strategy beforehand will not only help alleviate your worries and concerns about the process – it can also significantly increase the chances that your request will be successful. Use these steps to devise a plan that will work for you.

  • DO your homework.

    As soon as you begin planning to ask for a raise, start laying the groundwork with some background research. In order to make your case for more compensation, you need to know as much as possible about the salaries in your field, at competing companies, and in the region as a whole. If you can collect a persuasive set of numbers to present to your boss, you’ll be able to position a raise as bringing your compensation into line with industry standards.

  • DON’T surprise your boss or ask at a bad time.

    Employee salaries don’t exist in a vacuum. For example, if your company is facing a rough patch financially, it might be best to hold off for a bit before requesting a raise. If possible, make an appointment to discuss the issue with your manager in advance, so you’ll be assured of having a block of time that is free of other distractions.

  • DO make a list of your accomplishments and contributions to the company.

    Take a few minutes to sit down and compile a list of all of the things you’ve achieved for the organization since your last raise. Whenever possible, try to put a monetary value or a similarly tangible label on your achievements. This will help you frame your raise as a sound investment for the company.

  • DON’T get overly emotional or issue ultimatums.

    Think of the raise discussion as a business proposition. You’re making the case that you are a valuable employee who will continue to contribute to the company and in whom it makes sense to invest financially. As such, it’s important to remain calm and businesslike when you’re discussing your value. By injecting an emotional tone into the meeting, you could change the dynamic – and diminish your chances of success.

  • DO consider your options and alternatives.

    Before your meeting, map out several possibilities that you can follow, depending on the way things develop. If your employer isn’t willing to budge on salary, how are you going to respond? If your boss says there’s no budget for raises right now, are there any other perks you might accept as a salary substitute? By staying flexible and open-minded, you’ll help make a win-win outcome more likely.

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