Yesterday, we hosted Ahmad Wright, from BEAM, Stanford Career Education. He shared with us valuable techniques in the Art of Negotiation.
Negotiating can feel unnatural at first, but once you learn Ahmad’s key tips, you can do it too!
- Do not negotiate until you have an offer.
- Your salary does not equal your worth.
- Most companies have a range for each position.
- Leverage is key in the negotiation process.
- Negotiation has long-term benefits. Future raises and salaries are often based on past salaries.
- If a company has no room to negotiate, they should tell you this. The expectation is that negotiation is normal.
- 2-10% of your salary is the normal range of negotiation.
If you would like to learn more about specific techniques you can use, here is a summary of what Ahmad shared with us.
Before you begin negotiation, it’s important to be thoughtful and prepared for your conversation with your potential employer. This requires a few steps.
- Reflection – Evaluate all of the factors affecting your future job experience and think about which are most important to you. All of these can be negotiated:
- Duties – What skills will you build in your new job?
- Industry – In the future, you might be applying for another job and people might care where you have experience. Company, brand, and name recognition matter in some industries.
- Job Title – Your job title communicates information to others, and could affect your chances of getting an interview in the future. For example, analyst implies that you work with data and director implies that you manage other employees.
- Location/commute – Whether or not you mind long commutes, transportation and cost of living have dollar values that you should consider when evaluating salary.
- Supervisor/work atmosphere
- What is the average salary for this position at this company/in this area? Glassdoor and other websites can be useful to garnering this information.
- What is the cost of living in this area? Something to keep in mind while negotiating for the salary.
- Keep three key numbers in mind. Know your dream outcome, what you’d be happy with, and your minimum. Keep these numbers to yourself and use them as reference values throughout the process.
When your potential employer offers you a job, it’s best to say you need to sleep on it, and then you can come back to the table ready to negotiate. This shows that you’re thoughtful and also gives you time to prepare. Oftentimes, employers ask early what your desired salary is. It’s better to respond with “what is the range for this position?” and then say you’re comfortable with the range. Then you can come back and negotiate for the higher end of the range or any other job factors you care about.
In order to keep leverage throughout the negotiation process, be thoughtful with your responses to employer questions, such as:
- Why do you want this job? Never say you love it so much you’d do it for free. It’s better to explain why this job is a great fit for you and you for it.
- Why are you leaving your old job? Don’t say you hate your old job – this makes you seem desperate. Stay positive.
- Are you interviewing/entertaining other offers? When your employer asks you this, they’re assessing the level of risk if they wait to give you an offer. If you let them know that you are considering others, they might offer to match or top other offers. If you aren’t interviewing elsewhere, you can say that you want to keep it private or are considering other options even if you just submitted a resume. Make sure you’re truthful and consistent.
- How qualified are you? Uniquely! Emphasize the skills you have in addition to those required on the job description.
Once you get to the negotiation conversation, keep these things in mind.
- “Let’s work together.” This is not an adversarial relationship. You’re talking with your future employer and want everyone to be happy with the arrangement. You can see it as a problem of balance that you can work together to solve. Show that you’re excited and receptive but you want it to be fair and make sense for you to take the job. Imply that there’s some uncertainty and ask what they can do to make the decision more clear cut for you.
- What can be negotiated? Salary, signing bonus, benefits (healthcare, vacation, gym, etc), duties, title, etc. Quantify these things for yourself and have a sense of what they’re worth to you.
- You can build leverage even if you feel like you don’t have any.
- You’re leaving a familiar work environment and your friends there.
- You’re happy in your current job so leaving is a risk.
- Your assessed worth – you did research and you know your value.
- Time is on your side. Time is risky to recruiters because you could change your mind or get other offers.
Once your recruiter agrees to what you negotiated, then it’s time to accept the job offer.
Keep these tips in mind as you approach your next job!
Also, check out our future Women at Work Events coming up in February!
As a senior, there seems to be a lot of pressure and often confusion surrounding what to do post-graduation. It can feel like you need to have life figured out. Talking to graduates, it’s clear that people take many different paths. Oftentimes, experiences and self reflection post college shape plans, desires, and decisions.
On Thursday, January 14th, the WCC hosted our first Women at Work winter series event – Life as a Young Alum: Making Decisions and Embracing Change. The goal of the event was to showcase the diverse approaches Stanford grads take to life post college and to share some ideas, inspiration, advice, and reassurance.
We hosted three awesome Stanford Grads:
- Lexi Butler ‘11 – CEO and Founder, Grown Up Truth and Program Manager at NetApp
- Kristen Bautista ‘09, MA ‘10 – Software Engineer at Curious.com
- Miranda Mammen ‘14 – FosterEd Operations Manager at the National Center for Youth Law
Together, Lexi, Kristen, and Miranda brought a wide range of experiences and a ton of great advice for anyone nearing the transition to post-grad life. Here are a few key takeaways for you to consider!
View your job as a learning experience
Whether you love your first job or not, you can learn from it! You’ll learn what you like and what you don’t like, and you can use this to make informed decisions about your career. Your first job is not your career trajectory. You’ll have opportunities to meet people, network, and figure out what you want in future jobs. Additionally, you’re not expected to know how to do everything when you start a job.
Don’t feel pressure to find the “perfect” first job
For your first job, you might have to settle for something that only covers one dimension of what you ultimately want to do. You also might not know exactly what you want yet, and that’s okay. It all goes back to learning. You might end up changing careers, pursuing further education, readjusting your plan, or taking time off. It’s okay (in fact, it’s normal!) not to have it all figured out.
Post-grad life can be a tough transition but it has some perks
You have a lot more freedom to decide how to spend your time. You can build your own path or change direction. Don’t worry about what “makes sense” as long as you’re getting something out of whatever you’re doing. You also don’t have as many deadlines, and you know your schedule better. It’s easier to make plans and know when you’ll be free.
Communicate with family and friends
Your parents, friends, and other important people in your life can be great support, so stay in touch with them. Remembering that your parents are from a different generation and learning their story can help you sympathize and communicate clearly. It’s good to be clear to yourself and your parents about your decisions. Recognize the line between asking for advice and explaining your choices. Friends can form a great second family as well. Your college friends might move far away, but maintaining relationships is really valuable. Also, Stanford connections are really strong. Find other alums to connect with, and they can often be great professional and personal support.
Other advice for leaving the Stanford bubble
SU Post and craigslist are great ways to find housing, furniture, and other useful things.
Live with friends or roommates, and try to have a short commute.
Save your money. Having some extra resources is very useful if you need to take time off, change jobs, want to travel, or decide to start a family.
Have humility. You have a lot to learn.
If you’re interested in more thoughts, advice, and general musings on life after college, check out Lexi’s blog, Grown Up Truth at http://grownuptruth.com/
Join us for more great Women at Work events this quarter. Check out the flier for more information!
-Annie Kaufman – Women at Work Coordinator
Planned Parenthood for America filed a federal lawsuit yesterday against anti-abortion extremists at the Center for Medical Process (CMP), which orchestrated an ongoing smear campaign to block women from accessing safe and legal abortion. Read more about it here.
To the black Stanford students and community members in our network, we send our thoughts and our love.
To the black Stanford students and community members in our network, we send our thoughts and our love.
Graduate school is a challenging time for many reasons – teaching, mentoring, designing research projects, managing advisors, spending hours writing and/or in the lab – and romantic relationships can be a source of respite or source of stress on top of all of that. In fact, they are often both at once!
Inspired by the part of graduate school that people don’t often talk about—having a romantic relationship—we, the graduate program coordinators of the WCC, decided to host an event to promote open and honest conversation about pursuing a career while thinking about a partner. On November 4th, several graduate students were joined by two therapists from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)—Meag-gan Walters, post-doc, and Sheila Levin—to approach the topic of relationships. The conversation was deep and insightful, and we thought we would share a couple of takeaways from the evening.
Communication is key:
This might sound cliche, but many of the issues that arise in relationships can be addressed or at least alleviated through honest and open conversation. This is especially true when agreeing upon expectations and values. Knowing your respective priorities can alleviate issues in the long run, especially when the personalities within the relationship are opposite. A partnership between a Type A person who prefers to plan and a Type B person who prefers spontaneity requires a communication strategy that takes into account the different needs of each partner as well as the needs of the relationship. It takes a certain amount of honesty and vulnerability to have an effective conversation, which might not be comfortable for everybody involved, but it is important to the health of a relationship.
Be aware of gender biases/implied relationship roles that may influence your relationship:
We are all influenced by societal pressures (including pop culture and our families) when it comes to expected roles and responsibilities in relationships. Sometimes, our own ideas about how things should be can get in the way of how things are. Locking ourselves or our partners into inflexible roles–for example, what roles we expect a person to fulfill based on his/her/their gender–can also be the root cause of frustration and miscommunications. If people don’t or can’t fulfill the roles we have set aside for them, it can be an unnecessary source of contention.
Being whole and happy on your own is the best foundation for being in a healthy relationship:
In the words of RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” Finding ways to know yourself, to make yourself happy will give you a fuller life and a better sense of self. If you don’t put all your “happiness eggs” in your “relationship basket,” you can appreciate the multiple ways in which you function and live in the world. It is important to remember that your romantic relationships consist of more than one person. It is not your job to fix your partner, and it is not your partner’s job to fix you. If there is something seriously wrong, seek out professional assistance.
The two-body problem is real, and requires both parties to know what they want for the future of the relationship and what they want for their personal development:
The “two-body problem” refers to the task of managing both partners’ careers in a way that maintains a cohesive life together while allowing each person to have a fulfilling career and opportunities for advancement. Some jobs within and outside of academia will negotiate contingencies for partners. If living in the same area is one of the values that you and your partner share, check with your employer to see if they can help you make the transition easier or more predictable for your partner. They may provide help with a job search or allow you to accept a position with the condition that your partner can find satisfactory employment in the same geographical area. Another aspect of the two-body problem is planning for a family. Figuring out how to bring up questions of relationships and children can be tricky when seeking employment. One thing you can do is find people who have similar experiences and ask them about their lives in a company or institution—it helps to go into a job or negotiations for a job knowing the kinds of experiences you should be prepared for.
TL;DR – Talk to your partner about your respective values, and pay attention to the way you treat them and yourself in a relationship. You will be happier for it.
If you need to make an appointment with CAPS, call 650-498-2336.
-Valerie Troutman and Vanessa Seals