Erin Wells, Head Editor, INALJ Oregon
Recently a story has gone viral about a female professor having a job offer rescinded when she asked what many considered to be too much after a job offer had been made. There are always two sides to any story, but many people thought she asked too much when she tried to negotiate after receiving her job offer. Negotiating can be nerve wracking and it needs to be done with care. It is important for those in the library profession to learn about negotiating and to know to not be afraid to negotiate. Employers are as excited about hiring you as you are to begin working for them and it is important for you to understand that you do have some power in how much your salary will be.
Many people in the library profession think that negotiation is a bad word when it comes to job offers. We think that because we desire to have a larger income we would be taking money away from valuable public services. While it is important to keep costs down in libraries, employers should be investing in their employees and paying them what they are worth. One of the biggest mistakes a manager can make is not ensuring that their employees are satisfied with the salaries and benefits they are receiving. This can cause an employee to not feel valued and may lead them to leave. Finding and training a new employee can cost quite a bit of money in addition to losing talented employees. While it is certainly a hiring managers responsibility to pay their employees what they are worth, this does not always happen. This is why it is important for you to ask for what you believe you are worth before you accept a job offer.
If you intend to negotiate as part of the hiring process you need to know what you should be making. You should do research beforehand on what people are making in the company you want to work, as well as those in your area. You can get statistics on what a librarian on average makes but this can vary wildly based on your location. Glassdoor.com can be a great tool for you to get an idea of what you should expect to make in your profession. It is important if you are asking for more to not ask for a number that is wildly out of proportion of what someone in your organization will make. This is why Glassdoor is your friend when it comes to negotiating your salary.
There certainly are instances where an employer does not have any more money to offer you. They may have already extended themselves to get you on board. Negotiating does not always mean having to ask for a larger salary, but if there are things that could help you as an employee you should not be afraid to ask for them. Some employees have asked for things like a bus pass, or a larger office. These are not large expenditures for an employer but can be extremely helpful for an employee. Before accepting a job offer sit down and think of the tools you may need in your job ask yourself what you are willing to ask for and what you may be willing to give up.
Things to keep in mind when you are negotiating are:
• Know that you are a valuable commodity. You bring as much to the table as an employer does
• Know what you are worth, and think of what you need to succeed in your new job
• If possible, do not disclose what you are willing to take before a job offer is made
• Be polite when presenting a counteroffer
• Even in a down market, know that you do not need to accept every job offer that is made to you
Here is some further reading for you about the negotiation process: