When you’re seeking out a new job in the defense sector, ensuring you’re ready for any upcoming salary negotiations is essential. Often, the compensation outlined in an initial offer isn’t set in stone. Instead, it serves as a starting point for further discussions.
While the idea of negotiating a salary is typically daunting, it’s a critical step to ensure you’re getting the compensation you deserve. Additionally, it’s generally far less complex than many defense candidates realize. By embracing the proper strategy, you can navigate the conversation with greater ease. Here’s a look at how to negotiate your salary.
Research Local Market Rates
First and foremost, you want to spend time researching local market rates. By doing so, you can see how much similar defense professionals in your immediate area make in roles that align with the one you’re trying to land. Additionally, you can get insights into the value of your skills in the broader local area, which is also a point you can potentially leverage.
Along the way, also consider the value of other forms of compensation. Often, defense jobs have lower salaries, but the benefits provide more value than what you may receive from civilian employers. As a result, you need to factor that in when looking at pay rates for similar jobs in other industries, ensuring your expectations remain reasonable.
Identify a Target Range
For salary negotiations, it’s helpful to have a target range in mind. Essentially, you want to have the top figure represent the peak of what your skills are potentially worth and the lower number standing for the minimum you’re able to accept based on the associated duties and your needs.
Typically, you want the figures to also be precise and not rounded to the nearest thousand dollars. Often, these suggest to the employer that you’re incredibly well-informed about the going rates, which can make your request for a particular salary more credible.
Avoid Discussing Past Salaries
During the hiring process, attempt to avoid discussing past salaries as much as possible. When employers learn what you made previously, they may try to use those figures as the basis for their offer, even if your skills are worth more in the current market. By not providing that information directly, the company must consider what they’re willing to pay for your capabilities, not just an amount they think you’ll accept based on what you earned previously.
Don’t Broach the Pay Topic First
Throughout the hiring process, avoid broaching the topic of pay first. Instead, you want to see if you can get the employer to present any figures or acceptable ranges before you chime in at all. That ensures that an accidentally lowball number from you doesn’t hinder your ability to get top dollar.
Focus on the Data
Once it’s time to negotiate, use a data-driven approach. Highlight what you learned in your research and use examples from your work history to demonstrate the value you provide. By sticking to facts, your case is more compelling.
When it’s time to talk numbers, either ask the employer for their range or refer to the figure in a job offer if you’ve gotten to that point. Then, present an amount near the higher end of your range after discussing your justifications. The employer may counter, so work with them to find a suitable point that leaves everyone satisfied with the arrangement.
Tap Your Recruiter for Help
Whether you need assistance with salary research or require an ally during the negotiation process, your recruiter is a valuable resource. At the Staffing Resource Group, our goal is to help our defense candidates get what they’re worth based on local industry norms. As a result, we’ll answer any questions and provide guidance whenever possible to increase your odds of success.
If you’re looking for a new position in the defense sector, the Staffing Resource Group can simplify your job search by providing access to more opportunities with leading defense employers. Apply Today and SuRGe your career forward.
Tamila McDonald has worked as a Financial Advisor for the military for past 13 years. She has taught Personal Financial classes on every subject from credit, to life insurance, as well as all other aspects of financial management. Mrs. McDonald is a former AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor and has helped her clients to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals.