Salary Question

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    worse   alias   ever.


    Danielle: you were “one of them”  lol…


    (joking here Russell, just joking here)


    This scene seems to sort of fit the thread.



    “We’re adding a little something to this month’s sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize?  Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.”

    Pat S. Rosend

    This article answers the question for you. Good Luck. If you decide not to take the job, be sure and give a shout out to your fellow LA’s who may be interested.



    Being able to negotiate requires being in a position of strength–you either have to be strongly desired over other candidates and/or be willing to walk away from the position. This happens much more seldom than these articles imply.


    You mentioned negotiating skills. I sold cars to help pay for college, please no jokes, and learned some valuable skills in negotiating.

    I will give you four pointers


         1. Never give a number first.

     —Avoid this at all cost. You want to know how they value you.


          2. Get as much up front as you can.

     —An extra 4k up front could take years to get in raises later.


          3.Get any promises in writing.

    —This is not too much to ask and will ensure they are serious and let you know how professional they are.


          4. First person to talk looses.

    —This is the best advice for any negotiating. If they say “We would like to offer you 38″ and you think you are worth 43 then say something like ” With the skills and education I have I believe that 43 is closer to what I am looking for”.    Then SHUT UP. Just sit there in silence and let them talk first. Don’t try to explain anything else.

    I sold more cars with this advice than I ever thought possible.


    Lastly I will touch on number one again. Some people may think it is stupid not to give a number when asked but the last thing you want to do is under value yourself. They may be willing to pay you 43 but you get timid and say 38…guess what you get 38.


    thanks a lot!  some very good links there too!


    Thanks a lot Jonathan!  I know that I regularly fall into the “getting timid trap” and I wanted to avoid this this time.


    Is it better to ask for an offer in writing before we discuss salary?


    I want to avoid canned “car-salesman” responses to salary questions, any suggestions?  (sorry can’t resist a joke)


    Coming from someone in the midst of buying a new car I can say that is very good advice on negotiating..


    I might add on the last point..”They may be willing to pay you 43 but you get timid and say 38…guess what you get 38.”


    ..maybe more like guess what, you get 36.


    Nick that is very true I did not think about that.

    Normally they do go lower than you ask so if you get timid and say 38 becuase you are afraid they might say NO… you are stuck with a job at 36 that you can’t pay bills with.


    Now what good is that.


    As far as when to get an offer in writting their should be a discusion of salary before hand. Or at least a discussion before you show up for your first day.

    If they write out that they would like you to work for them and then you accept without talking money they may assume you will take what they give you.


    As far as responses to the question I have one favorite. It is a gaurded family secret but this is just the internet so no big deal.


    When you are asked “What are you looking for in terms of salary?”


    Respond with

    “Once we determine that there is a mutal benifit by me joining your team hear at XXXXX. I will be open to any fair offer.”


    If they press further, normaly they won’t, give a range. Just don’t make a mistake I did by starting the range at your lowest livable income. Be honest with yourself and come up with a range before you go into a meeting.





    Well, she offered me the job, and I didn’t negotiate at all.  Right off the bat I was offered $43k plus benefits.  Sounded good to me (especially after all the responses I got on here).  I would have felt weird/greedy asking for more.


    This is to all the new grads out there: don’t be scared.  If you think you’re worth something then go for it.  Do your research and don’t let the vat of negativity on this board suck you dry.  Don’t let people scare you into thinking you’re not worth what you’re worth.  


    Congratulations on landing your first job!


    Now the hard part begins. Its time to prove your worth and learn all that you can from the people you work with so that you get registered.


    Don’t worry about people telling you can’t do something. Shoot for the stars and never sell yourself short.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Congratulations! Now you have the opportunity to give them reasons to give you raises through what you do. You will and they will as well.

    David Stipe

    As an partner of a firm in the Pacific Northwest, I can tell you with a great deal of certainty that the firm you are negotiating with will have a number in mind.  Maybe even a pay range for a given entry level position.  As you progress as a professional you can usually expect to progress through that position pay range until you are at the top of it.  Once at the top of the pay range, you may be eligible for a bonus at an annual review instead of a raise, being that you are at the top of the pay range.  The only way to increase your salary at that point in your growth as a professional is to get a promotion. 


    If you rattled off the 50k number in our market, you might just put me in the position of wondering if you have the right attitude to fill the position of en entry level designer, which you are with your office experience (Not to be insulting, just perspective).  Concerned to the point that I would reconsider the job offer.  Lets face it, while you are negotiating your salary you are still in the process of getting to know your future employer, even though you spent 8 months with them in an internship.  Once again just some perspective from someone on the opposite side of the negotiating table and you may in fact be worth 50k in any other economy.


    The way is works in our firm;


    Designer 1  – Entry Level

    Designer 2  – 3-5 years of experience

    Associate – 5+

    Senior Associate – 7+

    Associate Principal – Once you have demonstrated you are a willing and capable partner

    Principal – Once your shares in the firm has grown to a certain percentage


    All of these positions have pay ranges that generally are not exceeded.  This is solely based on overhead and what a given employee can be billed (hourly rate) out to a client.  Bottom line in Pacific Northwest depending on location and firm size, I would say the range would be between 30-40k.  In some cases we have had folks with 20+ years experience willing to take whatever they can get.  Very tough out there right now.


    Good Luck

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