How to Negotiate The Best Salary and Benefit Packages

Salary and Benefits Negotiation

One of the most difficult aspects of job searching for many people, especially those who are just starting out or who are making a mid-career change, is actually the salary and benefits negotiation aspect. This is true partly because some people are just naturally uncomfortable with negotiation in general and also because they may not feel knowledgeable enough about the job market to be able to effectively negotiate for better pay and benefits. In other cases, certain job seekers may not feel confident enough about their talents and skills in order to attempt salary and benefits negotiation.

For the most part, employers expect that there will be some negotiation regarding salary and benefits packages. Today, this tug of war has become somewhat of a game where both sides take pride in honing their skills. In a small number of cases, employers have absolutely no room to maneuver regarding the salary and benefits they offer and therefore negotiation will not be effective. That said, however; you will never know unless you ask and give negotiation a try.

If you are unsure how valuable your own particular skills and experience are to the current job market it is worth it to take the time to perform some research. A number of job market and labor statistics are now available on-line to help you determine just exactly how valuable you are to a current or prospective employer. The figures are generally listed according to low, average and high; depending on the area of the country in which you live and the exact amount of experience you possess.

Individuals who are a little on the shy side and feel uncomfortable with trying to negotiate for a higher salary and benefits package can work out some of their anxiety by practicing with friends and relatives. It can be quite helpful to write out a sample script ahead of time so that you can work your way through it as you take a practice run. Take a look below at one way in which a salary and benefits negotiation might be handled:

Ms. Employer: “I’m really impressed with your skills and experience. We would like to offer you the position at a starting salary of $45,000 per year.”

Mr. Job Seeker: “Thank you. I’m excited at the prospect of working for Rutherford Enterprises, however; my salary needs at the $55,000 level. As you know, accepting this position will require that I relocate to the Seattle area. Accepting anything less than $55,000 would simply be far too costly given the moving expenses.”

Ms. Employer. “Hmmm, I can understand your position; but I simply can’t offer you more than $45,000 per year. Our company policy is to bring all new hires at this management level in for $45,000 per year. We are looking at raising salaries on a cost of living adjustment sometime next year….”

Mr. Job Seeker. “I’m afraid that simply would not work, as I would need to make the move this year in order to begin by your requested hire date.”

Ms. Employer. “I really hate to lose you. I believe we need someone with your experience on our team. Perhaps we could work out something else. As I said, I can’t start you out any higher than $45,000 per year, but I could possibly offer you a $3,000 sign on bonus. That would help to defray your moving costs. Would that be acceptable?”

Now, obviously all conversations are not going to go exactly as the one in the example did. In some cases, the employer will remain adamant that they simply can’t pay any more and they won’t offer any other type of compensatory benefit on their own either. In this situation the job seeker will need to come up with a creative idea and nudge the employer. Just keep in mind that not all of the money you bring home is tied up in your paycheck. Sometimes you can do as well as or better than a higher salary by negotiating for sign on bonuses, moving expenses, company stock options, better retirement benefits, extra time off, etc.

Employers will rarely offer you everything you need and want with the first job offer. It’s up to you to define the parameters of the negotiation and determine whether or not you will simply accept the offer on the table or sell the employer on your unique skills and experience and thereby obtain the best deal possible.

Software Testers – Past, Present and Future

Early during the last decade, software development companies were producing applications by the bucket-load to keep up with the incredible customer demand. The role of the Software Tester then, was to (in my opinion) detect the critical and major issues, and most minor issues were simply brushed under the carpet to get the product out of the door on time. For the Software Testers, it was (to coin a phrase) “A much simpler time”. During this time-frame the Software Testers actively working hard to get themselves recognized as a necessary part of the software development process, and not just some kine of ‘bottle-neck’ that delays a products release. Credit to the testers for actually achieving that goal!

Having worked so hard to achieve their aim, Software Testers found themselves under threat, a threat which in a way came from inside their own camp. The threat I am talking about was ‘Test Automation’. Loose talk around the offices focused on how ‘so much more useful’ this kind of testing was. Testing could be ran 24 hours a day and repeated many times faster than a manual tester could perform. The humble Software testers were considered a dying breed. But, hang on a minute…..we are still here!

Rather than migrating the manual testing over to automated testing entirely. The move was actually more of a ‘leaning’ instead. A typical software development company will include only ‘some’ automated testing. Just tests where automation would enhance the manual testing or save a bit of time. Some testers have switched over to becoming devoted to test automation and that is now their primary job.

So while the road of a Software Tester has been ‘uneven’ to say the least. They have in fact, now firmly established their role as a necessary part of the software development cycle. Once considered to ‘dying out’, the Software Testers have not only ‘beaten’ the threat of test automation, but actively use it alongside their own work to assist it and to enhance it.

So what it is store for the future of Software Testers? Well, software is still going strong and is now present on other platforms. The most popular ‘new’ platform has to be the ‘iPhone’. It pretty much came from nowhere and has now topped 250,000 Apps that have been developed. These iPhone Apps are just regular software applications designed to work on a specific type of hardware. Many software testers are realizing that their software testing skills can be transferred over to this new kind of software development, and are becoming iPhone App Testers. There now exists iPhone App testing companies that are dedicated to providing iPhone App Testers to improve the quality of this rapidly growing phenomenon.

The future looks bright for Software Testers and iPhone App Testers alike, and that’s good news for the people who want quality from the software they are using, whether its a PC application, web application or an iPhone App.

Presentations – 3 Tips From Multi-Media To Help You Win Audiences

What words come to mind when you think “multi-media”?

Quick, ever-changing, colorful, active, visuals, sounds, the unexpected…connection and interaction.

Your audiences live with–have embraced–multi-media in their daily lives. They gravitate to more color, more action, more variety, more stimulation. Why can’t presentations be more like multi-media?

They can if you allow yourself to use multi-media as a model for your presentations. Here are 3 tips to do that.

1) Reduce the desire to explain everything. Your favorite app doesn’t explain itself. It works and you learn how to use it by just using it. When you’re introducing a new idea or product or service in a presentation, just start. The typical jargon-laced introductions and the old and boring “tell’ em what you’re gonna tell’ em” rule is out the window these days. Jump right in with a colorful story or example, or a challenge, or a hard question. Your audiences are ready for this.

2) Mix up the visuals in your slide deck. Corporate rules about design parameters are counter-productive to the goal of getting connected with the audience. A fixed three-color scheme, slide templates where everything is exactly the same on every slide, perfect photos or stylized graphics–none of these attract the audience. The human brain’s efficient filing system says to itself -”I’ve seen this before, know what it means..NEXT!” so instead of increasing awareness of the brand, these corporate looks decrease interest.

3) Add sound and movement to your presentation deliberately and thoughtfully. Sounds can be embedded in your slides–show a process or flow and embed a sound that suggests movement. This can be fairly subtle–no roaring plane engines–but your audience will pick it up and their attention will be stronger than otherwise.

Incorporate movement by asking the audience to raise their hands, to write something on a handout, or to handle and use a promotional product or gift. Something small makes a big difference in the course of a 30-60-90 minute presentation.

Multi-media doesn’t sit still and doesn’t lecture. It moves and it grabs and it makes you participate. Do the same with your presentations and your audiences will be eager for more.