Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the October 9, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Don’t Leave $100K on the Table
Leave $5,000 on the table upon accepting a job, and
you lose a lot more than that. "Think about it," says
Wolf. "If you stay with the company for 20 years, that’s
Take into account the fact that raises tend to be a percentage of
base salary, and even the $100,000 figure does not adequately
Wolf, a Princeton resident and the human resources director of Empact
Solutions, speaks on "Negotiating the Employment Agreement"
on Tuesday, October 15, at 7:30 p.m. at a Jobseekers meeting at
Church in Princeton. No charge. Call 609-924-2277.
Wolf describes himself as a "trailing spouse." A graduate
of Michigan State, he holds master’s degrees in management and in
human resources development. After working in human resources at a
large midwestern manufacturing firm, he moved to Princeton with his
wife, Karen Wolf, when she was offered a job as president of Topdeq
U.S.A., an office furniture company with offices in Cranbury.
His wife’s job offer offered the couple an opportunity for an
a chance to be an hour away from New York City, and they embraced
it. Upon arriving in Princeton two years ago, Wolf did work for a
biotech company, a high tech company, and a career consulting firm
before landing the job with Empact in New York City. At only 20
Empact is small to have an HR director, but the company is "well
funded and growing," says Wolf. An Internet company, its product,
EyeQ, is an online subscription service that reports and analyzes
vendors’ compliance with service agreements.
After two decades in human resources, and a few recent job hunting
experiences, Wolf speaks about negotiating an employment agreement
from both sides of the desk:
talking about job negotiations at the point where an offer is made.
Or even at the point where a job seeker starts sending out resumes.
No, before a single application is filled out, says Wolf, the job
hunter has to be clear on what he needs, and on what he wants.
are your income needs?" he asks. "What are your income
The two are different, and each needs to be addressed.
Before the job search begins, sit down and look at your budget. If
your monthly outgo is $5,000, you need to look at jobs that will cover
it, or you need to reduce your expenses. Remember to factor in any
additional commutation, relocation, or cost of living expenses a
new job could bring.
As for goals, if you want to be making $400,000 a year by the time
you are 40, don’t bother looking in industries where top management
tops out way short of that figure.
Establish salary targets, says Wolf. Decide on the minimum you will
accept, your goal, and the highest salary that appears possible.
a potential employer is likely to extend depend upon the value he
thinks you will bring to the job. Start to establish your value from
the very first contact. Your resume, cover letter, and early phone
contacts all need to express — succinctly and clearly — the
attributes you would bring to the job.
and then on a company and a specific position, learn all you can about
what the range of possibilities for compensation. Look at market
read advertisements for similar jobs, and check Internet job sites.
Ask as many people as you can for input on what your potential
is likely to pay — and what benefits he is likely to extend —
for the position for which you are interviewing.
long as possible," says Wolf. "You will be building your value
proposition, getting buy-in from the hiring manager. You want him
to think you are the best candidate." Better yet, he says,
want him to think you are the only candidate."
People who raise the salary issue early "give a reason to
themselves," Wolf says. "I have met people who have said `I
need XYZ,’ but they haven’t established that they are worth XYZ."
In an extreme example, he recently sat with a candidate who said
five minutes, "I’m glad to get to know you. While I have your
attention, I want to tell you want my needs are." Would this guy
have moved along toward consideration? "I don’t know," Wolf
says. His first five minutes as a serious candidate were also his
In this way, says Wolf, negotiating a salary is like dating. The
met on a first date could be exceptional in every way, but if he/she
says "what about marriage?" at the end of the evening, chances
are excellent that the relationship is going to end right there.
of interviews and the reference checks are over, there probably will
be a job offer. No matter what it is, Wolf emphasizes, "always
be polite and grateful." The person extending the offer may be
someone with whom you will be spending a lot of time over many years.
The relationship is important.
for any length of time might be strongly tempted to jump up and down
at a job offer, any job offer. Restrain yourself, is Wolf’s advice.
"Emotion can creep in," he acknowledges. Dampen it with the
thought that leaving just a few thousand dollars on the table could
subtract a six-figure amount from your lifetime earnings.
the job offer, it is possible to ask for more money, or to ask for
any number of additional perks, ranging from a laptop computer to
more vacation to a telecommuting arrangement. While the possibilities
are endless, Wolf advises keeping the requests in the low single
"Three is a good number," he says. Four is okay, too. A
laundry list probably is way too long.
The knowledge gained from preparing for the moment an offer is made
can guide the requests. If your sources have told you that the amount
offered is at the high end of what the company generally pays for
the position, and if they also have told you that there is a good
supply of talent ready to fill the position at that salary, you might
not want to push for too much more money.
However, says Wolf, no matter what the economy, getting an additional
week of vacation generally is an easy sell.
to telecommute one day a week, need a laptop you can take home,
five weeks of vacation, and are worth an additional $10,000 a year.
Make the case simply, but persuasively.
on it. Tell the hiring manager, Wolf advises, that you want to talk
it over with your family. "If nothing else," he says,
a day to enjoy it. Take your spouse out to dinner."
if possible. This is often inconvenient, however, Wolf concedes,
that the telephone is the next best thing. If you are waiting for
a response to your counteroffer, be prepared to accept or reject it
based on the expectations you set up at the beginning of your search.
arrangements, or benefits that you hoped for, but still want to accept
the job, it is a good idea to use the negotiations to ask that the
issues be revisited at a specific time in the future, maybe six or
twelve months down the road.
salary and other terms of employment are absolutely the best chance
you are likely to have to set your own terms. "After you are
he says, "the window is pretty much closed."
for Kids campaign. The company collects coats at its dry cleaning
locations, picks them up from customers, and organizes collection
points in stores, professional offices, and schools. Gently used coats
are cleaned and distributed to those in need. Over the past 12 years,
the company has collected more than 12,000 coats.
Says Arthur Weiss of Betty Brite Cleaners in Windsor: "We are
helping to solve a problem where those less fortunate may otherwise
find themselves unprepared for the cold winter to come."
To sign up to collect coats or to volunteer to deliver them, call
Weiss at 609-426-4600.
2002 Educational Winner’s Circle grants. Stony Brook-Millstone
Association is the main recipient, and will receive $25,000 to expand
their Trenton Link Program. The other recipients are People and
y Cuentos and the Princeton-Blairstown Center High Quest Program.
The Thunder and First Union developed the Educational Winner’s Circle
in 1994 in an effort to support local non-profit organizations which
enhance educational opportunities for area children. Both the Thunder
and First Union donate five cents for every ticket sold during the
baseball season. Since the inception of the Educational Winner’s
more than $365,000 has been donated to groups in the area.
Sayen Gardens, a public park in Hamilton. Plans call for the
of an underground irrigation and sprinkler system.
Other upgrades to the park, which is located at Mercer Street and
Hughes Drive, include new benches, a pond, fountains, and landscaping.
Says Mitchell E. Hersh, CEO of the real estate trust: "We’re happy
to build on our alliance with the Hamilton Township community and
to enhance the quality of life for both its residents and its business
Corrections or additions?
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