Are You Eligible for a Raise? Company Philosophies & Salary Bands

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Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with David Newkirk, CEO of Ethos Consulting and former Fidelity Executive to talk about negotiating and owning your worth. 

David is a seasoned business strategist who has been on three sides of the negotiation table - as an employee, an executive, and now an entrepreneur running his own business, consulting with organizations. 

Are you sure you’re eligible for a raise? What you should know that companies don’t always disclose.

Watch this video to learn more

In part 1 of our negotiation scenario series “How to Ask Above Your Salary Range,” David’s family member, “Simon” a young 20-something, got a job offer and is in the process of negotiating his salary. Simon gave the company a $15,000 salary requirement range ahead of time and received an offer $3,000 above the top end of the range.

David’s question to me was: “Should Simon still try to negotiate or what kind of box did he put himself in knowing that they exceeded what his salary range was and should he do something in terms of a response?” Find out my answer here.

David also had some advice. His response comes from experience of being on both sides, the employee and the employer doing the hiring. "It’s all with style to how you may ask what the job grade is, and ask what the salary band range is between the high and the low. I've seen in the past when I've been in organizations, how someone could be hired at the high end - it's not disclosed - and they're not eligible for raises because they fall on the top end of the band, and they won't exceed that band. I suggested to ‘Simon’ that he should find out for perspective, if he is on the low end of a band, right in the middle, or at the high end, based on the job grade.”

David was pleased to hear that this is great advice.

I don't know anything about this company, but depending on if they have salary bands and grades, and if it's a large enough company to have that type of structure, it is really important for a candidate to know where they fall and why. If Simon were to go back and say, "You know, I'd love to understand a little bit more about how you came to this number, where I fall in the range ..." He can ask those questions and then ask for another day to consider the offer and to be able to go back and say, "Okay, I was hoping for a little bit more. Is there anything you can do?"

It's really important that candidates understand the pay philosophy of a company before they join.

Not only can he ask for the salary bands, which is great. He can also ask, "When is the annual review process? How are merit increases adjusted or approved within the company?" I'm giving him permission to ask all the questions upfront because you also learn more about how the company treats its employees through this process. That's why I say, "Always negotiate." It's not about just getting the money. It's about building that relationship and rapport and getting the information you need as a candidate before you say yes. How they respond to him will be a key factor I think, in showing him whether, or not that's going to be a great place for him to grow his career.

David agreed and added, “It’s not only how you say it, so it doesn't sound like it's confrontational etc., but you're saying it in an engaging way. Thanking him for the offer, and say 'I'm curious. I have a couple of questions.' And see how they respond. Because it's a very large national brand company, my understanding is they would probably not be offended by the fact that he’s asking those questions. They probably will be surprised that someone his age is asking those questions, which they're not expecting. So I told Simon, ‘if you get a pause when you ask, don't take it the wrong way. They’re probably surprised going, 'Okay, how did he know that? How did you know to ask that question?'"