Now that we are done playing house…lets get back to the basics: female empowerment! ?? Today my sister (Brenda) and friend (Tiffany)(you remember her from my online dating article) start new jobs! Amen! Leading up to both their interviews, I shared some tips with them that were helpful. Women still make less than men in many fields for a variety of fucked up reasons. However, some of it we can control. Get a pen and paper as we boldly go where no one wants to go….journey into female empowerment in the land of pimps and hoes(Corporate America). Ok pimpets…lets go get this money! Here’s a guide to interviews and salary negotiations that will have your employers throwing money at you:
7. APPLY FOR JOBS THAT YOU KNOW YOU CAN EXCEL AT! Often times when I’m job hunting, I only apply to the ones that I have the qualifications for. This can be a huge obstacle especially if you are trying to break into a different field. At some point, someone is going to have to take a risk on you so it doesn’t hurt to aim high! The worst a future employer can do is not give you an interview! Thus, don’t sike yourself out before the interviewing process even begins!
6. DO NOT BRING UP YOUR WEAKNESSES IN AN INTERVIEW UNLESS ASKED! Confidence! Confidence! Confidence is key! When you land that interview (I’ve faith you will) and are preparing for it, know what your strengths and weaknesses are beforehand. Do not share your weaknesses unless specifically asked by your future employer. In other words, do not wear the challenges of the new job on your sleeves. Some employers may ask you what obstacles you may have if given the position. Share that answer by also presenting a strength you possess that can combat that weakness. The point here is to leave your future employer with a vivid image of you conquering every foreseeable obstacle that comes with the position and the tools to excel at any issue that was unforeseeable.
5. AVOID ANY NERVOUS HABITS! Let’s be honest…interviews are scary especially when you desperately need the job. Practice answers to possible questions with someone else beforehand. If no one is available, spend time going over things out loud while looking in the mirror. Part of the fear, especially for women, is a fear of how we are being viewed. Nothing can 100% prepare you for everything your future employer will ask but practicing confidence will help with the unknown.
4. WEAR A NICE SKIRT SUIT (WITH SOFT TONES IF POSSIBLE) if you are interviewing in a conservative field, such as education, legal, and finance, and you do not know the gender of the person(s) interviewing you, I recommend wearing a skirt suit or slacks in nice soft tones. The reason being is in some conservative fields, employers may decide to not give you the job based on presentation. Now I know what you are thinking…if you are in a nice pants suit…how could there be an issue? Some conservative older men (and women for that matter) believe that women should look like women in the workplace. I know you are rolling your eyes but it’s true. I’ve experienced it first hand. However, just because your future employer may have some out dated views about women’s attire, doesn’t mean that you can’t use those Stone Age views to your advantage! You need this job right?! Well presentation is part of the interviewing process! I personally prefer pants suits but especially when I lived in the South, I had to assimilate quickly. The ending goal is my money…not my clothes! ??
3. HEELS! HEELS! HEELS! There’s nothing like a confident woman who can walk like a professional bad ass in heels! Now if you do not know how to walk in heels or don’t feel comfortable in them, please do not wear them! Nobody likes to see a woman gliding like a linebacker in heels! ? But if you have nice professional work pumps, this is the time to pull them out! It will only add to your confidence! Side note…please leave the stripper shoes at home! You want to walk and look like a confident professional woman. Save the “Candy” stripper shoes for when you are out at night with your friends.
2. SALARY NEGOTIATIONS! I’ve read many books and articles on the art of negotiations and the differences between men and women. Generally, men negotiate salary based on their potential while women (if they negotiate salary at all) tend to negotiate salary based on their current experiences. Your current experience is really your PAST! It can be a huge blessing or a huge obstacle. If your experiences are flawless and you have more qualifications than what your future employer asked for…you are in a place of bargaining! However, if you are just breaking into a new field, your previous experience can hinder your salary negotiations…but only if you let it. Always negotiate from a place of your potential. After all, your entire interview was probably focused on what attributes you have that makes you stand out from other candidates. Chances are you all had similar experiences…hence why you are all being interviewed! Focus on how much money you can make a company or how you can excel at this position in a way that no one before you could. Your ambition is just as important as your previous experiences. Another astounding fact that I’ve read is that men negotiate salary during the hiring process while women tend to negotiate when they are in the position! If you get nothing else from this blog, please get this…once your employer makes you a job offer NEGOTIATE SALARY UPFRONT!!!! If your future employer made you an offer much higher than what you wanted, obviously no need to negotiate salary. However, there may be other things that you may want to negotiate based on the package they offered you and the schedule of your position. The worst your employer can say is NO. It’s very unlikely they will completely take their offer off the table because you negotiated your salary/package. If you wait to negotiate salary after being in the position for a while, there is only so much your employer may be willing to do to meet you half way because…they already have you! Also, it’s easier to jump up 10,000 to 30,000 moving from employer to employer than moving up in a company. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Know your worth and say your terms upfront.
1. THE ART OF SALARY NEGOTIATIONS: BATNA (BEST ALTERNATIVE TO A NEGOTIATED AGREEMENT): “BATNA is a term coined by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 bestseller, “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Without Giving In.” I highly recommend that you all read Fisher and Ury’s book! It changed my life when I read it in Fall 2008! “In negotiation theory, the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement or BATNA is the most advantageous alternative course of action a party can take if negotiations fail and an agreement cannot be reached. BATNA is the key focus and the driving force behind a successful negotiator. A party should generally not accept a worse resolution than its BATNA. Care should be taken, however, to ensure that deals are accurately valued, taking into account all considerations, such as relationship value, time value of money and the likelihood that the other party will live up to their side of the bargain. These other considerations are often difficult to value, since they are frequently based on uncertain or qualitative considerations, rather than easily measurable and quantifiable factors.” (From Wiki) “The BATNA is often seen by negotiators not as a safety net, but rather as a point of leverage in negotiations. Although a negotiator’s alternative options should, in theory, be straightforward to evaluate, the effort to understand which alternative represents a party’s BATNA is often not invested. Options need to be real and actionable to be of value, however without the investment of time, options will frequently be included that fail on one of these criteria. Most managers overestimate their BATNA whilst simultaneously investing too little time into researching their real options. This can result in poor or faulty decision making and negotiating outcomes. Negotiatiors also need to be aware of the other negotiator’s BATNA and to identify how it compares to what they are offering.” (From Wiki). While you can use a BATNA in any negotiation even if it doesn’t involve salary…lets focus on how to use it for salary negotiations. Let’s say last year you made 50,000. You know in your new position you need at least 60,000 (essentially your BATNA) to no longer financially struggle. When negotiating salary stay away from 60,000. Start off with a number much higher like 70,000. This gives your employer a chance to give you a counter offer. You’ve essentially given yourself a cushion in negotiations and a higher chance of getting your BATNA (here it is 60,000). Your employer may come back with a counter offer of 65,000 and you can gladly accept because you only really needed 60,000. Now of course you have to do your research on the salary range for your position, base things on your experience, AND add in your potential! The goal is to always stay away from what you really need and aim higher so you have a better chance of being successful in your negotiations. Once again, I recommend you read “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Without Giving In!” It’s an eye opener! ~ KJM on Charm School Monday dropping knowledge that I hope and pray changes your lives in a powerful way. We may be viewed as the weaker gender but our salaries sure don’t have to reflect it!?? Credits given to Wiki, William Ury, and Roger Fisher.