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If you're looking for someone for a rotten job, be honest about it

 


Trends | September 24, 2020


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The Trends article, “If you’re looking for someone for​​ a rotten job, be honest about it,” quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Jean Van den Eynde​ on opportunities and pitfalls for negotiations between employers and applicants in relation to salary packages. The article is excerpted below.

Every job interview is a negotiation. The salary package is an important part of those discussions, but neither companies nor employees should fall into the trap of seeing it as a breaking point. 

“What are your wage expectations?” It's a dreaded question for any job applicant. Some put an amount on the table without blinking. Many uncomfortably bounce the question back to the employer. As the labor market becomes more flexible and workers are less stable, it is increasingly unlikely to escape this question. If an employee wants to keep a firm grip on the reins of his career, he must be able to negotiate his pay and job. This is just as important for employers to attract the right employees and keep them. Employers and prospective employees often focus too narrowly on wages and other material matters in their initial interviews. As a result, they miss a range of possibilities to meet each other's expectations. 

Pay is not everything​

“It is best to wait some time before the discussion about compensation packages,” advises Jean Van den Eynde, managing director at the consultancy firm Russell Reynolds in Brussels. “The first conversations should be about the content and the challenge. About what you can achieve in the company and how you can grow professionally.” As soon as the remuneration is discussed, there is only one thing to do: be fair and transparent. “Be as clear as possible about what your salary package includes today. Don't hide anything and don't be vague about it,” says Van den Eynde. “Then say what you want for that new job. If you want an increase over your current package, say so. If you want to leave your current employer, say that you want to take the step for the same package.”

Be bold! But not too much. 

A candidate must make sure that he does not get carried away by his needs. Jean Van den Eynde experienced that. “The candidate for a high commercial position had already gotten the CEO to get him a bigger car than the CEO himself had," he recalls. "Then he pushed through his demands for certain options in that car, to which the CEO again succumbed. When the candidate also demanded tinted windows, everything blew up and the deal was canceled.” On the other hand, you should not be too risk-averse, certainly not for senior and commercial positions. “Suppose you receive an offer with pay consisting of 60 percent fixed salary and 40 percent variable pay, depending on your performance. Then it is not a good idea to negotiate that to a 70-30 ratio. In this way you give the message that you do not believe in the company and its plans”, says Jean Van den Eynde. 

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If you're looking for someone for a rotten job, be honest about it