Lewis C. Lin is the author of Five Minutes to a Higher Salary and named as one of 2017’s best negotiation experts by PeopleMaven.
We recently asked Lewis for his advice on best practices for salary negotiations. Here’s what he said:
Can you tell us about your background/expertise in career coaching? How did you get into the field?
I’ve been an executive career coach since 2008. Now, I’ve been a coach for nearly 10 years; I’ve also held an appointment as the executive coach for the University of Washington’s Executive MBA program. I’ve also written eight Amazon.com bestsellers on career topics, including salary negotiation and interview preparation.
I got my start during the 2008 Financial Crisis. The FDIC closed down a local Seattle bank, Washington Mutual. I helped a friend, who was affected by the layoffs, prepare for her interviews. She said, “You’re really good at turning my resume and skills into PR-worthy sound bites. You should be an interview coach.” And I thought to myself, “Maybe I should.” And that’s how it all started.
How has the way individuals seek jobs evolved since you started your career? What hasn’t changed?
There’s a lot of things that haven’t changed about the job search; the one that stick out in my mind: The importance of networking.
What has changed: despite its importance, networking is necessary but not sufficient to get the offer. The key change, in the last few years, has been the accelerating use of hypothetical case questions and other work simulation tests during the interview process.
For instance, companies ask candidates to submit work samples or develop/present an executive presentation on a strategic business issue. Others, including Amazon and Uber, ask candidates to complete a Microsoft Excel exercise that requires knowledge of PivotTables.
Long story short, it’s not enough to tell employers you can do the job. Instead, they ask that you show them you can do the job. Why? Technology is obsoleting old skills and creating new, in-demand skills. Employers don’t have the patience to watch someone learn on the job.
Talk about your book Five Minutes to a Higher Salary. Can individuals really negotiate better salaries in just five minutes?
Some people see the title and think it’s hyperbole. But it’s true, you can negotiate your salary in five minutes. And people who’ve read the book will know that I’ve offered a solution to get a higher salary in less than one minute.
Here’s the secret: I don’t waste my readers time with negotiation theory. Sure, curious minds will inquire. But for the vast majority of us, getting results is important. They could care less if they could explain the fundamentals of negotiations to others; few aspire to be negotiation professors!
I deliver fast results by providing negotiation templates and scripts, Mad Libs-style. Simply fill in the blanks, and email your request in. And filling in the blanks is simple: write how much you want, your supervisor’s name, etc.
Fill-in-the-blanks doesn’t sound sophisticated, but the magic comes from the text around the fill-in-the-blank fields: each script is carefully crafted, leveraging proprietary best practices in:
- Negotiations theory
- Communications theory
- Psychological theory
Read the reviews; folks find my negotiation book effective and easy-to-use.
What are your three dos and don’ts for salary negotiations?
I’ve got a long list of do’s and don’ts! But if I could choose three do’s and three don’ts you might not hear anywhere else, here are the ones I’d choose:
- Do use a script.
- Do exploit anchoring bias.
- Do utilize the psychological impact of bracketing.
- Don’t bluff or lie.
- Don’t come across as demanding or otherwise hard to please.
- Don’t take the negotiation personally. Anger and disgust are emotions that should be avoided, especially among novice negotiators.
What techniques should individuals who are apprehensive about salary negotiations use to calm themselves ahead of talking about their bottom line?
Know that managers expect you to ask. According to research studies, 84 percent of managers expect you to negotiate.
Rehearse what you’re going to say. Write your script. Practice saying the words with a friend. And have that friend ask you followup questions. Write (and practice) the answers to those followup questions so you don’t get caught off guard.
Don’t take it personally. If your manager asks you questions about why you deserve the salary increase, don’t take it personally. It’s not that he or she doesn’t think you’re worth it. They’re just collecting information and trying to understand your reasoning.
Why is it important that individuals create a strategy for negotiating salaries or asking for a raise?
Negotiating salaries can feel awkward … for both parties. Here’s why:
1. Most employees and managers don’t have a lot of experience negotiating.
2. Salary is often taken as a measure of one’s self-worth. As a result, it can be a very emotional process.
3. One’s “market-value” is often unclear, especially since:
- Salary information is hidden in most organizations
- Employee performance can vary widely
- Dunning-Kruger effect affects many of us
Make sure you understand what you’re worth before going into salary negations. Sign up for paysa.com.