A new survey by The Creative Group suggests that talented creative professionals who accept an initial job offer may be leaving money on the table. More than six in 10 (63 percent) advertising and marketing executives interviewed said they are at least somewhat willing to negotiate compensation when extending a job offer to a top candidate. Only 28 percent of respondents said they are not.
The national survey was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service for interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals. The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on more than 500 telephone interviews — approximately 375 with marketing executives from companies with 100 or more employees and 125 with advertising executives from agencies with 20 or more employees.
Advertising and marketing executives were asked, “When extending a job offer to a top candidate, how willing are you to negotiate compensation?” Their responses:
- Very willing: 23%
- Somewhat willing: 40%
- Not very willing: 14%
- Not at all willing: 14%
- Don’t know/no answer: 9%
“Job seekers often have more leverage than they realize when negotiating a starting salary,” said Donna Farrugia , executive director of The Creative Group. “Businesses that have gone through the process of selecting a top candidate are motivated to hire that person, even if they have to sweeten the deal.”
Farrugia warned, however, that salary negotiation conversations are delicate and can easily go off track. She said, “Applicants who thoroughly prepare are more likely to have positive outcomes.”
Common Mistakes in Salary Negotiations
The Creative Group offers five common salary negotiation mistakes and how to avoid them:
Showing up unprepared. Enter negotiations with a solid understanding of current salary trends for your position and location. Review compensation sources, such as The Creative Group 2013 Salary Guide, to ensure you have realistic expectations.
Playing games. Tactics such as misleading a prospective employer about your current salary or other job offers in an effort to obtain higher pay almost always backfire. It’s better to be honest about your situation.
Making it all about you. Don’t base your request for a larger starting salary on the fact that you want a new car or bigger down payment for a home. You’ll make a much more compelling argument by talking about the value you can bring to the organization.
Viewing money as the only object. Salary is just one part of the equation; a generous benefits package or opportunities to learn and grow with the company may compensate for a lower starting salary. Look at the full picture when evaluating a job offer.
Drawing a line in the sand. Giving ultimatums too early in the process may cause negotiations to fall apart. Instead, look for common ground and avoid taking an adversarial stance. How you conduct yourself during the negotiation process sets the tone for employment with the firm, and you want to start on the right foot.