If you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last couple of months, the news of the Tesco horsemeat scandal may have passed you by. If not, then you’re aware that a large number of FMCG retailers have been suffering supply chain issues where horsemeat has been found in beef products. Although this is a complex issue, a simple explanation is that FMCG retailers, in an effort to protect and enhance their profit margins (which are typically low), have been squeezing prices paid to their suppliers, which pressured their suppliers to cut their own costs. As a result, they sourced their meat from cheaper suppliers in the supply network, and somewhere along the line a load of cheap horsemeat got sold as beef. [Read more...]
I’ve worked in the recruitment industry a number of years and I’ve seen a whole range of different remuneration models and structures used by agencies to reward and incentivise their staff. But in the main they usually consisted of a low to medium base salary dependent upon experience and seniority and then a monthly, quarterly and yearly commission scheme on top. The variance tended to be how and when the commission was received.
During this time in the industry I’ve also seen or heard my fair share of bad practice performed by individual recruiters in pursuit of their commission. Some first hand from within the companies I’ve worked in and some second-hand from clients and peers.
This bad practice has included consultants raising and then getting paid commission for work not performed or not agreed with the client, fudging of costing proposals and then whamming the client with a hidden cost later explained by reference to the pressurising of clients to accept shortlists so a stage payment can be raised when even interviews are unlikely to produce a result. [Read more...]
One question that often makes people feel uncomfortable at interview is ‘what salary are you looking for?’…or something along those lines.
I personally feel ok talking about money and I think it’s fine to state your expectations clearly and confidently.
Most people shy away from talking money
However, I’ve been in this game long enough to know that the majority of job seekers don’t like to discuss this at interview. They don’t want to be the first person to mention a figure. If it’s too low, they may miss out financially. If it’s too high, they could miss out on a job offer.
If a recruitment consultant asks you this, then I would advise you be as open as possible. They will give you advice on the market rate for your skills and will often do the negotiating for you when you get offered a role. They need to know where your expectations are, so not to waste your time with lower paid jobs in the future.
How to deflect the salary question
If the employer in the interview asks you this and you really don’t want to answer it just yet, then here are a few ways you can deflect the questions.
‘I’m quite open and slightly flexible on salary as the opportunity to add value and to be valued is important to me. I’d appreciate knowing how you value this position and what your budget is for this role?’
The way you say this is very important. Say it with a smile on your face and raise your voice at the end of the sentence, so it seems like a question.
Or just bat it straight back…
‘I’d rather not commit to that quite yet. I’m really open to your thoughts on this as I’m sure you will be consistent with the market?’
Then pause. Just stop talking. By silencing yourself quite abruptly, you are forcing the other person to talk and it shows you are in control.
Again, you must do this in a very ‘upbeat’ way. We don’t want you to become defensive as this can sometimes come across as aggressive… not a good look!
Smile and nod while you ask it. By nodding you are assuming the answer you want is coming back to you and increasing the chance of the other person giving you what you want. Practice it in other conversations and you will see what I mean and how well it works.
Practice makes perfect
I’m not talking about ‘jedi mind tricks’, but there are lots of NLP books that talk about your body language during negotiations. I would check them out if you are unsure.
At some point you are going to need to discuss salary (unless there is a recruiter involved) and I would recommend practicing these answers.
Say them out loud in the mirror, while you are washing the dishes or driving. The more comfortable you are when you get asked this, the less likely you are to be conditioned by the interviewer.
Many of us need to rethink the way we ask for promotions and raises, because when we do ask, often it ain’t pretty. Just listen to the answers I hear when I ask, “Are there differences in the way men and women ask you for raises and promotions?”
“I know you’re busy, I know you don’t have time…” – Valerie Jarrett
Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett has been the boss in a variety of workplaces. When I ask whether she sees a difference in approach between men and women when asking for raises and promotions, she says, “Amazingly, men are almost detached from it emotionally. They’re really comfortable . . . Women are much more timid and appreciative and polite. Men are very matter of fact, businesslike, unemotional. It isn’t really personal.”
“Women are emotional?” I ask.
“Emotional in the sense of apologetic . . . I remember one woman in particular who started with, “I know you’re busy, I know you don’t have time . . . ”
“Basically saying, ‘Don’t give me the raise’?”
“She backed into it badly, is the way I would say it.” Valerie tells me.
“Apologetic” and “tentative” are two adjectives I heard over and over. The editor-in-chief of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, Tina Brown says women often start to apologize with their body language before they even open their mouth. Then they’ll begin by saying, “Well, you know, I’ve been here for a while and I’ve been thinking a lot about this . . . Men come in and they just say, ‘Hey, I’m not doing this anymore unless I get X.’ And you think, ‘Of course, of course, of course,’ you know, you must take care of Joe, Fred, whomever. But women don’t do that. They just come in and they look sad . . . And we can’t do that!”
“I didn’t really want to come to you with this…” – Carol Bartz
I ask Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, “Have you ever had a woman ask for a raise and apologize for imposing?”
“Oh, absolutely,” she says. Bartz trots out a few she’s heard: “‘I didn’t really want to come to you with this, but, gosh, do you think my bonus percentage could be higher?’ And, ‘Gee could you just think about it?’ When they say, ‘I don’t know if you’ll consider,’ right away they are giving you an out. Of course I wouldn’t consider, you just told me not to consider . . . when somebody gives you the reason you can say no, it just makes your job easier.”
Men will say ‘”I believe I’m undervalued here,’” Bartz tells me. “And that’s always code for ‘I’m going someplace where they value me, and it’s for these reasons.’”
“When men ask for raises there’s always some cost,” ad exec Donny Deutsch says. “It’s always ‘because I did this’ and ‘if I don’t get the raise . . . ‘ There’s always [an imaginary] gun to the head, some gamesmanship. First of all, women don’t ask as much. And when they do ask, it’s not ‘Give it to me or else.’”
When you combine my experience with what I heard from the bosses above, I have to say we women stink at this. Just look at our best opening lines:
“I know you’re busy.”
“I don’t know if you have the time.”
“I don’t know if you’ll consider . . . ”
“I don’t know if this is possible . . . ”
“I hate to do this.”
“I don’t know if there’s room for this in the budget.”
“I’m sorry if the timing is bad.”
I think I’ve managed to use everyone of those phrases in my attempts to get a raise. Of course, I used an additional strategy, too — what More editor Lesley Jane Seymour calls “playing the victim card.” Seymour says women “present their personal challenges, saying things like, ‘Well, I have this situation’ or ‘I have that burden’ or ‘My mother is ill and I have to support her’ or whatever. Women present their cause, and you have to realize it’s not a manager’s job to support your causes, whatever they might be . . . The companies can’t say, ‘Oh, I feel sorry for you.’
Mika Bzezinski, author of Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth, is a co-host of Morning Joe, an MSNBC anchor and author of All Things at Once. She is also co-host of The Joe Scarborough Show on Citadel Media. She is the mother of two daughters, Emilie and Carlie, and has been married for fifteen years to an investigative journalist at ABC.