For many engineers, a face-to-face performance review is the most stressful work conversation they’ll have all year, and for managers, the discussion can be just as tense. In this week’s episode of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I provide practical tips on how engineers and managers can prepare for and get the most out of their annual performance reviews.
This is a guest post by Nader Mowlaee.
As a fresh graduate of any technical course or engineering program, it can be difficult to find a company that accepts applicants without any experienced On-The-Job Training during college or university years, much more than those companies offer a higher than average salary. With that said, I’ve helped several young engineers negotiate an extra $5K, which isn’t that bad when you start to break it down into monthly income ($416/month) and what you can do with that extra money.
After a numerous number of interviews, finally, the anxiety has diminished and the hard part is almost over. After the final interview with the manager, he says the sweetest thing you can hear at that moment “you’ve got the job”, then they’ll tell you that they will prepare the employment offer letter and that if you have any questions you should ask them. But for most applicants, they’re still at the peak of their happiness and will sign the contract immediately, without even bothering to read it first. I’ve seen new graduates doing that thousands of times without even bothering to search for more info on the average salary amount for someone in their position, their industry, and location.
Remember that it is a binding contract, so there is no turning back, once you sign it, the deal is done. There may be other reasons why newly graduate engineers are just signing contracts without asking any questions; they may be thinking that a degree is not enough for someone to land a good paying job, and lack of self-confidence will almost always raise concerns, as there may be thousands of applicants. When they have finally chosen you, negotiating becomes even more difficult, since this deals with money and the employer considers your salary expectations from the first moment they engage with you.
Remember this: You are the person offering your services, and you expect to get compensated accordingly; and the employer is someone who’s in need of someone with your skills; and has a budget for compensating you. Even though you are a rookie, you still have the right to negotiate your terms, even if it is your first job. They want to hire you because they see potential in you which they didn’t see in other applicants; that means you’re important to them and they feel you can be an asset for the company.
Negotiating is not easy, but it can easily be done when you prepare for it from the moment you start conversations with an employer. If you know what you’re worth and can confidently communicate your value, then you can get paid well; and if you want a salary increase you, must have leverage. In this article, I’ll give you 5 steps you can follow to identify and use leverage to ask for that salary increase, up front, and get it too.