Five Ways to Prepare for a Salary Negotiation


Have you ever been offered a new job, a promotion or a salary increase and immediately thought, 'I wonder if I should be asking for more?'. If you've never negotiated your pay and weren't armed with research, you may be undervaluing your worth to a company. Getting underpaid early in your career can have a waterfall effect that leaves you lagging behind your colleagues. Read my 5 tips below on how to prepare for a salary negotiation. 

1. Be realistic- This may be hard for some people to hear, because wouldn't it be nice if we all got 10% raises every year? Most companies will budget 3%-5% for annual raises. Essentially meaning, if you meet the expectations of your job, you should expect to see a small bump in salary perhaps between this range. If you have underperformed, your raise will likely be less. Still gunning for that 10% raise? You'll have to do more than just meet expectations. 

Which leads me to my next point. 

2. Know what's expected of you- Every company has a strategic set of goals. Hopefully, your company has communicated those with you. If not, then you need to speak up and ask your manager. Those goals can be broken down to an individual level so you can clearly see how your work impacts the overall success of the company. Usually, there are 3-5 individual goals you can set for yourself that will contribute directly to the main company objectives. 

3. Know when to ask- It might seem like common sense to negotiate pay during your performance review but I advise actually bringing this conversation up in advance. Find out when your company holds annual performance reviews and request a meeting with your manager at least one month beforehand. If you wait until the day of the performance review to negotiate your pay, there's a chance you may not get it simply because the budget has been already been approved and finalized. This doesn't mean you have to be prepared to give your whole pitch or put your manager on the spot. It should be a conversation around planting the seed and getting on the same page in terms of your expectations. 

 4. Stick to the data-  Be prepared with stats and data by knowing exactly what you should be making. There are a lot of websites out there that will give you a salary comparison or estimation. One of my personal favorites is Glassdoor's Salary Calculator. It not only takes your job title and location into consideration but other factors like level of education, years of experience in the industry and other compensation (like bonuses) you might be receiving. 

5. Celebrate your wins- So much happens within a year timeframe. It's easy to forget all the projects you contributed to or the value you added to the company. That's why I recommend keeping track of your three biggest 'wins' every month. This can be in the form of a journal, excel spreadsheet or even a simple post it note. When review time comes around, you can easily look back and clearly articulate your contributionsn to the company. 




The One Thing Companies Forget to Mention When Talking About Culture

What do you look for when exploring a potential employers benefits package? 401K? Flexible work hours? What about onsite car washes? Or 24/7 workout facility? 

The bar has officially been raised. 

If you've stumbled across the careers page of any tech company recently, it's not unlikely to see perks such as; free beer, unlimited PTO, catered lunches, etc. Perks, that up until a few years ago were not all that common. It seems as if there's a fast-growing game of one-upping each other with awesome perks intended to translate into amazing company culture. 

While these types of benefits can certainly help sway a candidate one way or another, there's one very critical part of company culture that rarely gets talked about. The leadership team. 

Most every company has a set of core values that define them. If you are a job seeker, find out what those values are before joining a company and ask for examples of how upper management carries out those values in their day to day work. 

If you're a senior executive or even founder of said company, take a good hard look at how you're making strategic decisions and ask yourself if they're aligned with the values you set forth. Does your company value creativity? Then it probably wouldn't be wise to put in stifling procedures that limit how work is executed. 

A lot of companies claim to have great culture, but how do you demonstrate it during the recruiting process? At Flywheel, we openly welcome people to our office and invite them for lunch. Even if they're not formally applying for a job, they get the opportunity to talk with members of our team and witness the interactions we have amongst each other. When there's 60+ of us eating lunch in the same room, it's easy to pick up on the vibe and energy. 

Culture is more than just a flashy careers page, it's the actions (small or large) taken every day by your leadership team and the waterfall effect it has on each individual in the company.

Challenging the Work-Life Balance Mindset

With the Winter Olympics in full swing, it's hard not to come across the name Mikaela Shiffrin. She's the 22 year old super star alpine ski racer from Colorado and she's competing in her 2nd Winter Olympics in South Korea. Everything you read about this girl states she's on track to beat out Lindsey Vonn and Ingemar Stenmark (current World Cup record holder). 

I highly encourage reading this article about her in Outside Magazine-

What really struck me about Mikaela's story is how dedicated she is to the sport all in an effort to be the best, even at the expense of her social life. How many 22 years old do you know that are spending their weekends training/working/practicing instead of going out with their friends?

The work-life balance conversation often advocates taking more time for yourself and stepping away from the office in order to promote health, both mentally and physically. You're not likely to find a lot of advice about working 80 hour work weeks and sleeping at your office. But why does the notion of working overtime to achieve your goals have to be viewed as an imbalance? Or even imply that this makes us unhappy or unhealthy?

Now, I'm not promoting that we all become workaholics with no social lives, but we have many successful companies today that wouldn't exist if it hadn't been for an individual that threw out the notion of work-life balance to achieve their dreams.

For example, Tony Hsieh from Zappos spent nearly every waking moment involved in his company Venture Frogs. So much so that he purchased an apartment building to use as office space, living space, and even a restaurant so there was practically never a reason to leave. He also has a book called 'Delivering Happiness' and is touted for creating one of the most fanatical company cultures.  

On the flip side, you have Steve Jobs who once disclosed his working hours were 7:00am to 9:00pm everyday. Although, his management style has come under scrutiny, there's no denying he help to build one of the biggest technology empires of our time.

And that's the difference between someone who is good enough to compete at the Olympics and someone who wins the race by two or three seconds, because when you're doing something you're passionate about, your willing to put in the extra hours and make personal sacrifices. It's your version of the Olympic gold medal. 

5 Reasons You're Not Getting Hired

I've interviewed over 100 people in my career, ranging from entry-level positions all the way up to Directors. One thing that has been interesting to watch is how interview etiquette has evolved over the recent years. I remember back when I was in high school it was all about buttoned up canned responses and while that may still be the case with some old-school corporate environments, there's something to be said for a genuine and personal interview experience. In fact, many companies rate candidates based on 'cultural fit' criteria and the best way to show them you're a fit is by letting your personality shine. I know it's often easier said than done as those interview jitters can tend to kick in once you walk in the door. Below are 5 of the most common mistakes I've seen and hopefully some tips to help you avoid them and land that dream job!

1. You didn't research the company - In the age of information, it's inexcusable to not do your homework. And, I'm not talking about reading the 'About' section on their website. Really take the time to look into the company. Who are their major competitors? How do they market themselves? What's their growth been like the last few years? Stalk the company like you'd stalk your Tinder date.

2. You didn't ask the right questions - Or any questions for that matter! Interviews aren't just a chance for the employer to get to know you, it's also a chance for you to get to know the company and your potential manager. What really makes someone stand out are unique and intelligent questions. Stay away from the typical, "What's the best/worst part about this job" or anything that comes up when you google best interview questions. The best questions are framed in a way that gives the employer insight into what's most important to you. Maybe that's finding out more about the management style or how much interdepartmental collaboration takes place. 

3. You didn't seem interested in the position/company - I can spot the difference between a candidate who is just looking for any job and a candidate that is looking exactly for the job they've applied for just by their tone of voice and body language. Sitting in an interview should feel like a lively back and forth conversation between two friends, and not like an awkward exchange between strangers. 

4. You broke the golden rule - Why do people still rag on previous employers? It's understandable to expect not everyone is going to have a glowing review of every manager or job they've ever had but surely you can find something positive to say rather than dragging their name through the mud in a job interview. The first thing that crosses a managers mind when this comes up is "Is that how they're going to talk about me if they leave?". Believe me, this is not a great way to start a professional relationship. 

5. You just weren't the right fit - Sometimes you can do all the right things and still not get the job. I've met a lot of great people that just weren't a match for the position or the company. If you've really made an impression, chances are the HR team will keep your information on file and circle back around to you when and if the right role opens up. And even if it doesn't feel like it at the time, getting a pass from a potential employer can end up being a blessing in disguise.