On the thirtieth installment of The Link Up with Latesha, our incredible host Latesha Byrd, founder and CEO of Byrd Career Consulting, touches on a very important subject, particularly ahead of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day (Aug 13) – salary negotiation. In this first installment of a two-part series, she focuses on why you should never accept the first offer you get, how to come prepared to the discussion and more. Check back in about two weeks to hear the second part of the show!
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Latesha: Hey, y’all. Welcome to another episode of The Link Up with Latesha. I am so excited for today’s episode, and you are in for a treat. Yes. So we are at almost August. We have one more week of July, and then August brings my favorite holiday, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. Heeeeey. [laughs] Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is August 13, 2020, and before I tell you what today’s episode is going to be about, I just want to lay out some context here. Now, why is August 13th Black Women’s Equal Pay Day? Well, let me break this down real quick. So what we as black women earn comapared to a white man is a little over 60 cents to a dollar. That is insane, y’all, and it’s literally so mind-boggling. I’m just like, “Am I the Twilight Zone?” The studies are out here, you know? There’s a lot of focus and hyper-awareness on the inequities that we face in the workplace, but if you study the statistics and the data, it’s upsetting me and my homegirls. Literally. And all I’ve been talking about lately, it seems that the topic of focus has been salary negotiation. And I’m all about helping women get to the bag and get to the coin and knowing your value and knowing your worth and never settling, because we have goals, and we have–and I don’t even want to say we have bills to pay, but we have goals. I don’t want to make 60 something cents to a dollar, okay? I want the full dollar. So today’s episode, you’re in for a treat. I am going to be sharing some salary negotiation mistakes that literally hold you back from getting the bag, but other times where I’ve been talking about salary negotiation, if you follow me on social media or if you’ve been listening to this podcast, you know that I have a wonderful community called Career Chasers Member’s Club, and it’s an online community for black and brown women that are seeking the support, the guidance, encouragement, accountability, all the things that they need to really level up in their career and chase their career greatness–haha, y’all see that? Career chasers. [laughs] No, but this group is simply amazing. I love all of our members. We are almost 500 strong in so many countries. I was looking at the metrics just the other day, and we have members all over the States, so all over the U.S., Canada, UK, [?], Lagos, Sweden, South Africa. Like, yes, we are outchere. Outchere outchere. And so each month we have a theme, and the month for July was salary negotiation, and I think that we just can’t get enough of this information and this content because we don’t learn these things in school, right? We’re taught almost to get a job and be grateful, right? Who has taken a negotiation class in college? I never took a negotiation class, so when I tell you I personally have made all the mistakes, my clients have made all the mistakes, and this is why we’re talking about today’s episode. It is all about the mistakes that I want you to be aware of right now so that this does not hold you back any further in your career. Again, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is August 13, 2020, so we are actually doing a two-part series. This is part one about salary negotiation mistakes, and part two is the same thing, but let me break this down as to why this holiday is set here. So check this out, y’all, and then you will be in for a treat to learn those common mistakes. So equal pay-day, August 13th 2020. What this represents is that, you know, we as black women would have to work from January 1st of 2019 to August 13th of 2020 to earn on average the same amount that a white man would earn from working–check this out–January 1st 2019 to December 31st of 2019. Yep. So you’re telling me we would have to work a year plus over eight months to get what a white man earns in just one year? Like, these are the things that upset me and my homegirls. I’m sorry, y’all. I’m gonna get off my soapbox so we can get into these mistakes. But that is what Black Women’s Equal Pay Day represents, and that’s why I am always going to just make sure we’re talking about the things that we have not been educated on. All right, so I would love, love love if you get a pen out and a notebook out and you get ready, ’cause you are in for some gems. All right, let’s go.
So when it comes to salary negotiation, I have been doing a lot of research and reading on the different bias that shows up in the workplace. That’s a whole different topic, but for right now let’s talk about salary negotiation. #1 mistake is that we don’t look at the full compensation package, okay? So one question I wanted to bring up is “If you agreed on a salary number, is it still okay to have a conversation about benefits, work from home, flex time, vacation time, or is it off-putting?” First of all, let me tell y’all about some of these questions that y’all are asking me. Don’t ask me “Is it okay?” Okay? You don’t need permission to ask for more money. You don’t need permission to negotiate. It’s never gonna be a good time to negotiate, but you know what? It’s not about them, but it’s really about you. It’s about you. Negotiation is just a conversation, and we really forget that. It’s not a confrontation. You’re not hopping on the phone with the recruiter saying, “Look, you’re gonna have to give me this money or, like, you’re just gonna have to come meet me outside.” Like, that’s not how [laughs] a negotiation conversation goes, so we really have to reframe our thought process on, first of all, why are you asking for this amount of money, what do you actually need to be successful in this role, and why is it important for this company to meet your needs? Companies have no issue with asking us what they need from us, what time we need to log on, that we need to be on these Zoom meetings. We’ve got to turn our video on. Everybody wants to see our face. Like, they will ask you for every single thing, so why are we scared to ask back? We have to understand that it’s a fair value exchange. I’m showing up. You know, I’m saying showing up meaning I’m logging onto the Zoom, I’m turning my chat on and saying I’m available so y’all don’t come for me. That’s what I mean when I say show up, since most of us are working remotely. You are still expected to perform, right? They’re gonna tell you what they need from you, so you’ve got to tell them what you need from them. So with that being said, salary is just one part of this whole, like, thing when it comes to negotiation. I mean, my first job out of school I didn’t negotiate. It was more money than I had ever seen before. The next offer that I got I did not negotiate, and I found out that the other person that actually referred me for the role that had the same amount of experience was getting paid more. Like, she slipped up and told me in conversation. I was like, “Oh, that’s how y’all do? Bet.” Ever since then I’ve learned to 1. not accept the first offer. Always ask for more. Let’s say they give you more than what you even imagined. You cannot accept. Always ask for more. Because guess what? If that company really wants you, they’re gonna find money. Y’all see all these companies donating towards Black Lives Matter and they just said a month or two ago that they ain’t have nothing, “Everybody’s job is on the line.” They’ve got it. They’ve got it. All right, anyways, so let me go ahead and continue with what I was saying. When it comes to negotiating your salary, salary is just one very part too, and I know, like, salary negotiation, like, salary is an overused term that does not fully kind of lay out everything that you should be negotiating for. So one thing I want to make sure is clear is that there’s a difference between the salary and then the compensation package, okay? Those are two very different things, okay? Salary, you want to have three numbers in mind. I can’t give y’all all the gems, ’cause you gotta be in the group–the Career Chasers Member’s Club. So there’s three numbers that you want to have in mind. So I gotta break it down ’cause I get very excited talking about these things. Bottom number. So the first number is your bottom number. Like, “I cannot go any lower than this number.” This is your settle number. Like, “I really want this job so I’ll take this number, but I’m not going any lower than that.” Okay? The mid number. That’s the number that you, like, really want, like, you would be very satisfied with. You ain’t gonna tell them that though. All right, then you got your top number. This is your dream number. Like, “Whoo.” Now, you know what? “Y’all onto something. You really want me to be here if you’re gonna offer me that.” So those are the three numbers that you want to have in mind. You want to have very specific numbers in mind. I don’t agree with salary ranges, and I’ll talk about that in a sec. Those three numbers in mind, because that means when they throw out a number, you’ll already know–like, you’re already prepared as to what you’re not willing to take and where you’re willing to meet them. Does that make sense? And let me talk about why you want to have these numbers in mind and why I don’t agree with salary ranges, because if you tell them, “I really want something paying 70 to 80,” of course they’re gonna offer you something at 70, 71. You know you want an 80! You know you want an 80, so why did you tell them you wanted 70 to 80 when you really wanted 80, okay? You have to ask for more. You have to ask for more than what you truly, truly want, and you cannot accept the first offer that they give you. I don’t care if you love that offer. You can’t accept it. I personally like if they can give you a number first, because I’ve had two clients–two clients that told me last week, “I was interviewing for a role, I told them the number that I wanted, and they said, “Oh, yeah, this job is actually, like, paying 10, 20K more than the number you just gave me.”” So here’s the thing. If you’re not sure on what to ask for or what they will pay, I mean, you want to do your research first, but you can always ask them. So let’s talk about what that ask would look like. Okay, you’re in a conversation and they’re like, “Hey, Keena. We really wanna give you this job, you know? Tell us a little about the salary. Like, what pay are you looking for?” You know how recruiters try to ease into it. Like, y’all know what y’all got. Y’all know what y’all about to pay me, so why you doing that? Okay. [laughs] So they’re like, “Keena, what salary are you looking for?” Here’s how you would ask the question back. “You know, thank you so much for this offer. I’m excited to consider–” Y’all, listen to this wording, “I’m excited to consider the total compensation package. However, what do you all typically offer for someone with my experience in this role?” Just try it! I know it feels very uncomfortable and very unnatural to ask them, but just try it out. My best friend did this years ago, and what she was going to ask for was about 30%, 40% less than the number that they gave her, okay? Here’s the other reason why you want to ask them too, because you can do the research all day, and I definitely want you all to make sure you’re researching. So I want to go back to comp package, but I also want to talk about what numbers to ask for. Okay, it doesn’t matter what you were making at your old job, right? So let’s say you worked at a non-profit. Non-profits typically pay lower than some corporate jobs. I mean, that’s pretty well-known, right? So what you were making in your non-profit role really has no relevancy as to what you should be getting paid in this corporate role. You have to understand the industry that you’re in, the location that you’re in, right–New York, L.A.. You’re gonna pay a lot more than little ol’ me here in Charlotte, or maybe even in Dallas or, I don’t know, y’all know the cities that have the highest costs of living, right? So industry, what else should be considered here? Graduate degrees, certifications, leadership experiences. Your skills. Like, just you. You bring you, and you should get paid for that. So think about fair market value, and this was a very–like, this is a great example I use in all of my salary negotiation presentations and workshops. So our experience–unless you’re an athlete, right, unless you’re a model–our skill set and the value that we offer to our workplace definitely appreciates in value over time, where as, you know, if you’re an athlete [and] you’re out here trying to play football–like, I was watching Cam Newton’s stuff yesterday. Like, I don’t know. As you kind of work more in the athletic field, like, your performance declines ’cause you’re older, [?] health or you take more hits. Anyways, that’s kind of the opposite for us working professionals. Our value, in terms of what we offer, definitely appreciates over time. So let’s say you’re buying a car, right, and you bring–I have a 2014 Altima, right? I really am ready for my luxury car. Like, I’m ready to go get my Benz, my Beamer, like, my Tesla. I don’t even care what it is. I just want a luxury car, to be honest with y’all. Yeah, I do. I don’t care. So [laughs] my little Altima ain’t really gonna do much when I take it to the shop, but let’s say I’m trading in my car. What do they ask you about? What is the fair market value of your car, right? They don’t care what’s your car, what you paid for when you pulled it off the lot. They’re looking at “What is the value of it today?” So when it comes to you negotiating salary, like I said, our car values depreciate over time, but our skills, our experience, what we bring to the table and the workplace, it appreciates over time, all right? So the salary that you’re making right now does not matter, and there are–I want you all to Google this to see what the law is for the state that you’re in. In some laws, it is illegal for recruiters to even ask you what your current or previous salary is. Yes, it is illegal, and they should not be asking, and I can’t wait for the day until it’s illegal in every single freaking state, and that’s going to help us get the pay that we’re worth. And the other thing too is that we cannot internalize the salaries that our companies are paying us, especially when we know that we are being lowballed. I don’t care if you are making $50,000 at your current job and this next job is for $70,000 when you know there are other people in your field with that same experience that are making 90K or above. You have to know what you’re worth. You have to understand the current market value of what it is that you bring to the table, okay? Now, let’s talk about compensation package. Once you talk about a salary number, you can’t really–like, let’s say you tell them you want 80, right, then you go and do some more research and you realize, like, “Dang, you know, I could’ve probably got 90, 95.” You can’t go back then and say, “You know what? I know what I said, but, like… you know, let’s just forget that conversation happened. I really want, you know, 95. Like, what can y’all–” It’s a little too late. You can try–you can try, okay, but just know that whatever salary you discuss, you might just have to take an L, right? Let that be a lesson learned. But before you talk salary, you need to be prepared for that conversation. You need to be prepared to talk about your salary needs and wants literally at the first conversation, the first conversation that you have with a recruiter. And let’s talk about this too, because recruiters will call you at any time of the day. Y’all know that. They don’t care about your schedule, and they will literally try to interview you on the spot. Don’t let the recruiter do that. Don’t let the recruiter play your [face?] like that, because you’re not sitting there just waiting–you might just be sitting there waiting for them to call, but you don’t want them to know that, right? It’s kind of like dating. You can’t always be available when he calls you, sis. Like, you gotta show that you got other stuff to do, you’re not waiting on his call all day. So let’s say a recruiter calls you for an interview or they’re like, “Hey, I just want to have a quick conversation with you. Do you have a few minutes to chat?” “You know what, Karen? I’m in a very important work meeting. I’m under a strict deadline with my current employer. Let’s chat tomorrow, hm? Can we talk on Wednesday?” Y’all, make these recruiters wait 24 to 48 hours, and then that way you can be prepared for that conversation, all right? So you need to be prepared to discuss salary when they bring it up, and I see that a lot of us are not prepared because we don’t think that they’re going to ask, and they will ask and they’ll catch you off-guard. They will catch you off-guard, and then you fumble and try to look up salaries on Glassdoor real quick. No, schedule it in advance, and that also shows 1. that you are a loyal employee, you are committed to your current job–a recruiter is not gonna go back to the hiring manager and say, “You know what? I tried to talk to Bri, but she said she had deadlines at her current job. Like, what’s that?” Right? No. If you’re a high performer, like, you gotta get your work done regardless.
All right. Well, I hope you enjoyed today’s episode and got all the gems about common salary negotiation mistakes that you will commit to not doing. Tell your friends, okay? Tell your people. We are out here and we are getting this money. We’re getting everything that we deserve in our careers. So this was just part one. Definitely just kind of wait up for part two. It’s coming in about two weeks. And while you’re here, go ahead and follow me on social media. Let me know if this was helpful. Send me a shout-out or something, you know? [laughs] You can find me on socials, Instagram and Twitter, @Latesha_Byrd. So I’m pretty easy to find, and I will check y’all next time. Bye.