Salary Negotiation Etiquette
During the interview process, salary discussions and negotiations are usually, if not always, the last thing discussed. This is often after numerous interviews that may be rigorous in nature. When you think about it, how the whole thing works really is kind of humorous.
Hotel and restaurant managers spend all day long figuring out and talking about how they can enhance the guest experience so they can make more income for their owners or shareholders. There is nothing wrong with that, after all, because hotels and restaurants are businesses, and businesses are in business to make money, right?
Then why is it taboo to talk about salaries up front in an interview? What’s wrong with discussing early in an interview how much income the candidate can make for themselves or their family to support the necessities that come with living or having the funds to support education, retirement, etc.? Is wanting to earn more money and talking about it up front considered shallow? Individually, it might be considered that way, although a business has the same aspirations. So what’s the difference?
The difference is that businesses are looking for individuals who are passionate in what they do, and therefore money is a reward, not the primary driver. Businesses want people who are motivated to be of service to others. In the hospitality industry, this is what drives guest satisfaction and, in the end, what drives profits. Proper etiquette says that if you want the job, and if you want a better chance at getting the salary, you want first do a good job of showing your value to the business and let salary be only one piece of a wider conversation around your career goals.
Keep these things in mind when negotiating for a higher salary at your new hospitality job:
- Be able to demonstrate in a concrete, specific way the value you bring to the position, which will justify the employer investing more in your role.
- Get specific about your background and highlight quantifiable and measurable results you acheived for previous employers. This will signal to the current employer that you can duplicate these successes and their investment is a safe bet.
- Pay attention to your tone. It's fine to be direct and confident about what you're worth, but avoid being aggressive or overly demanding in demeanor. Even if you have the skills to support a salary increase, a poor attitude can sour an employer on your candidacy.
- Research the market. Is the salary range you're aiming for comparable to other similar positions at your level? Are you under- or over-selling yourself? Be aware of where your salary range falls and your competitiveness for your specific industry and career path.
- If you're unsure about what to ask for, reach out to a mentor or someone in your network who you trust and get their feedback.