I Just Graduated, What’s The Best Advice For Negotiating My Salary?

Hey Team FoodGrads!

Maybe you have this question, or maybe you know someone who has the same dilemma?

 I have a question about salary negotiations. I applied to a company that was in a great location for a job I was qualified for. 

I got rejected due to my salary expectations. I didn’t ask for more than what I saw on Glassdoor, but HR said it was not what they had in mind .

Since the position and location is desirable , should I approach them again and negotiate the salary to their terms? Please advise me on what I should do next? I really want this job!

This question was viewed almost 24,000 times when I reached out to my LinkedIn network for their advice.  While I had my opinions and gave my ‘two cents’ directly, I firmly believe in getting varying opinions from all perspectives of the industry–to ensure the advice we provide is well rounded and accurate.

Since we started this blog we have asked a bunch of questions and been able to share some great feedback.  This is by far one of the most valuable blogs.  Why?  Because money talks….

Feedback from the Food & Beverage FoodGrads Community;

Know your worth dollar wise. Stick to your guns. I have learned over the years. If an employer wants you, your expertise, your wealth of knowledge–they will pay whatever it takes–to have you join.

If they are Nickle and Dime-ing, do not want to work for them. This shows lack of respect for all your hard work garnered over the years. But that is today’s culture at some companies. Hire top notch professionals for a low salary. No thank you. Stand your ground. Someone will pay you what you are worth. Halina Alexander

When you gave your salary expectations, did they provide what the salary range was for the role you were being considered? If the company already stated you weren’t being considered due to your higher salary request, they have already decided to move forward with someone who meets their range.

Employers won’t hire someone who states a higher salary, even if you go back to them stating you’d accept less. From an HR standpoint, if they hired you for less knowing your expectations, that’s a chance you’ll resign and find a company who will pay you for what you feel your worth.

The hiring process is costly and time consuming depending if it’s a niche role, so the employers won’t take a risk. Suggestion for future roles, is to ask what their salary range is for the position you’re applying. If it meets your expectations then you can negotiate from there. Also, what’s recommended on job board sites aren’t typical due to city and state you’re applying. Some states are now passing a law that employers can’t ask you to share salary history. Katie Carlstrom

It is so critical to know your personal worth. The food industry generally has shortages on specialized technical workers. Patience can be hard, especially if you have student loans and bills to pay, but not underselling your worth is often the best thing you can do to propel your own growth.  Amy Proulx

I never worried about starting salary when I was a new graduate. I asked about what opportunities realistically exist for me down the road. Once hired, I worked my tail off to demonstrate they had made a wise decision .

I was always compensated for that effort. As a hiring manager, I am also concerned when a candidate is overly preoccupied on salary. I expect to invest a great deal of time, money and training in a new hire. I don’t want to be left with the impression that they will leave for a few dollars more if another offer comes their way. Doug Day

Money is important but it isn’t everything. I would seriously consider your strongest possible offer. Without an actual offer, you really never had anything to negotiate. Glassdoor is one reference point as is salary.com, however, they are guidelines. David Meneke

If they really like the job then they should re-approach them! I feel as though you can start off where they want you to and you can always work your way up after you prove that your an asset to their team! Mindy Hoang

From an HR position I would encourage you to have the discussion with them including potential for advancement and Salary change over time, especially if it is a sweet spot in terms of the work and location Scott Wright

Ultimately you need to know your “walk away” number. If there is a salary that you’d be willing and able to live off of, even if it is below what the typical market value for a certain role is, there are times when it is worth taking the hit for the right job and the right company.

A place with opportunities to advance could mean there will be ways to increase that number as you continue your career with them. Always be sure to indicate your expectations are flexible before you state a range and you should be ready to accept the lower end of your range if it is offered. Alana Ziemski

As a starter and fresh graduate, one has to pursue and build a career than the money. The money will come with time, what you need is the opportunity to express yourself and proof your worth. You can approach them for a renegotiate. Adekola Adegoke

While I empathize with folks who say “Take that first job, and the money will follow”, I have seen too many recent graduates interviewing, and being offered a dollar or two above minimum wage for technical jobs.

Looking at the hiring practices at the same company, they could be offered the same pay or more if they were going into the general labour pool at the same company. Unless the company directly shows in writing a pathway to job and salary advancement, some sort of tangible benefits, or a structured mentorship and training program, I tell them to take a second look. Know your worth. Amy Proulx

I believe a person should be educated on how much a new grad makes in the specific industry to use as benchmark. But again a NEW GRAD. The candidate might think (s)he is qualified to do the job, but the tenure the company looks for might not be the same. Know how much you are worth but be realistic. And if this is the place you really want to work, you should make it clear from the beginning that salary is not a deal breaker. Melissa Ramos

One thing new grads have to think about is what it means to be “qualified”. Many are of the belief that a degree makes them qualified when they have little to no work experience where they have been able to demonstrate application of the theoretical knowledge.

You can stick to your guns but you may be one of those students without a job in the field for a couple of years and then you put yourself in a place of being less competitive. Once you get your foot in the door you can make your mark and your moves which can lead to better salary and opportunities. It’s important to be strategic in the approach and think about your goals and whether the job will help to get you there. Shannon Butler

You must have asked for a lot more than they were willing to pay. I have always found out the salary range prior to or during the interview process. That way you don’t waste your time or theirs. If your asking salary had been in the ball park they would have countered. By the way, do you know for sure that it was a salary thing? Maybe they just felt you were not as qualified as someone else Stephen Hufford

When you say “what you saw on Glassdoor ” was this related to the specific job or where they give an indication based on whatever factors they have considered (I’m not sure this is ever reliable). For future, set and establish the salary expectations from the outset. However, education does not make you qualified. It’s only a part of it and in many cases not always the most important part.

As someone who hires graduates I have to factor in the lack of specific product , process and systems knowledge and weigh up the cost/benefit of this investment. I would be curious if you could share some general information about the job (don’t disclose the company if you don’t have any to), location , duties, hours of work etc. and the salary you expected from the Glassdoor information. I could then comment more thoroughly from an employer perspective. Gordon Hayburn

A Candidate needs to do company specific research on salaries before the interview process. What is the norm for a new grad at this company? 

A company will need to invest significantly to train the new grad. The company probably won’t see payback on their investment for a year or two. Probably almost 50% of new grads discover within two or three years that they are in the wrong field and change career paths.

At that point the company’s investment is lost. Because of this, the value of a new grad is substantially less than someone with even one or two years of training and experience who has confirmed that they are on the right career path for them. Did this new grad have relevant internship experiences that provided training and experience and helped the candidate confirm their choice of career paths? If not, it is a risky hire for the company for which they will not pay top dollar. Bob Custard

Shannon Butler and Gordon Hayburn make great points. There is a distinct difference between competency bench marking and possessing a credential. Many companies are not just evaluating credentials and then running behavioral based interviews, rather they are asking for credential portfolios. For example, if you are going in as a food safety specialist, do you have a portfolio of example programs you have written (without breaching confidentiality of course).

It’s a game changer to employers from a training and retraining perspective to show direct competency. Amy Proulx

When starting out, I never discussed salary, I knew the range, but negotiated a more frequent performance/salary review as a way to improve responsibility and pay. The starting salary is inconsequential compared to a more frequent assessment for advancement. Now have a great attitude, be persistent in all you do and work your bum off. Dan Walker

Absolutely do not go backwards!! If this job was the one for you, it would have been yours no matter what the salary. Either they went another way and used the amount you asked for as an excuse or they themselves were not sure of salary expectations for this particular position. A.k.a. they didn’t do their homework and you don’t want to work for a company like that.

Never ever go back. The right job is coming, it may take a bit of time and patience but don’t give up..keep the faith and the strength..your dream job is just around the corner.. sometimes it’s a bigger corner than we like but it will happen!! Therisa LeBlanc

Did you find this useful?  Do you have a question about your career path in Food & Beverage?  Please email Nicole@Foodgrads.com and don’t forget to subscribe to the FoodGrads blog/Newsletter.

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