Our last blog entry explored the idea that you can negotiate for a range of “perks” other than just a higher salary. Today we thought we would cover the area of Title Negotiations, since this is a common concern when a person wants to accept a position at a new company.
• Purpose – Why would you want to negotiate for a better title? Your title is very important; it has an impact on how well you can perform the job at hand as well as your future opportunities and prospects. Titles are used by others (including future hiring managers) to quickly assess a person’s place in the company and the scope of their responsibilities. Having a mismatch between your title and your position can make it significantly harder for you to accomplish your goals.
• Timing – The best time to start this conversation is after you have been offered the new position. Show your enthusiasm for the offer, and say something like, “Thank you! I am very interested in joining your team in this capacity, but I have a few concerns about the title. I would like to discuss them with you because I feel the current title doesn’t clearly reflect the responsibilities and authority of the position, and I believe a change would be a good idea.”
• Research – Before you start this conversation, make sure that you do your homework! Consider the existing structure of the company and be careful not to step on anyone’s toes (for example, don’t ask for the same title as someone above you in the org. chart). Research current job listings and titles at other companies to find examples of the title you are proposing. Does it match your job description? If so, this should help your negotiations.
• Strategy – Present the title change as a benefit to your employer, not just to you. Explain how it will improve your job performance if people see you as “X” instead of “Y.” Make sure that you give the manager good reasons to make the change (discuss your research), propose the new title, and explain why it fits. (Some examples are: customer/employee perceptions, level of experience, or academic credentials). If you can make the case that this title change will benefit the company, it will make it easier for you to get the improved title.
If you do decide to negotiate for a title change, remember to do your research, pick the right time to start the discussion, and come up with a winning strategy. Making a strong case for the change will go a long way in helping you achieve your goal.