Volume Number 3   -   Issue Number 5   -   April 6, 2005
 
 
ASK THE FEDERAL CAREER COACH

NEGOTIATING FOR A FEDERAL JOB
Kathryn K. Troutman, Federal Career Corner™

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Hello Federal Jobseekers,

Today's issue of The Federal Career Corner discusses a question from a client about negotiating for a Federal job. There are several resources and we strongly encourage that you review these websites when applying and negotiating for a federal job. Thanks for reading our newsletter. Feel free to FORWARD THIS TO FRIENDS, FAMILIY AND CONSUMERS! Kathryn Troutman, Federal Career Corner Newsletter Publisher

QUESTION:
The salary range for the position is from $43,000 to $50,000. I currently make $44,000. How do you go about negotiating for the higher salary range? What factors go into the agency's decision?

THE FEDERAL CAREER COACH ANSWER
YES, you can negotiate certain financial benefits with the Human Resources Specialist who is handling your recruitment.

Each government job has a range of salary and grade or pay band. So there is a range that the HR Specialist and Supervisor may have in mind to offer you -- depending on your years of experience, specialized experience and your critical skills ... and the budget of the agency. If the salary range is $43 to $50K, you should have NO PROBLEM getting $44,000 or I would say $48,000 for this job. I personally think that a person should strive for a minimum of 10% increase for a new position.

GOVERNMENT PAY SCALE INFO
People are interested in Federal jobs because of the outstanding benefits, retirement and job flexibility. There is nothing like a paycheck to pay the monthly bills!

Here is the General Schedule Pay Scale page from www.usajobs.gov:
http://www.opm.gov/oca/05tables/html/gs.asp
Also look at the Locality Pay Scales for your state here:
http://www.opm.gov/oca/05tables/indexGS.asp
So, if you are offered a job, as a GS 9, the first "step" in the Grade 9, according to the GS Pay Scale at the web address above, is: $37,390. The GS 9, Step 10 is: $48,604.

Ask For A Higher Step Within Grade
You do have the ability to negotiate your Step within your Grade 9 level. You can request a Step 8, Step 10 ($48,604), or any step you choose, based any of the following reasons:
  1. Your past job pays $44,000 so you would like to receive a 10% raise for career development and advancement objectives.
  2. You have extensive expenses involved in travel and relocation to the new position, therefore you would need additional funds for travel (since they may NOT specifically pay for the relocation expenses).
  3. You believe that you have specialized experience that the agency will benefit by greatly, initially upon your hire into the position.
  4. You have critical skills, education and abilities that will greatly enhance the agency's mission and office services.
  5. You have been offered a position by another firm and the starting salary will be $49,000 (or whatever might be true).
  6. You need a minimum of Step 10 ($48,604) since you will be relocating to a geographic area with a higher economy, you will require additional income to support your family and needs.
  7. Any other good reason you can think of to justify why you should be paid higher.
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OTHER NEGOTIATING REQUESTS:

Request for Tuition Reimbursement for Student Loans


Some agencies can pay up to $500 per month toward student loans. You can read about the government policy for hiring incentives and Tuition Reimbursement here:
Student Loan Repayment Program Questions and Answers
Job Search Experiences of New Hires
Federal Register Report:
http://www.opm.gov/fedregis/2001/66-02789-a.pdf
U.S. Code:
http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/5/5379.html

Critical Hiring Need or Severe Shortage - Recruitment Bonus Incentive.

Some agencies may pay a Recruitment Bonus Incentive for Critical Skills or Severe Shortage positions. Each agency is different and some may have critical job shortages. The agency could pay up to 25% of the annual salary. You can read the definitions of Critical Hiring Need or Severe Shortage here:
http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Section-6.asp#_Shortage_of_Eligible
http://www.opm.gov/fedregis/1999/64r71633.txt

Request for Relocation Allowance

If the vacancy announcement does not state that they will NOT pay for relocation, then you can ask if they will pay for relocation costs. If the announcement says that they WILL NOT pay for relocation, then you could not negotiate this point.

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GOVERNMENT NEEDS YOU - ANOTHER RATIONALE!

Do not forget that the government needs you. Here are a few articles about the Human Capital Crisis in government. They need you almost more than you need them right now!

ABOUT FEDERAL HIRING AND WHY THEY NEED YOU!
http://www.mspb.gov/studies/newhires.pdf
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04797.pdf
http://www.govexec.com/features/0204/0204s2.htm

BE CONFIDENT!
Be confident that you are highly-skilled and ready to commit and are dedicated to public service. When you ask for your higher step, Tuition Reimbursement or other request, you should
be confident that they WANT TO HIRE YOU. They have selected you and they DON’T WANT TO START THE HIRING PROCESS OVER!

NEGOTIATING IS NEGOTIATING:

There is no guarantee for any agreement on your requests. This is pure negotiation, but if you have justifiable reasons and expertise for the job, you might be able to settle on agreeable terms. You do not know about the budget the office has for hiring this position, so there could be unknown financial considerations for the agency. Maybe you could look up their budget on their website to get a picture of the growth (or reduction of their budget.
Good luck with your negotiating! Please write to me if you have any recommendations or success
stories for negotiating with Federal Human Resources Specialists or Supervisors!

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DO YOU HAVE NEGOTIATION STRATEGIES AND SUCCESS STORIES?

Share them with us. Write kathryn@resume-place.com with your experiences


About the author: Kathryn Troutman is the President of The Resume Place, Inc., Federal Career Trainer and a Federal Career Coach. Kathryn trains and coaches jobseekers in federal job search, interviewing and negotiation strategies. She is available for one-on-one coaching sessions to develop a successful federal job search strategy. The Resume Place writing and coaching team can create an outstanding federal application for your next job search.
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MAKING A CAREER CHANGE?

Federal Career Consultation - Strategies, Federal Job Education and Expert Answers to your Job Search Questions Consultation with a Federal job expert: $175.
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Published by: The Resume Place, Inc., 89 Mellor Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21228
Kathryn Troutman, Publisher and President;
Telephone: (888) 480 8265; Hours: M-F, 9-5:30, Eastern Time.

www.resume-place.com – Federal Resume Writing and Publishing
www.tenstepsforstudents.org – Student Federal Job Information