Information and knowledge is power. In negotiations this information translates into bargaining power. The Internet is the ultimate source of information and is thus a great tool for employees to strengthen their bargaining power in salary negotiations. But there are disadvantages with the Internet as well.
A prime focus when preparing for a salary negotiation is of course to find out the market value of the job one is negotiating the salary for. There are loads of information about this on the Internet, categorized per country, state, kind of job etc. Just a few minutes of research could easily double the bargaining power of the employee.
Another prime focus when preparing for a salary negotiation is to find information about the employer. How is the employer doing financially? What is its history? What are its plans for the future? Information that is invaluable when the employee shall make himself as interesting as possible to the employer. Again – the Internet is a powerful source of information for the employee.
These and other pros of the Internet in a salary negotiation are obvious. There are, however, risks with the Internet that the employee needs to be aware of. This risk lies primarily in the quality of the information.
First of all, information that is not up-to-date will often do more harm than good for the employee.
Second, the information on the Internet is often scattered and brief. There are numerous websites providing information on how to negotiate a salary; information that, however, would fit on only one page in a Microsoft Word document. Although published with the best of intentions, the briefness of the information gives an appearance that a salary negotiation is a quite simple thing that one can succeed with armed with only a few tips.
This is very far from the truth. In fact, a salary negotiation can, from the perspective of the employee, be more complicated and tougher than a negotiation regarding a merger of two Fortune 500 companies. It is not something to be taken lightly and a few tips on a website will definitely not be enough if the employee has a serious ambition of getting a salary that is as high as possible.
Thus, there are powerful pros as well as powerful cons of the Internet for the employee about to negotiate his salary.