In this episode, Zach and Latricia discuss effective salary negotiation strategies with experienced Walker Elliot senior recruiter Kyle Mosley.
Hosts: Latricia | Zach
Latricia: Federal Reserve research shows that Black workers earn less than their white counterparts in a worsening trend that holds even after accounting for differences in age, education, job type and geography.In 1979, the average black man in America earned 80 percent as much per hour as the average white man. By 2016, that shortfall had worsened to 70 percent, according to research from the San Francisco Federal Reserve, which found the divide had also widened for black women.The analysis from Institute for Women’s Policy Research says if the wage gap keeps narrowing at the pace it has been the last 50 years, Black women will not catch up to white men until the year 2124 (that's 106 years from now), Hispanics until 2248, and white women until 2056. The excerpts I read from Bloomberg and NBC respectively speak to historical inequity that people of color face when it comes to equal pay in the workplace. Considering the nation’s history, this itself should not be a surprise, however the question is what if anything can we do as non-white men do to tip the scales in our favor? This is Latricia. And you’re listening to Living Corporate.
Latricia: So, today we’re talking about effective salary negotiation and career management strategies.
Zach This is a great topic and I’m glad we’re discussing it. The data you shared at the top of the show was… I’ma be honest, it was like really depressing - BUT it points to the reality of where we are and we can’t move forward without being honest about where we’re starting.
Latricia: Right. It is frustrating to see the data and it’s reminder that racial inequity goes beyond the typical talking points that aren’t often explored and understood.
Latricia: I mean, let me read this again-“The analysis from Institute for Women’s Policy Research says if the wage gap keeps narrowing at the pace it has been the last 50 years, Black women will not catch up to white men until the year 2124 (which is 106 years from now), Hispanics until 2248, and white women until 2056.”
Zach: That. is. Crazy. And I know this show is about salary negotiation and career management, but that particular point from those articles reminds me of conversations you and I have had around how so many companies promote Diversity & Inclusion but don’t actually discuss anything beyond gender representation.
Latricia: Right we just talked about that - so this is a great example of how that binary view is so problematic. From looking at the analysis from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and again be reminded that all women aren’t treated equally, having that intersection of race and gender matters if we’re going to have completely authentic conversation around these issues.
Zach: Man, I completely agree. So with that in mind, let’s talk about salary negotiation. I think this is a great topic because I’ll speak for my own experiences and what I’ve observed, I feel as if people of color don’t really advocate or encourage the idea of just negotiating. I’ll hear more stuff like “you just need to get in the door and work your way up, you don’t want them to look at you sideways or think that you’re all about the money or whatever, whatever, whatever”. I hear a lot of those talking points from other people of color.
Latricia: Right, right. And I’ve heard the same thing. A little bit about me, my background is in public health and I’m in this facebook group with other women in public health, I won’t say the group specifically, but I’ve seen how black women with master’s degrees are working jobs out of their masters for almost minimum wage. And I can’t believe it. And even just the idea of a six figure salary is something that they don’t dream of until they’re at the top of their career, maybe close to retirement, we’re talking like 50. That’s when they’re thinking they’ll be able to get to that six figures. And then I’m sharing stories about kids I know coming out of undergrad within 3 years at some of these firms, and they’re making six figures in 3 years and you’re talking six figures 20 years into your career. And I’m really passionate about this episode and it’s important for us to talk about it. Like I said, in public health, for some reason people are too ashamed to talk about the money because we’re more focused on social justice and healthcare for all and I totally understand that viewpoint, but we can accomplish social justice and still secure the bag. So, I really think that this is going to be an important show.
Zach: Right, and I guess I’m a little taken aback to be honest, because you’re talking about these women. And like I said, you and I have had this conversation in private, but you saying it again is just mind-boggling. You’re talking about women who have advanced degrees taking, like, pennies on the dollar. And that’s nuts to me. And it honestly makes me sad but I’m not surprised, like where do you think that comes from? The idea of not negotiating or not negotiating enough? And let me be clear guys, this is not just an issue for black women. The main people I’ve gotten this whole “chill, take it slow, get in the door and grind” talk are actually from male people of color. But where do you think that comes from, Latricia? What are your thoughts there?
Latricia: It’s definitely not exclusive to women of color. These realities still create practical, micro level challenges for all of us day-to-day. And like we said from the start, the issues we’re pushing up against are systemic and institutional and we get that… but, I don’t think that means we just say “whelp, racism, woe is me” and don’t at least figure out ways to fight and be more strategic in how we push for that bag you know?
Zach: I definitely do. That’s funny “whelp, racism” that should be a meme. “Nothing we can really do.” It’s not funny but it’s kinda funny at the same time. Anyway--
Latricia: That’s gonna be the hashtag for the show, by the way.
Zach: Anyway, to your point, I definitely do. And like you said, just talking about some of the larger data points, who’s to say that we’re not able to do some things and mobilize at an individual level that could impact the whole thing? There might be things that we can do, just as Latricia, as Zach, as the person listening to this podcast that could actually make a dent in some of these trends.
Latricia: Absolutely. And really, it’d be great to have another, more seasoned perspective. Like someone with over 25 years of experience in career coaching, or corporate recruiting, salary negotiations, and strategic relationship building. Not to say this discussion hasn’t been great, but just to have that extra perspective, you know?Zach: Hmm… you mean like our guest for today’s show, Kyle Mosley?
Latricia, Zach: Whaaaaa-?
Latricia: Alright, so next, we’re going to go into an interview with our guest, Kyle Mosely.
Zach: So we have Kyle Mosley on the show - Kyle, welcome!
Kyle: Hey, thank you for having me, Zach.
Zach: Not a problem, we’re really excited to have you here. For those of us who don't know you, would you mind just sharing your story?
Kyle: Oh definitely. Well, Zach, I’ve been a recruiter for about 25 years here in Houston, Texas. I started off in 1992, so really I’m going into my 26th year pretty soon. So I started as an engineering recruiter, as well as I delved into some executive recruiting. I owned my own recruiting firm for 8 years before getting back into connecting with an old buddy of mine in the recruiting network and I’m still recruiting until this day. It has been a very lucrative field, my wife is a recruiter as well. And it’s a great opportunity for me to be able to share and help other people.
Zach: That’s awesome, and congratulations on coming up on 26 years, that’s amazing.
Kyle: Yeah long time. Long, long time, man.
Zach: So as you know today we're talking about effective salary negotiation. Can you explain from your point of view why salary negotiation matters?
Kyle: That’s a good question. Salary negotiations are much like a relationship negotiation. It sets the tone for what relationship you will or will not have with the prospective employer, okay? So ideally everybody wants to have a win-win situation when it comes to salary negotiations. But, we know eventually one side will either concede or compromise or the other side will not. And somebody either will walk away or, if there is the compromise, there still may be some expectations there from one party that didn’t quite get what they want. So when you go into a salary negotiation, you must know that before you finalize the negotiation as well as come to terms with the other party, what are you prepared to be able live with? I think right now, Zach, in this day and age, it’s no different from when I started recruiting, to be honest with you. It’s that everybody expects to get something out of the deal, right? So if you go into the salary negotiation expecting your top ten list to be fulfilled by the employer? I think you’re delusional.
Kyle: [Laughs] And the reason why I’m saying this is let’s be honest, and I always back to the relationship principle - when you and your wife first started dating, there was some give and take. And it’s the same with your employer, or prospective employer. There will be a give and take. Now, your employer may concede certain aspects of the job function or the salary that you’re going to get, but there are going to be some high expectations the higher that salary goes.
Kyle: And are you willing and ready to be prepared to accept that responsibility, you see? So if you cannot accept that responsibility and take the ownership of what’s going to happen once you become gainfully employed with that prospective employer, you are going to really have a difficult track with that organization.
Zach: So to your point though about, I guess, being more practical regarding companies’ expectations the higher the number goes, do you have any examples or stories of how that plays out?
Kyle: Over 25 years I’ve been a part of hundreds of salary negotiations, right? The issue comes into play and it always comes back to “who’s going to be bitter about this situation or not?” [Laughs]
Zach: [Laughs] ‘Kay.
Kyle: and who’s going to have the higher expectation there. So let’s kind of do a reverse engineering type deal - Let’s start from - you’re on board with the employer, but that employer is going to be expecting certain things from you. So before you go into any salary negotiation, you’ve got to be able to do your homework, number one. And also, number two, you have to know your value. If you don’t know your value and you don’t know anything about the employer or where you’re going to work, you’re really going to put yourself at a disadvantage in this whole negotiation scenario. Now when I talk about knowing your value, is the fact that a lot of people believe that ‘okay. I came out of school, went for 4 years, got my bachelor’s’ and let’s say ‘I went to get a master’s degree or MBA or some sort of advanced college degree, right?
Kyle: So therefore when I go onto these career sites like glassdoor or salary.com or monster or careerbuilder, these guys are telling me I’m worth 80k dollars to start off with. And the employer wants to know ‘yeah, you have great credentials when it comes to your educational credentials, but what about when it comes to your real work experience credentials?’ Ok, and the value comes into - if I offer Zach an opportunity to come onto my company XYZ Executive Firm, right? I need to know that Zach from Day 1 is going to enhance my company. Versus Zach is going to be a person extracting from my company.
Zach: okay, yeah.
Kyle: So then, that’s when I’m saying if you know your value from day 1, you’ve got to be able to articulate this to your prospective employer. That’s a part of the negotiation cycle. Alright so, I have an entry-level kid coming out of one of these big name Texas schools, and he’s an engineer, and he has his PhD in engineering. So then I have a 5 year engineer who has worked in the oil and gas industry, he only has a bachelor’s degree and they’re vying for the same opportunity. So the firm is telling us ‘ Ilike the fact that this guy went to my alma mater. However, I need a guy that from Day 1 can hit the ground running.’ So who does he offer the job to? The one who has the practical, real-world experience. I’m not trying to alarm people who have done well in their educational pursuits, but you cannot say that I’m gonna walk in day 1 expecting x amount of salary if I don’t have practical experience. That’s when knowing your worth comes into play.
Kyle: What are you willing to concede in order to get a start in the real world? That 1 if you’re entry-level. 2, let’s say you are the 5-year person or 10-year person or 20-year person - You have some achievements that you’ve done in previous jobs, but if you don’t have that information, if you’re just going off of your emotions-- see, you have to take the emotion out of the equation. You have to also articulate what you believe you’re worth.
Zach: Okay. So when we’re sitting down and we’re having conversations with the employer, and you’re answering questions and things of that nature, how do you articulate your value?
Kyle: Okay that’s where you do your homework. And a lot of doing your homework is what type of questions are you asking in the interview yourself. A lot of people go into an interview believing that they’re sitting down and the employer is going to ask them all of the questions and they’re going to answer questions and that’s it. No, you have to be prepared to be able to ask certain types of questions to the employer like How long has this job been open? How long have you been looking for the right person? What expectations do you have of that person when they walk in the door? 90 days, 120 days, 180 days, a year, whatever. What are those time tables? What are those things that we can quantify that you’re going to expect me to come in with through the door. If you’re a sales person, they’re going to want to see X amount of revenue that you bring into the organization, right?
Kyle: if you are an engineer or technical professional, they want to see how many projects you work on and complete in X amount of time. If you are an operations professional, how many projects have you brought to the table and how many projects have you been able to find the right people to work on those projects and be able to complete in this particular time frame as well. So those are the types of things that you have to be able to flesh out in the interview process. If you’re not able to flesh values from the employer, how can you negotiate effectively? Because a lot of people believe ‘It should be on my resume, and you should be able to give me what I’m worth’. So what is that? How does that look? How, as an employer, would I be able to know that Mr. Nunn is worth 60 or 80,000 dollars? 80 or 100,000 dollars to my organization? Because what’s going to be my return on my investment in Mr. Nunn?
Zach: For those who don’t know, Kyle Mosley is a black man. And Kyle, I’m curious, as a black professional, I’m curious, have you seen any differences when you look at how white and non-white candidates pursue job opportunities?’Kyle: First of all, audience, let me just say this - I’m a Morehouse man. So when I came out of college, I believed I could conquer the world. I’ll be honest with you though, back in 1989, that’s when I graduated, and I believed I could walk into any room, boardroom and get an offer. That’s how i felt. As a matter of fact, when I first got to Houston, I interviewed at 5 companies in one day and got 4 offers. I had confidence, right? So the confidence I had was I did not go into the interviews with fear. When an African-American engineer, not all- this is what I have noticed.
Kyle: When an AA engineer goes into an interview, they usually are not as well prepared on the company, who’s the interviewer, who’s going to be a part of the interviewing process, understanding what makes the people tick. If you ever have dealt with a recruiter or have a relationship, a recruiter can possibly give you some inside information on the company, what’s happening with the position, how long these people have been looking, if it’s a high turnover type of situation, or if it’s going to be a tough interview, and how you need to present yourself. We do the whole gamut of setting the person up for as much success during the interview versus if you’re winging it by yourself. And you can always use me, I’m just putting it out there, as someone - you’ve probably heard my voice and said ‘alright I need some help, I’m going into this, I don’t have a recruiter’ - call me. I’m open to help people out. What I would suggest is not only building a network with recruiters or with other talent professionals, being able to study who you’re going to speak with and the market. Also go on LinkedIn. Man, LinkedIn is a fabulous tool. I’m just going to use fictional ABC company.
Kyle: So, sometimes Human Resources is going to say ‘Ok Sally, you have an interview at 8am tomorrow, be here, be early so you can be prepared to fill out paperwork...’ And you hang up the phone. ‘Wow, I got an interview!’ and you’re excited. Zach, who will you meet? Who will be a part of this process?
Kyle: Now I’ve seen other engineers say ‘ok that’s great, but when I walk in the door, who do I need to be expecting my arrival? And how long will I be with this person? Who else is going to be a part of this process?’ They ask more questions.
Kyle: They want to be educated. They want to go to the person’s linkind profile, look at let’s say, where the person went to school, how long they’ve been at the company themselves, what type of hobbies they may have, sometimes people have their hobbies on there. Let’s say it’s photography or hunting or whatever it is.
Kyle: Those are things that you could bring up in the interview, okay? Try to find some common ground with the person outside of just being about the interview or things of that nature, right?
Kyle: So those are things that help you build a successful way to get in the door, interview successfully with that person, and ask the right questions- typically I don’t want people to speak about money on the first interview.
Kyle: You typically do not want to be the one to come out with the money first because you don’t want to look like it’s only about money to you. Most of the time, they’re going to ask you. So if they ask you, yes address it. And address it confidently. Now, you can also say this- let’s say I’m Mr. Interviewer. ‘Well, Zach, how much money do you want for this particular job?”
Zach: Right. [laughs]
Kyle: ‘How much are you expecting from us here?’‘Well, Mr. Employer that’s a great question. Can I answer this at the end of the interview so I can be able to get an assessment for what you guys are looking for, to make sure that I’m able to answer that correctly and address it properly.’
Zach: Right. So I hear what you’re saying, but at the end of the interview, what would you suggest saying?
Kyle: Well, you can give them the number you feel that would make you happy. [laughs]
Kyle: but you say it in such a way - ‘well, based upon what you guys are looking for, Joe, you’ve been looking for 5 months, you’ve been trying to find the right person who can execute this type of project. I have been able to execute this type of project in several occasions, I explained that in the interview. You’ve been looking for someone to come in and work well with the team, with different teams... so based upon what you’re looking for and my background and feeling like I can make a contribution immediately, I want 100,000 dollars.
Zach: Straight like that.
Kyle: If you already know that this is what the salary range is bearing, right?
Kyle: You need to have a good feeling, and you can ask that question with HR on the phone , say ‘Hey you know I’m just kind of curious. For this type of role, thank you for this interview first, but what’s the salary range for this?’
Zach: you know, I think- Of course we live in a capitalistic society, right? Like you have to have money to survive. So I’m really trying, and I appreciate you clarifying, asking directly about the money piece because I’ve also been in situations where people reach out to me and they’ll be really excited and you know, their salary range is like 15-20% under what I’m making right now. And everybody wants to always make more. You know like ‘how much do you want to make?’ ‘I want to make more than I’m making right now whatchyou mean?’ So I think it’s really important if there’s a way that you can kinda get in front of that and in a way, to your point though, that isn’t so money hungry or just makes it seem as though all you care about is money but at the same time, being transparent about where are we with this thing financially.
Kyle: Can I just adress one thing, Zach?
Zach: You sure can, yes please.
Kyle: Okay, notice when the person asked the question, I didn’t just immediately answer the question, but I asked another question. So there are a couple of techniques you can use. Person asks a question? You can answer the question with a question. Answering a question with a question - Kids are great at that, you know? They do the same thing. My son is about to be 13 next week and now he’s into - he’s not just going to give me a straight answer. And What I learned early on in my career in recruiting is that the person who answers the question first usually loses. Okay, so what do I mean by that? I’m glad you asked, Zach.
Zach: [ laughs]
Kyle: So what I mean by it is the fact that if a person says ‘we’re prepared to offer you 80,000 dollars.’. Now you can answer it ‘great! I accept! I’m ready to go to work!’ Because you must know in the back of your mind thats where you are and what you’re willing to accept. But if you want to negotiate, you may say ‘ hmm.......’ Notice that long, uncomfortable pause.
Zach: Yes, I did.
Kyle: right, it’s an uncomfortable pause so sometimes the HR professional who may be extending the offer verbally or the hiring manager may extend it verbally, sometimes they just send an email these days which is a horrible, horrible way of presenting an offer to a prospective employee. Yes I said that, Mr. and Mrs. Employer. You guys need to stop that.
Zach: [laughs] Amen.
Kyle: So you’ve got to be willing to answer the question, follow up and say ‘look, this seems like a great offer, let me study it, let me be able to review it. I may have some questions, will I be able to call you back? What time is good for me to do so? Let’s make an appointment, can we talk at 3 oclock on Monday to be able to go over the offer in detail, so I can be able to make sure I’m on the same page with you.
Kyle: So you’re going to have them doing what? In the next day or two or the next hours that are coming - ‘did I really extend it the best offer I could’. Now I always ask my employers whenever they extend an offer to any of my candidate, I’ve been taught to ask this from day 1 - is this the best offer you can extend?
Zach: I like that.
Kyle: Why? Because I’ve got to be honest guys, 80-90% of the time, that’s not the best offer they can extend. Now, is that the best offer they’re going to extend to you? Maybe. But the bottom line is there are other variables. So you want them to be able to explain why they were eager to prepare this offer for you. And listen, don’t get emotional. Don’t get mad and feel you’re being lowballed. Or you’re being underappreciated or feeling discriminated against. You can’t do that. You have to listen first. Listen to what they have to say, say ‘Okay, I’m taking all of this into consideration. Can I get back to you’ Now here’s the fear part. And this is where many of my minority friends come into the fear part. ‘They’re going to rescind the offer. Because I asked to be able to think about it’.
Kyle: No. It’s how you prepare to ask about. If you have an attitude? Yeah, most likely they’re going to rescind the offer. But if you’re trying to make a well educated decision and let them know ‘I’m trying to make the best decision for me and my family’ or ‘for me and my professional career’. Even if you are fearful they’re going to rescind the offer, say something like this- ‘well, I need to see the benefits, can I speak with the human resources professional and go over the benefits first?’
Zach: Oh that’s awesome, yeah.
Kyle: Then they’re thinking ‘well yeah, it’s just the benefits, yeah sure. Sure sally why don’t you do that, I’ll set you up with Joe Best and you guys can go over that’ you know? How well you frame it is going to make sure you have your house being supported - your career is your house - what type of foundation you lay, what type of framework you put into your home, will it support the weight of everything else that’s going on? And I’m only saying this because I want the audience to be more in a power type of position versus being passive when it comes to this. Once you start your career, guys, you have to be able to say ‘This is what my goals are going to be’.. And every year you have to redefine your goals, you have to please please redefine your goals. Make sure you check on your goals, make sure you’re on point. You also need to have an outside coach or someone to help monitor you with your accountability as well.Alright, what I would say is this, to any professional, it doesn’t matter how young or old you are- make sure you learn as much as you can to platform yourself to your new situation. Build your career, have a solid foundation so that when people, they look at your track record, they see a progression. That’s it right there, a progression. OKay? Because I had a client of mine come to us and say ‘look, I don’t want to see anyone who’s unemployed’. It’s like ‘ok, this is oil and gas country, there may have been some people out of work’. And the guy says ‘yeah I understand that, but for this role, because this person will most likely become a manager within the next year or two and I need to train this person because I’m going to become the VP of the company, I need to see somebody with a career track record that they progressed from one job to the next. So the person wasn’t just engineer day 1, then he went to another company to be the same type of engineer. You know, I want to see the person go to the next step, supervisor, next step department manager, next step this that and the other, right? If the person’s going to be Analyst 1, don’t go to another job where you’re just going to be Analyst 1. If you can bear not to do so, just for the same type of functions, but more money.
Zach: Kyle this is great. And I actually think that’s a good place to end it. You know I really appreciate your time, Thank you. Before we let you go - do you have any shoutouts?
Kyle: First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has been in my career my 25+ years. Thank you very much for helping me to be highly successful. My wife, of course, and my family, and thank you for this opportunity as well. But most of all, audience, I would like to thank you for listening into what Zach is presenting because this is some good information. And you may say ‘Hey, Mr. Mosely, I think you made some nice points but I don’t quite agree with you’. That’s okay! It's a discussion for you to think about what you want to do with your career and how you’d like to progress with your career. So you can always follow me on twitter @ExecRecruitPro, I’m on twitter there. And if you want to connect with me, my firm that I represent is called Walker Elliott. So you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zach: And there it is, Kyle Mosely thank you so much again.
Kyle: Hey thank you Zach, anytime, let me know and remember - don’t be as good as, be better than.
Zach: Amen. Peace, Man.
Kyle: Take care, bye.
Latricia: And we’re back! Zach that was a great interview. Kyle has a lot of knowledge and I just love his energy.
Zach: Yeah for sure. Typically I feel like I’m the bombastic one but he was keeping up with me pretty good. What did you think about his feedback on clearly articulating the number you want and the reason why?
Latricia: Yeah, I really enjoyed his practical perspective on things. For example, response methods. So not just blurting out concerns like ‘that’s not enough money!’, but pausing before you speak, and making it a little awkward. That was really funny, but it makes sense because it’s that psychological approach. There were some mind games there and I just really enjoyed that.
Zach: Absolutely. I enjoyed it as well. I also appreciated that he said how this is his perspective and not Gospel. We definitely enjoyed having him on the show, and we definitely want to have him back.
Latricia: Yeah he was great. We need to make sure we drop his contact information so everyone can reach out to him if they have any additional questions or concerns.
Zach: For sure! Ok - Well look, let’s get into our next segment - favorite things, where we talk about our favorite things these days. Latricia I’ll let you start.
Latricia: Yeah, so my favorite thing right now has to be biking. So, it’s very important that you stay fit. I recently participated in BikeMS in Dallas, it was a 160 mile bike route. Of course I did not do the 160 because I am a beginner. So I did the beginner route, but I love biking, it’s a great way to exercise without feeling like it’s punishment, and I’m hoping that next year I can actually complete the entire course.
Zach: Man that’s really cool. And we definitely, definitely wanna stay fit, and I’m really excited actually because I know down the road we want to actually have a whole show about personal wellness. Right? And that’s a big part of it. Physical wellness is a huge part of it. Well, cool. My Favorite thing right now has to be, believe it or not, this Snoop Dogg Gospel album.Listen, y’all--
Latricia: Ohh, that album is fire!
Zach: It is Fire, it is really really good. I mean, welcome to 2018. Like, I can say that Snoop Dogg, at this point -- and again I didn’t want to be a prisoner of the moment, so I said welcome to 2018--where Snoop Dogg has dropped one of the coldest gospel albums I have ever heard. And it’s been some months now and this album is still heavy in my rotation, especially when folks trying me at work. To be honest.
Latricia: [laughs] I actually listen to that song when I’m at work, too. Well, thank you for joining us on the Living Corporate Podcast. Make sure to follow us on instagram at @livingcorporate, twitter at @LivingCorp_Pod and subscribe to our newsletter through www.living-corporate.com. If you have a question you’d like us to answer and read on the show - Like The Read , make sure you email us at email@example.com. Aaaaaand that does it for us on this show. My name is Latricia.
Zach: and I’m Zach.
Latricia, Zach: peace!
Mrs. Jackson: Living Corporate is a podcast by Living Corporate LLC. Our logo was designed by David Dawkins. Our theme music was produced by Ken Brown. Additional music production by Antoine Franklin from Musical Elevation. Post Production is handled by Jeremy Jackson. Got a topic suggestion? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find us online on twitter, facebook, instagram and living dash corporate dot com. Thanks for listening! Stay tuned.