During the interview process, we often talk about the importance of earning professional experience, but the truth is simple: you wouldn’t accept the job if it didn’t offer a salary. While you may really want and need the job, you deserve a fair salary, too. In general, salary negotiation takes place after you are offered a position but before you officially accept. Many factors influence salary negotiations, so make sure you are prepared. Follow these salary negotiation tips and successfully stand up for yourself in the boardroom!
For employers, salary negotiation tactics depend on a variety of factors. To give you an idea, here is a list of just a few:
- the level of job within the organization
- skills and experience needed for the position
- fair market value for the job
- salary range for the job in the organization
- salary range for the job in the geographical region
- career progress and experience of the selected candidate
As you can see, employers put a lot of research and thought into deciding how much you will be paid as an employee. To successfully negotiate a higher salary for yourself and have your request taken seriously, you’re going to have to do some work, too.
Know your market value before you talk salary. To get a solid idea of what you are worth as an employee depending on your education, experience, and position level, research the salary range for the position at various companies. Also, consider online salary surveys, trade journals, and other relevant data.
Define your worth. Carefully consider all of your qualifications, including education, professional certifications, specialized credentials, previous work experience, and accomplishments. Plan ahead. Determine what points should be highlighted during the negotiation process. Come up with a major selling point that will set you apart from other candidates and make the employer want to hire you at the cost you decide.
Establish your absolute minimum. Before you go into an interview, you must have a bottom line, so crunch some numbers and figure out the minimum salary range you need to support you and your family.
It’s not personal. While it might initially seem like a good idea to tell the employer about the size of the family that you have to support to persuade the company into giving you a higher salary, it is always a better idea to refrain from bringing your personal life into the salary negotiation process. If a salary is too low to meet your needs, don’t accept it. Negotiate based on your professional qualifications and what you are worth, not your personal needs.
You said it, not me. Let the employer bring up the salary subject first. If you must pitch an expected salary during the job interview, offer a ballpark range range. Or, offer a conditional figure depending on the specifics of the job. Avoid chaining yourself to a specific salary figure while other candidates are still being considered for the job. Wait for the employer to provide a starting number before you start negotiating. There will generally be room for a 10-20 percent increase above the starting amount.
Get it in writing. Never begin the salary negotiation process until you have an official job offer. Let the employer present a full offer (including base salary and bonuses) in writing before you begin salary negotiations. This will give you a better understanding of what you have to work with.
Think outside of the box. Don’t confine your talk to just dollar amounts, as a salary package includes total compensation, such as bonuses, benefits, retirement accounts, employee discounts, sick time, and stock options. Non-cash perks might help tighten the gap between the employer"s offer and your asking salary. While they might seem like icing on the cake at first, non-cash perks can add up, in some cases increasing a base salary up to 40 percent.
Keep your edge. Do not disclose any information concerning your previous salary. Once your previous pay is mentioned, your edge in the negotiation process will quickly decrease. By not providing your exact previous salary, you will force the employer to present the best possible offer.
Don’t be a pushover. While it may be tempting, do not accept a salary offer right away. Once you receive a written offer, ask for at least 24 hours to think about it, and then return with a counter offer. Even if you dislike the negotiation process and are eager to just get it over with and accept the position, you will almost always receive a little more money if you try.
Don’t burn bridges. If you decide to decline an offer, leave on the best possible terms. Be polite and don’t burn any bridges. You never know what the future holds and if you will work with the company again in the future.