How To Negotiate Your Salary
Salary is and should be an important factor in our careers. After all, what’s the point of working at a job if it can’t help you pay all your bills and then some. While nearly everyone would like to negotiate their salaries whether it is for a new job or their current one. However, not everyone does, primarily because they are afraid to. We’ve been conditioned to be grateful for what we have been offered and not question it, asking for more seems like we are being greedy. Yet, another view point exists here, one that claims we should know what we deserve and not be afraid to go after it.
Still, that is something that is easier said than done. In that regard, here are some tips to help you negotiate your salary:
Don’t negotiate the salary until an offer has been made
First and foremost, keep in mind to never discuss the salary until an offer has been made. When asked before an offer has been made, just tell them your expected salary and ask them instead of what would they be willing to pay for the position. Once they give you an offer, see whether or not it matches you expected salary and whether or not it works for you. If you are happy with it, then that’s that; if not, then you should start the negotiations, primarily by stating what you are looking for from the company.
Give a range rather than a fixed amount
Secondly, whenever you are discussing the expected salary, don’t give a fixed amount, rather give a range. This leaves options open for negotiation. Give the salary you really want as the lowest expectable range on the scale. The reason for this is that companies are more likely to agree to your bottom line rather than something higher on the range. They do this because they think that this is the lowest they can get you for, and they don’t want to seem like they just agreed to what you want without negotiations. But this way even if they agree to the lowest end of your range, it’s a win-win for you.
Ask for time to consider the offer
Don’t agree or decline an offer immediately. You don’t have to and you shouldn’t. In the moment you are more likely to make rash decisions based on impulse rather than thought. Hence, politely ask for time to consider the offer, and really do before agreeing with or rejecting it.
Asking for the time to consider the offer, may be taken by some to mean that you are not happy with the offer and that you are only taking the time to either decline the offer or to prepare your counter. Even if that is the case, you don’t want to put them on the spot here, so be positive, tell them how excited you are about this position and that you are really like/want the job, and are excited to discuss this further. This neither accepts nor denies anything. It is primarily like putting a positive spin on things. Also, if they are more positive and tend to like you then they are more likely to accept your counteroffer, if and when you make one.
Understand the job and benefits that it provides
Before making a counteroffer and/or accepting their counteroffer, make sure that you understand the job and benefits that it provides. Is it a really great job? If it all that you want, perhaps you might consider setting for a slightly lower salary than you originally wanted. You don’t have to, but there may be instances where a job might make up for things in other aspects than the salary. Perhaps, it is really close to your home, so you’ll save on travelling expense and time. Or perhaps it offers other benefits and offers that would counter the salary such as food and coffee expense, travelling expense, more vacation days, etc.
If you agree with the offer, then great, if not don’t reject it right away. Really consider what they are offering, and what is missing from it. Highlight the points you really want, it is a better salary, better benefits, more vacation time, etc. Form a counteroffer for the things you want and cordially present it to the company. You’ll have to sell it to them, and answer the unspoken question of why you should get these benefits and why you deserve it. They will pay attention to your counteroffer and take it seriously, unless they really can’t afford to.
Sell the points which make you a desirable candidate
They will not give you a higher salary, just because you want it. You’ll have to prove that you deserve it. Your counteroffer should also include certain points that will show to them why you deserve to get a higher salary. Highlight your experience, your past accomplishments, etc. Show them that you are worth the extra money, and that they won’t regret it. Hiring an employee is an investment; they are investing in your expertise and your work experience. The work they will get out of you is the return on their investment. So, you need to proof that you are worth of their investment and they will get good returns.
Negotiate the benefits
There are times, when the budget may not allow a vast negotiation on salary, however, rather than give up, another option is to negotiate the benefits instead. Benefits can include paid or unpaid leave, bonus, overtime, vacation pay, maternity/paternity leave, travel/living compensation, etc. There could even be stock options, health insurance, investment options, as well as some surprising benefits such as gym memberships and cell phone reimbursement.
Be objective and practical, don’t let emotions into it
When negotiating and presenting your counteroffer, be very objective and professional. Don’t let emotions into it. Don’t get angry or disappointed. If you do, you’ll seem unprofessional and unreliable. Hence, they may not be willing to discuss salary with you. On the other hand, if you seem professional and objective, they will be more likely to agree to your counteroffer as you will be simultaneously proving how good an employee you can be.
Get the offer in writing before accepting anything
After all the negotiations are done, and you think that you are in a good place and are about to accept their offer, don’t do it unless you have the offer in writing. Sadly there are times when a hiring manager agrees to things that the higher management didn’t sign off on, or it may be the case that they bended the truth and exaggerated the truth. Hence, just to be on the safe side, it is better to have the offer in writing before you sign it. Hopefully, the offer will be everything you wanted and deserve, and more.