When looking at jobs, there are many factors to consider. There is the work you’ll be doing, work culture, business travel, and of course – salary. While salary negotiations can happen during performance reviews, negotiating during the initial offer is important as raises in the future will be based on that original number.
WHY NEGOTIATE: The first and biggest mistake people make during salary negotiation is not negotiating! Most companies are willing to negotiate, but oftentimes employees do not ask. People fear they will not be likeable if they negotiate, but remember that it is not personal. Of course you do not want to come off as greedy or petty, but be persistent. It is justified for you to be paid for what you are worth.
DON’T SPEAK TOO SOON: Companies can also get the upper hand if you name your number too quickly. It is best to put that off towards the final part of the hiring process. For instance you can delay responding by saying something like “I’d like to know more about the position before I answer.” If possible, get the company to name the number first and work from there.
PAST AND FUTURE SALARY: Discussing salary history can be challenging. Do not lie or deny answering as that will only make them more interested in your salary history. Especially if you were previously underpaid, discuss how your salary has increased and focus on the salary market for your new job rather than current pay. Do research on the market and the company to help guide your range. There are many online options or reach out to trusted colleagues.
BE IN CONTROL: Set yourself up to be like a buyer. This works especially well if you have numerous job offers. However if you bring up your other offers, balance it with reasons why you would gladly forgo those for this company. That way you appear as desirable by many, but also dedicated to the particular role and job.
COUNTEROFFER: If the company turns down your proposed number, remember, it is a negotiation. Definitely come back with a counteroffer. Also explain why you are deserving of that salary and sell yourself. Talk about how you have saved money at a previous company or how your qualifications increase your value.
Remember there is more than salary! Think about the whole package – vacation time, signing or performance bonuses, relocation or travel expenses, flexible hours, health insurance packages, childcare and assistance reimbursement, employee discounts, company laptops or cars, and other fringe benefits. Of course you cannot change the entire package they offer, so pick 1-3 reasonable changes to negotiate.
In summary, be firm and strategic. Know that you can be a valuable asset and investment to the company and tell them that. As Carol Frohlinger, an expert on negotiation, says “don’t bargain yourself down before you get to the table.”