Successful negotiation is based on preparation and patience. Always anticipate what you may need to know when you next speak with any potential employer.
Research your value
Research your value in the job field you want to get placed. Find sources that tell you what companies pay well for the job you’re looking for. You should check the value of your personal skills and background such as education, length of experience, certifications, and management responsibility.
Talk to Recruiters
There is another way to do some research. Pick up those calls from recruiters. They know what people with your experience and expertise are worth, so use it to your advantage! The next time one reaches out to you, engage in a conversation about the position’s responsibilities and pay. You may not get a specific number, but even a range is helpful.
Pick the Top of the Range
After talking to some recruiters, you’ll likely come up with a range that represents your market value. It can be tempting to ask for something in the middle of the range, but instead, you should ask for something toward the top.
First of all, believe in yourself and assume that you’re entitled to top pay. Second, your employer will almost certainly negotiate down, so you need room to still end up with a salary you’re pleased with.
Prepare a counteroffer
About half of all job seekers accept the first offer, but most employers make offers expecting candidates to counteroffer, so go ahead and ask for what you want. Remember that your counteroffer can include more than just base pay; it can include bonuses, stock options, vacation time, and a flexible working schedule. Every time you speak with a potential employer, you should be prepared with a complete, prioritized summary of your ideal offer.
Be willing to walk away
When considering your numbers, you should also come up with a ‘walk away point’ – a final offer that’s so low that you have to turn it down. This could be based on financial need, market value, or simply what you need to feel good about the salary you’re bringing home. Walking away from an offer will never be easy, but it’s important to know when to do it – and powerful to be able to say ‘no.’
MISTAKES TO AVOID
Bringing up the salary question before the employer does
Nothing turns off an employer faster than a candidate asking about salary too early in the process. Be patient, and let the employer bring up the salary question as it will come up eventually, assuming the employer is interested in hiring you.
Making it all about you
When it comes to salary, the discussion should center on your skills and qualifications. Employers are not concerned about your personal financial situation. Trying to negotiate a higher salary because you have a big loan to pay will get you nowhere. Keep it professional as it’s about the job responsibilities, industry standards, and your qualifications.
Being the first to quote a definitive salary amount:
In a salary negotiation, the first person to quote a number is at a disadvantage. If an employer asks, “What are your salary expectations?” try to toss it back by asking, “I am interested in this role. Has a salary range been set?” A word of caution: if this back and forth goes on too long, you can turn off the employer. If they keep pressing for your expectations, you should be prepared to state a salary range.
Fearing that the offer will disappear
Job seekers are often concerned that asking for more money will come off as greedy and the original job offer will disappear. That’s hardly the case. Finding a hire-worthy candidate isn’t easy! If you’re the right person for the job, it’s in the hiring manager’s interest to strike a balance you’re both happy with. Even if there’s no wiggle room in the offer, chances are the recruiter will simply say so, and the original offer will still be on the table, waiting for you to accept or reject it. The ball will still be in your court.