Congratulations – you received a job offer! Now comes the part that many people find uncomfortable: salary negotiation. We’ve generally been taught that talking about money is taboo, but if you skip this important step before accepting the job, you could be leaving cash – and other perks – on the table.
Take stock of your situation. If you impressed the hiring manager enough to get the offer, you should be confident that the company values you. Now you just need to make sure their compensation package aligns with what YOU believe you’re worth.
According to a survey by Salary.com, only 37% of people always negotiate their salaries and 18% never negotiate their salaries. Research from novoresume.com revealed, however, that a whopping 84% of employers expect their candidates to negotiate their offers. With that in mind, read on for some negotiating tips to ensure you have the best chance of getting the best possible offer.
- Understand the market average for your job and how your experience stacks up. Be realistic in negotiating a fair compensation. You can use several resources – some of them free – to check salary ranges for similar jobs. Glassdoor and Payscale are two places to start.
- DO enter a salary negotiation with a number in mind. If you don’t, you will be at the mercy of a hiring manager who can control the conversation.
- DON’T feel compelled to answer immediately when the employer asks you what salary you expect. You can redirect the question and ask the potential employer what they believe the job is worth. You can invite them to share a pay range. Or you may take a softer approach and tell them you’d first like to know more about the specific responsibilities attached to the job.
- Ask for more than you are willing to accept, and understand that you can always settle for less. If the employer presents a pay range, go for the high end. Be ready to respond to their challenge by explaining why you should be compensated at a higher amount.
- Think about the negotiation from the employer’s perspective. Clearly articulate how your contributions will impact their bottom line more than they originally thought and how this makes the case for a higher salary.
- Working at a corporate job differs from working at a startup, as startups generally have fewer resources. You may need to get creative. Would you be happy with flexible work hours, working from home, more vacation time, stock options or a better title if the company can’t offer the salary you want?
- Get everything in writing, including salary, benefits and any special items such as relocation expenses, bonuses or transportation reimbursements.
- Be ready to walk away if the employer cannot meet your minimum salary requirements and refuses to provide additional benefits that make an offer acceptable.
Information and preparation are your best allies in negotiations. Work with a trusted friend or mentor who can coach you on projecting confidence and answering unexpected questions. Above all, always stay positive and professional, even if you decide to walk away from the offer. You never know when you might encounter this person or someone in their network later in your career.
Good luck. You’ve got this!