You got the job offer you wanted. Congrats!
Now comes the often intimidating part: negotiating your salary.
Asking for more money right after you’re offered a job can seem greedy, but most companies expect you to negotiate. Having a few salary negotiation tips in mind can increase your confidence and boost your chances of achieving a higher opening salary.
Salary Negotiation Tips
When done right, salary negotiation is not about grinding the other party down to get what you want at all costs.
Rather, it should be about identifying a compelling and mutually beneficial solution. After all, you’ll want to kick off your first day as an employee on good terms with management.
Use these battle-tested tips to become a better negotiator when you get your next job offer.
1. Don’t Accept the First Offer
One study shows that 64% of people accept the initial offer without any negotiations. That’s a lot of people who potentially miss out on higher pay.
Even if you’re happy with the salary, counter-offering is a good idea. You may end up with even more money than you expected. Another study showed that 84% of people who tried to negotiate got a higher salary offer.
Sometimes the company won’t be able to offer more. But by counter-offering, you know you’re getting the highest possible salary.
If you’re not ready to negotiate when you receive the offer, simply ask for some time to consider the offer. This lets you do your research and come up with your counter-offer.
2. Know What You Want (Your Workable Range)
You can’t negotiate effectively if you don’t have target numbers in mind. Knowing what you want helps you track how close the offer is to your desired range.
You’ll want to keep two numbers in mind.
The first is the perfect offer where you would instantly say yes. It’s at the high end of your desired range. Of course, you’ll accept more, but this is your high goal to give you a basis for your negotiations.
The other is your lowest acceptable salary. It’s the minimum you’ll take. Anything below that offer would make you pass on the job.
Once you have those two numbers, you have your workable range.
3. Identify Industry-Specific Facts
Just wanting a certain salary isn’t enough justification to ask for it. You need facts to back up your numbers.
The specific position you’re applying for is the first factor in the salary range.
A teacher doesn’t make the same as a chiropractor, so first, narrow it down by position type.
Company differences can also play a role in the salary.
Some companies pay more than others, and the type of business affects that. A nonprofit organization typically doesn’t pay as much as a similar position with a large corporation.
The type of position dictates the salary, but your location is also a factor. A computer programmer in a small Midwestern town won’t make nearly as much as one in Los Angeles.
You can find salary calculators online to help you get an estimate of the salary range. Many job search sites offer ranges for various jobs.
4. Highlight Your Strengths
When you enter the salary negotiations phase of a job offer, make sure you know your strengths, weaknesses, and most importantly, what differentiates you from others in your field of work.
For example, if you come to the table with extensive education, work experience, or credentials, you might be able to command a stronger opening salary.
Or, if you’re able to work from home using your own laptop, desk, internet and home office materials, then the company may be willing to pay you more due to the lower costs of bringing you on board as an employee.
Being able to back up your salary expectations with reasons makes it harder for the company to come up with counter logic to pay you less.
It also shows them that you’re a savvy business person and you know how to prepare.
5. Practice Your Negotiations
If you haven’t gone through salary negotiations before, it’s a good idea to practice with someone first. Practice giving your pitch with your salary request and your justifications for that number.
It’s best if the person you practice with has some experience in salary negotiations, but you can get feedback on how you sound from others, too.
6. Project Confidence
If you go into the negotiations nervous or feeling like you shouldn’t ask for more money, that lack of confidence will show. Remind yourself that you’ve done the research to justify your higher salary request.
Confidence can be projected many different ways, but a few quick and easy tips are:
- Sit or stand upright
- Keep your head up and shoulders back
- Maintain eye contact (without staring)
- Project your voice
- Use expansive posture (nervous people tend to fold inward)
Most importantly, one of the biggest indicators of confidence is simply to…smile.
Across all societies and time periods, alpha (dominant) humans have been identified by others by their ability to walk into an environment and smile.
Of course, you won’t want to come off as cocky or arrogant, but odds are that your nerves will temper this from being how you get read.
8. Express Flexibility
Being too demanding or giving an ultimatum isn’t usually the best approach to getting the salary you want. This can rub the hiring manager the wrong way and make them wonder if they made the right decision.
Express your gratitude for getting the job offer. Don’t be afraid to emphasize what you bring to the table to show your value to the company. Then you can go in with your salary requests without being overly demanding.
The key is ask and not demand.
9. Negotiate More Than Pay
Of all the salary negotiation tips, this one might be the most important.
While most job seekers focus on the salary figure, your benefits can weigh heavily on your compensation (and quality of life).
Look at the full benefits package, including insurance, stipends, and other perks. Maybe you get free parking in a downtown area where you would normally pay a lot. Perhaps the company will cover your cell phone bill.
Those extras save you money on your expenses, which makes it feel like you’re getting paid a little more than your salary shows.
You can also ask for more perks or ask for an increase in benefits if the company isn’t budging on the salary.
Sometimes the perks don’t have a monetary value. You might negotiate a flexible schedule or the option to work from home.
10. Consider Including Performance Based Incentives
If you’re willing to tie certain aspects of your pay to performance, then you might be able to structure a better compensation package for yourself in the long-run.
For example, you could ask for base pay, plus performance based incentives if you hit specific targets―such as sales goals, revenue goals, or project deadlines.
The reason this approach is effective is because the party hiring you knows little about you and is likely to be nervous about how you will perform over time. Thus, tying your pay to performance better aligns the risks and rewards that are naturally present within the negotiation.
Meaning, if you believe in your capacity to deliver, then you should unquestionably discuss performance based incentives.
11. Ask About Raises and Promotions
You may not always be able to get the salary you want right away with a new job. That doesn’t mean you won’t eventually get there.
Ask about the policy on giving raises, so you have an idea of when you might be eligible for one. Ask about typical raise amounts, and what you have to do to earn them.
If the company is generous with frequent raises, you may be at your desired salary soon after you take the job. If they don’t offer much for raises, make sure you’re okay being stuck at the starting wage for a while.
The opportunity for promotions can also come into play. If you’ll have the chance to move into more advanced positions quickly, those new jobs could come with significant pay increases.
Take these factors into consideration and look to the future potential of the position, not just the starting salary.
Arm Yourself with Powerful Salary Negotiation Tips
Asking for more money when you’re offered a job can be scary. Use these salary negotiation tips to make it easier and increase your chances of getting a higher starting salary.
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