Negotiation is not any easy thing, especially when it comes to salary. It makes most everyone uncomfortable, and that means people on both sides of the equation. Just as a candidate is nervous to approach the topic of salary, an employer is typically worried about how to respond to a counteroffer in order to not give the wrong answer.
As a job seeker, you must remember that companies expect you to negotiate your salary. It doesn’t matter whether you are currently employed or unemployed; you have the same amount of power in salary negotiations. When you go about it in a smart way, it shows that you’re savvy. Just be sure to do your research and know how to present your expectations without coming across as arrogant. You can’t simply say, “I thought the offer would be higher,” or “I was expecting X,” without giving any legitimate reasoning. Use these tips to start off on the right foot and decrease your negotiation anxiety.
Hang tight. Try not to reveal your current or previous salary. When you receive a job offer at a new company, the prior salary is not relevant to the new salary. This is because the new position is with a different company in a new set of circumstances. What matters most is how your qualifications match the job requisition and how much people at your level in your field in your location are making on average. If you cannot get around it – for example, if an online application system has labeled the field required, do not lie. However, do make sure you include any bonus and monetary awards you’ve received in the past year in your total annual figure.
If you must reveal salary. If you’re asked point blank about current or previous salary and you’ve done your research, change the conversation to focus on what you’ve learned from it. Provide data and make direct correlations with the new job to back up your proposal of what you think you should be making. For example, if this job includes management responsibilities and your current job does not, emphasize that in order to underscore that these are two different situations.
Do some research. Find out your professional value. That is, what do your education and years of experience add up to in dollar terms? This is going to differ depending on your geographic location and industry. Websites such as PayScale and Glassdoor provide salaries for thousands of positions. If your proposed salary seems low, discuss your research with the hiring manager or human resources representative.
Monetize your skills. Beyond your research, you need to be prepared to talk about how much you can achieve for the employer and what that is worth. Show how you will compensate the company by accomplishing its goals. Be prepared to sell return on investment: How will you make or save the company money? Cite specific situations where you have contributed to the bottom line in the past, and plan to explain how your examples relate to the position you’re being offered.
When you get a definitive “no.” Usually a human resources representative or hiring manager will tell you they’ll get back to you about your counteroffer. If they aren’t able to offer a higher salary, suggest a signing bonus. A signing bonus is normally offered if a candidate is relocating or has skills that are difficult to find, but they are also given in other circumstances and companies often budget for them. If that doesn’t fly, you can ask to receive an evaluation and potential raise sooner than the typical one-year anniversary. Try to get the final decision on any one of these in writing to give you the leverage you may need later on to make sure it happens.
Whether you are currently employed or not, you may feel uncomfortable about the negotiation process or you may feel that you don’t deserve more having been out of the workforce for some time. As a result, too many candidates concede their power by accepting the first offer given. Take some time before your interview to employ these tips and you’ll more likely have a larger payoff in the end.