You’ve probably heard about the importance of negotiating your salary. But is it always advisable to negotiate or just in special circumstances? In this blog post we’ll share considerations for whether or not to negotiate salary, as well as tips for effective salary negotiation.
Do you really have a shot at negotiating a higher salary?
“You’ll never know unless you ask.” This is the philosophy you’ll want to adopt as you head into your interview salary discussions. “Nothing venture, nothing gained,” is also a good mantra for the moment! Even if you’ve never attempted salary negotiation, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to ask. It’s only slightly more challenging to maneuver the rest of the negotiation process, but it’s not impossible.
Furthermore, as the job market becomes more competitive, it’s increasingly more difficult for employers to find the right candidates for their jobs. As a result, candidates are in a unique position to negotiate their salaries now more than ever. However, a large portion of candidates fail to attempt salary negotiation, resulting in a ver expensive mistake for most job seekers! Put plainly, failure to negotiate salary during the interview process will hurt your career AND your bank account. In MAJORITY of job offer situations, there is wiggle room for salary negotiation. Therefore, it’s up to you to take the reins and ask for more money with every single job offer. The worst your interviewer can say is “no.”
When should you start to negotiate salary?
The time to talk salary will come. Don’t worry and don’t push it. The most important part of your interview before the negotiation is doing your due diligence to see if the job is a fit for you. Yes, the money’s important but as far as interview etiquette goes. However, bringing up money too early in the conversation can backfire. It indicates to the employer that you are less interested in the job and more interested in money. The best approach early in the interview is to relax and just focus on answering the interviewer’s questions well.
Sometimes out of nervousness, candidates unknowingly reveal information that can negatively impact their future negotiation attempts. For example, talking candidly about what a friend was paid for the same job in another market, or disclosing information about your lifestyle/expenses – these are both indicators to the employer as to what type of compensation you are willing to settle for. However, by not revealing any money indicators, you are subtly giving yourself the upper hand for when it does come time to negotiate. Whatever you do, keep your cards close to your chest throughout the interview! Avoid talking money, period! Even if the interviewer asks about your salary expectations, be cautious in how you answer this question. Don’t disclose any numbers until the employer shares their salary range. Even then, don’t respond with too much information. Instead, ask for some time to think about it after the fact. The key here is to gather as much information from the employer as possible in order to construct your negotiation strategy and counter-offer.
Do your market and personal research in advance of the salary conversation
Before you consider whether or not to negotiate, it’s important to start with research. You must know how much you’re worth, as well as the market rate for the position at hand, so you can understand if the offer even makes sense to begin with. This is your starting point for the discussion around money. Otherwise how will you know if a company is lowballing you or offering something that exceeds your market value. Likewise, you’ll want to have done your research so that you are not asking for a number that is completely unreasonable. For more guidance on realistic salary ranges, you might find this blog post helpful.
Spend time jotting down exactly what you bring to the table. Also spend time by researching the median salaries in your field. Compare the skillsets in the target industry with your skillset. You must demonstrate confidence in your abilities if you are going to convince the employer that you’re worth more money. Therefore, you should plan to spend some time beefing up your selling points and pep talking yourself into believing them! When you start the salary negotiation, the employer will be thinking, “why should we pay her more than our initial offer?” Your ability to speak to your key selling points, are exactly how you’ll convince the employer to come up to your number.
What if you are terrified to negotiate salary? Should you still attempt it?
Salary negotiation is definitely outside most people’s comfort zones. Trust me when I say: You’re NOT alone! The key here is to be able to keep your emotions in check throughout the process. Don’t let on that you’re terrified and nobody will be the wiser. Yes, your salary will impact you personally. But don’t take the salary discussion personally. The best way to see your emotions in check is to stay on top of your feelings and try to be rational throughout the whole process. Get rid of any emotional investment from the get-go. You need a clear head so you can avoid losing your composure or your temper in front of the interviewer.
If the offer is less than ideal, this is an indicator that you absolutely should negotiate. If you don’t negotiate, you will start a job you potentially love, with a salary you absolutely hate. There’s no quicker way to start hating your job than to be disappointed every time you get paid. Your employer wants you to be happy. You want to be happy. If you can’t pay the bills, you won’t be happy. Therefore use this initial (disappointing) offer as an opportunity to start the negotiations. An employer will rarely give you the highest offer up front because they understand that they need to leave room for negotiation. They expect you to negotiate. Therefore, in the case of a lowball offer, absolutely negotiate.
When the employer pressures you for an answer, try this negotiation tactic to increase your chances of successful negotiation
Pressure is a negotiation tactic. Don’t cave to it. Accepting a job is a big decision and should not be made lightly. Otherwise, you will end up in a place of regret your 2nd week of work! (Talk about feeling stuck)! Avoid succumbing to employer pressure by politely letting the hiring manager know that you need more time to consider the offer. Of course you will need to make a decision in a reasonable amount of time. Taking more than a week to decide would be excessive. However accepting the offer on the spot would be foolish! If you’re wondering how to avoid job regret you’ll like this blog post on how to spot interviewer red flags.
Employers respect individuals who take time to consider their offer. And don’t you want to earn your employer’s respect before you start work? Just as pressure is a tactic, so is time. Use time to your advantage both to think through the offer AND to make the employer sweat. There’s nothing worse than wondering if a candidate you like will take the job or not. The more you can make them sweat, the more likely the employer will be to raise the initial offer.
What if the employer says “no” to salary negotiation?
It is entirely possible that the hiring manager may be inflexible on the offer, insisting that they are firm on the initial number. In this case, it will seem like there is not too much you can do. However, you can still push the negotiation forward. There are a few different avenues you can take:
First, consider the point in the conversation at which the hiring manager makes this statement. If it’s early in the conversation, it’s likely you can push them on the number. If it is late in the conversation (ie. you’ve had multiple discussions around salary and the employer isn’t budging) then there may not be much you can do without being perceived as aggressive. At some point the employer may even retract the offer. Pay close attention and try to get a read on the employer before pushing back a 2nd time.
Second, consider the type of company you’re negotiating with. Because you’ve done your research in advance, you’ll have a good idea as to the typical salary range for the role at hand. Take into consideration the type of company you’re applying for — you may have a higher change for a bigger figure with a multinational corporation than a local startup.
Consider other non-monetary options to negotiate. Additionally, it’s important to be flexible when it comes to the package, and don’t just focus on the money. If the company can’t offer you a high enough number, try to ask for more paid leaves or remote work options instead. Any employer would happily oblige with a reasonable candidate who presents options that can benefit everyone.
Overall, assert yourself but remain flexible during the conversation. A good negotiation always ends with a win-win situation. Do your best to achieve this and you’ll be in good shape.