Salary negotiation requires preparation and good timing. It’s important to determine your salary needs and research the market value for the job you want. Timing is critical for negotiation. Discussing salary requirements too early in the interview process can jeopardize your chances of getting the salary you deserve. Failure to negotiate could result in losing money.
The negotiation process begins by determining what salary you need. Prepare a detailed outline of your expenses. Next determine the market value of the job for which you are applying. Research similar positions with other companies and jobs requiring comparable experience. Information can be gathered from classified ads, competitors, informational interviews, and web sites.
Be polite and professional during negotiation. Try to impress to the employer that your goal is a win-win situation. It is your job to convince the employer that you are worth more than they are offering. Be prepared for objections by talking about how your past accomplishments benefited previous employers.
Never bring up salary until an offer has been extended. At that point, the employer has decided that you are the best person for the job, giving you bargaining power. If the employer brings up salary before an offer has been made, be prepared with a response. For example, “I need to know more about the job responsibilities before I can talk salary.” If the position is newly created you could say, “Since this is a newly created, position, I’m sure you have a salary in mind.”
When you have determined an acceptable salary, start negotiating higher than you think the employer wants to pay, and then go to a middle ground. If the employer offers you $50,000 and you want $55,000, ask for $58,000 and then work backward toward your target salary.
The employer may offer you some reasons for not wanting to give you the requested salary. Again, be prepared with a response. If the employer tells you their budget won’t allow an increase, negotiate some perks such as flex-time or an early salary review. If the employer tells you that you would be earning more than others at that level, point out that you should earn more, because you’re worth more. Another option is to ask for a different job title so that you’ll fall into a higher salary range. Be sure to mention that you will take on some additional responsibilities to compensate for the higher salary.
If the employer can’t increase the salary, be creative and look at other ways to boost your compensation package. You could ask for extra vacation days. Another option is to ask for an early salary review. Request that you be given a three-month review. If your performance is satisfactory, ask that you receive your annual raise at that time. Other options to consider include: a one time sign-on bonus, flex-time, or a shorter work week.
Get Paid What You’re Worth
Why should you negotiate your salary? You have a right to be paid what you’re worth and what the market supports. Records indicate that 60 percent of all negotiators get more than the initial offer. If you don’t negotiate, you’ll lose money, since each annual raise is based on the amount of your starting salary. For example, suppose you were hired at $30,000 per year, without negotiating. Had you negotiated you may have started at $32,000. Based on a five percent salary increase each year, you would lose more than $26,000 over ten years.
Finally, salary negotiation isn’t reserved for the corporate world. People in all types of industries can successfully negotiate their salary. Remember, you are negotiating for your future!
Joan Runnheim, M.S., founder of Pathways Career Success Strategies [http://www.pathwayscareer.com ] in Hudson, WI, is a career consultant who helps individuals reach their career goals by developing an effective career development plan or job search strategy.