So you’ve made it through the grueling interview process, and it’s now time to begin the dreaded salary negotiation. Unfortunately, many new employees fail to effectively negotiate their starting salary, bonus schedule and benefits. The failure to conduct a strong salary negotiation can result in the loss of tens of thousands of dollars of income solely because you were unable to negotiate effectively for it. The following 20 tips will help ensure this doesn’t happen to you:
1. Anticipate Objections
Put yourself into your prospective employer’s shoes, and anticipate what objections they might have to your requests during salary negotiations. If you come armed with these responses, you will come off as far more confident compared to struggling for reasons to justify your requirements on the fly.
2. Be Excited
A company is more likely to offer a premium salary to a potential employee who is enthusiastic and excited at the prospect of employment with them. If you come off as non-chalant and aloof, then your new employer might question your true value. During salary negotiation, despite how tense you might be, exude an enthusiastic aura and comment frequently about what a great opportunity it is for you to join their firm.
3. Be Flexible
Being flexible about work hours, travel requirements and other job details facilitates landing the highest salary possible. Obviously, you can only promise what you can actually deliver and adhere to, but the more flexible you are translates to a better position during the salary negotiation.
4. Be Open To Alternatives To Cash
Obviously, cash is king, and you desire as much of your compensation package as possible to come in the form of guaranteed salary. However, this isn’t always possible, and you should be open to creative alternatives. This can come in the form of stock options, fringe benefits, performance bonuses and many other vehicles which could yield you significant value without tying your employer to a fixed number independent of your actual performance.
5. Consider Future Raises
Even if the starting salary figure quoted to you is below your expectations, the salary offer as a whole might be attractive. Take into consideration the schedule, and possible amounts, of future raises. It could be that you might have to take one small step back for a short duration initially in order to take two large steps forward.
6. Decide On A Minimum
Know your minimum salary requirements before commencing the salary negotiation, and stick firm to it. Without a pre-decided minimum requirement, many lower their requirements within the heat of the moment during salary negotiation. This is especially true within a tight jobs environment like the one that exists today. Decide your baseline number and know it going in to the negotiation.
7. Don’t Let Them See You Sweat
If you appear overly anxious, then they will decipher how much you want the job. You do not want to appear aloof, but you do want to be calm, cool and collected. Salary negotiation in some ways is akin to poker. Make sure you keep your poker face and watch your body language. Desperation is not conducive to maximizing results during a salary negotiation.
8. Handle Rejection
Do not become upset if your request is initially rejected. This is all just a part of salary negotiation, and should you come off as too upset or agitated over their rejection of your initial number it will work against you as the salary negotiation progresses.
9. Illustrate Your Experience
Many employers gauge salaries for new employees to their prior work experience. Failure to fully highlight and illustrate your past work performance and experience can result in a lower offer than you’d otherwise get. Make sure your prospective employer is aware of your complete work history prior to commencing a salary negotiation.
10. Keep Your Personal Life Out Of It
It might sound heartless, but your prospective employer doesn’t care about your personal situation or crises. Never attempt to negotiate a pay package based upon how much you need to care for a sick relative or some other such unfortunate event. An employer will not pay you based upon what you need, they will only pay you according to the value they project you will bring to the company. During salary negotiation, never bring your personal life into the equation.
11. Know The Position
Prior to commencing salary negotiation, you should know the job duties, goals, skills required, average industry pay rates and current market demand as it relates to the position you are seeking to fill. Information is power — and this is especially salient within the realm of salary negotiation. Not only will your potential employer be impressed with your due diligence and research, but they will also be persuaded by objective facts about the current job market as it relates to your position as opposed to you just asking for a number without any back-up.
12. Know Your Own Worth
Your worth as an employee derives from quite a few factors. Primarily, how you will impact your new employer’s net profits is at the top of their list of criteria to consider when deciding upon your salary. More intangible and esoteric qualities which can enhance your worth include new skills and ideas you can bring to the workplace along with possible contacts within the industry which you might bring with you. Do a full catalogue of everything you bring to the table before starting the salary negotiation — it can serve to get you a much higher number than you otherwise would have.
13. Let Them Make The First Offer
The biggest mistake many make when in salary negotiation is to state a requirement up front. Whatever you request, your prospective employer is bound to counter with a lower number. However, if you let them make the offer first, then there is always a chance it will come in above what you would have requested in the first place. Also, don’t inquire as to your salary and/or benefits during the interview process. Let your new employer bring up the topic and start the salary negotiation with you. This gives you a negotiating advantage from the start of the process.
14. Quantifiable Accomplishments
Employers will not pay a premium for vague or esoteric past accomplishments. Claiming that you improved the morale at your former employer or “made sales go up” is vague and can not be objectively analyzed. Conversely, if you illustrate that you increased sales at your former job by 22%, then that is a quantifiable achievement which your new employer can view in terms of a dollars and cents value. If your new employer is convinced you will appreciably impact either their measurable top or bottom lines, then they will be more apt to pay a premium in the form of a higher salary.
15. Prove You Are The Best Man For The Job
Be prepared to fully sell yourself, and convince them with objective facts that you are absolutely the best candidate for the job. This selling process dovetails with salary negotiation, and they are much more likely to meet your number if they truly are convinced that you are the best man for the job.
16. Sell Yourself
Salary negotiation is a form of selling. In this instance, you are selling yourself and your value to your prospective employer. Don’t assume they’ll immediately understand your true value — proactively sell them on the idea that they are lucky to get you at the salary you are requesting.
17. The First Offer Might Be The Best Offer
Do not feel compelled to automatically reject their first offer. In some scenarios within salary negotiation, the first offer is actually the best offer. Seriously consider their first offer, and if it conforms to what you were seeking, then there is nothing wrong with accepting it without a counter. Not all offers need a counter, while many others obviously do.
18. Visualize Success
Before and during salary negotiation, borrow a tip from professional athletes and visualize success. This is akin to a basketball player visualizing the free throw hitting nothing but net or the golfer visualizing the putt going smoothly across the green into the hole. If you visualize your own success, then it is more likely to happen. The power of positive thinking can be quite important within many arenas — including the one of salary negotiation.
19. Walk Away When Necessary
This same tactic works just as well during salary negotiation as it does when at the dealership buying a new car. Showing them that you are willing to politely decline their best offer and head towards the door is often necessary in order to get them to give you their best offer. Many employers will negotiate hard over your salary, and until you are prepared to walk away they won’t raise the number to the true maximum which they are willing to pay.
20. When At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Again
When your first line of reasoning during salary negotiation is rejected, have a second line of defense already crafted. Be able to produce additional references or accomplishments to further your case should your initial arguments not be persuasive. Without having this back-up, you are put in a negotiating disadvantage with the only choices being to accept their lower offer or walk away. A back-up plan serves as an intermediary before these final steps, and gives you a better shot at selling them on your number.