Negotiating your salary starts by making strategic choices from the very beginning of the job search process. Follow these four steps to walk away with a new job, and a salary makes you feel valued, and motivated to do the best work possible.
Don’t provide a salary number out the gate.
Your salary expectations are often asked in an online job application and/or the initial conversation you have with a recruiter or human resources. But that doesn’t mean you have to commit to a number upfront.
And really, why should you? To provide a number that reflects the actual roles, responsibilities and scope of the job, you need to fully understand what it entails. Further, what you earn today may not reflect what you should earn in a new role. Until you’ve gone to at least one interview and had a chance to completely absorb what the job entails, it’s perfectly fair to say that you expect to earn fair market value.
Do Thorough Research on What You Should Earn
Sites like Glassdoor and Indeed offer free tools that can estimate a reasonable salary based on what other employers pay for a similar position, but it’s not a hard and fast science. Do your research to determine what a fair income for the job might look like, and consider what salary would feel good about accepting if you were offered the position. The more confident you are that the number you ask for is justified, the better equipped you are to fight for what you want.
Ask for What You Want, Respectfully and Confidently.
Negotiating salary is not a personal confrontation or an attack. Do not apologize for it, or use words that weaken your position. (“I was wondering if..” “Is there any way we could…” have no place in negotiations). If you receive a job offer with a salary you’re not thrilled about, approach it like a lawyer. Gather the facts that support why you’re worth what you’re asking, and state your terms clearly, without apology. Assure the person who offered you the job that you are excited about the company but need to address compensation to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. State the number you want them to meet and outline any other terms you may want to negotiate in lieu of more money–like more vacation days or paid time off, flexible work hours, the option to work remotely, or a sign on bonus.
If an employer tells you they cannot meet your salary demands because they are already at the top of the pay grade human resources has assigned to the position, push them to get creative. They may be able to add responsibilities to the job description so that it commands a higher pay scale. If they can’t, you have a decision to make.
Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away
If you’re not excited about a salary before you accept the role, you probably won’t be happy in the job for the long-term. If an employer refuses to come up to a salary that you’ve decided is your bottom line, the job simply may not be a good fit for what you want. Consider if you’re willing to lose the opportunity based on money. If the answer is an honest “yes,” walk away and wait for an employer who sees your skills, talent and intellect as something of value.