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Sunday, January 19, 2014

How to Negotiate Your Salary - Do's and Don'ts of Salary Negotiation

Salary Negotiation
How to Negotiate Your Salary.  Always a tough topic for people because money can be a sensitive issue.  You do not want to sell yourself short but you also do not want to price yourself out of a job.

In most cases, it probably makes sense to wait for the employer to bring up salary.  In many cases, you will provide salary history during the application or interview process, so it should take care of itself.  If however, you have gone through a phone screen and an in-person interview, and you think they are interested, then you might wish to mention it.  It really depends on your situation.  If you are currently happy and working, and really would only make a move if the opportunity and salary were right, then it makes sense to bring up the number it would take to make you move.  If however, you are negotiable on salary because your current situation is not ideal, then it might be prudent to wait until they breach the topic.

So what are your salary requirements?

I recommend you do some research before answering this question.  Find out what the average salary is for someone in your role.  Be sure to take into consideration where you live, how many years of experience you have, and the amount of education you have completed.  Indeed is pretty quick and fairly accurate.  Salary.com is another popular one, but the free salary reports tend to overshoot the market by quite a bit.  Payscale is another great resource for salary information.  This website gives you a better personal snapshot because it walks you through a series of questions related to your specific work experience, and you get a free personalized report at the end.

Is it always okay to counter offer?  

It depends.  Many times HR professionals are used to counter offers and candidates asking for the sake of asking.  If there is wiggle room on budget, you will definitely find out with a counter offer.  On the other hand, if salary has been discussed in detail beforehand, and the company asked you specifically what you wanted and delivered, then it would be inappropriate to counter.  In such a case, it could be a faux pas that loses you the job, and the hiring manager might choose to go with his or her second choice instead.

How do you know when you should no longer push for more money?  

If the company responds to a counter offer by sticking with their initial offer, then you should probably no longer push for more money.  If they counter your counter, then you could counter back.  It is not recommended, but if you truly need to in order to pay the bills, you can.  Be aware that you risk the hiring manager and thus your future manager perceiving this move as you being difficult.  If you keep asking for more money, the hiring manager might assume this is how you will be as an employee.  A manager might be put-off by this, take it as a red flag, and move onto another candidate.

If the company is firm on their salary offer, what else can you negotiate?  

Many candidates ask for more vacation, but unless you are applying at a small company, HR usually cannot make exceptions on such policies.  You could ask for a sign-on bonus or perhaps the flexibility to work remotely a couple days a week.  Again, take into account your bargaining position.  If you know this is a hard to fill role with few to no qualified candidates in the market, then you can risk negotiating for creative extras.  If however, you are applying for a more common role, you may not have very much leverage.  Do not know whether this is a hard to fill role or not?  If you get at least one call or email from an agency recruiter each week, then you are an in-demand candidate and can afford to negotiate.

So what are some other Do's and Don'ts to consider?

Don’t say salary is negotiable.  Unless you are independently wealthy and you are just working for fun, you have a salary range.  You have bills to pay and the company has a set budget.  Please do not refuse to provide a range or to give your salary history.  It only frustrates the recruiter and makes you appear less than honest. 

Do say what salary you are looking for.  Share your salary history and tell them a number that, if you were offered, you would be excited to accept.  You can mention that you are open to a lateral move but that it would depend on the opportunity.  This will give you wiggle room to negotiate later if they only offer what you are currently making.

Don’t expect a major salary increase.  While everyone likes more money, it is unrealistic to expect a huge increase just because you get a new job.  If the job is the right match for your qualifications and experience, your salary should not be too much different from what you are making now, unless you are grossly under compensated.  An increase of 5-10% would be a great goal.

Do feel free to share your salary research.  If you are offered a less than desirable offer, then feel free to share the research you did on the position.  It will either result in a good conversation and a better offer or the company will stay with its initial offer and you can read into that what you will as a reflection of their work culture.

At the end of the day, everyone just wants to feel like they are being fairly, or in the dreamworld, grossly compensated for what you do.  The company wants to know they are paying fair market value for the talent they are getting, and the individual wants to know they did not leave anything on the table.  If you do your research, negotiate genuinely, and conduct your communications with grace, you will put yourself in the best position to succeed.  Good luck!


You Might Also Enjoy:
Job Search Tips
How Boolean Can Help Your Job Search
Salary Negotiation
How to Ask For a Raise

Interview Prep
How to Prepare for an Interview

Work Life Balance
How to Figure Out Company Culture


4 comments:

  1. Completely agree. In my last job, I was able to get what I wanted upon asking, but after they said "yes" so quickly, I wanted to counter, but knew that wouldn't be in my own interest. And then I only got a minor pay raise from there. Thanks for providing such valuable information again!

    ReplyDelete
  2. These are some great tips that I could have probably used when I was working before I had my son. I remember a situation where I said money wasn't important and it backfired and they really offered me a job requiring more of me without no extra pay...sad, I know. But that was my fault for doing exactly what you said we shouldn't do here lol. Thanks for sharing with us at Countdown in Style! Don't forget to stop by Friday to see if you are featured! xo

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