A Quick Guide to Salary Negotiation

An important part of getting a job is understanding how much a company is willing to offer you. But studies have shown that only 39% of workers try to negotiate their salary. It doesn’t have to be that scary. Here’s a guide to getting paid what you’re worth by negotiating a starting salary.

Before Negotiations:

Know Your Value

To get the best offer, understand things like:  

  • What’s the average salary for similar positions in your region?
  • What how is the industry doing as a whole, could your employer support a bigger compensation package for you?
  • How big is this company? Does it look like they’ll have restrictions on salary ranges? 

Look at local salary reports to get an idea of what the average salary is for your position is. We recommend Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and, of course, GetLinks salary report.  Don’t neglect your network either. Don’t forget to make a list of relevant accomplishments, professional certificates or additional training, or anything else that makes you worth the amount you’re asking. 

Know What You Want

Break down what your requirements are, in actual amounts, to meet your standard of living and build some savings. Don’t forget that companies usually offer benefits like health insurance, retirement options, and even transportation allowance. What sort of benefits would support you in this new job?

Now, calculate what the minimum amount would be to live to your standards and what would be the dream amount. Then compare those two amounts with the research you’ve done about the pay scale for your position in the local industry. Were you going to ask for much more than the average? Would you be willing to budge on salary if they offered more benefits? What would those benefits be? Understanding where you stand is a good way to keep emotions in check during negotiations.

Depending on how you want to go about it, you can either find your range and give them the higher end or use one number to base negotiations on. The range assumes that the company will most likely negotiation you down while the other method doesn’t give them that option, adding more confidence to your proposal.

Practice Your Talking Points

This cannot be underestimated – practice what you want to say and how you will say it. By knocking out the ums and ahs and not stumbling on your talking points, you’ll appear more confident and assured in your negotiations

During Negotiations:

When it’s finally time to talk numbers and benefits, go in positive and enthusiastic. Try to keep your emotions in check. Making it to where you can negotiate salary already shows that they’re interested in hiring you, so both sides want to make it work.

The ultimate question you need to answer to the interviewer throughout the process is: “Why do I deserve the amount  I want?” That means pointing out past proven successes that would make you more valuable and a proven asset to the company.

Timing

Every guide to salary negotiation recommends that as a prospective employee, you wait for the company to bring up salary. This guide will say the same. As mentioned earlier, once the money is in the discussion, it means that an offer is close at hand. You can’t start negotiations for a job that isn’t yours yet.

There is, however, maybe a few instances where it’s better for you to ask first. Those situations are when the interview process isn’t so simple like you have to travel far for the interview, or if the whole process will take longer than you want to handle. It saves both your time and the company’s time if you know, before you get into things, that their pay range is nowhere near what you’d want.

When Asked About “Salary Expectations”

Explain that, first, you want to understand the expectations and responsibilities of the role since you want your pay to reflect the value you’ll bring. Then once, you understand the role, use your experience and skills to back up why you’re asking for that amount. Adding in data points, with credible sources, from your research will also show that you’re aware of the current job market.

Do not share past employment history. Most likely this job is different from your old one, so what you were getting paid there has no relevance to this. And even if your past job is similar, this salary negotiation is based on what you can offer to the company, not what other people have paid for. It’s already a general understanding that part of the desire to get a new job is to make more money.

Asking For Other Benefits 

Don’t forget to ask for specific benefits that would improve or make your job more efficient as well! However, they can also be used as a compromise if the dollar amount is lower than what you’d like. You can ask for benefits like:

    • Allowance/Tuition for additional education and/or training
    • Living/moving stipend if you need to move for the job
    • Transportation allowance
    • Paid Time Off/Unpaid Time Off
    • A more flexible schedule
    • Ability to work from home
    • Stock options
    • Maternity/Paternity leave

Getting The Offer

Be gracious regardless of the outcome. Both sides have invested time and energy throughout the hiring process. Make sure to thank them for the opportunity even if it’s not a match for you.  If you love the offer, still take a little time to read through everything before you sign!

Sometime, though, despite everything you’ve tried, the company can’t budge on their offer. If you think they’re giving you lower than what you deserve, it doesn’t hurt to ask about their reasoning. Sometimes companies have tighter budgets for positions and can’t go beyond that range. You can also just ask for a little more.

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