The topic of salary negotiation has come up recently with a few clients, so let’s explore it a little bit. Negotiating a salary makes a lot of people uncomfortable, so many people just avoid it altogether and accept whatever is offered. It doesn’t have to be this way!
- Don’t make it personal. The basis for your negotiation should always be the contribution that you bring to the job, and nothing else. This is the only thing that the employer is basing your offer on. You can reference your education and past accomplishments if they are relevant and add value to your argument.
- Be informed. You must come to the negotiation with accurate information. As a job seeker, this can be hard to come by, but there are resources available. Glassdoor.com is one good place to go for salary information that you can customize based on your location. Even better, if you know anyone who is in your line of work, or works at your company of interest, they may be able to provide you with some guidance on what salary to ask for.
- The first person to talk loses. I’ve said it before that job hunting is identical to sales, and here’s another reason for that. One of the cardinal rules for closing a sale is that the first person to talk loses (once the price is quoted and you are waiting for the customer to decide). In salary negotiations, you should delay the conversation until an offer is made, if possible. Second, try to get a salary range from them before disclosing your request. However, that’s not always possible. Also, remember that you should avoid disclosing your current, or most recent, compensation unless it supports your argument for more money.
- Consider the total package. Your salary, of course, is the biggest piece of your compensation but it isn’t the only piece. If they can’t meet the salary that you want, consider negotiating remote work or other benefits. Or, perhaps the health benefits package is more valuable than at your last position. The worst that can happen is that they’ll say no. They won’t rescind their offer just because you asked.