Talking about money can be uncomfortable and awkward, but it’s an unavoidable and essential part of your career success. Today, many job postings do not include any trace of potential or guaranteed pay, despite listing dozens of necessary qualifications for their candidates. This practice isn’t fair, and it results in a lot of time and effort spent applying for jobs totally blind. But it also creates space for you to negotiate your salary when you do get to that stage of the hiring process.
Whether you’re job hunting for a new position, or you’ve put in a few good years at your current company and are angling for a raise, it’s crucial to walk into a salary negotiation prepared. There are several ways to maximize the results of your meeting. Read on for tips.
Come to the negotiation having read up on the company: its history, its growth, its profits. Familiarize yourself as much as possible with the pay structures and benefits packages the business has offered in the past. Resources like Glassdoor provide salary snapshots and reviews from former and current employees.
You also need to research what other companies pay employees in the same field. There are salary calculators available online to help you estimate this. Never depend on a single source, though; spend the time investigating. You should always be aware of salary trends within your industry, both the high-end and the low-end.
Know Your Value
Know your unique worth, and the current or potential value you’d add to your company. Come to the table with figures and evidence. If you had a hand in directly growing your company’s profits, highlight that.
What you deserve and what you are worth are two different things. Provide concrete examples of your contributions. If you look at the salaries of athletes like Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, you’ll see that they bring in what they know they can return. Playing basketball may not be as hard as performing brain surgery, but it certainly generates more income for more people. Don’t let anyone make money off you without claiming your fair share.
Let Them Make an Offer First
If you’re still in the interview process, do whatever you can to avoid throwing out the first number. Many employees begin interviews by asking you your desired salary, or if you’re employed already, your current salary. They want you to lay all your cards on the table so they can make the best play.
Simply respond that your answer to that question will be based on many factors and then ask some questions of your own. The more time you have to demonstrate your worth, the more incentive the employer has to make a competitive offer. If the hiring manager backs you into answering first, give a range rather than a specific figure.
Decide upon a minimum salary you absolutely must have to accept or continue in the position. Then go slightly above it. You don’t want to seem impractical or uneducated; this is where your research will come in handy. Your initial suggestion should be reasonable but on the higher end of your desired range. If the employer puts forth the first figure, counter with a higher number, unless you feel that their offer is the best you could hope for. You don’t want to seem greedy.
Employers expect you to negotiate, though, so don’t shy away from going back and forth with figures a few times. If you don’t believe you can get any more money, consider asking for increased benefits, or more vacation days. There may be more flexibility in that area, and having better health insurance can be just as valuable as a higher number on your paycheck.
No matter how much you believe you are worth, or how talented you are at your job, never discount the importance of likeability. Likeability doesn’t mean smiling and nodding or accepting whatever an employer offers; it means keeping composed, maintaining eye contact, and always speaking with integrity. Do not make threats or give ultimatums, don’t get petty or heated, even if you feel momentarily frustrated or insulted. Never lie about competing offers if they don’t exist, or attempt to come off as “hard to get.”
Any interaction with a hiring team or supervisor before you’ve signed a contract still serves as part of your interview. You want to show that you’re excited about the position, even if this isn’t a new job. You’re going to have to work with these people, so be your best self.