Negotiating salary can be one of the more difficult aspects of your job search and during your career as a whole.
Solid salary negotiation skills benefit you long term and not only when you are negotiating salary.
Myth: Employers don’t like potential staff who negotiate salary and try to get more money than what the employer initially offers.
Reality: Negotiating salary (and other aspects of the job offer) is a fact of life and evidence of strong negotiating skills during the job offer process might help to increase your value in the eyes of the employer. A smart employer recognizes your solid negotiating skills.
If you were applying for a job where negotiation was part of the position but during the job offer process you simply accepted the first offer put in front of you, what does that say about your negotiating skills?
Do you think the employer be comfortable with you negotiating on their behalf in the future?
Being adept at negotiating salary is something that can actually increase your worth in the eyes of a potential employer because it shows you are savvy and know your worth.
As long as you know your worth, that is.
Here are some tips for negotiating salary, beginning with getting the facts on paper and understanding your worth to an employer:
1. Do research and have factual salary information at your fingertips that correlates to your job that you can use during the salary negotiation process. Check salary surveys and reviews for your industry and job. A few Internet searches should yield some indicative figures you can use. Trade or industry organizations should be able to provide assistance as well.
2. Make sure you fully understand the compensation structure of the job and fully understand all aspects of the offer before trying to negotiate it.
3. Don’t lie about your current salary to a potential employer. If they find out you lied even after you’ve been hired, it could be a firing offence.
4. Don’t bring up the issue of salary and how much you are looking for, let the employer do this. Don’t evade the question if it comes up but it’s usually best to first stress your interest in the job and to let the employer know that you are aware of the salary range and will consider their strongest offer if and when an offer is made. The longer salary negotiation is delayed, the better especially if by the time the issue of salary negotiation comes up, there are fewer candidates being considered for the job.
5. Don’t assume negotiating salary has to occur immediately after receiving the job offer. Depending on how you receive the offer – is it emailed to you, is it delivered in person – you will typically be told by the employer when they need the offer returned and how much time you have to review the offer. If you are “forced” to make a decision to accept or reject a job offer on the spot, I’d question whether or not you really want to work for such a company. This is unusual in my experience.
6. Make sure you get all the pertinent aspects of the job offer – salary, bonus structure, benefits, vacation time, etc as well as any negotiated parts – in writing. A job offer is not a job offer until you get a final copy in writing for you to sign.
7. When negotiating salary, remember to state an amount you would actually be happy with. Don’t say it if you don’t mean it. It’s hard to ask for a certain salary and then later on in the negotiations suddenly ask for a higher amount. I wouldn’t state a salary range either because the employer could simply pick the salary number at the low end of the range when you’re actually looking for the high end.
8. Once you make the deal, live with the deal. Once the salary negotiation has been completed and agreed upon by both sides, don’t try to go back and re-negotiate. I’ve seen job offers pulled away from people by employers when a candidate tries to amend the offer after it was agreed upon earlier.
9. Try where possible to negotiate in a way you feel comfortable with. These days, email is an acceptable medium and if the job offer was emailed to me, I’d expect that I could email the employer to suggest specific aspects of the job offer I’d like negotiated or if I needed part of the offer clarified. If you prefer salary negotiation that is done face-to-face, relax and just ensure you have done your homework to ensure successful negotiation on your part.
The bottom line with negotiating salary is that you need to do your research, understand your value and also understand when to end negotiations. There has to be a happy medium: a job offer that you and the employer can both live with.
At some point the negotiating has to end. A good salary negotiation ends with both sides feeling like they won.
Don’t forget that negotiating salary isn’t the only part of a job offer that can be reviewed. Depending on the specific job, here are some other aspects of the job offer you might be able to negotiate especially if the employer is unwilling to discuss negotiating salary:
- Early salary review
- Signing bonus
- Bonus (size of bonus, structure of bonus, etc)
- Vacation time
- Start date
- Job title
- Job responsibilities
- Benefits (or possibly, how quickly your benefit coverage will start)
- Other benefits (ie. you might get your employer to agree to a personal training budget, travel costs, etc)
Carl Mueller is an Internet entrepreneur and professional recruiter who wants to help you find your dream career.
Visit Carl's website to separate yourself from other job searchers: http://www.find-your-dream-career.com
Sign up for The Effective Career Planner, Carl’s free 5-day course: http://www.find-your-dream-career.com/effective-career-planner.html
Ezine editors/Webmasters: Please feel free to reprint this article in its entirety in your ezine or on your website. Please don’t change any of the content and please ensure that you include the above bio that shows my website URL. If you would like me to address any specific career topics in future articles, please let me know.