Do you simply bite your tongue and swallow the bitter gulp when you are offered a salary not even close to what you were expecting?
A survey says that its not just you; only 37% of people have the nerves to negotiate their salaries. Even more surprising is the fact that 44% of respondents never brought up the subject of a raise during an interview, while 18% don’t even know how to negotiate salary. The biggest reason; they feel their stomach tightening in knots at the prospect of confrontation!
We totally understand; salary negotiation can be a daunting prospect for most of us and not all of us posses the negotiation skills of leaders. But you know what’s even scarier? not doing so!
Another problem is that most people don’t know how to negotiate salary, and the thousands of amateur advice floating around on the internet doesn’t help either. Do they actually expect you to play hardball to flaunt your negotiating chops? Should you start with a ridiculously high offer since they will pull you down anyway? Should you negotiate even when the offer seems good enough?
If you are unsure how to negotiate salary from your prospective employer, here are a few stellar tips to get the best possible “deal” on your salary and benefits.
Do Your Homework
This is a no-brainer. Before going for a job interview, do your homework to know what to expect in terms of the salary package for the position you are being considered for. There are plenty of online resources that let you search based on the geographic area, industry, and position, such as LinkedIn, PayScale, GlassDoor and many more. If you know people in the industry who can guide you in what to expect, get in touch with them before walking into an interview.
As “I Will Teach You to Be Rich’s” Ramit Sethi says, without solid crunch numbers in your arsenal, you will be walking into a salary negotiation at the mercy of an experienced hiring manager.
If you are comfortable doing so, reach out to people who already work at your prospective company through Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and ask them what people at your position make there. You might feel awkward asking this question, but 27% of respondents surveyed in a study said that they would happily tell an applicant how much they make, if asked.
Most organizations refrain from posting salaries in their job listings, which gives the interviewers total control over negotiations from the outset.
Don’t Hold Yourself Back
Be it salary or job negotiation, we inadvertently get in our own way sometimes. First off, we often fail to capitalize on opportunities to negotiate, focus only on our weaknesses instead of drawing on our strengths, and make the first concessions in our own heads even before we have put in a counteroffer. In short, we don’t really know how to negotiate salary.
When it comes to the question of how to negotiate salary, we suggest you equip yourself with enough information and prepare a strong enough case to convince your inner voice of doubt that what you are asking for is justified. Convincing yourself is the most important step to an effective negotiation.
You should be able to explain the value you would bring to the organization. Keep in mind that the company may offer alternatives which might not be enticing enough for you, so develop your own alternatives to the current negotiation to increase your flexibility at the table.
On the other hand, also examine your vulnerabilities and see how you can compensate for them. For instance, if you are worried about being questioned for that gap in your work history, think up all the productive things you were doing in that period.
Consider The Context
Large companies usually measure job candidates against well-defined job categories with a set range of salaries. When planning how to negotiate salary in such a case, try to find out what pay category someone with your experience, job skills and education level would receive in this industry, and then try to build a case for a package at the upper end of that range.
When an interviewer asks you about your expected salary, we recommend you respond with an ambiguous statement that doesn’t sound like you are naming your price, yet cleverly anchors the discussion in your favor.
For instance, if your research says that you could make it somewhere in the $70,000 to $80,000 pay range, you could try your hand at the next-highest category. Instead of saying you deserve $80,000, perhaps you could say something along the lines of, “If I am not wrong, people like me typically earn $80,000 to $90,000.”While this is not an outright demand, it might steer the numbers toward your upper goal due to the $80,000-to-$90,000 “anchor”.
Help Them Understand Why You Deserve What You’re Requesting
It takes much more than appearing likeable to your employers. You have to sell them on the fact that you are well worth the offer you want them to make. Don’t just make demands without narrating the story that goes with it and explaining precisely why its justified; for instance, why you deserve to be paid more than others of your rank.
If you cannot justify your demand, its not a great idea to put the request forward in the first place. However, you have to think this through. Simply suggesting how valuable you are to the company, without having anything to show for it, can make you come off as arrogant.
Be Prepared For Tough Questions
Many job candidates are not prepared for the slew of tough questions the interviewers hurl at them, the most dreaded ones being “Do you have any other offers at the moment?”, “would you say we are your top most choice?”, or “Will you say yes if I make you an offer right now?”
Someone who doesn’t know how to negotiate salary can end up saying the wrong things or seem inelegantly evasive. In truth, it never helps to lie during a negotiation. It’s not only unethical, it can come back to haunt you later. Even worst, in the face of tough questions, some candidates can try too hard to please, losing the edge in the negotiation.
Candidates need to be well prepared for situations and questions that might expose their weaknesses or make them uncomfortable and fabricate well-articulated answers in advance. Your main objective should be to answer as honestly as possibly, but without letting your bargaining power slip into the hands of the opponent.
If you come to the interview, well drilled in how to answer difficult questions, you probably won’t forfeit one of those objectives.
How to Negotiate Salary Like A Pro? Play The Hardball
when it comes to the question of how to negotiate, remember that playing hardball portrays you as a good negotiator. Period!
If you think you are prepared to play hardball, it means you enter the negotiation with creative ideas, you are in a place to negotiate with discipline, and are not likely to be pushed around. However, if playing hardball for you means banging the tables and making threats, don’t do it. You might win but probably end up getting on the wrong feet with a lot of people.
better strategy is to honestly think about what you actually deserve and be prepared to explain why that is “the appropriate or fair amount.” Make it easier for the hiring manager to justify the amount you’ve requested to their boss.
Consider The Whole Deal
Most people cannot differentiate between “negotiating a salary” and “negotiating a job offer”. Money isn’t the end of the world. Trust me, job satisfaction comes from a lot of factors others than salary – factors that are easier to negotiate. Focus on the value of the entire deal; support for continued education, perks, opportunities for growth and promotion, flexibility in working hours, travel, location, responsibilities, culture, remote working, and so on.
Think not just about how you’re willing to be rewarded but also when. When you put all these factors together, you might chart a course that pays less handsomely now but will put you in a stronger position later.
Focus On The Intent, Not The Question
No matter how well-prepared you are, a questioner can come at you from an angle you hadn’t considered before. If that happens, you need to remember that it’s the intent that matters, not the actual questions.
Sometimes the intent of the interviewer is harmless, but they can inadvertently pose questions that may seem challenging. For instance, if they ask whether you would be willing to accept an offer immediately, you may think that you are being boxes into a corner. But it could simply be that they are trying to analyze if you really are interested in the job.
A question about whether you have other offers may be designed not to expose your weak alternatives but simply to learn what type of job search you’re conducting and whether this company has a chance of getting you. If you don’t like the question, don’t assume the worst. Rather, answer in a way that addresses what you think is the intent, or ask for a clarification of the problem the interviewer is trying to solve.
If you engage in a genuine conversation about what he’s after, and show a willingness to help him resolve whatever issue he has, both of you will be better off.
Do you know of any more amazing tips to teach new hires how to negotiate salary? Do share with us in the comments below!