Coming Out on Top with Salary Negotiations


pay riseIt happened. You put the time in, searched for the perfect job, went through all the interview rounds, and now – they’ve offered you the position. Congratulations! You made it!

Except, the fun has really only just begun. You see, so many people make the mistake of automatically leaping upon the first offer they receive. They are so excited to be getting the job at all, that they fear rocking the boat by requesting more. They don’t realize that most companies count on salary negotiations as being a part of the process – or that negotiating a higher salary actually puts them in a better position for the duration of their career. Because making more now, means larger increases in the future.

So, yes, you are allowed to negotiate. But doing it well? That’s another thing entirely.

 

Don’t Give the First Number

A lot of companies will try to get you to commit to a number you are willing to take long before you have even been offered the job. This is a standard negotiating procedure for them – if you give a number early on; they know the lowest amount you are willing to take. And they will likely offer at that point. So whenever possible, you want to avoid giving them that number. Leave that space blank on applications, and provide deflecting responses if the question comes up in interviews. For instance, you may want to tell them that you are willing to consider any reasonable offer if asked. This keeps you from giving an exact number, and puts them in the position of first determining what “reasonable” might be.

 

Know What You’re Worth

Before going into any salary negotiations, you want to take the time to research your value. Look up average salary ranges for similar positions in your area, and take into consideration your level of expertise and experience when deciding which end of that range you belong on. Compile the data and look up information about the company you are applying to, as well. A larger, more lucrative company is likely in the position to pay more for quality talent than a smaller mom and pop shop.

 

Present a Fair Counter-Offer

Never accept the first offer made to you. If the offer is presented verbally, ask for 24-hours to make a decision. And then come back with a reasonable counter-offer via e-mail, utilizing professional language and remaining thankful for the opportunity. Use your research to determine what your counter-offer should be, and to back up why you are asking for more than was originally offered. You also want to take into consideration what the original offer is. Generally, you don’t want to counter-offer for more than 15 percent of the original offer – remember that companies have a range they are able to pay, and it generally doesn’t exceed much higher than 15 percent of what they initially offer.

 

Don’t Oversell

One of the biggest mistakes people make in salary negotiations is trying to “play” the employer. They may make claims of having incredible offers from elsewhere, or try to overhype what they have to offer. The thing is, even if you do have a better offer from elsewhere – it is naïve to think an employer doesn’t have a backup or two in their pile of resumes as well. And no employer wants to feel as though they are fighting for your interest. They want employees who actually want to work with them; who actually want this job. So don’t oversell it. Stick to facts and statistics in making your counteroffer, and show gratitude for the opportunity throughout. Employers are absolutely willing to negotiate, but only for those who continue to prove they would be valuable employees; which means those who are willing to negotiate in respectable and reasonable terms.

About Kylie Hammond
Executive Search Consultant, Head-Hunter, HR Consultant, Executive Career Coach, Expert Resume Writer & Executive Talent Agent.

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