Throughout your job search you need to seriously consider several questions about your financial value and future income. What, for example, are you worth? How much should you be paid for your work. How can you best demonstrate your value to an employer? Salary negotiation is something at which hiring managers are usually a lot more proficient than the people they hire are. In the interest of leveling the playing field, here is a list of tips for salary negotiation that has worked for many people.
1. Maximize on your past experience. Understand what you have achieved. Bring your past experiences to the table as a tool when negotiating for your salary.
2. Make a list of what you have to offer. Know what you have to offer a future employer. Make a list of your skills, abilities, talents, and knowledge. Be prepared to show your employer what capability you bring to their company. Make sure you have some firm basis for added compensation, i.e., skills, abilities, and value to the company.
3. How badly does this job need to be filled? Find out what you are worth to the employer and how badly (or not) they need to fill this position with a qualified candidate. This gives you more negotiating power.
4. Wait for an offer. Delay discussing salary until you’ve been offered the position.
5. Demonstrate excitement for the job. First, make sure you want the job and are excited about the job, then let the employer know that you really want the job, but that you are only hesitating because of salary.
6. Do not bring personal needs into the discussion. Don’t discuss the monetary needs for your family or the cost of living. This will not get you very far in most cases.
7. Be prepared with salary options. Come up with three salary figures for yourself: the low-ball (not in your life) offer, an offer that would make you smile, and one that would make you jump up and down and call all your friends. Shoot for a salary between your middle figure and your high figure.
8. Remember that the employer has a budget. Understand that most employers have a range in mind (budgeted for the position) and will actually start at the low end of that budget to give themselves some negotiating room. This does not mean they will try to low-ball the position and pay less than they think the position is worth. This is usually not in their best interest since they are looking for qualified candidates.
9. Know your absolute bottom line. Know what your minimum salary range must be to support the life you want to live. Although it is not advisable to bring this up in the interview, you will need to know what your absolute bottom figure is.
10. Let the employer bring up salary first. Wait for their offer. Stall when asked directly what your salary requirements are. For example: “I would consider any reasonable offer.” If the salary question comes up too early, try side-stepping the issue with a statement such as, “I’m open to discussion about salary and compensation, but I’m sure that will be no problem once I’ve shown how my experience will be of great benefit to the company.”
11. Employers like negotiating. Remember that negotiating for salary is often looked on favorably by potential employers. It reinforces the idea that they’ve made the right decision in offering you the position. It lets them feel confident that, because you can keep your best interests in mind, you can probably look after the best interests of the company as well.
12. Do your comparative salary research. Know the going rate or fair market value for your position. Be prepared to discuss these figures once salary negotiation has come up. Have a salary range in mind.
13. Understand your geographical area strengths and weaknesses. When tracking down your worth, make sure you look at similar positions at similar companies in your geographical area. Salary ranges vary dramatically across the nation and even from rural to urban areas.
14. Be prepared to market yourself. Emphasize the reasons you should get the offer and de-emphasize or OMIT any reasons you should not.
15. Be prepared to explain your salary history. If your previous salary has been at a high rate, be prepared to freely let the employer know what you have been making in a previous position, i.e., a written salary history.
16. Anticipate the employer’s objections. Anticipate that the employer will have objections for the salary range you want, i.e., they can’t afford more, don’t think you’re worth more, etc. Know in advance how you will overcome them.
17. Make your salary discussion a friendly experience. Assume amiability when discussing salary, not conflict or controversy. You should make the employer feel that you are on the same side and working together to find a compensation package that would satisfy everyone’s needs. Anticipate a win-win situation.
18. Dispute any doubts about your suitability for the position. You will have the most influence if salary is the only source for hesitation. Make sure that there are absolutely no other concerns from your employer or doubts that you are the best candidate for the position.
19. Justify your cost-effectiveness. Try pointing out to the company how your ability will help reduce costs through your performance so you can justify higher pay.
20. Remain calm and poised. Once the offer has been made, and appears too low, remain quiet as though you were pondering the offer. This will imply your dissatisfaction with the offer and the uncomfortable silence may prompt the interviewer to improve the offer on his/her own.
21. Be creative. If the company just can’t afford a higher salary, try asking for other benefits, a company car or allowances, bonuses, 3-6 month performance raises, stock options, profit sharing, vacation days, or temporary housing.
22. Be flexible. Consider working fewer hours, on a consulting basis, four days a week.
23. Consider other options and perks. Sometimes companies offer one-time cash bonuses, or “hiring bonuses,” to help entice waffling candidates. Try to find out how the company feels about this issue.
24. Count on the future. Remember that even if you aren’t able to increase the salary (because of a fixed company cap—not because these tips weren’t helpful) that the employer will feel reinforced from your negotiations—as though he got a good deal. This will play better for you when raises are taken into account in the future.
25. Be prepared to walk away if necessary. You can always walk away from the negotiating table if you just aren’t getting into your minimum range.