After all of the hard work you’ve put into creating your resume, writing your cover letter, and creating your interview, you might be tempted to take advantage of a company’s first job offer.
Most people do.
Spending a little extra time negotiating a higher salary may be the easiest and fastest way to make more money in your new job.
In addition, hiring managers are often willing to negotiate. Are you?
What are salary negotiations and why are they important?
Salary negotiations show that you are confident in your skills, have done your homework, and will not move on to another better paying position once it becomes available.
Salary negotiations are one of the last steps in finding a new job. They are not exactly synonymous with ask for a raisealthough the two share a lot in common.
The main difference is that negotiating a higher salary takes place sometime after your interview and before the employment contract is signed – not during a performance review for a current job.
Salary negotiations are critical for several important reasons. You show the company that you are confident in your skills, that you have done your homework, and that you will not move on to another better paying position once it becomes available (because you have the better one). Payment position).
Negotiations are also a time for you to reflect on your financial needs and to take advantage of the tight job market to get a higher starting salary.
The moment you say yes to a job, your influence on your benefit package and the start of your salary decreases. If you don’t negotiate, you’ll have to wait six to 12 months to apply for a raise – money that you may have been tucking into your pocket all along.
In the midst of economic problems related to pandemics, companies are even more willing to negotiate talent, according to a 2020 survey by the personnel company Robert Half. Of the executives surveyed, 86% were just as likely or more likely to negotiate salaries with new employees than in the previous year.
So don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s free money.
How to negotiate a salary
How to Negotiate Your Salary: Do the research, know your worth, respond to the original offer, plan your counteroffer, practice the conversation, negotiate, and get it in writing.
Interviews are as nerve-wracking as they are. When you add salary negotiation, it is enough to put most people in panic mode.
These fears could be enough to keep you from getting what you are really worth. Don’t let them.
Our step-by-step guide will help you allay those initial fears and get you in the right mood not only to ask about what you are worth but also to come out of those salary negotiations with a better offer.
Step 1: Research Salaries for Your Role
One of the best ways to calm yourself down and approach a salary negotiation with a level head is to do your homework about the company and your role. Don’t worry about manipulation tactics and strategies.
“When we go into a negotiation, we worry [that]… Then we miss the most important feature of the negotiation, “said Lisa Gates, co-founder of She negotiates. “It’s a conversation. A human conversation.”
Gates, a leadership and negotiation trainer for business women and one of The 10 best LinkedIn voices in the workplace, advises, a good place to start is to find what others in your position deserve. This can be by asking your co-workers (no, that’s not illegal, she said) or by looking up salary information on websites like cube, Robert Half and Pay scale.
These tools can help you determine what the median national income for your position is, what your local economy is paying, and what your potential employer typically pays other people with the same title.
Think about where you are and where the company is located. For example, if you work in Nebraska, the median local income for copywriters is much lower than the salaries for copywriters in New York. However, if you are moving to New York for this job, be sure to use that salary range for negotiation. In that case, your Nebraska salary history is irrelevant.
This area is also useful for setting a fair salary for work-from-home jobs. If you’re a copywriter in Nebraska applying for a remote position in New York, you can negotiate a salary that is what New Yorkers make, or at least you have wiggle room to take advantage of the national tariffs.
“Your salary shouldn’t be calibrated against your zip code,” Gates said. “It’s about the benefits you bring to the company.”
Step 2: know the value of your work
Once you’ve established a healthy salary range based on your research, you need to sign up somewhere on that line.
“If you’re a median performer … shoot the median,” said Gates. “But chances are you are amazing at what you do and want to shoot for a median salary high.”
When asking about above average salaries, you need to show rather than tell. If you think you deserve the top of this range, you have to resort to something more substantial than, “I think I’m worth $ 70,000.” Because the obvious follow-up to this statement is, “Why?”
To answer that question with confidence and convincing, “you need to make a list of all of your contributions and accomplishments – and quantify them,” said Gates. “For example, if you’re a customer service manager and you revised your hiring onboarding, what impact did those efforts have on the bottom line?”
In terms of negotiation, your argument will be much stronger if it is based on research and numbers rather than emotions. If you really need that extra $ 5,000 for childcare costs, moving expenses, or rent, that’s okay to mention. Just don’t let that be your whole argument.
So show them exactly why you’re worth those extra five grand.
Step 3: Respond politely to the initial offer
This phase is ripe for fiddling.
You have just received the job offer (congratulations!) And your emotions are high – good or bad. Chances are, the company offered you exactly what you wanted and you’re excited. Or it could have cut you by about $ 10,000.
In both situations it is easy to react spontaneously. Check yourself out first.
Take a deep breath and don’t make your decision right away, even if it is a great offer. Likewise, it may not be the best time to negotiate, especially if you are a little offended at this lowball.
“A friendly response is the most important thing you should do when you first receive an offer,” said Loren Margolis, CEO and Founder of Training & leadership success. “I recommend saying that you are grateful and excited and then taking a break.”
Margolis is an expert in career training and a member of the Forbes Coaching Council, which has worked with several Fortune 500 companies. She said even if you know your answer or are ready to negotiate right away, it is good to have some time to consider the offer.
“If you negotiate locally, you run the risk of being influenced by emotions,” she said. “And you want to be logical and clear when you talk about money.”
The time it takes for the employer to think about the job offer can range from 24 hours to a week. Between 24 and 48 hours is typical, but employers can get the job done quickly if necessary.
When negotiating locally, you run the risk of being swayed by emotions and you want to be logical and clear when talking about money.
You can also ask the hiring manager for a deadline. That way, you won’t get caught up in a guessing game and have a clear amount of time to review and prepare your salary research.
Step 4: plan your counteroffer
At this point you have done quite a bit of work in salary research. Now you need to think about the details of your offer and set what is called a reservation point, a target salary, and an anchor salary.
When negotiating salary, it’s important to stay in a realistic range based on your research. And think back to your application. Did it ask, “What are yours? Salary requirements? “If so, how did you react?
If the answer was “$ 40,000 to $ 50,000,” then this is the area you need to work on.
For example, let’s say your first job offer includes: $ 40,000 starting salary, health insurance, a 401 (k) plan, and three weeks of paid time off. If you’re just starting out, this offering might sound pretty good and is technically in your field. Negotiate anyway.
“Always negotiate, if only to show you are able to have a problem-solving conversation,” advised Gates. “This is a negotiation.”
The only exception is if the company has made a “firm” offer or has a “non-negotiable” salary policy. If so, you may not want to push your luck.
However, these cases are rare. Unless specifically stated, plan your counteroffer.
First, do the numbers.
- Make a Reservation point above the amount originally offered, perhaps at $ 42,500. This number is the minimum salary you will accept.
- Your Target salaryThe amount you want to settle after negotiating is higher than your reservation amount – somewhere around $ 45,000.
- Your Anchor salary will be much higher. This number is used to start the call and can be up to $ 50,000.
It is very likely that the company will not meet your target salary even after negotiation. But don’t fret – and don’t just look at the salary. Check the entire compensation packageincluding paid time off and training, and costs you incur such as living expenses and commuting.
Be prepared to negotiate elements of your service package as well. Do you have leeway on vacation? What about a work-from-home policy? Learning grants? Loan forgiveness?
Or, as Margolis put it: “Determine which perks would add shine to your life.”
The important part of making a counteroffer is staying flexible and open-minded.
Step 5: Practice the negotiation conversation
You have come a long way. But now you have all of these numbers and pieces of advice on your mind. Can you briefly recall them while you are under pressure and likely sweating profusely?
I would not have thought that.
The conversation itself can take place in person or by telephone. But it does must be a conversation. No email negotiations – do this over the phone, video chat, or in person so you can better interpret the tone and response of the hiring manager.
And if the conversation happens to be in person, you need to consider a lot more than your tone of voice. According to Research by Robert Half, Hiring managers pay special attention to some non-verbal cues. The most important is:
- Eye contact
- Hand movements
- Facial expressions
- Fidgety and nervous movements
That is why feedback is crucial. In most cases, you cannot address any of these pointers without someone else’s help.
“Practice negotiating with someone you trust. And ask her to make it difficult for you, ”said Margolis. “Have them counter your allegations and challenge you so you can practice pushing back professionally.”
Margolis also recommended that you write down the perks that mean the most to you in the negotiations. Then write down three things that set you apart from the rest of the applicants: You can highlight your experience, skills, or opportunities that add unique value to the company.
Forcing yourself to write it down will make your reasoning more cohesive.
Similarly, Gates recommended drafting an opening statement detailing what you would like. She created a special formula to guide the conversation, which should include:
- Your strengths.
- Quantified results of these strengths.
- How you would like to achieve these results in the future.
- An anchor number to start negotiations.
Then round off your opening speech with a question that stimulates discussion. She suggested something like, “How can you help me do this?”
With this formula, your opening statement could look like this:
“I’m a creative and funny copywriter who has created several award-winning ads for previous clients that increased ad revenue by 20% in one quarter. I believe that with the new resources and the larger team in my new role, I will achieve even better results here. These successes justify a salary of $ 50,000. How can we get together here? “
Your statement will obviously be different. Use language that is natural to you and change it as often as you want. Make sure to include your anchor salary and an open-ended question that invites the employer to speak.
As you practice with a friend, try changing the question, especially if the answer isn’t what you expected. In particular, avoid yes-no questions as you want to start a discussion.
Practice as much as you can and ask for feedback. When everything is said and done, thank your practice partner warmly. Drinks are on you.
Step 6: Negotiate a higher salary
After all this preparation, it’s not that scary anymore, is it?
Treat yourself to an uplifting talk, take a deep breath, and get a higher salary.
When conducting the salary interviews in person, make sure to pay attention to your body language. And when they offer you a drink, take it. Having something to sip can help smooth out those awkward pauses and take time to ponder an answer when you’re at a loss.
When you’re on the phone, throw all this body language advice out the window. It is not important here. You can also have your notes in front of you.
Remember, your tone on the phone is important. Speak clearly and slowly and you will have a better deal in no time.
Step 7: write it down
You don’t want all of that effort to be wasted.
Ask about it in writing after rocking your salary negotiations and setting your target (or higher) salary.
Sometimes the hiring process is lengthy and there are many employees in the company involved. Things are forgotten or lost in translation. The negotiation may have been conducted by a separate person in HR. Perhaps that separate person only posted your original salary offer and not the newly negotiated amount. Or there could be something more nefarious in the works. Let’s hope it doesn’t.
“Ask them to at least email it to make sure you and the rental company are both on the same page,” said Margolis.
And when you finally sign your name on the contract, make sure it reflects what was sent in the email.
Now all you have to do is enjoy the success of the highest merit conversation you probably ever had.
Adam Hardy is a former employee of the Penny Hoarder.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com