How to Negotiate Your Salary Like a Pro
Salary negotiation is a really important part of career management. While most professionals rank being compensated fairly as very important to their job satisfaction, only 29 percent of job seekers negotiate their salaries. What recruiters can’t tell you during the hiring process is that negotiating works. Eighty four percent of those confident enough to negotiate for higher pay get it.
Good recruiters want what’s best for their clients and candidates, and part of that is helping both parties reach a salary they’re happy with.Â Negotiating can feel awkward and intimidating. But with a little preparation, you can negotiate your salary confidently and successfully, ensuring you’re not leaving money on the table. Here’s how to negotiate like a pro:
- Know Your Market. Do your homework, and look at the salary range for someone with your level of experience in your industry. I recruit for national home builders, and my last post lists salary averages across the country for 5 in-demand positions in the industry. Payscale, Salary.com and Glassdoor are other sources you can use for salary information. Employers use these sources as well to determine the appropriate salary range for a position and experience level. You could disqualify yourself from the beginning if your salary request is egregiously over the market range.
- Don’t Share Your Current Salary.It’s illegal to ask a candidate for their current salary in some states, in others it’s not. However, if a candidate volunteers that information, recruiters will share it, and hiring managers will use it as a baseline for an offer. It’s more advantageous for candidates to allow the employer to offer a range first and then react. For example, if a recruiter asks, what are your salary expectations? You could say, don’t have a number in mind right now. I’d like to focus more on the opportunity and what I can offer company XYZ before discussing comp.
- Keep It Professional.Your reasons for requesting a higher salary should always be professional ones. Focus on what value you will bring to the organization. How will your experience and expertise generate revenue, save money or improve efficiency? Stay away from citing personal reasons when asking for better compensation, even if they seem related. Reasons like, it’s a further commute higher cost of living, or will require I work more hours than I am currently are not good reasons to ask for more money.
- Use Firm And Neutral Language. Salary Negotiation Coach Josh Doody recommends using firm and neutral language and negotiating via email when possible. Using email prevents your negotiation points from being restated based on recollections or summaries of conversations. Doody suggests an email like this:
Thank you so much for the offer of $70,000. I would be more comfortable if we could settle on $78,000. I feel it better reflects the value of my qualifications and experience, as well the expectations of this role with XYZ company.
Asking for 10 to 20 percent more than the initial offer is a reasonable request. You will likely end somewhere in the middle of the initial offer and where you counter. Be confident in your request regardless of their response, and make sure you have an explanation prepared to support your request.
- Bargain With Benefits. Doody suggests having other benefits you can use as bargaining tools to sweeten your comp package during the negotiation. Choose three or four benefits that are important to you, like vacation time or a flexible work arrangement. For example, if you counter with $78,000 and the hiring manager comes back with $74,000, you could counter with $75,000. If they stick with $74,000, Doody recommends negotiating on benefits. He says your counter script should look like this:
I understand $74,000 is the best you can do, and you can’t come up to $75,000. If you can do $74,000 and an additional week of paid vacation each year, I’m on board.
If they don’t accept that, you can keep going down your list of benefits. Your offer ends with $4,000 more than you started with, which translates to making much more than you would have over the span of your career than if you had started at $70,000. In addition, you will probably end up with an extra perk that makes the job even more attractive.
Negotiating your salary when you receive a job offer can significantly impact how much money you make throughout your career. Don’t be afraid of the conversation, be prepared for it. Advocate for yourself because you’re worth it.