Salary negotiations have the reputation of being awkward and complicated. We get it. The last thing you want to do before starting a new job is have an uncomfortable conversation with your boss. However, this discussion is more common than you think, and sometimes necessary to get the pay you deserve. Review the basic five W’s before your next salary negotiation.
Salary negotiation is a process where one party (the employee) negotiates the amount of their pay, income, earnings, commission, salary, wages, wage remuneration, annual review, or salary raise with another party (a representative of the employer, such as their manager).
Before proposing what you wish to be making over what was offered to you, have solid statistics to support your proposal. Check local and national job markets to find the accurate rate of pay, not only for your position, but for your experience level as well. Give the manager a fairly specific salary request. For example, ask for $44,750 rather than $45,000. This makes you sound more credible and shows that you did your homework. You should also avoid giving a range. If you provide a range, the employer will almost always go with the lowest value given. Go a bit higher than what you are comfortable with (with the chances that the company will still offer you less), be specific, and hope that the organization will be reasonable.
Once the offer letter has been presented to you, it is your responsibility to request a higher salary. From there, negotiations will take place between you and your potential employer. The employer is not going to come out and ask you if you are going to negotiate. However, many employers expect that you will.
Timing is important if you are going to negotiate. Do not try to start negotiations in the initial interview and do not try to negotiate after you already signed the offer letter. When you receive the offer letter, take time to think it over and then negotiate, if needed, before signing the dotted line. If the employer already offered you what you asked for in previous discussions, or higher, there is no need to negotiate. Doing so may cause them to withdraw your offer all together, questioning your motives.
Although in person is probably best, this isn’t always possible. Do your best to negotiate over the phone rather than email. Hearing the tone in the manager’s voice will help you figure out where the conversation is headed rather than guessing behind a screen.
“Do you have any flexibility on salary? The salary amount I had in mind was “$____” based on the responsibilities the job entails and my years of experience.” This is an example of one of many ways to start the conversation. Keep the conversation as positive as possible, steering away from aggressive tones.
It never hurts to negotiate your starting salary and benefits. If you don’t ask, you will not receive. If the company is unable to budge, either decide to accept what was originally offered or politely walk away. Do your research, know your worth, and ask for it!