Salary negotiation can be a tough part of any job interview. You don’t want to look unreasonable and therefore lose the position you have been offered. On the other hand, you do not want to sell yourself short by offering to work for less than what your position is worth. If you are negotiating for a salary increase for your present position, it is important that you do so in a way that does not come off as insulting.
Putting together your presentation before entering negotiations is essential to getting the salary you want without damaging your chances of earning the position you were hoping for. Taking the time to do proper research will help you make sure that you ask for the right amount at the right time.
Doing Proper Research
Before you enter your job interview, you need to make sure that you have looked at the offer carefully. Know how much the job pays and any additional perks that are considered part of the position. Employers often use a set group of benefits to add worth to a position.
- Bonuses for holidays or tasks completed on the job
- Commission for sales
- Set salary increases, promotions or increases in hours
- Specific growth opportunities
Have all of this information in hand and calculate specific figures so you know how these bonuses are likely to affect your salary.
You must also understand that your salary will be directly based on the responsibilities you will be expected to take on at the office. Determine whether or not you will need to go through a training period or if you will be expected to work your way up to start earning more on the job. Also understand if additional schooling or professional training will make you eligible for a salary increase before you take on these pursuits.
In addition to looking at what the job has to offer, understand what it is that you need so you do not sell yourself short. Know how much you will need each month to pay your debts and monthly bills. Think about saving for retirement or other major life expenses like marriage or children that will impact how much you need in the bank. If you do not think the salary being offered for a position will cover these expenses, do not bother accepting the job.
Preparing to Negotiate
Understand that your employer is not likely to accept your salary terms out of the blue. You will need to prove that your arguments are valid. Your employer will likely have a counteroffer to your terms. Determine your bottom line before you enter these negotiations so you do not settle for less than you can afford.
An ideal way to negotiate is to wait for the position to make their offer. If they are at or above your bottom line you can accept without having to argue your points, but if they are not meeting your standards, reveal what your bottom line would be. Make it clear that you are not willing to move below this level and present your reasoning behind why you consider these terms acceptable. For example, you may want a larger hourly wage at a position that will likely require you to work late but does not offer overtime pay. You may also wish to demand a slightly higher salary if you have a long commute so your expenses associated with getting to your job to not hurt your bottom line.
Focusing on Your Value, Not Your Needs
Any reasoning you use in your salary negotiations needs to be directly related to your position of employment. If you are asking for a raise, you will need to prove that you have added value to the company. Note tasks that you have been personally responsible for or your solid reputation within the firm. Do not ask for a raise until you have earned plenty of experience on the job. Asking for a raise as soon as you are hired can make you look greedy, a reputation that no employee wants.
Also consider doing some research on your competitors to see what you could be making at another firm. If you note that you could be making a larger salary performing the same work elsewhere, this can be a solid bargaining chip. This is an especially strong arguing point if you have an offer in hand from one of your office’s competitors. Make it clear that you enjoy your job and would like to stay loyal to your company, but cannot do so if you are being undervalued.
While it may seem logical to ask for a raise when your children are heading off to college or if you have just purchased an expensive home, it is not appropriate to bring up these issues when you are negotiating your salary. Your expenses outside of work are your responsibility, not your employers. You should only ask for a raise in salary if you can prove that you have earned it. If possible, avoid any unnecessary expenses until you have completed your salary negotiations, allowing you to set a budget that is appropriate for what you will earn.
Always Keep Negotiations Civil
No matter what is said during a negotiation, keep a level head and be polite. Raising your voice or insulting the position will not help you toward your goal. If you are not careful you can wind up losing the position if it appears as though you will not be reasonable about your salary.
While you do not want to accept a salary that is too low, also understand that you must be willing to compromise. If your employer provides a logical reason why they cannot meet your terms, be willing to hear them out. If your business is not doing well financially or someone with more seniority is eligible for a raise before you, it may be fair for you to wait until a more appropriate time to negotiate for your own bonus. If you are unsure about whether or not a salary offer is suitable for you, ask for time to think things over to determine if the offer will work for you.