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5 Ways to Prep for Your Salary Negotiation
The basis for a successful negotiation is research and strategy. Your goal is to justify the value you bring to the company and the compensation you deserve.
Let’s breakdown five techniques to prepare you for a strong salary negotiation:
Know your worth.
The backbone of effective negotiation is research. Go online to search what similar jobs are paying. Look up your market value to determine how much you should be earning based on the job title, experience, skills and your location.
Doing so will empower you with an appropriate level of compensation that employers are paying for a similar position.
Set your expectations.
After you’ve researched the average current base pay, it’s time to decide on how much you are willing to accept. What is the most amount that you feel is ideal for you, and what is the minimum amount that you are willing to accept? Setting the boundaries of what you expect or want will make it much easier for you to have this conversation with a potential employer.
Prepare to put a spotlight on your expertise. Be ready with quantifiable metrics, data and statistics to speak about your achievements and how you contribute to the company’s growth. Be kind, but firm. Your confidence may inspire the employer to believe you’re worth every penny.
Prepare a script.
Here’s a simple way to start your salary negotiation:
“I'm very excited about being part of the team and want to thank you for the opportunity. I feel I offer unique value to your company with my advertising skills. In my prior position, I doubled the company’s revenue with an ad campaign that generated $15,000 of additional revenue. I was hoping we could discuss my compensation. Based on my experience, the salary range for this role is between $45,000 and $50,000.”
This kind of phrasing helps show that you are realistic about what to expect and showcases your strengths.
If your employer cannot afford your desired salary, think of other options, perks and incentives that could sweeten the deal. Other benefits such as paid time off, flexible work hours or a compensation package can make up for the gap in your salary.
Preparing ahead of time is a critical part of your negotiation strategy! In addition to looking up salary ranges and studying the company, make sure to practice what you are going to say.
Salary Negotiation Strategies and Tips
To be effective during your salary negotiation, there are several strategies that you have to master, starting with the power of likability and how to read the person with whom you are negotiating. This is a critical step to increasing your salary.
People are more willing to help you if they like you!
Beyond being polite, managing inevitable tensions during your negotiation will be a critical factor in being successful or not. You want to avoid seeming greedy, petty or pushy.
Anything impolite, awkward or inflexible you impart in a negotiation reduces the chances of getting a better offer. In this situation, you will rely on key communication skills such as your tone, body language and your choice of words.
Win them over with respect! Being liked is not enough; they also have to believe you’re worth the salary you want. Describe how you add value to the company’s growth with action verbs and industry-specific terminology.
Don’t just say that you need a higher salary or compensation; be ready to explain why you deserve more money. Speak of your accomplishments with statistics and numbers that show proven results.
Cite your years of experience or the high level of responsibility and business success you bring to the table. If you do not have a justification, you will most likely fail in your negotiation.
Read the person negotiating with you.
Take the time to research the person to whom you’ll be speaking. Look up their LinkedIn profile or social media feeds.
Knowing their background will give you a better sense of their personality and what motivates them.
Always make eye contact and focus on what they have to say. Being a good listener can provide you with a deeper insight into what the employer expects from you and if they can afford a salary increase. It will also help you figure out where they’re flexible and where they’re not.
Showing that you’re an active listener will also make you seem likable, making the person more likely to work with you to reach an agreement.
Answer tough questions with transparency.
Be ready ahead of time for any difficult questions that may come up. This will help avoid awkward silences or stumbling for words.
Typically, the questions you may be asked will be related to your level of commitment to the company. You may be asked if there are other job offers and if they are your top choice.
To ace these questions, never lie. Being honest and transparent will demonstrate your integrity.
Also, base your responses on the company’s needs. An employer who asks whether you would immediately accept any offer tomorrow may simply be interested in knowing if you are genuinely excited about the job
Whether you are negotiating with your supervisor or an HR representative, let them know how much you’d enjoy working for the company. Be ready to outline how your actions will increase productivity, cost margins and revenue.
Don’t try to manipulate.
Never manipulate. It doesn’t work because it’s not respectful. You will rub people the wrong way and can limit your ability to negotiate with the company later throughout your career.
No one wants to work with someone pushy or manipulative! They’d much rather pay someone who is agreeable.
People don’t like being told, “Do this or else.” This will make the employer feel manipulated, and it comes off the wrong way.
Remember, they aren’t out to get you.
If the employer decides not to give you the salary increase, don’t take it personally.
An employer may be limited by financial or other resources to meet your demands; it’s as simple as that.
Your attitude can impact the employer’s decision positively or negatively.
Also, if you don’t hear back from the company immediately, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t get the salary increase. A formal offer often requires procedures and processes involving several departments like HR or finance.
Always follow-up. Stay in touch and be patient.
Salary Negotiating Examples
During the hiring process and throughout your career progression, salary negotiations are never easy. Each situation will require a different strategy.
Let’s look at the three most common salary negotiation examples for each situation:
1. During the hiring process.
Imagine you’ve received an offer for a job you’ll enjoy, but the salary is lower than what you expect. You can skillfully negotiate your terms and new salary.
If you don’t feel the base pay matches your experience and career level, you can always negotiate. Try different approaches, such as asking for more money or another form of compensation, such as paid time off, equity or stocks.
Negotiate after you receive an offer, ideally no more than 48 hours. Avoid negotiating during the early stages of the interview process.
According to Harvard University, one of the biggest salary negotiation strategies is to prepare yourself to explain the value you bring to the company. For instance, if the job requires specific credentials such as licenses or certifications that you already have, then this may create the opportunity to request greater compensation.
Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, but first, do your research. Look up your salary based on the fair market value for the position.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a complete breakdown of salaries by occupation. If you feel the offer you received isn’t fair, don’t be afraid to make a counteroffer.
Here is an example of what to say during a salary negotiation:
I’m eager to join your team and feel qualified for this position. I bring a lot of value to the table based on my experience, and my market research shows the salary for this position ranges from $60,000 to $75,000. Can we explore a slightly higher starting salary of $65,000? I'm confident that you’ll be pleased with how much I can contribute to the company’s success.”
2. After you have been working for a while.
Usually, people think of negotiating salaries during a job offer. However, even if you’ve been in your position for a while, it’s never too late to ask for a raise.
Asking for a raise and promotion at your current place of employment is part of your career growth. Take the initiative with confidence. Start by planning what you are going to say. Research the current salary based on your position and title. This will help you make a reasonable salary request.
Write down your talking points based on factual data and real examples of how your top achievements have impacted the company. Focus on how you benefit the company’s success by listing accomplishments that have contributed to the team.
Always consider having some alternative compensation suggestions besides a salary increase — perhaps vacation time or health insurance benefits.
Practice your negotiation out loud and even with friends and family. Once you are fully prepared, schedule a meeting with your employer.
For example, you can say:
”I am passionate about my job and truly enjoy working as an office manager. In the last year, I’ve felt that the scope of my work has expanded significantly. I have spent these last three years learning analytics and auditing, and I’ve addressed risks and saved the company $12,000 annually. I have also exceeded the company’s financial standards, with a revenue increase of 11%. Therefore, I'd like to discuss a salary raise to match the industry standard for my role and the skills I have acquired since being hired. I'm requesting for my salary to be raised to $55,000.”
3. Recent college graduates or entry-level candidates
A college degree significantly increases employment prospects and earning potential. Still, for many college graduates and entry-level candidates, negotiating a salary can be intimidating.
Many recent grads believe that they have to accept the first offer made due to a lack of experience. Researching and making a salary comparison can help you understand your market value and how your desired salary aligns with those of similar positions.
Don’t just look at the national average salary. Be more focused: Research how much similar jobs pay based on your specific location. Find out how much similar-sized companies pay their employees.
Then, start at the top of your range. If you have to come down because an employer can’t meet your desired salary, you still have leverage.
Use the company’s job description to identify the key elements they are looking for. A strong salary negotiation pitch includes explaining how your skills and qualifications are relevant and can impact the company’s success.
Make sure to highlight your level of education, degree and credentials if you possess any certifications or unique skills that are not required but may still be highly desirable to a potential employer.
You can also mention any leadership experience, perhaps in a student-run organization or while volunteering. Spotlight valuable skills such as teamwork and problem-solving.
Never be the first to address salary and benefits. Listen carefully and let them make an initial offer. Here’s an example of what you can say during your negotiation
“I am excited to join your company. Your salary is $40,000, and I would like to know whether you would consider paying 20% more? My credentials and qualifications as a certified interpreter will contribute to a faster and improved service. I am willing to take on transcribing the court and legal contracts.”
As an entry-level employee, you’re not going to make as much as a director or an executive. But you can bring value to the company, and if you can negotiate that, you can get the pay you’re worth.