Generally, we write for our colleagues in Human Resource offices, but here we want to talk to the other side of the job hiring table: the job applicant. With a current trend toward a robust hiring market, we want to make sure that you are situated to meet or exceed your earning goals with your next job change.
We've put together this simple step-by-step guide on how to negotiate a higher salary.
While the salary discussion can happen at any point in the hiring process. Conventional wisdom says that it is best to negotiate salary after a job offer, as your potential employer has already decided that you are the right person for the job. So for the sake of this guide, let’s make a few assumptions:
You are already reasonably aware of the employer’s salary range for the position
You have successfully navigated the interview process
You have received a job offer for the position
With this in mind, let’s see how you can improve your bottom line.
Step 1: Know your market value
Before you begin negotiating the salary for a new job, you should have a fairly clear understanding of what your skills and experience are worth in your market. Consider your field and your geographical location. Determine if the particular business school you graduated from carries any additional clout.
It’s also good to understand trends in your field, and how they may impact the finances of your potential employer. In some states employers are legally allowed to ask for a salary history, so know your rights, and have access to those records where possible. Several other states have laws that prevent a prospective employer from asking questions about your previous salaries, or from getting that information from a previous employer.
Step 2: Know your “walk away” figure
It’s also important to have a clear sense of your bottom line. If there is a salary level you would not consider, stick to that as you negotiate. If your offer is below that figure, and can’t be negotiated, you may need to decline.
Step 3: Evaluate the initial offer
When your offer comes in, express excitement for the opportunity and ask for some time to consider their offer. Then get to work. Look at their figures compared to your own from steps 1 and 2. Where does your offer stand?
Step 4: Consider the full package
Part of this evaluation is digging into the full compensation package. Are there stock options, a signing bonus, or relocation concerns? What are the benefits and what do they cost? How does the salary stack up in a new location (if that applies)?
Step 5: Get down to details
Discuss details such as workload, weekend time, the likelihood of overtime, and more. Cornell University suggests that applicants ask questions like “Are performance and salary reviews based on standard raises for all employees or determined by individual performance?”
Step 6: Negotiate where possible
Now it’s time to negotiate. Whether you negotiate salary by email or phone, you’ll want to talk through what is and what isn’t negotiable. Perhaps there’s little wiggle room on the salary figure, but movement on an annual bonus. Maybe the benefits are standard, but vacation time can be negotiated.
Through this process, stay positive and enthusiastic.
Step 7: Get it in writing
Once all the details are in order, get everything in writing. Make sure that the final offer is everything you discussed, and that you have your questions answered.
We wish you the best of luck in negotiating your salary for your new job!
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