You must learn how to negotiate salary if you’re looking for a new job or want to make more money in your current role. That way, you can earn top dollar for the skills and experience you bring to your employer’s table. We’ll offer several tips to help make your salary negotiation process easier — and more successful.
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Why Should You Negotiate Your Salary?
You should negotiate your salary because you can probably get a better deal if you do. Fidelity’s Career Assessment Study found that more than half of 1,500+ professionals surveyed didn’t negotiate their job offers. However, 87% of those who did were at least partially successful. The moral of the story: It’s worth asking the company for more.
When Should You Negotiate Your Salary?
Generally, you should negotiate your salary after you receive your job offer because:
- The offer gives your negotiation a starting point. You can evaluate what the company presented and then counter it.
- The company has shown that they want you on the team by making an offer, giving you leverage.
- After going through the complete interview process, you have a solid understanding of what the role entails, so you can determine if the offer would fairly compensate you for the work required.
Pro Tip: Ask what the pay range for the position is during your initial conversation with the company. You won’t waste your time (or the organization’s) interviewing if the salary is too low.
17 Best Practices For Salary Negotiation
When it’s time to negotiate your salary, follow these best practices:
Thank the recruiter, manager, or human resources representative for the offer. Express your excitement about working for the organization.
Evaluate Your Offer
Ask for a day or two to evaluate the offer. Most companies expect you to do this.
Research Salary Trends
Research the market salary for the position, and determine if the offer is competitive. ZipRecruiter has an awesome tool that allows you to access real salary data from jobs across the US. This tool is free to use and can help you negotiate with confidence.
List Your Achievements and Credentials
List your career achievements and credentials to make a case for why you deserve to get paid more. To easily gather this information, review your resume and your LinkedIn profile.
Practice negotiating with a trusted family member or friend (bonus points if they have hiring experience!). Practicing helps you to prepare what you want to say and gives you a chance to practice.
Negotiate Over The Phone
Try to negotiate over the phone. That way, you can hear the other person’s tone and react to what they say in real-time.
Join The Break Community
Go into the negotiation confident about your value, but make sure you don’t cross the line into arrogance.
Talk To Human Resources Or The Hiring Manager
If you have another job offer, tell human resources or the hiring manager about it, but indicate that you’d prefer to work for their organization. (Only say this if it’s true!) The other offer may create a sense of urgency for the firm to strike a mutually beneficial deal with you.
Ask For A Specific Number
Ask for a specific number. If you give a range, your prospective employer will likely go with the lower end of it.
Ask For More
Ask for more money than you need or want. Chances are, the company will come in under the amount you request.
Know What You Will Accept
Know the least amount of money you’ll accept — and be prepared to decline the offer if the firm doesn’t meet or exceed it.
Keep The Benefit Package In Mind
Factor the benefits package into your decision. Fully-paid medical insurance or a generous retirement plan match could make up for an underwhelming salary.
Be Positive And Professional
Remember, everyone in the negotiation process wants the same thing: you as a satisfied employee. So, keep the conversation positive, professional, and unemotional.
Be respectful of everyone’s time, and keep the negotiation to one or two rounds.
Prepare For Follow Up Questions
Anticipate and know how you’ll answer questions like, “If we agree to your salary request, will you accept our offer?”
Offer Other Solutions
If the company can’t or won’t meet your salary expectations, consider asking for a planned raise after six months of exceptional performance. The company may be willing to pay you more after you’ve proven yourself.
Get The Offer In Writing
Get your verbally agreed-upon offer in writing before your first day on the job.
Remember: A good job offer doesn’t necessarily equal a good job. So, be sure you want the role before engaging in the negotiation process.
4 Tips for Negotiating a Raise
If you’re already employed, it’s still a smart money move to negotiate your salary periodically. Here are a few tips that may help when you do:
- Keep track of your accomplishments to demonstrate why you should get the increase.
- Time your request with the successful completion of a major project or the assumption of new responsibilities.
- Ask for the bump before your performance review, as raises get budgeted for months in advance.
- Make sure your request is reasonable. Most annual raises come in under 5%. But, if you haven’t gotten an increase in a while, your role has changed, or you’ve made recent significant contributions to the firm, you may be able to get a 10-20% boost (or more).
Bonus Tip: Schedule the conversation with your supervisor when they’re likely to be in a good mood (and thus more likely to say yes!).
Benefits Other Than Salary That Can Be Negotiated
If the organization can’t or won’t bump up your salary, you may be able to improve your job offer by negotiating for other things, like:
- More paid time off
- A flexible schedule or work-from-home arrangement
- Stock options
- A sign-on bonus
Pro Tip: If you want to negotiate your salary and benefits package, make all your requests at once (but be sure to indicate your priorities). That way, there’s less back and forth.
The Bottom Line
Asking for more money is challenging for most people, but it can become second nature to you with some practice. Hopefully, you now feel more confident about your ability to negotiate your salary.