Salary negotiation can be daunting. It’s natural to want to appear agreeable and reasonable to a new employer. Negotiation when done correctly shouldn’t make you look unfavourably. In fact, it can help you seem more confident and self-assured. Your apprehension is normal but knowing your market value can help to alleviate some of these nerves. Humility is an admirable quality but walking away from an interview knowing you didn’t even ask may leave you with greater regret than asking and not getting.
Many employers are having difficulty enticing applicants with the requisite skills and experience and thus, you may be in a strong enough bargaining position to negotiate a higher starting salary. However, you need to also balance this against the risk of pricing yourself out of the market.
Present Your Case
It’s against employers’ interests to offer you a greater salary unprompted. Thus, you need to be prepared to raise the subject. Perhaps, they will reject such discussions but equally, they may hear you out. Be prepared to make a case for why your skillset and experience are deserving of greater compensation. Be certain to make the financial case for your request. Why should they pay you more than what another candidate would be prepared to accept to do the same role? Have examples ready of how you improved efficiency or increased output for previous employers. Use specific details where possible such as percentages and monetary values. If you have skills over and above the job requirements explain how these skills can be leveraged in this new role.
Consider what specialist knowledge you have that perhaps fellow applicants are lacking. Do you have relevant experience, qualifications, personal contacts or even niche knowledge of competitors?
Know Your Worth
Be prudent and pragmatic when entering negotiations over compensation. Become knowledgeable about the market and salaries of those with similar skills as yourself. The results of surveys conducted by professional institutes are frequently published which highlight the earning capacity of professional accountants for example. If you have highly sought after skills and the demand is exceeding supply there should be ample room to negotiate. Utilise your network and speak to contacts within the industry to gain a greater understanding of the market rate. Salary guides and salary submission websites such as Glassdoor can provide further insight. Knowledge is power and the more knowledgeable you are entering negotiations the more likely a positive outcome.
Practice Your Pitch
Oftentimes a hiring manager will inquire as to what your salary expectations are. Avoid acting on impulse. Have your pitch ready. Practice what you plan on saying and have your facts straight. Before entering into discussions be clear in your own mind about what the minimum offer you would accept is. It can be uncomfortable having a conversation about money so your gut instinct may be to try to end the dialogue swiftly. Hence, having a minimum number already in your mind will ensure you don’t become overwhelmed or confused by the hiring manager’s rhetoric.
Don’t expect a definite answer on the spot. Regardless of whether they find your request reasonable or whether you’ve succeeded in convincing them of your worth, they will typically discuss it with their superiors after the meeting. Moreover, they may verify the validity of your claims by calling your reference or they may request further information from you.
If you encounter pushback immediately it could be the case that the hiring manager doesn’t have the authority to agree to such requests. Consider discussing any other additional benefits that could be available instead of a greater starting salary such as flexible working, moving costs if you’re relocating or additional annual leave entitlements.
Keep Your Composure
Above all else, it’s important to remain courteous and level-headed irrespective of how the negotiations go. It would be imprudent to jeopardise being offered a contract by losing one’s composure. Remember the interview is still in progress even when the conversation turns to compensation so don’t let your guard down. Don’t be short-sighted. The primary goal was to secure the position. If you demonstrate your value to your new employer in your first few months you may find that your next salary discussion is more successful.
If you’re thinking about negotiating your salary consider reaching out to HireForce Managing Director, Robert F. Kennedy today.