You gave your best during the whole hiring and interview process and finally, you got the job offer. Congratulations! But is that where it ends? You still have to accept the offer.
One common mistake that a lot of people make is that they don’t negotiate their salary. Most companies build negotiation room into their offers and benefits packages, but most people don’t even try to negotiate. You could be earning $5,000 or $10,000 more, but since you accepted the offer as is, it’s your loss.
Most employers don’t give you their best offer at first, so negotiating your salary is essential. Of course, there are tips you must take into account when negotiating your salary.
Let’s talk about them:
Tip 1: Research
One rule of thumb especially for job seekers is that research is important. Do your homework and learn about the company you’re applying to. Not only that but research the job position you are applying for. How much do people in your city and state with the same position earn? What’s their salary range? What skills are included in their job listings? There are many websites you can get this information from such as Glassdoor.
Tip 2: Do not blindly accept the first offer
When a company presents you with their offer, this could excite you so much that you feel inclined to accept immediately. After all, it’s something you’ve worked hard for. But stop, take a moment to think about it, and carefully read all its inclusions.
Blindly accepting the first offer is doing yourself an injustice. Most companies don’t expect candidates to take the first offer, so what you’re presented with is usually lower than what’s in their budget. When you have researched the expected salary range for your position and responsibilities, you should negotiate for you to have the same.
Tip 3: Take time to consider the offer
As we’ve established in the previous tip, you should take the time to think about it. Look at the salary and benefits. Sometimes, a lower salary with more benefits is better than a higher salary with few benefits. Taking the time to consider the offer helps you manage your emotions and get in the right mindset.
Besides, when they give you an offer, they like you and want you to be part of the company. Negotiating in a polite and respectful way will not cause any offense. In fact, this can even impress them.
During the time you take to consider the offer you should:
Tip 4: Understand their constraints
As you carefully consider their offer and how much you plan on negotiating, you should factor in the company as well. Figure out where they are flexible and where they are not. For example, some big companies could offer you a lower salary since they have more people to hire, but they can give you benefits in vacation time and signing bonuses. Their constraints are important to understand so you can show respect to the company in your negotiation while you also get what you want.
Tip 5: Be confident
Remember: confidence is key. Believe in your skills, experience, and capabilities. You know what you are capable of achieving and what you can bring to the table. Don’t undermine your skills and align that with the compensation you receive. You should know your worth and stand up for yourself.
Companies want people who know what they are doing and someone who exudes confidence in the skills they have. Being confident and arrogant are two different things, though, so be careful not to cross that line.
Tip 6: Don’t be afraid to ask
It never hurts to ask. Job seekers applying for their first jobs might get self-conscious about asking, but that’s the exact reason you should negotiate. You should not sell yourself short just because you’re shy of asking for higher pay. After all, you’ll be in this job position for over a few months.
In Glassdoor’s article about the secrets of negotiation, Josh Doody says that although negotiation can be uncomfortable, saying ‘sorry’ to the recruiter could signal that you’re willing to back down. No hiring manager wants an employee who quickly backs down.
Tip 7: Be flexible
After receiving the job offer, ask your potential boss or the hiring manager if they have any flexibility. Most companies do, but it is important to ask this yourself instead of simply assuming it. If the salary isn’t what you expected, you can ask them if they would be willing to go higher.
Some companies might be unable to give you any more than what they’ve offered and that’s okay. Maybe you can find other aspects or benefits they can be willing to give you such as the start date, time off, bonuses, or something else. Remember: ask!
Tip 8: Negotiation style
How you negotiate with your recruiter or potential boss is important. Remember to make it conversational and not confrontational. Both your language and tone are important. Show respect and be humble. They can easily withdraw their offer when they feel like you’ve disrespected their company.
Be friendly and make sure you address the needs and goals of the company. In our previous tip, we talked about how it is essential to understand their constraints. Have a win-win mindset. What’s important is that you properly negotiate and that you and the company arrive at a fair conclusion.
Tip 9: Justify your request
It can be tempting to justify your request by bringing up bills and mortgages, but everybody is dealing with their own stuff. Justify your request by citing your research. Back up your request by citing industry standards and reiterating the value you bring to the company.
You can say something along the lines of, “I appreciate your offer, although I believe that with my experience in handling teams of more than 10 people, the salary range would be around ____.”
Tip 10: Practice your responses
Practice with a friend, family member, or advisor. Ask them to help you with different negotiation situations and give feedback. Let them observe your body language throughout the practice and make them take note of what you’re unconsciously doing, such as fidgeting, toe-tapping, or other signs. Prepare and list down questions you may have for the company to make the negotiation process smooth.
Aside from listing down questions, it would also be a good idea to imagine the scenario and write a script based on what you think the negotiator would tell you.
Tip 11: Negotiate on time instead
Most people try to negotiate on salary, but few think to negotiate on time. Instead of asking for more money, which not ask to work a shorter work week (e.g. a 32 hour work week)? It has been shown in many studies that switching to a 4 day work week has no impact on output as productivity increases. So you would still be able to get the same amount of work done as if you were working for 5 days. So why not ask? You’ve got nothing to lose!
Template Email Response
Dear (Name of the recruiter or potential boss),
Thank you for offering the position of (Job Title) to me. With my (skills related to the job), I am confident that I will achieve great results with (company name).
However, before signing the offer, I would like to discuss the base salary with you. I have researched and looked at the average market value for this position. In line with my skills and job requirements, I would like to discuss the possibility of moving the offer closer to (proposed salary).
Thank you again for the offer. I look forward to speaking with you again soon.
Remember that practicing your negotiation skills is important. Practice and practice to increase your confidence! We are hoping for your success.