Negotiating a salary can be intimidating. You don’t want to seem demanding, and you’re unsure whether the offer would still stand after negotiating. However, in order to secure a compensation package that reflects your skills, experience, and contributions, this becomes a crucial step.
With thoughtful preparation and effective communication, you can increase your chances of achieving a favorable outcome. We’re here to provide you with a guide on how you can navigate the salary negotiation process, ensuring that you’re compensated fairly for the value you bring to the organization.
Salary Negotiation Is a Process, Not a Demand
It’s expected that many people often find salary negotiation intimidating because it involves discussing personal finances and value. The fear of rejection, lack of confidence, or uncertainty about one’s worth in the job market are prime contributors to this.
However, Pew Research Center shows that among employees who requested increased compensation, 28 percent received the exact pay they asked for, and 38 percent received an offer higher than the initial one but not meeting their full request. With preparation and practice, it’s possible to overcome the challenges and approach negotiations confidently.
People often feel that they’re unable or shouldn’t engage in negotiation, but companies expect you to negotiate, says Caroline Ceniza-Levine, Executive Coach at Dreams Career Club.
Tips to Negotiate a Higher Salary After Receiving a Job Offer
Suppose you receive an initial offer lower than what you expected. There’s only one way you get around this and receive a better offer—through effective negotiation and communication. Here are nine salary negotiation tips to help you get through this process:
1. Timing Matters
Initiating the salary discussion too early in the process, such as during the initial interview or before receiving an offer, can come across as presumptuous and may not give you the leverage needed to negotiate effectively.
On the other hand, waiting too long after accepting the offer could create confusion and may not leave you enough time to negotiate terms before signing the acceptance letter. The right time to discuss salary after receiving a job offer is typically after you have received the offer itself but before you formally accept it.
Let the employer bring up the topic first. Once they extend an offer, express gratitude for the opportunity and consider requesting time to review the offer thoroughly. This gives you the chance to evaluate the entire compensation package.
2. Research Is Key
Before initiating any negotiation, it’s crucial to research the industry standards and benchmarks for the position you’re offered. Various online salary resources, including Payscale and Indeed, can help you understand the average compensation for similar roles.
It also applies to your geographic location as salary varies from country to country. Bigger cities tend to offer bigger salaries as well. On the other hand, industries don’t always provide the same salary range and would depend on your country’s economy, workforce, needs, and priorities.
An example is working in the services industry, where developing countries may offer lower pay while first-world countries offer a salary that can give you a comfortable life.
3. Assess Your Worth
Reflect on your qualifications, experience, and the unique skills you bring to the table. Consider how your expertise aligns with the job requirements and how you can contribute to the company’s success.
By understanding your value, you’ll be better equipped to communicate confidently and advocate for a salary that reflects your worth. Once you have a clearer understanding of the values you can bring to the company, you’ll have the confidence to negotiate effectively.
4. Prepare a Compelling Case Through Effective Communication
Craft a well-structured case that outlines your qualifications, accomplishments, and the unique value you’ll bring to the organization using concrete examples to demonstrate your capabilities. Highlight any relevant achievements that showcase your skills and potential to explain how your expertise aligns with the company’s goals and contributes to its growth.
Then, communicate these with the organization. Remember to keep these in mind:
- Approach the negotiation conversation with a collaborative mindset.
- Be respectful and professional in your tone.
- Focus on the mutual benefit of reaching a fair agreement.
- Express enthusiasm for the position while discussing your expectations.
- Use clear and concise language to convey your points.
- Actively listen to the employer’s perspective.
5. Be Open to Compromise
While having a target salary in mind is essential, be open to flexibility and compromise. Employers usually allocate a specific budget to a role, and there might be various reasons for this. It could be due to budget limitations, or the function is not as demanding as other positions in the same industry.
If the employer presents reasons for the initial offer, listen attentively and consider their perspective. Explore other aspects of the compensation package, such as benefits and bonuses, which can also contribute to your overall job satisfaction.
Aside from this, you can consider the company’s core values, culture, and practices. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are they providing equal opportunities?
- Are employees generally happy within the organization?
- Will you have growth opportunities?
6. Practice Patience
Negotiations might require several rounds of discussions. Be patient and willing to engage in multiple conversations to reach a mutually agreeable solution. Avoid rushing or putting pressure on the employer to respond quickly, as this can negatively impact the negotiation process.
7. Stay Professional, Positive, and Grateful
Even if the discussions become challenging, avoid becoming defensive or arguing with your recruiter. Instead, focus on the merits of your case and the value you bring to the role. A respectful demeanor fosters a positive impression and can contribute to a successful outcome.
Even if the results become unfavorable, whether you’re not hired for the role or rejected the offer, you can still apply for another position. Regardless of the final agreement, always express gratitude for the opportunity and the employer’s willingness to engage in the negotiation process. A short message of appreciation can leave a positive lasting impression and contribute to building a strong working relationship from the start.
Related article: Job Interview Gold: Self-Awareness Is Key
Exactly What to Say When Negotiating Salary
If you’re unsure about what to say during negotiation, here’s a template to guide you. Try to create your own version, and remember to return to this guide whenever you need to.
“Thank you so much for extending the offer for the [Job Title] role at [Company Name]. I’m truly excited about the opportunity to join your team and contribute to [mention something specific about the company’s mission or goals].
After carefully reviewing the offer, I’m enthusiastic about the potential to work together. However, based on my research and industry standards, I was hoping for a [specific amount], which I believe is more in line with my skills, experience, and the industry standards for this type of position.
I’m open to discussing this further and exploring ways we can create a mutually beneficial arrangement. Your consideration is greatly appreciated, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to [Company Name]’s success.”
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Negotiating Salary
Salary negotiations are about finding a win-win solution. A positive attitude can foster a productive negotiation process and set a great tone for your future with the company. Here are some things to avoid when negotiating your expected salary:
1. Not Researching Industry Standards
Negotiating without proper research can be challenging. Research average salaries for your role and location to ensure your expectations are reasonable. Knowledge is your ally in securing fair compensation.
2. Focusing Solely on Base Salary
Don’t overlook other aspects of the compensation package by only looking at the base salary. Health benefits, bonuses, stock options, and flexible work arrangements can significantly contribute to your overall satisfaction.
3. Overvaluing Your Current Salary
Your current salary is a factor. However, avoid fixating on it during negotiations. Base your expectations on the role’s requirements, your market value, and the company’s compensation structure.
4. Sharing Personal Financial Needs
While discussing personal financial challenges is tempting, it’s best to focus on your skills and qualifications during negotiations. Keep the conversation professional and centered on your value to the company.
5. Using Aggressive or Confrontational Language
Effective communication is key. Approach negotiations with a positive and respectful tone. Instead of demanding or being confrontational, highlight your enthusiasm for the opportunity and your eagerness to contribute.
6. Not Considering the Company’s Perspective
Negotiation is a two-way conversation. Understand the company’s constraints and be prepared to discuss how your compensation request aligns with the value you’ll bring to the organization.
7. Setting Unrealistic Expectations
While aiming high is good, setting unrealistic expectations might hinder negotiations. Balance your aspirations with industry standards to create a fair and mutually beneficial agreement.
8. Rushing Through the Process
Be patient, and don’t rush negotiations by making hasty decisions. Take the time to evaluate the offer carefully, research, and prepare thoughtful responses.
9. Not Having a Backup Plan
While optimism is essential, it’s wise to have a backup plan. Decide in advance what you’ll do if negotiations don’t meet your expectations. Having alternatives will help you make informed decisions.
WE CAN HELP YOU AT GALT FOUNDATION
At Galt Foundation, we act as a bridge between you and potential employers, facilitating transparent conversations about compensation and ensuring both parties are on the same page. With more than 20 years of experience in staffing for persons with disabilities, we’re passionate about connecting candidates with equal-opportunity employers.
If you’re seeking assistance and guidance during your job search journey, feel free to get in touch with us. We’d be glad to help.
1. Parker, Kim. “When negotiating starting salaries, most U.S. women and men don’t ask for higher pay.” Pew Research Center, 5 Apr. 2023, www.pewresearch.org/when-negotiating-starting-salaries-most-us-women-and-men-dont-ask-for-higher-pay.
2. Heinzerling, Kelly. “How to negotiate the salary for your first job-offer.” CNBC, 30 Oct. 2021, www.cnbc.com/how-to-negotiate-the-salary-for-your-first-job-offer.