Whether you’re starting a new job or gunning for a promotion at the current one, we all know that we should be good in Salary Negotiation. According to a survey by salary.com a revelation was made that only 37% of people always negotiate their salaries. While an astonishing 18% never does.
Even worse, 44% of respondents claim to have never brought up the subject of a pay raise during their performance reviews. And the biggest reason for not asking for more being? Fear. And we all get it: Salary negotiation can be scary. But, what’s even scarier is not doing it.
So, whether you’re male or female, in your first job or you’re fifth, it’s time to learn how to negotiate. And I’m here to help, with a roundup of expert tips and further reading to get you totally prepped.
What is Salary Negotiation?
A Salary Negotiation is a discussion between yourself and a representative of your current or prospective company that aims to help you secure a higher salary.
However, it doesn’t matter if you’re a long-time employee or a new hire. For one thing, if you feel that your salary isn’t enough, you should feel empowered to negotiate. Especially, in order to get what you deserve.
When you decide that you want to negotiate for a better salary, be prepared to:
- Build your case: You will need to prove that you are worth investing in, with specific examples of the value you’ve given to employers in your career.
- Face some resistance: Even air-tight cases for a salary increase can face resistance, so be prepared to answer questions, especially, “Why do you deserve this salary?”
- Strike a Balance Between Firm and Flexible: Your salary negotiations won’t go well if you refuse to give any ground or say “yes” to a minimal salary increase. Be prepared to go back-and-forth during negotiations and be sure that any compromise reached is acceptable.
Why is Salary Negotiation important?
At some point, employers may ask the Salary Expectation Question in order to get a sense of whether they can afford you. They might also ask you this to see how much you value yourself and the work that you do.
By doing some research and preparing an answer ahead of time, you can demonstrate to the employer that you are flexible with your salary. But, it is important that you also know what you are worth.
Basically, they may bring up the topic of pay (salary negotiation) at some point in the interview process. But, the salary expectation question answers are rare to come by.
For instance, you’ve been job hunting for a while, and you finally hear back about a job you really want. The recruiter reaches out and asks if you’re free to chat for a few minutes so they can ask you a few questions. “Sure!” Everything seems pretty fine.
You talk about your background and how you found this job listing. Then the recruiter asks you a question that stops you in your tracks: “So, What is your Salary Expectation?
What are the Benefits of Salary Negotiation?
It’s important to understand that negotiating your salary is a perfectly normal part of the employment process. And that getting the salary you deserve is part of advancing in your career.
Your salary is more than a deposit to your bank account. Since it’s how your company shows you that they appreciate your work and value you and your skills. In addition, your salary is also how your company supports your work-life balance, career development, work flexibility, and health-related perks.
Negotiating for some of these perks will help you to get the complete salary and benefits package you need.
Examples of salary negotiation perks include;
- University Tuition Reimbursement: College tuition is only getting more expensive, and negotiating for tuition reimbursement is highly appealing for people who want to continue their education.
- Training, Professional Development + Certifications: Not every company offers effective professional development and/or certification programs, and career-minded professionals should be sure to negotiate for professional development resources.
- Mentoring + Coaching: This perk is nearly priceless because it can lead to both professional growth and growth of interpersonal relationships with talented leaders in the company.
- Childcare: The costs and time requirements of childcare add up quickly, and negotiating for childcare is a great way for parents to secure a better working arrangement.
- Health + Fitness: Other than medical and/or dental insurance, negotiating for health and fitness benefits (such as fitness stipends, healthcare/dental coverage, etc.) can add value to your bottom line.
- Flexibility: Being able to work from home, work while traveling or work on a different schedule can be more attractive to some people than a higher salary.
While dollar signs definitely matter when negotiating your salary, these forms of compensation that should be considered before taking a new offer or re-signing on a dotted line.
How is Salary Negotiation done Right?
Negotiating a better salary is something that everyone should be focused on.
No matter when the last time you negotiated for a better salary was, the time will come again when the value of work you do is not reflected in the compensation you receive for that work.
When this time comes, it’s important to approach the issue objectively, build an evidence-based case for your desired salary and negotiate for this salary.
This guide will cover the basics of salary negotiations, how to find out your objective value from job market data, best practices for salary negotiations, how to negotiate a raise and what you should do after a salary negotiation.
Here is how you get prepared;
1. Know Your Value
If you’re going to get the pay you deserve, it’s crucial to know the going rate for your position in your specific industry and in your geographic area.
As I Will Teach You to Be Rich’s Ramit Sethi points out, if you walk into a salary negotiation without a number, you’re at the mercy of an experienced hiring manager who can simply control the conversation.
2. Talk to Recruiters
Another way to do some research? Pick up those calls from recruiters. They know what people with your experience and expertise are worth, so use it to your advantage!
The next time one reaches out to you, engage in a conversation about the position’s responsibilities and pay. You may not get a specific number, but even a range is helpful.
3. Organize Your Thoughts
To organize all of your thoughts and research in one place, check out the free resources at She Negotiates (yes, it’s helpful for guys, too).
4. Pick the Top of the Range
As you’re doing your research, you’ll likely come up with a range that represents your market value. It can be tempting to ask for something in the middle of the range, but instead, you should ask for something toward the top.
First of all, you should assume you’re entitled to top pay, says She Negotiates founder Victoria Pynchon.
Second, your employer will almost certainly negotiate down, so you need wiggle room to still end up with a salary you’re pleased with.
5. Know the (Exact) Number
According to researchers at Columbia Business School, you should ask for a very specific number—say Kshs. 64,750 rather than Kshs. 65,000.
Turns out, when employees use a more precise number in their initial negotiation request, they are more likely to get a final offer closer to what they were hoping for. This is because the employer will assume you’ve done more extensive research into your market value to reach that specific number.
6. Be Willing to Walk Away
When considering your numbers, you should also come up with a “walk-away point”—a final offer that’s so low that you have to turn it down. This could be based on financial need, market value, or simply what you need to feel good about the salary you’re bringing home.
Walking away from an offer will never be easy, but it’s important to know when to do it—and powerful to be able to say “no.”
7. Make Sure You’re Ready
Before you ask for a raise, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions.
Like, Have you been at your job for a year? Or even, have you taken on new responsibilities since you’ve been hired?
Then again, Have you been exceeding expectations (rather than just meeting them)? The answer to all of these should be “yes.”
8. Plan the Right Timing
Turns out, timing is everything. Most people wait until the performance review season to ask for a salary adjustment, but by that time, your boss has probably already decided what raises will be doled out to the team.
Instead? “Start talking to your boss about getting a raise three to four months in advance,” writer and former human resources professional Suzanne Lucas of EvilHRLady.org told LearnVest. “That’s when they decide the budget.”
9. Prepare a One-Sheet
Prepare a “brag sheet,” recommends Kathleen O’Malley of Babble. “It’s a one-page summary that shows exactly how awesome you are as an employee.
List any accomplishments, awards, and customer or co-worker testimonials (“You saved me when you did XYZ!” emails definitely count as testimonials!) you’ve received since your last review. You want to demonstrate your value to your boss.”
10. Remember Practice Makes Perfect
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Write down what you want to say, and practice to a mirror, on video, or with a friend until you’re super comfortable having the conversation. Studies show that you’re more likely to get a raise if you ask on Thursday.
We tend to start off the week more hard-nosed and even disagreeable. But become more flexible and accommodating as the week wears on. “Thursdays and Fridays find us most open to negotiation and compromise because we want to finish our work before the week is out,” reports Psychology Today.
What does the Employer Really Want to Know?
Why do interviewers want to know your salary expectations? Well, there are a number of ways to answer interview questions about salaries.
And therefore, it’s important to determine how best to answer this question so you can go into your interview with confidence.
It’s also difficult to decide what you want for a salary before you even know what the job entails. This often happens when you’re asked to disclose a salary range requirement on an application before you’ve learned about the position with any depth.