So, you’ve done it! After many long weeks searching for jobs, applying to as many as humanly possible, or at least the ones you felt would be a good fit for you and the company, going through several rounds of interviews, you have finally received an offer (or several). Now what should you do? The salary may not be as high as you hoped but it is more than your current salary. You don’t have as many vacation days as your last job but there are some other nice perks.
Now in your mind you are having doubts. Should you risk asking for more? What if they reject you? You never negotiated a job offer before. You should not worry as negotiating offers on a new job is a standard part of business and you have nothing to fear.
First, let's change your mindset. The company has given you a job offer because they thought you were the most qualified fit for the position. Most companies will not rescind their offer just because you asking for something better. Make sure to do your research beforehand so that you know what a person with your skills and background is worth.
A job negotiation actually starts well before the job offer. Managing the interview effectively can easily get you a job offer thousands more than you would have got had you not done the right things. So where are some places where you can do job and salary research?
Here are some helpful sites.
This website is a time capsule as the layout takes you to the early days of websites. However, despite the looks, you can actually find some good data here that will give you the information you need to figure out how much you are currently worth, or how much a potential career can pay you.
Spend a few minutes filling out a survey with your background and skills. They ask for a lot of information but it does give you a very accurate salary. This is a good way to figure out what the average pay is for someone with your skillset.
Salary.com has a good amount of free salary info. They also have reports where you can get even more data, but at this time we can’t comment on that as we have not used this part of the service. The free report gave us some pretty good info. If you are on the job hunt and do not have much to go off of, it may be helpful to spend a little extra on the the paid data.
Every job search must contain a visit to Glassdoor. Glassdoor has many company reviews and many salaries. You can learn a lot about the culture of companies (and even specific departments) and it was extremely helpful to me while I was actively searching for a job. This research helps you understand which companies pay more or which companies offer the better benefits. It is also possible to learn about how the interviews are conducted and what you may expect during one. Going forward into a job interview with this knowledge will give you a leg up over someone who has not done their research.
Any Job Board
Another way to figure out salaries is to just search up jobs. Look up what the salary estimates are on sites like Indeed or Monster. See what the salary ranges are for current jobs that you would apply to.
Now that you have done your research, you know what is an acceptable range for the positions you are trying to apply for. You should have 3 numbers.
- A high but realistic number. This is a number that you are extremely satisfied with and would easily accept.
- A fair number. This is a number that you are happy with.
- The absolute minimum salary you would expect. Any salary lower than this number is not worth your time
One thing to note is that the salary that is posted for a job ad may be completely different than the one the company offers you. This can be for many reasons. There are cases where a candidate has a unique skillset or background that is worth a lot to the company. Sometimes you may even be told that they are considering you for another position. I had a previous manager of mine who interviewed for an analyst position, but the person at the time who had interviewed him realized that he would be great for the managerial position that just opened up. So, he went in applying for one position and came out with a different position that paid much more!
As I said before, salary negotiation starts well before the job offer. An interviewer will ask if you are comfortable with the salary. They may ask for your past salaries. They will also ask you what salary you are looking for. The company is trying to figure out what salary range you are comfortable with (and what they can get away with). In most cases, they are trying to give you as little money as they can.
You are on the other end. You are trying to get as money as you can. In order to do this, it is generally best to delay discussing salary until the job offer is made. Interviewers/employers are more likely to dismiss someone who discusses salary too early. Only once a job offer is made is the employer is more flexible discuss this, as they know more about you and your skillset and have narrowed you down as a possible candidate for the position.
Okay, so let's think about it this way. You are at the mall and you see a jacket that you like but the price tag is $1,000. You tell yourself, “That’s too much” and pass on the store. Now imagine your friend has the jacket. You try it on. He tells you that it’s $1,000 but says he has had it for 5 years. He is tired of buying jackets that don’t keep him warm or just wear out after one or two winters. The jacket looks fairly new. It’s the warmest jacket that you have ever felt and it feels amazing. Aren’t you more likely to purchase the jacket at this point? If the only thing the employers knows about you is your price tag, they are more likely to make a decision based solely off that price tag.
If salary comes up early on during the interview you can say any of the below.
- Salary isn’t my main concern. I want to see if this job is the right fit for me. Once we figure out if I am right for the job, then I would like to discuss salary
- State that you would like to be paid a fair market wage. You can give a range but make sure it is big (don’t give a range of 85k-86k). You can also state that you would like to learn more about the role and the responsibilities before giving any salary info.
- Mention how you are flexible with salary and that you can give a better answer later
- You can mention that it is a principle of yours that you don’t discuss salary before an offer is made. Say that you will gladly give a salary range once you have learned more about the job.
As you get more comfortable, you can try different things. One important thing about salary negotiations is that you should avoid negotiating over email. The way you come off in email can be very different than how you come off on the phone or in person. You don’t want to risk coming off as rude because the person reading your email couldn’t see your body language or hear the way you would have said something. You can also judge the reactions of the people you are negotiating with to get a feel for how they react to your answers. You have everything to gain once you avoid email.
There is more to a job than just salary. Sometimes companies can be more flexible when it comes to negotiating benefits and perks. A company may not be flexible on salary but they can be flexible on insurance, expense accounts, company cars, vacation days and relocation expenses. You can negotiate a flexible working arrangement (telecommute 2 days a week) and this may be more valuable for your situation than money. A company car can easily save you thousands a year on insurance and maintenance expense. Figure out what is important and valuable to you and then see if the company can offer you a package that works best for you.
I have only briefly touched the world of salary negotiation. If you need more info and are actively in negotiations, I would highly recommend purchasing the books below. You can easily make a $1,000 a minute by negotiation properly.
Disclaimer: Affiliate Links Below
This article used the tips and guidelines from this book. This book is worth every penny and is a must read if you want to make sure that a job pays you every single penny that you deserve.
This is a general book on negotiation. You negotiate in all aspects of life and I would highly recommend reading this along with the other book so you get a more holistic approach to negotiation. You will learn how to handle all types of negotiations and learn how to spot negotiation tactics and how to properly counter them.