A Complete Guide to Salary Negotiation

Salary Negotiation Tips | Complete Guide | Resume.com

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Salary negotiation is a common component of the job application and acceptance process. Still, many people can improve their approach to effective negotiation. Tactics for productive salary negotiation before, during, and after your salary discussion can lead to higher initial pay that can impact your earnings for the rest of your career. Use these tips to successfully negotiate your next salary.

What is salary negotiation?

Salary negotiation is the process of discussing and coming to an agreement on an acceptable salary and benefits package with your employer. Most private-sector positions allow their employees to negotiate their salaries before starting a new job and at other points during their employment, such as during annual performance reviews. Some industries and institutions, like the government, do not allow salary negotiation. The salaries for most government employees, including professions, such as public school teachers, are non-negotiable.

Where to start with salary negotiation

Before you begin negotiations, here are some topics that you can research to discover the average salary for your role:

  • Your position nationwide
  • Others in your position in your company, city, or state
  • Professionals in your field with your education level
  • Professionals in your field with the same level of experience

Data is a useful tool and a great place to start when preparing for salary negotiation as data is neutral, fact-based information. You can use this information to establish a fair salary range for yourself. With well-prepared data, you can present concrete reasons explaining why you should receive the salary you request from the negotiator.

Tips to follow before salary negotiation

Before your salary negotiation, review these tips to prepare for a successful negotiation.

Determine your range

Establish a salary range in which you would be comfortable. Consider costs like housing, childcare, and savings and investments. Even if you don’t mention these items during the negotiation, they can help you establish a reasonable salary range while you prepare.

Set a walk-away figure

Know before you go into the negotiation at what number you will walk away from the negotiation. This can keep you from accepting a salary lower than your range.

Create a cheat sheet

Make a document detailing your achievements, education, experience and any other information you can use to demonstrate why the salary you are requesting is appropriate. Refer to it as needed during the negotiation.

Practice your pitch

Create a pitch for your requested salary, and practice it with a friend, relative or colleague. Ask them to respond to your salary request with lower numbers so that you can rehearse effective rebuttals and are prepared to go back and forth in the actual negotiation.

Suggest the meeting date

Set the negotiation for a day and time that you know you can be relaxed and able to focus.

Consider the overall benefits that might be offered

Salary is only one part of your overall compensation package. Consider the other benefits you might receive from the position when requesting a salary, such as health care, paid time off, and other company perks.

Know who you’re meeting with

Know with whom you will be negotiating so that you can prepare information specifically for them. For example, some negotiations are with human resources representatives, while others may be with your direct manager. You probably have more interaction with your manager, so you might be able to use what you know about them to plan your negotiation.

Meet your needs

Before you go into the negotiation, make sure you have had a light snack, are well-hydrated and that your phone is turned off. Make yourself comfortable so that you can focus solely on the negotiation.

Tips to use during salary negotiation

Use these tips during your salary negotiation to stay focused, confident and achieve your salary goals:

Know how to make an offer

Whether you make the first offer or the company’s negotiator does, make sure you start high so that if the number lowers throughout the negotiation, it is still an acceptable salary. Ask for more than you want, and if you give a range, make sure the bottom of the range is still at the high end of your acceptable salary expectations.

Be specific

Negotiators are often more receptive to a number like $53,500 rather than $53,000 because the specificity of the number implies that you have done extensive research to come up with an exact figure.

Use professional body language

Your body language can convey confidence and open-mindedness to the negotiator. Use eye contact, smile and nod your head to show the negotiator you are listening. Keep your hands visible and your chin up to demonstrate honesty.

Be confident

How you walk into the room, the way you sit and your facial expressions can impact how you feel. Keep your shoulders back, and your chin held high. Take deep breaths to slow your heart rate. Speak confidently, and remember your research. Use your cheat sheet to help you stay focused on your salary goals.

Share your accomplishments

Make sure the company’s negotiator is aware of all you bring to the business. Detail your accomplishments in past positions, general experience and education to demonstrate that you are worth the salary you are asking for.

Consider the perspective of the company

Remember that you and the company’s negotiator are working together to find the ideal salary and benefits package for both parties. Working together will help keep the tone positive and help you remain calm.

Pretend you’re negotiating for someone else

Sometimes it can be helpful to imagine you are representing a third party in the negotiation rather than yourself. That may allow you to be more objective in the process as you work toward your goal salary.

Prepare a rebuttal

More than likely, the company’s negotiator will not accept your first request or may lead with a salary lower than you want. Prepare a rebuttal ahead of time so you can confidently respond with a prepared reply.

Remember the benefits that might be offered in the compensation package

If you and the negotiator struggle to come to an acceptable figure, remember to mention the benefits they might offer in exchange for a lower salary. Extra paid time off can be an excellent substitute for a higher salary if the company simply cannot get there.

Tips to consider after salary negotiation

Use these tips to help reflect on the process after the negotiation has ended.

Continue to improve your work performance

Set work performance goals for yourself so that you have data and accomplishments to support asking for more money in the future.

Practice your negotiating skills

There will be future opportunities to ask for salary raises or to negotiate salaries from the beginning with a new company. Continue to practice your negotiation skills by conducting salary research and mock negotiations to do even better next time.

Prepare to try again when the time is right

Many human resources representatives suggest waiting at least a year before asking for a raise. During that year, improve your work performance, take on new responsibilities and find other ways to impress your leaders. Use these accomplishments to support your salary requests in your next negotiation.

If you were able to agree on a salary, consider what you can do next time to make even more money. If you were not able to get as much money as you hoped for, review your research and set work performance goals and begin planning to ask for a raise.

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