Part of the job search process is discussing pay. After all, you’re not working for free! However, it’s an awkward conversation for many, to the point that about half of workers never ask their employer for higher pay. On the flipside, companies make salary offers with the full knowledge that candidates will come back with a counteroffer! So, if it’s already expected, you have nothing to lose when trying to negotiate your salary. It’s the way you approach the conversation that counts.
You can develop your salary negotiation skills with the following techniques:
1. Do some research.
The first thing you can arm yourself is what salary to reasonably expect for your job title. Visit websites such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics or Indeed.com to see what the typical salary ranges are for jobs in your field. This will give you a baseline for what you can hope to receive, and what is within reason to ask for. Mention this research when it’s time to talk salary.
2. Establish a baseline.
Your interviewer will typically ask what amount you are looking for, but it helps to establish a baseline first. Ask what salary range they had budgeted for the role. It may fit within your desired salary, or it may not.
3. Outline working conditions first.
These can muddy a conversation about salary. Iron out details such as start date, remote work options and other specifics prior to discussing salary.
4. What information to avoid.
Certain information doesn’t hold any weight when negotiating a future salary, and might hurt your chances. First, you don’t need to discuss your past salary history. Also, don’t disclose your salary requirement as part of the application process—this makes it more difficult to have any wiggle room for negotiation.
After you’ve stated the pay level you’d like to receive, simply allow for silence. You may feel the need to fill any silence with conversation, but resist the urge.
6. Ask about perks.
Sometimes, other features of a job are just as valuable as your pay. If an employer isn’t willing to meet you at your salary request, ask about a sign-on bonus or relocation reimbursement as a way to increase your take-home cash.
Walk away if you need to
Ultimately, you need to feel you’re being fairly compensated for the skills you bring to the company. If you feel undervalued and underpaid, it will affect your performance and your longevity with the company. So if an employer is truly unwilling to pay you what you’re worth, it’s best to walk away and find another opportunity.
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