After the interview and once the thank you notes are sent, you might be offered a job. Now, what should you do? Do you accept the position straight away? How much money should you ask for? How do you determine what is an acceptable salary? Here are a few tips for your salary negotiation.
Once you receive the offer from your potential employer, do not accept it the moment they offer it to you. Thank them and set a day when you will get back to them. If you are happy with their offer, problem solved. If you are unhappy with their offer, it is time to negotiate your salary. Interestingly, both race and gender play a role in salary negotiations. Women are less likely to negotiate than men or ask for a raise. Despite doing comparable jobs, men tend to negotiate more, hence they earn more, further widening the pay gap between men and women.
Do your homework and do the initial research about similar jobs in the industry. What is the average pay in your field? What is the average pay at your potential company for someone with your level of experience? How does it compare to other companies? A simple online search will help you determine what you are worth based on your experience, field and where you live.You can also talk to other people in the field to better understand what your skills are worth.
Be ready to negotiate
If the recruiter asks for your salary range, be prepared. However, it’s better not to give them a range, but rather come up with an exact number; this will indicate that you did your research and are well informed. You might have to compromise between what the employer is ready to offer and what you want. Therefore, ask for a higher salary than what you would be happy with, so in the end you both end up satisfied.
Know your value
Whether you are a recent graduate fresh from the school with no prior experience or are changing careers, know your value and skills. Do not take the first salary the employer offers you. Because you might risk to low-ball your value. Come with a counteroffer, but ask for a realistic number. If they ask you what you are currently making, do not have to share it because it might narrow the negotiation closer to your previous salary. Rather you might say that you do not feel comfortable sharing it and would like focus on what skills you are bringing to the company.
Negotiating a salary means that you are trying to reach a compromise. Both sides should be flexible in their offers and demands. Being too demanding and unable to back off, might be harmful for you.
If the employer is not willing to increase the base salary, there are other non-cash benefits to pursue. For example, you can ask for more vacation time or paid leave if they are unwilling to raise the salary. Other compensations to ask for are medical insurance, flexible work schedule, working from home, maternity or paternity leave, moving expenses, paid education or training, or bonuses. Just remember that getting a bonus is only a one time payment.
It is important to ask questions during your negotiations. Are there any promotional opportunities in the future? How did you calculate the offered salary? Is this offer based on the years of experience or is this a going rate for this position?
Negotiating Over Email
Some people are better negotiating in person, in one-on-on setting. However, for some executives or recruiters it might be too time consuming to meet in person or by phone and they prefer to do it over the phone. This has its own advantages and disadvantages, especially because you might miss the facial expressions and other social clues. When negotiating a salary in person, take notes during negotiations. You can repeat what you have agreed upon to make sure both negotiating parties are on the same page.
Finally, be ready to walk away. Having this in mind might be scary especially if you really want or need this particular job. Practice your negotiations – as with everything else, practice makes perfect.