Negotiating Salary

“I’ve got all the money I’ll ever need if I die by four o’clock.” — Henny Youngman

Negotiating your salary for a new job can be difficult and emotional.  But it doesn’t have to be if you have done your research and you take a strategic approach to negotiation.

The two main tricks are these: save the salary discussion until you have received an offer and don’t give them the advantage of knowing your current or desired salary.  It’s like playing a game of poker.  The employer may not bet until he sees your hand.  With an offer on the table, you know the employer wants you and you will be better able to negotiate.

Easier said than done? Here are some strategies.

1) the ART of negotiation:

Avoid the subject

Reverse the question

Tell a range.

The strategies work like this:

Avoid the subject

When asked about your salary requirement, a simple response such as, “My requirements are flexible,” or  “My salary is negotiable,” may be enough to move the conversation along.

You may need to explain that it is difficult to answer the salary question until you know more about the scope of the job and responsibilities involved.

If you are asked specifically what you made in your last job, you might point out that the salary you made in your previous position isn’t applicable to the one for which you are interviewing. It may be the market has changed or the responsibilities are quite different.

Reverse the question

If still pressed to answer, your next course of action is to get the employer to state a number. Respond by asking, “What is the range you normally pay for this position?” or “What do you consider this position to be worth?”

If the interviewer does offer a range, conceal your joy or dismay and simply acknowledge that the range is “within the ballpark.” If the range is higher than you expected, you don’t want to appear too eager. If it is lower, there may be aspects of the job or benefits that you can negotiate to make the compensation package work for you.

Do your research and know what you’re worth in the market. This way, you will know if the employer’s first offer is a low or fair.

Tell a range

In some cases you may be forced to mention a salary figure first. Rather than a figure, a range will leave more flexibility.  In addition, take into account the total compensation package.  There are many other benefits that may be negotiated, including retirement, bonuses, extra vacation time, professional training, relocation expenses, cell phone or a laptop computer – of course all these depend on the appropriateness to your position.

Most important, consider the job itself and the career potential. Having a job that gives you great satisfaction may be worth more than any employer can afford to pay.

2) In addition to the ART method, you can approach salary negotiation using this four-step method.

Step 1: Negotiate the job. If a job is too low-level, try to upgrade the job.  Add responsibilities until the job is worth your while. Make sure the hiring manager agrees that this new job is what he or she wants. Don’t negotiate the salary yet.

Step 2: Outshine and outlast the competition. You have outshined your competition and kept in the running by offering to do more than your competitors.  It is best to postpone the discussion of salary until all your competitors are gone.

Step 3: Get the offer. Once a manager has decided that you are the right person, you are in a better position to negotiate a package that is appropriate for you. Until you get the offer, postpone the discussion of salary.

Step 4: Negotiate your compensation package. Most job hunters hear the offer and they neither accept or reject it. If you want to negotiate well you will need to know the company’s and the industry’s payscales, know what you want, and what you are willing to do without. Negotiate one point at a time, base pay first. Save for last the issues of conflict. Try to get them to state the first bid. And remember to never accept a position based on bonus pay.  Bonuses are rarely, if ever, guaranteed.


By: Rose Opengart, Interviews That Work

© 2018, Rose Opengart, Interviews That Work

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