In today’s professional landscape, knowing how to negotiate salary is crucial to earn the best value for your time. However, most professionals face difficulty in landing a job in the first place. With so many others applying for whatever position you have in mind, getting through the selection process after pouring over your resume for hours is a relief.
Then there’s the nerve-wracking interview process until you’re selected as a final candidate. It’s easy to take whatever the company offers upfront for fear of the opportunity going to someone else, but you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of salary negotiation.
Why You Should Negotiate Your Salary
It’s easy to assume you’ll be sent out the door when you bring up money matters, but remember that it’s an essential element of hiring no matter where you go.
A 2018 staffing firm Robert Half survey revealed that only 39% of job-seekers tried to negotiate their salary at their last job offer. This statistic means that most choose to settle for what is suggested and don’t know how to negotiate salary offers.
But a first offer is just that; it’s not the final offer. Recruiters understand that the salary is an important aspect, and many expect you to start the conversation.
Of course, you don’t always have to negotiate. Some job offers might come with a specific salary package, so it’s better to leave it then. Other times, they might ask you how much you expect or provide you with a range.
And finally, if you’re a seasoned professional, you’ll have the opportunity to negotiate your salary.
In the latter two, it’s essential to put your skills to good use.
It Affects All Your Future Salaries
You might be privy to this fact, but one of the basic questions you’re asked when applying for a new job is your salary history in the other organizations you were working at. And it’s one fundamental reason it’s important to negotiate your salary right off the bat.
The lower the salary you settle for the first time, the lower your future packages. It’s simple, and if you have a higher base, then it’s natural that you’ll ask for more at your next job.
Here’s a salary negotiation example; suppose you have an initial offer of $25000, and you negotiate it to $30,000. Even if we negate pay raises, you can ask for at least $35,000 next time. If you don’t negotiate, then you’ll be at $30,000. And over time, this difference adds up to a lot of money.
It Affects Your Short-Term and Long-Term Earnings
This aspect is obvious if we take the above example. If you get a 3% raise yearly and you’re being paid $30,000 instead of $25,000, the money will add up to a sizeable amount over the next ten years.
The short-term effect is evident with the $5000 difference, but the long-term effects can majorly affect your entire career and the money you make.
Remember that while money isn’t everything, it’s still important. You don’t want to be disappointed or unhappy with a job you initially enjoyed because you feel you deserve to be paid more.
A Harvard study revealed that those who initially negotiated for a higher offer were much happier with their jobs.
And to give you an idea of exactly how important a mere $5000 can be in the long run, the same study also pointed out that a 25-year-old who entered the market at $55,000 instead of $50,000 will earn $634,000 more than a 40-year career with a 5% annual raise.
Negotiation Shows You Know Your Worth
Just like your resume and interview, your attitude while negotiating salary offer dramatically impacts how you’re viewed. You can’t be rude or arrogant, but you must be firm. How you deal with it also depends on how generous the offer is for you.
If you’re alright with letting it go if the pay is unsatisfactory, you can be more comfortable and see how far your demands get you (as long as you stay reasonable). If you want the position, you can be more flexible.
But being willing to negotiate your salary shows the recruiter that you know your worth and are confident in what you’ll bring to the table. Large companies want that sort of person on their side of the table, and it’ll make a great impression.
Before you panic, remember that there are no downsides. If you aren’t unprofessional and aggressive, the employer can refuse or accept.
Tips For Negotiating Your Salary
There’s a significant difference between those who do and don’t speak up at the right time. It might seem daunting, but it’s a necessary step for your future. If you don’t negotiate your salary, then you’re depriving your future self.
The best time for negotiating your offer is after you’ve passed the selection process because you can be confident that you’re their top pick. After that, it’s only a matter of how you deal with the situation.
Here are a few tips:
- Evaluate Yourself Carefully
The most important part is evaluating yourself and looking over what you offer. Where do you live? How experienced are you? It’s easier to negotiate higher if you’re a seasoned professional than if you’re new.
Consider your education level and how it compares to other applicants. Do you have a higher degree or more niche skills? Also, factor in relevant certificates and licenses that give you an edge over others.
- Do Your Research
Next, ask what others in a similar position are being paid. You can research on sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Indeed to see what others at your experience and education level were offered and if there were others who were able to increase their initial offer.
You should also check how much others in similar companies are being paid so you can compare and ask for a competitive salary. No matter the position’s attractiveness, you don’t want to be underpaid.
- Providing Justification for Your Demands
You’re going to be questioned, so ensure your demands are reasonable. If you’re asking to work from home one day a week, there should be a valid reason (like your children come home early). Don’t be greedy.
If you want to be paid more, point out your skillset or past achievements. Keep comparing other offers for last because it can come across as too aggressive. And be very careful when bringing it up because it’s a sensitive matter.
- Show Your Interest
Don’t forget to show that you’re interested in the job offer. You can’t act condescending or arrogant, especially if you’re a new job-seeker. Remember that while you’re in a position to negotiate, they’re still the ones recruiting you.
Be polite and show that you want the job, but you’re reluctant because you feel like you deserve more. As mentioned, it’s necessary to give justification for what you’re asking.
- Be Confident but Not Demanding
Again, they’re the ones hiring you. As important as it is to state what you want clearly, you can’t come across as demanding. Likeability is crucial in the job scene, and people want to work with those they like.
They won’t try to understand your perspective if you’re rude to them. Even if they would be willing to give you certain perks in another case, a recruiter will rescind the offer if you’re unlikeable.
- Be Prepared for Questioning
Be prepared to answer tough questions. Apart from justification, you’ll also get asked whether the company is your top pick and if you have any other offers. Be careful not to lie because you’ll suffer if it does not work out.
Finally, walk away if you genuinely feel underpaid or uncomfortable. You might feel like it’s a loss at the time, but it’s vital for your career in the long run.
You can look for better offers with other perks, even in the same pay range. Remember that everyone will only treat you as well as you treat yourself.