Basics of Salary Negotiation

Salary negotiation is an important aspect of finding a new job; however, when negotiating a salary, you must be professional and cordial since it can set a bad precedent if you are not. The following strategies while negotiating your salary while maintaining a professional demeanor.

Evaluate the offer wisely
  • Identify a reasonably salary for the position. You can identify a reasonable salary by searching the hundreds of online job sites that post positions similar to the one you're applying to. You'll also want to take into account various factors, including location, years of experience, and education, that may influence your value as a candidate.

  • Identify the salary you need to meet your household obligations. But remember, ultimately what a company is going to be willing to pay will be more dependent on what that market will bare than what you need. You can't demand a salary that is hiring than what reasonable, simply because you need to earn more.

  • After receiving an offer, compare the other aspects of the job, such as the work environment, benefits, and whether the job will enable you to reach your long term career goals, and discuss it with someone you respect. Make a list of the positive and negative aspects of the job. Evaluating a job offer based solely on the salary is short sighted and can lead to many years of frustration.
  • It's also wise to consider the cost of live in the region where you're considering to work. $50,000 a year goes a long way in Kansas, but is barely enough to pay for an apartment in San Francisco.

Communicate effectively
  • Listen to the offer carefully. If it is not what you expected, discuss this your prospective employer, but be curteous, polite and don't act surprised or disgusted. If you are still interested in accepting the job offer, let them know. A good way to respond to a low job offer might be, "I really appreciate the job offer and look forward to working with your company. In order to make this work for me, I need to make at least $50,000 a year. I think based on my experience and what other professionals in similar positions are earning, $50,000 a year is a reasonable salary. I recognize you're a small company and cash is tight. The fact that you're small is one of the thing I find most appealing about working for you. Would you possibly be willing to offer a bonus structure based on my performance that would bridge the gap between your offer and what I need to make?"

  • Begin your negotiations with reasonable salary requests but be willing to compromise. Your comprises could include increased benefits, tuition reimbursement, paid vacation time, flexible hours, stock options, a company car, worksite daycare, performance bonus, etc.

  • Never get angry or visibly frustrated during negotiations. Emphasize your experience and skills during salary negotiation. If you really need the job, be willing to compromise. At the same time, you don't want to act like you're desperate for the job or you might get low balled.

Understand the rules of the game
  • Even if you're told by a prospective employer the salary is non-negotiable, the first offer is usually not fixed. If you do a good job communicating your value, and an employer really wants to hire you, they'll usually increase the compensation level slightly.

  • If you receive the same offer a few days later, it probably is the final offer. You then can ask for a salary review in six months or reject the job offer, requesting the company to keep your name on file if future openings pay more.

  • Even if you're templted to reject the offer, leave room for negotiation. If you attempt to negotiate by outright rejecting the job, the job offer will more than likely be rescinded and a prospective employer will hire a different candidate.

If an agreement is reached, make sure to get the offer in writing.

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