Nothing in the entire hiring process creates as much anxiety – for both the employer and the applicant – as money. In many cases, neither party is an experienced negotiator, and discussing salary can be difficult. Here are some ways to make this oh so difficult talk a bit easier:
1. Do your homework
Most professions have guilds, societies or other professional organizations that keep track of salary trends in the field. If you contact them, you can learn about the range of salary that you can expect for the specific position in the geographical area where it is located.
Remember that about 30 percent of your salary will be deducted from your paycheck and think about your own financial needs.
2. Review your skills
Different jobs have different salary ranges, but where you fall in that range will depend on your skills and experience. After you learn about what the job is worth to you, make sure you have an honest assessment of what you are worth to the employer.
Several reference and professional organizations, such as the National Association of Colleges and Employers, Career Center and the American Almanac of Jobs and Salaries can help you determine the salary range for a job and where you fit in.
If you are asked about the salary range that you are looking for, do not automatically use your current salary as a starting point – but do not hide conceal what your past salary was either. It is generally OK to state a desired range of up to about $6,000 (low to high) to signal your willingness to negotiate.
3. Context is important
The same job may pay more in one location than another because the cost of living may be higher there, or the location itself may be less desirable because of fewer amenities. A highly desirable location might attract workers willing to earn less money, while an undesirable one may lead to higher salary as compensation.
Other factors should be considered as well. Retirement plans, health and other insurance, vacation and leave allowances and perks such as a company car are all part of the overall compensation package, not just the salary.
4. Be a salesman
Rather than focusing your talk on the higher salary you desire, focus on the value that you will bring to the company above and beyond what is in the job description. By being discreet, you can send the message that the salary being offered is not sufficient.
5. Stay positive
Remember that if the negotiation goes well, you and the person on the other side of the table will be on the same team. Do not turn the negotiation into a competition.
6. Know when it is time
When your employer makes their final offer, they may not actually say it is their final offer. Know how to sense when it is time and do not force the issue.
7. Wait for other chances
The interview is not your last opportunity to persuade the company to increase your salary. Once hired, you can prove to your employer that you are worth every penny they are paying you – and more.