You aced the interview and your hard work has paid off in a job offer. You’re excited to learn the company wants you … that is, until you start talking money. The salary is not at all what you were expecting, and not in the “I just won the lottery” way!
Now things are more complex. It’s time for salary negotiation, but where to start? The last thing you want is to offend the hiring manager and have them rescind the offer.
Chances are that won’t happen, but you do need to avoid common missteps to stay in favor. I recently shared some key negotiation mistakes with Psychology Today:
A CareerBuilder survey found that more than half of workers don’t negotiate for better pay when they’re offered a job. Those who avoid it said they don’t feel comfortable asking for more money (51 percent); they’re afraid the employer will decide not to hire them (47 percent); or they don’t want to appear greedy (36 percent). Meanwhile, three-quarters of employers in the same survey said they typically had room to increase their first salary offers by five to 10 percent during negotiations.
On the other hand, you don’t want to initiate negotiations prematurely. When the hiring manager says, “Do you have any questions for me?” at the interview, it’s not an invitation to ask about salary. If you do, you’re leaving a bad impression as your first inquiry. Always wait until an offer is presented; and ask only if you aren’t given the finer details about salary and benefits at that time.
You might take a deep breath before you make the proclamation, “I’m really excited about the prospect of joining your team, but the offer is a bit low.” Just don’t divulge your salary expectations right after it.
Now is the time to listen rather than showing your hand. You may learn about factors that can affect further negotiation, like a formal pay structure across departments or the amount of leeway they have. The more you know before putting your cards on the table, the better.
Do your research about salaries. There’s information readily available online for every occupation. You might even be able to pinpoint the range the company actually pays through a site like Glassdoor.com. Try to narrow data to information relevant to your market.
It’s one thing to document your worth and be confident in your value. It’s another to come across as demanding or haughty. Present your case for a higher salary, but be open to adjusting other aspects of the offer, such as the amount of vacation time or a higher sales commission.
There’s value in knowing when to stop talking when negotiating. There may be times when the hiring manager doesn’t respond quickly. That awkward pause can give you subtle power, as you’ve lobbed the ball in their court. For example, you might respond, “I was actually considering something a bit higher. Is that the highest range you would consider?” Then wait—versus filling in the space with, “…but, I’m flexible,” for example.
Check out my full article on Psychology Today to make sure you handle salary negotiations correctly.