Whether you’re trying to ask for a raise at your current company or you’re trying to get a better offer elsewhere, salary negotiation is a tricky subject. It’s something that a lot of workers struggle with. In fact, a PayScale survey of 31,000 people found that 57% of them have not asked for a raise in their current field.
Although for 38%, this was because they got a raise before they needed to ask for one, 28% felt uncomfortable negotiating salary, and 19% did not want to be perceived as pushy. So they just end up not asking for a raise at all. The same survey also found that if you have a higher annual salary, you are also more likely to have asked for a raise and to have received it.
70% of people who were making more than $150k managed to get their requested raises. On the other hand, only 25% of those making $10k-$20k got their requested raises. These numbers show the need for you to start salary negotiation early on in your career. If you start now, there’s a good chance you will eventually end up with a pay grade that improves your chances of receiving even better pay hikes.
So whether you want to get better benefits and pay hikes in your current company or you want to strike a better deal elsewhere, you need to learn the art of salary negotiation. That’s exactly what we’re going to help you within this post. Here are the best practices you need to follow when negotiating salary:
#1: Use Data to Backup Your Expectations
If you’re asking for a raise, make sure you have proof to show that you are indispensable to the company. Have you consistently delivered on big projects? Or maybe you’ve managed to meet and exceed the targets that have been set for you. Having solid proof that you deserve the raise can improve your chances of getting it.
Similarly, you should apply the same salary negotiation tactic while you’re interviewing for a new job. Not only should you show proof of your indispensability, you should be able to set realistic expectations backed up by data.
Conduct thorough research on how much your skills are worth based on experience, title, and geographic location. The personal salary calculators from Glassdoor and PayScale can help you with this. You can then use this data as leverage in the salary negotiation process for your next job.
Image Source: Glassdoor
#2: Decide on a Walk-Away Point
Using the research you’ve conducted, you will be able to get a fair idea of what others are making in your position. Compare it against your current salary and then decide on the lowest number you’d be willing to settle for. This is your walk-away point and you should use it to anchor your expectations during the salary negotiation process.
So if an employer makes you an offer that’s lower than that amount, you should try to negotiate and see if they will raise it. If not, you should walk away instead of settling for something less than your expectations.
#3: Avoid Revealing Your Current Salary
Most employers will try to ask you what you’re making in your current position or what you previously made. This helps them come up with an idea of the lowest offer they can make without being completely disrespectful. They will normally offer 10% to 20% more than your current salary. So if that isn’t what you want, you should avoid revealing this information.
Remember that you are under no obligation to provide them with your personal financial history. But you need to be tactful about the response you give. You could start by telling them that you’re uncomfortable giving out the information. And immediately follow up with a statement about how you’ve been looking for something in a certain pay range. To avoid sounding entitled, talk about how this is the value you will bring to their company instead of directly saying that you’re worth this much.
#4: Be Patient
You may be inclined to set clear expectations about your salary at the start of your interview process. It makes sense since you may not want to go through a lengthy process to qualify only to be met with a lowball offer. However, it might be wiser to wait until the very end to start the money talk. This will give you enough time to establish your value to them and impress your prospective employers.
Starting salary negotiation too early in the recruitment process could leave a bad impression. Prospective employers may feel like you’re only in it for the money and that you’re not particularly interested in doing the job. They may also perceive you as too pushy, which may lower your chances of not only getting your expected pay but also landing the job altogether.
If the employer starts asking you your salary expectations too early in the process, try to defer for as long as possible. Use the tactic given in the third point to give them a ballpark figure, but don’t get into the specifics until much later. Try to earn some more time so you can convince them that you’re worth what you’re expecting.
#5: Consider Other Benefits
It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t be focusing on monetary compensation alone. Consider the other benefits and incentives that the employer could be offering in addition to the salary. For example, some companies may offer flexible work hours, unlimited sick leave, free lunch, signing, and retention bonuses, and other perks.
Make sure you consider how a prospective employer can bridge the gap with other incentives and benefits, even if they can’t offer the exact salary you’re expecting. Some companies even use platforms like Candidate Rewards to better help you visualize the full value of their offers. They can provide a visual graph of other non-monetary benefits and their value, as shown in the screenshot below.
Image Source: Candidate Rewards
These are some of the basic steps you should follow during salary negotiation. Although most of these tips are geared towards a job application process, you can still tweak them and use them when asking for a raise. Got any specific questions about salary negotiation? Feel free to leave a comment below.