When you receive the elusive job offer and your onboarding process is set to begin, it can be an exciting time. While you are eager to start, there is still one crucial step remaining: negotiation. At this point, your soon-to-be employer has revealed their hand in believing you are the most qualified and integrable candidate. By trusting in your capabilities and taking these five steps in preparation, you can feel confident landing the salary you want while maintaining your professionalism.

Know Your Worth

Showcase the numbers to prove your value. Don’t counter your first salary offer simply because you planned to counter. Your employer will only take your counter legitimately if you have the research and work expertise to support it. Through resources such as GlassDoor, LinkedIn, or Indeed, you can find averages specific to your industry, location, and position. Use these statistics as leverage to get the figure you want. When you’ve completed extensive research into your market value, you make it difficult for your employer to refute your arguments. 

If possible, reveal your specific salary range first. While some studies show value in offering a precise number because it gives the impression that you’ve completed extensive research in the market, many will contest this theory. Offering a specific range will showcase your research while leaving more room for compromise and negotiation than the outdated approach of locking in one number.

“My salary situation wasn’t right. I made five attempts to fix it, then realized I’d made the same mistake every time: I apologized for asking.” – Mika Brzezinski

Know Your Interviewer

When you are completing contract negotiations with an HR representative, your manager, or the company CEO, it is essential to do your research into the individual. Learn about their work history and how their career path led them to be in front of you. Remember, your potential new employer is not out to get you. If you’ve made it this far, it means they like you. Use preliminary conversations to engage in their interests and ask for stories about their success. In addition to furthering your understanding, you will establish trust along the way.

Remember Your Employer Is Prepared To Negotiate

Similar to how you arrive with a minimum salary expectation, your interviewer likely has a maximum offer prepared. Don’t be afraid to ask for more than the original number given, and be sure to practice having this conversation. Reach out to a mentor or friend you trust who can provide feedback and provide a feel for addressing unexpected questions. Before you even have the opportunity to negotiate a new job offer, write down explicit examples of how your skill-set and background will support your and the company’s success. Are there any relevant certifications or licenses you’ve acquired that are worth emphasizing? Be sure to include them.

Familiarize yourself with the trends. A recent Robert Half study revealed that across all industries, 28% of managers admit to increasing the figure for starting salaries since the pandemic began last March. While you can anticipate some pushback on your demands, your employer is likely anticipating pushback as well. Just remember not to drag out your negotiation if you are not receiving the words you want. If they genuinely cannot match your number, there are other alternatives you can pursue, as I will reveal at a later point.

Don’t Fear The ‘No’

Your employer already offered you the job and now expects you to negotiate, so there is nothing to fear. If you know what you are worth, don’t settle in aligning your demands with the work performance you put out. Within your negotiation, there may be a series of counters until the ultimate final number is reached. At worst, you may hear something along the lines of “I’m sorry, but this is our best and final offer.”

If you do hear a ‘no,’ it is essential to remember it is not a product of inferior job performance. No matter what the outcome may be, you must carry yourself confidently while continuing to show gratitude for the opportunity. Being arrogant or haughty in your demands can generate a sour note for your conversation and future relationship.

Going Beyond The Numbers

In some cases, you may reach a stopping point in how high your employer can offer, but there are enticing alternatives to consider. Increasing your health benefits, 401k offerings, PTO days, equity in the company, or flexible work hours are common examples across negotiation. If money is too critical of a factor, consider requesting your annual performance review and salary restructuring to be made biannual. In leveraging these features, you can find common ground in factors outside of money. If you fall into the favorable circumstance of deliberating multiple job offers, here are 10 steps you can take to manage your decision-making process effectively.

Wrap Up

If you know your value, don’t settle in receiving your demands. When you’ve made it this far, it’s clear the company wants to keep you around. Therefore, offering a few extra thousand dollars or company perks is often nothing to mule over, especially when the alternative is reopening the job search. If you know your priorities, be intentional in disclosing them during negotiation. You may not receive all of your demands, but having them laid out allows your employer to come to terms with your top two or three. In any case, staying honest in conversation is imperative for starting your relationship right while maintaining your integrity.

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