Friday, October 18, 2013

How to negotiate a better salary for a job offer

NICE NEGOTIATING: Negotiating with your future employer
on salary doesn't have to be a tense moment 
You’ll probably encounter this issue at least once in your career: You found the perfect job, aced the interview, and got the call that they’re offering the position to you -- but with a salary that is less than you expected or not what you believe you should be paid for the position’s responsibilities. Now you have to negotiate for a better salary with your future employer, without insulting them or settling for less than is fair.

Negotiating for a better salary may feel forward, but it’s very important to your career. About half of all new employees never negotiate their salary, but one study conducted by George Mason University and Temple University found that negotiating just $5,000 more for a starting salary was worth more than $600,000 over the course of a career. Although the difference between $50,000 and $55,000 might not seem like much, it adds up in the long run.

Salary negotiation seems to be something that comes easier to older male workers. Fifty-five percent of workers 35 or older typically negotiate the first offer, while only 45 percent of workers ages 18-34 do the same. Men (54 percent) are slightly more likely than women (49 percent) to negotiate first offers, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington. But this is a skill that everyone can benefit from.

So how do you go about negotiating your salary? First, be prepared. Know the value of the position to the organization and industry. Is it a position the company could fill easily, or does it require a specific set of skills that only a certain group of workers possess?

Next, research what salary ranges are appropriate for the position’s industry, level, and location. Use other job postings, salary statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data, and information from the Department of Labor to get a better understanding of what the going rates are for that job in your area.

When it comes to speaking with your future employer about the position, patience is important. Let the employer make the first offer, but don’t accept it right away. Instead, ask if that’s a firm offer. Remember to be positive, respectful, and confident, not arrogant.

If the employer has made it seem like there’s room for negotiation, you should always be prepared to follow up with a fair counteroffer. If you’re unsure, start with a range that’s about $5,000 above the initial offer. For instance, say “I was targeting a salary around $40,000-$42,000” or “I was looking for something closer to $65,000-$67,000.” Choose your words carefully to let them know you’re very interested in the position and open to negotiation to come to a fair deal.

The key to negotiating is always knowing your acceptable range and sticking to it, without being rude or making demands. But there are also a few times you shouldn’t try to negotiate. These include:
  • If you know the acceptable range for your position and the employer has offered the highest amount.
  • If the employer has said that the offer is firm and there’s no room for negotiation.
If the offer is firm, you can move to the benefits package to find out what’s included and make sure it aligns with your needs. You can negotiate many aspects of your benefits package, including medical benefits, cell phone allowance, travel expenses, paid time off, and more. All of these can be adjusted for a fair compensation package.

There’s more to be said here, and we will follow this post up with information on how to negotiate your benefits package.