When you’re searching for your next career step, one obstacle that always comes up is the awkward subject of compensation. There is no foolproof way to conquer this topic, and there is never a guarantee that you will get everything you want out of a job offer. There are some basic rules, however, that if followed can lead to a much more successful conclusion without either party being offended or confused.
Understand that the salary negotiation begins prior to the first interview.
In fact, it begins with the compensation you are currently receiving. Asking for a 25% raise because you know the wage band and you meet all the qualifications, is not the best way to begin the discussion. Now, if you are being grossly underpaid or moving to a much higher cost of living community, or you recently finished an advanced degree and the new role has substantially more responsibility, this can be a different subject. But a ‘next step’ role does not typically allow for a huge salary hike.
Be polite, be accurate, be truthful, know the boundaries, and remember that your interview statements could come back to bite you.
For example, if you are relocating and you continue to express concern about housing throughout the interview process, they may offer less in the first-year’s salary in exchange for putting you in corporate housing. You might not have wanted to spend that kind of money in temporary housing, but your attitude and concerns dictated the terms of your offer without even realizing it.
When you complete an application, filling in the ‘desired salary’ line does not mean that this will be the offer.
This is typically used as a way for a company to rule out those candidates that are way out of budget range.
Asking for 5% to 10% more than your current salary is very appropriate unless there are extenuating circumstances such as above.
If you want the job, you must be reasonable.
If you are moving to a much lower cost of living community, be prepared for a salary decrease.
Your standard of living may increase, but the number printed on your annual W-2 could be less, and sometimes substantially.
If you want the job and you think the offer is fair, don’t be greedy.
Many candidates mistakenly think that everything is negotiable and that first offers are always low. There is a significant benefit to working with a recruiter with great client relationships like those at Johnson Search Group, as we will know where there may be some wiggle room in an offer.
Comparing apples to apples is vital.
Base, bonus, benefits, housing, relocation, career advancement, location, etc. are all part of the compensation package. Truly understanding the total value is key in negotiation.
Ask yourself, “Do I really want the job and what is it worth to me?”
Take a breath and a pause before responding to any offer.
You do not want to overlook something and then have to come back and ask for more after you have accepted an offer.
Most importantly, remember that any representative that the company selects to use for this purpose will be a colleague in the future if you accept the position.
Avoid the temptation to be abrasive if you are not getting your way. You may get the job, but starting out on the wrong foot by showing a poor attitude is always a bad idea. “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar” is a very appropriate thought process when negotiating salary, and is the ultimate ingredient to a successful outcome.
Don’t assume if the answer comes back quickly that you did not ask for enough.
There are many factors involved in this, it may simply be that you hit the magic top of the range and the hiring manager thinks you’re worth it and can make it work. If you still are a fit in that top range, they may dislike negotiating as much as you do and it just happened to work. If you had asked for more, you may have had the offer withdrawn.