One of the best tips for negotiating a higher starting salary is to use a higher number in early conversations, within reason. That way, if the employer needs you to negotiate down, it won’t dip below your required living wage. Starting higher does not mean beginning outside the realm of possibility or reason; it simply gives you a cushion so that both parties can find common ground.
Other ways to know your worth and negotiate a higher wage include:
- Understand what you’re offering and why it’s valuable to the employer
- Know your market value and the value of similar positions in the same market or industry
- Don’t show your hand first; wait for the employer to make an offer
- Be prepared to walk away if your demands are not met
- Be direct about what you want and be willing to explain your reasoning
Salary negotiation is an essential skill, both in the workplace and beyond. With practice and preparation, anyone can negotiate salary confidently — aiming not just for a higher wage but also for a benefits package that meets their needs.
Be willing to give and take
Negotiation often involves compromise, so be prepared to meet the employer in the middle. Be open to negotiations and consider different possibilities, such as additional vacation, relocation assistance or an increase in salary over time. In addition, be sure to ask more questions about the role before agreeing — that way, you can ensure the offer fits your needs.
Being willing to compromise can also give your employer peace of mind that, if hired, you’ll be easy to work with and have the same goals.
Determine your priorities
Regarding salary negotiations, know your priorities. Consider the trade-offs you’re willing to make when negotiating a job offer — for example, taking a lower wage in exchange for flexible hours or an extra week of vacation.
Consider what matters most to you and prioritize those items when you start negotiating. For example, you may want to focus on higher wages, more vacation days or better benefits packages — whatever it is, make sure your ideal job package reflects your wants and needs.
- If you have children, ask whether the job offers access to affordable child care.
- If you’re looking for upward mobility, research the opportunity for career growth within the company. Talk to the hiring manager about the potential for a promotion or raise.
- If you’re looking to save money, ask about any employee discounts or if there’s an option to work remotely and avoid commuting costs.
- If you need extra support with tuition costs, look into jobs that offer tuition assistance.
By understanding your priorities and researching what’s available, you can make an informed decision based on your needs and wants.
Learn to spot double talk
Double talk is a common tactic used by employers in salary negotiations. Unfortunately, this language is often vague and hard to decipher, making it difficult for prospective and current employees to determine their worth or identify how they’ll be compensated.
Common double-talk phrases include:
- “We don’t have the budget for that.”
- “Let’s revisit this later down the line.”
- “We do things differently here.”
To avoid these tactics and ensure you get a fair offer, come prepared with evidence of your worth. Have research and statistics to back up the numbers you’re asking for or examples from similar jobs in the industry. Proving you’re worth what you’re asking for can help you cut through any double talk and get closer to a fair offer. Of course, this goes for negotiating a raise and or promotion too.
Will negotiating a salary in an interview hurt your chances?
Negotiating for a higher salary in an interview won’t necessarily hurt your chances of getting the job. Instead, it can demonstrate your confidence and commitment to the role. As long as you come prepared with research and statistics to back up your demands, negotiate professionally and remain open to compromise, you will be better prepared to ask for the job offer you want.
However, coming across as overly demanding or unprofessional could negatively affect your prospects. Likewise, if your skills and experience don’t match the job description, it could make it more difficult for employers to justify giving you more than what was initially offered.
Overall, negotiation skills are an essential asset in any job-seeking process. Knowing when and how to negotiate, and what to look for in an offer, can help you get the job package you deserve. With the right techniques and a willingness to compromise, it’s possible to secure a fair and equitable job offer.