A friend of mine has been interviewing for new jobs, and she asked for my help with negotiating salary. I’ve had a lot of jobs in my life, and I’m proud to say that I know how to interview. Like a boss. Above all else, and this goes for every part of the interview process, be confident. Confident in a brave way, not an arrogant way. Know what you are worth and why and be able to communicate that well. The rest is just strategy. Here are some tips that I have learned to negotiate my salary. If they work for you, I get 10%. I’m kidding. Sort of.
How to negotiate salary
1. Don’t talk salary until you’re offered the job. Let your potential employer decide whether you’re the right person for the job, and then talk about money. If previous salary is listed on the application, leave it blank. If you are asked minimum salary requirements during an interview, respond with: “I am much more concerned with the work I would be doing than the salary at this point. That being said, I will consider any competitive offer.” Once they’ve offered you the job they are invested, and more likely to meet your requests.
2. Let them make the first offer. You always want the employer to suggest a salary first. If the offer is above your pre-determined minimum, take the job. If it’s below your minimum, tell them it’s too low—but do not say by how much. Let them do the work to meet you where you want to be. Ask them to write it on a piece of paper and slide it across the desk like an old gangster film. They love that.
3. Be prepared. Research a fair salary on sites like Glassdoor and PayScale. Figure out how much you need to make before you’ll turn down an offer. Research the company, the market and the position. Talk to friends who might know someone who works there, and see if they would be willing to talk with you about company expectations and salary review schedules. Then practice negotiating. The more you practice, the more you’ll ooze confidence when the real deal happens.
4. Counter with confidence. Even if the company’s initial offer is exactly – or higher – what you want, always, always counter. Most companies are expecting it, and it shows you believe yourself an asset. Be prepared to defend your worth with positive past job performance and feedback and market research. When defending your salary, never bring personal issues into play. Everyone has a mortgage, kids or student loans to pay for, and this angle can portray you in a bad light. Keep it about the work.
5. Be creative. If the company isn’t flexible on salary, negotiate other benefits like extra vacation time, a flexible schedule, an office, earlier performance review or Friday elephant rides (let me know if that last one works). Employers are more likely to accommodate these ideas because they come at a low – or no – cost to the company.