5 simple tips for a successful salary negotiation

By Robert Half on 30 March 2019

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the interview rounds, and now you have a job offer on hand.

But your job search journey isn’t over yet - it’s time to negotiate your salary.

For some candidates, salary negotiation can be one of the most harrowing aspects of the interview process. Fortunately, since you already have an offer, you also have the upper hand.

The right approach could get you a healthy jump in your next pay cheque and earning the remuneration you deserve. The following tips and salary tools can help you negotiate the salary you want and deserve.

1. Research salary ranges

Before a potential employer asks, “What’s your expected salary?” – make sure you are ready to respond. After you receive a job offer, ask for a couple of days to consider it. Think about how much money you want and need to make. Take into account the cost of living, your future plans and any long-term loans. These are important questions you need to identify before engaging in any kind of salary negotiation.

Then, determine whether the offered amount lines up with salary ranges in your industry and job title. You can get a good idea of the salary percentile of particular roles from the Robert Half Salary Guide.

2. Set a figure

Now it’s time to state how much you would like to receive. A Columbia Business School study found that people who asked for a specific number were perceived to be better informed and, subsequently, were more successful than those who gave a rounded number.

However, don’t get carried away. Come up with a reasonable number based on your skill set and experience. If you’re a recent graduate and ask for a manager’s salary, your potential employer is less likely to take you seriously. You could even lose your footing in the negotiation.

3. Salary negotiation is about being confident

When it comes to who brings up a dollar value or percentage first, let the hiring manager make the first move. That could set the lower limit for you to negotiate up from. If you are made to offer a number first, aim high within realistic confines with the goal of meeting your boss’ offer in the middle.

What's also important is not settling for something that you’re not comfortable with. Talent managers will often open negotiations at the lower end of salary ranges because they expect job candidates to negotiate for a competitive salary. If what’s offered isn’t satisfactory or a raise isn’t an option at the present moment, there is still sense in being flexible about what else you can negotiate for. Show courtesy and professionalism, which will demonstrate to your potential employer that you’re confident in your abilities and know your worth.

Don’t go overboard though. In any salary negotiation, arrogance gets you nowhere – no matter how good you really are.

4. Consider the perks

Remember that your overall salary package consists of more than a paycheck. It also includes benefits such as annual and medical leave. Sometimes your employer may not meet your expected salary, but that doesn’t mean a salary negotiation is off the table.

Work with the hiring manager to find a win-win solution by asking for better performance-based bonuses, taking into account flexible work arrangements or telecommuting benefits.

5. Show your value

If the hiring manager does not accept your counteroffer during a salary negotiation, demonstrate that your requests are justified. Show how the company will benefit from your expertise by citing examples of how you have added value to your former workplaces, such as streamlining processes or finding creative ways to save money.

There is no one text-book method to how to ask for a raise and how a hiring manager will react when approached, so be situationally-aware and it’ll be easy to figure out which technique works best. It is not a battle or argument; aim to see eye to eye with your superior in order to produce the best outcome for yourself, your career and the job you love.

Show your future employers that you’ve seriously evaluated and studied all the facets of their offer – and you’ll have a better chance of starting your new job with the pay package you deserve.

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