When looking for and obtaining a job, many people might say, “I’m lucky to have anything at all,” and that’s true. With all the resumé-building, internet forum-searching, and stressful interviewing, job searching is hard enough.
But at the end of the day, we all know that you will have to decide how much money you need to be paid in order to bring passion and energy to your job every day. Finding and obtaining the right amount is difficult, and this is the first real point of tension you will encounter with your new company. So, for that reason, we have put together a list of salary negotiation tactics to keep in mind.
1. Never Accept the First Offer
We are all guilty of this at least once in our careers. Whether it is because you are coming off a long period of unemployment or because you really are enthusiastic about your new position, many of us have been offered some low salary amount, bit our tongues, and accepted it. I myself am guilty of this as well.
The first number a company proposes to you is their starting point — they do not actually expect to obtain your services at that amount. By accepting this number, you are giving the company an easy way out and ensuring that you’ll be a little peeved later on about not asking for more in the first place. Remember, you’re their top candidate, and that offers some leverage.
2. Pretend (In Your Own Mind) That You Have Other Offers
We’d all love to be in the scenario in which multiple companies are bidding over our services, but, unfortunately, we are not always that lucky. However, we can strengthen our hand a bit by pitting this job against the literal job of our dreams. What would you want to be paid in the job of your dreams? What would you be doing? Compare this position to that hypothetical one, and game out the offer in terms of that job. Doing so will ensure that you are moving in a positive direction.
3. Do Not Give Ultimatums
We all want to be seen as tough, but giving an ultimatum is terrible idea. If you say, “This is my minimum amount,” or “After this, I’m walking away,” companies will walk away faster. They have whole teams of people devoted to trolling the seas of unemployment, underemployment, and unhappily employed. To be put in a threatening position right off the bat by a potential new hire is a no go. Do not do this, period! You do not have the leverage to push a company past its breaking point.
4. Be Willing To Negotiate in Non-monetary Terms
We all value cash, but other parts of compensation are nearly just as valuable. If your company is less able to pay you what you want but provides health insurance that takes away major out-of-pocket expenses, consider that a real positive trade-off. If you are given as much responsibility or control as you’d like in your position, try to negotiate yourself into a swanky office. Not every part of a staff member’s compensation has to be monetary, so, if you find yourself in a position where you want money the company doesn’t have, think extra vacation days, higher mileage reimbursement rates, or something similar.
5. Regardless of the Original Offer, React Positively
In regards to negotiating money, we all want to act like poker players and stay stone faced. This is ineffective. Regardless of what the original offer is and how it is delivered, your initial reaction must be positive. The company just offered you money in order to become part of their corporate family — this is a good thing, so act like it. It is almost just as trying for the company’s staff to figure out how much to offer you as it is for you to try and place a monetary value on yourself, so they will be extra sensitive to how you react to the first offer. Even if it’s terribly low, react positively, smile, and say something like, “That’s great!” You can get down to meat-and-potatoes after you deliver a positive impression.
Featured photo credit: Maxwell House Syracuse Students in DC (March 2010)/KEI Staff via flickr.com