Warning: If you think you’re average, don’t read this.
This article is specially written for talented people who want to get a higher pay when getting a new job. If you think you’re just average, this article might not be suitable for you.
Most employees would love to have a higher pay when they get a new job. However, not all employees have the courage to negotiate a salary raise, as the discussion of salary is very often deemed as a taboo, a subject that agitates employers.
As a matter of fact, there can be still much room for negotiation about the details before you sign the contract. As long as you dare to voice out your thoughts, there is a high chance you land in getting what you expect.
This article will provide you with skills suggested by experienced HR and managers on how to negotiate a salary raise before and when you receive an offer.
Before the interview
Make sure you understand the job market
It is important for you to have an expected number in mind first. Otherwise, very likely you will be led reluctantly by any experienced HR.
As Ramit Sethi told in “I Will Teach You to Be Rich”: “If you walk into a salary negotiation without a number, you’re at the mercy of an experienced hiring manager who will simply control the conversation.”
And about what number you should have in mind, it is essential for you to gain some knowledge about what is the usual payment of your position in that industry in that geographic area.
Glassdoor is one helpful source for you to better understand the job market. In this website, when you type in the job title, you can have a glimpse at what salary other people usually get in that post in the specific district.
Should I reveal my expected salary in the cover letter or not?
The question that troubles many job hunters is whether one should write the expected salary in the cover letter or not.
And the answer is: don’t do that!
It is not reasonable to write your expected salary in the cover letter if it is not required in the job ad.
Showing the expected salary in the early stage runs a big risk. If you state something lower than what you deserve, you lose; if you write something higher than what you deserve, you lose too, as it may cost your chance of getting an interview!
In this light, it is better not to state your expected salary in the cover letter if you are not required to do so.
But what if you are required to state the expected salary in the cover letter?
It is not unusual for the companies to want to know the candidates’ expectation in advance. To them, it is a matter of time efficiency — they want to pinpoint the potential employers who will accept their offer, and they do not want to waste time on those who are beyond the benchmark they are willing to offer.
In case you are asked to state the expected salary in the cover letter, you have a few options.
Dodge the question and show your maturity as well
You can dodge stating it directly. You may redirect the focus from the salary to your passion. For instance, you can state: “Salary is only one of the factors I consider paramount in weighing a job offer. I am delighted to discuss it once I am as determined a strong candidate for the position.”
State a range that the company won’t say no to
Or you can state the range you and the company are both comfortable with. In order to provide a safe salary range, you can once again refer to Glassdoor to have a look at what your counterparts usually get. Besides Glassdoor, you are also advised to inquire the personnel in that company beforehand to have a better understanding about what the price your targeted company is comfortable to offer.
State the exact number like $53,750
Or you can directly state the exact number you hope to settle on. Even though it is riskier to state exactly the number, sometimes stating the exact number may do you good. According to researchers at Columbia Business School, employees are more likely to be given an offer closer to their initial request, state a more precise number in their initial negotiation request when they state a more precise number in their initial negotiation request. The reason is, as the researchers explain, the employers assume you have prepared extensive research into your market value when you reach that specific number.
Also, when you state the exact number, you can also aim higher than the usual range. It is because psychology shows that your bargaining partner has the feeling that he or she is getting a better deal if he or she negotiates down from your original ask. Given that your employer will almost certainly negotiate down your term, you may need some room and still end up at a salary you are pleased with.
Should I still state it when a standard salary is already stated in job ad?
There are jobs that are fixed with a price. For example you may see figures like these on a job ad: $22/hr, $50/day. For jobs like these, can you still negotiate a higher salary? The answer is yes.
The point is, you should let your employer know how far you exceed their expectations.
In order to persuade your employer, your approach is to emphasize your past achievement and your potential contribution to the company.
For instance, you can negotiate in this way: “I wonder if the salary is flexible. Based on my achievement in education and my past experience in this industrial field, I’m confident I can help the company get 70% growth in the coming year. I wonder if you might be able to offer $Y instead”.
However, one golden rule you should bear in mind is that every employer does have a range in mind. That is to say during the interview you may not want to present yourself as if you were ignorant of the salary information stated at the start. Show them you know it very well but at the same time you know you can over-deliver.
During the interview
When being asked about your current salary
During the interview, the employer may inquire information about your current salary.
However, revealing your current salary may put you at disadvantage if the job you are applying can offer a salary much higher than your current one.
To encounter situation like this, you are advised to quickly draw attention to other topics. Instead of focusing on your current salary, you may once again highlight your skills, your responsibility, and your contribution to the company. As employers desire capable candidates, showing your ability can put you at a better position in the interview.
Besides promoting yourself, you can also express your outlook about the company, and your passion of growth. This can also underscore your ambition, which is also the quality that companies desire to see in candidates. In this way, the flow of the conversation will be around your advantages, instead of your history in the current company.
How to handle if the employer says “NO”
The rejection may sound daunting to you. However, according to Pynchon, a negotiation does not really start until someone says no.
She explained: “It’s not really a negotiation if we’re asking for something we know our bargaining partner also wants. Negotiation is a conversation whose goal is to reach an agreement with someone whose interests are not perfectly aligned with yours.”
Therefore, other than feeling sorry for yourself, you should rather be glad that you get a clearer picture about what your employer wants. At the same time, your employer also understands your requirement better.
If your current suggestion is higher than what the company is going to pay, you may lower your term in the negotiation which you still comfortable with, and see if the company still rejects.
Try to reach a common ground with your employer.
If the employer still refuses to compromise, despite asking for a raise in salary, you may change the battlefield from the salary raise to other benefits, such as traveling compensation or vacation days. These all are matters that you can also bring up to the table and negotiate.
Do not accept the offer too soon
If you are landed with an offer, congratulations!
Meanwhile you should still remain your cautiousness. You should not accept the offer too soon. A lot of people are shy to hold on the offer, as they are scared their employers may pull back the offer.
However, most of the time, as affirmed by Chase the career couch, employers don’t do this when they have already spent so much efforts on negotiating with you.
Accepting the offer too soon may cost your opportunity to negotiate better terms. Despite the offer itself, some details can still be negotiated, such as the salary, the bonus, or other benefits. These all have room to be negotiated.
After the interview
Reevaluate your offer
Following the discussion above, you need not accept the offer immediately. Instead, you can ask for more time for consideration. You can ask the employer: “I’m thrilled you want to hire me. Could you just give me a couple of days to think about it?” If the company values you, it will be happy to allow you time to think about.
When you are considering the offer, salary should not be the only determiner. Besides salary, there are also other factors that are worth consideration.
These 7 things, as suggested by PayScale, are things that are also worth your consideration.
- Vacation time
- The skills you may learn in the company
- Traveling compensation
- Clothing allowance
- Means of telecommunication
- Access to the company’s product or service
These important factors also have huge influence on whether you will be happy in that company, thus worth of your serious reevaluation.
Show your excitement no matter you’re ok with the salary or not
After receiving the offer, you should first express your appreciation of the company’s decision to hire you. But don’t make it like you really need the job to survive. Instead you should show them how excited you are to contribute for the company and achieve your career goal with them. They will be able to feel your passion and eager to work with you soon.
Only after this you can reveal your stance whether you’re fine with the salary they offer or not. Now, since the company has acknowledged your appreciation, they will be inclined to accept the terms you suggest.