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How To Negotiate Salary Skilfully Without Being Pushy

How To Negotiate Salary Skilfully Without Being Pushy

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.

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    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.”

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    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[1], 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.

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    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[2], 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.

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    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.

    1. Vacation time
    2. The skills you may learn in the company
    3. Exercise
    4. Traveling compensation
    5. Clothing allowance
    6. Means of telecommunication
    7. 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.

    Reference

    More by this author

    Chris Cheung

    Editorial Intern, Lifehack

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    Published on September 16, 2020

    12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

    12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

    Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

    Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

    Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

    Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

    Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

    Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

    1. Organization

    When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

    When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

    Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

    To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

    To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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    2. Flexibility

    You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

    Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

    For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

    To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

    To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

    3. Collaboration

    As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

    Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

    To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

    To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

    4. Poise

    Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

    When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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    What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

    To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

    To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

    5. Communication

    Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

    When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

    To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

    To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

    6. Good Computer Hygiene

    Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

    Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

    To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

    To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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    7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

    Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

    Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

    To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

    To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

    8. Respecting Feedback

    In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

    Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

    To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

    To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

    9. Project Management

    Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

    To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

    To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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    10. Staying up to Speed

    Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

    To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

    To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

    11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

    “Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

    To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

    To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

    12. Teamwork

    Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

    Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

    To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

    To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

    Final Thoughts

    Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

    More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

    Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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