You were able to stand out from among the hundreds of applicants for that coveted position. During the interview, you realize that your professional expectations are aligned with the company’s corporate culture. The feeling is mutual. The last bit of business that must be taken care of before you can be onboarded is that question that makes for sweaty palms, heart palpitations and anxiety.
What are your salary expectations for this position?
This question will most likely be the final factor that determines your fate. And yet, almost 60 percent of women surveyed by staffing firm, Randstad US, admitted to having never negotiated their pay. It’s not surprising that the same percentage of women surveyed also would consider leaving their job because they believed they were being underpaid.
But why is the task of asking for the salary you believe you deserve so intimidating? Most of us are just not good at what may feel like haggling and feel fearful that our request will be rejected. Here are some tips to consider before you show up at the negotiating table and either sell yourself short or ask for an amount so high that it takes you out of the running.
Don’t be afraid to ask.
“During the first conversation with a potential employer, it’s alright to ask for the salary range for that position,” says Tanisha Russell Day, a human resource specialist and founder of Teaneck, New Jersey based, KEY HR Consulting, LLC. “This way, time isn’t wasted on either
side.” But be prepared, the ball might end up back in your court if the interviewer asks for a salary range instead of providing you with one.
Don’t sell yourself short.
Know what your talent and professional experience is worth. “Provide a range. It could even be a $20k range, but just don’t ask for anything lower than what you [absolutely] need,” suggests Russell Day. There are three factors that dictate the final offer: your unique talents and potential; what other companies are paying for the same role in a similar market; and the salaries the company is currently paying to their workers, says Valerie Sutton, a career development specialist, on LinkedIn’s Negotiating Your Salary course. You can research compensation for similar positions at Salary.com, or get a custom salary estimate calculated at Glassdoor based on the job title, location and your experience. One thing to keep in mind though, it’s not only about what you think you’re worth, but also what the employer believes the job is worth, says Sutton.
Show and prove.
Enter into negotiations with an evidence-based case for your desired salary. Clarify why this company should be willing to invest in you? Give specifics about your skill set, past on-the-job milestones, and your strengths. Show that you understand how your experience makes you a prime candidate for the open position. “If for example, you’re an instructional designer and you’ve developed content using the universal design for learning techniques and no one else in the company has this knowledge, this would be a reason to pay you more,” Sutton instructs during the LinkedIn course.
Consider the total package.
While direct financial compensation is important, Russell Day recommends job seekers consider the full package, including benefits, paid time off, flexibility, tuition reimbursement, and work-from-home opportunities, when accepting an offer.
Prepare for the back and forth.
Always remember that the process will require you to have a bit of flexibility. “They may think you deserve everything you want. But they still may not give it to you. Why? Because they may have certain ironclad constraints, such as salary caps, that no amount of negotiation can loosen,” Deepak Malhotra writes in the Harvard Business Review. “Your job is to figure out where they’re flexible and where they’re not,” says Malhotra, the Harvard Business School professor, award-winning author and host of an hour-long video on How to Negotiate Your Job Offer. For example, a small company that’s trying to fill a newly created role will possibly be more flexible about your salary demand than a company hiring several people for similar roles.
Think it over.
“When offered the position, you aren’t required to accept it on the spot,” says Russell Day. “It’s okay to take a few hours or a day to consider the offer and to make certain the details are in line with what you’re looking for.” At the end of the day, be sure to negotiate for a salary that will not only pay your bills and compensate you appropriately, but will also go a long way in affirming that you know your worth.