QUESTION: I was offered a new position, but the salary is less than I was hoping. What’s the best approach for asking for more without jeopardizing the offer?
Express your gratitude for the offer and enthusiasm for working at the company and start negotiating for a better offer. If you are polite and reasonable in your negotiation, this should not jeopardize the job offer. If the job in question will require negotiation skills, showcasing these abilities can actually help prove your worth.
It’s important to confirm details of the total compensation you’re offered including bonus, paid time off, 401(k) match/profit sharing, and your share of any contributory benefits such as health care premiums. Once you have the information to compare, if you find you are not getting the total compensation you want, ask if this is the best offer. Tell the recruiter what you are looking for and why!
First, know the market for your skills. Companies expect some negotiation. Tell them–given your skills and worth, the salary is lower than expected. Don’t state a number. Ask whether they can do better. If they won’t raise the salary, ask about a one-time bonus. Another option is to focus on the total benefit package. Maybe they can increase the vacation time, offer you stock or another perk.
Positioning to negotiate salary should start on the first interview. Demonstrate your salary request is based on what you can deliver for the company, what the company will gain in ROI and value and what the market is paying for that role. Readdress your competitive research, ROI to be received by the firm and your ability to deliver to show why it would be beneficial to meet your request.
Negotiating is a respected skill in most professional settings, and it is expected during the hiring process. Any employment offer is really a package of wage and benefits. Identify potential areas for negotiation, including when a raise will occur and any items you could give up in return for more money. Know your bottom line and be prepared to justify your request with value statements.
Don’t walk into a negotiation without knowing your worth. Resources like Glassdoor, PayScale, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics have tools to gather data on the job title, employer, location, and experience level. Be confident when expressing your salary needs since most offers build in wiggle room. Finally, you may need to consider giving up a few benefits in lieu of a higher salary.
Start with expressing appreciation and excitement for the opportunity.As long as your expectations are reasonable, be honest. Justify your request. They may say no; but if your expectations are realistic, then do you want to work and be underpaid? It is scary, but employees and employers have difficult discussions all the time. The offer stage is a great place to start having those discussions!
You can say, “I know you’ve had the opportunity to interview a range of candidates, and hope that you feel that I’m the best qualified or you wouldn’t offer me the position. I would hope that you could see that I deserve to be, therefore, in the top tier of compensation for this role when compared with others. What can we do to get to that place, if not now, over a defined period of time?”
I hope you did your salary due diligence before the job offer came–in fact, before you started interviewing! If so, you should have an idea of what you’re probably worth and at least a glimpse into what the company could offer. Reiterate your interest in the company and the position; then indicate your desire to find a common middle ground that works for both of you.
Salary negotiations are very similar to buying real estate. The buyer makes a low offer hoping the seller accepts but also expects to receive a counter-offer and is usually willing to increase their bid in order to secure the property. If you receive an offer, you are their top choice. 75% of the time a counter-offer is made, you will receive additional compensation. All you need to do is ask.
There are multiple pieces to compensation other than salary like health care benefits, paid time off, work from home options. For example, if you won’t need the company’s health care benefit (a huge expense for the employer) use this to negotiate for a salary modification after your first six months on the job. Salary negotiation is an important skill that will benefit you all your working life.
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