by Leslie Rothman
It’s important to understand that for most professional level positions negotiating salary is typical, if not expected. Starting in a new organization is your best opportunity to make a significant salary jump since most organizations’ average annual employee increase percentages are still relatively low.
In my 25+ years of hiring, when an offer is extended and the candidate asks for a higher amount, we work to meet or come closer to the person’s desired salary. It’s in their best interest to get the top candidate to accept and join the company excited about the position and the organization. Although sometimes a candidate worries, rarely do organizations retract their offer because of a salary negotiation request. That said, it makes a difference how you approach this situation.
Tips to help you succeed in your salary negotiation:
1. Timing – Your best time to negotiate is once you have an offer, either verbal or in writing. This is because they’ve decided they want you and are motivated to close the deal and not re-open their search or move to a second in line candidate. In other words, you now have leverage. It is reasonable to ask for 2-3 days to consider an offer once you have the complete package (salary, benefits etc. )
2. Research – Gather information so you know salary ranges for the type of position you are interviewing for in your geographic region. Sites like Glassdoor and Payscales.com and LinkedIn can give you data to understand the salary range you can expect in your geographic area. Most companies target their hiring at mid-point of the range, and there is usually room to go above that for a qualified, experienced candidate. Have your rational ready for what you are asking for and the value you bring to the position.
3. The package – Understand the complete package which includes paid time off, performance review cycle and ranges, performance and annual bonuses, starting bonus, stock options, health benefits & employee contributions to them, 401K, wellness perks etc. If your desired salary request is out of reach for the organization, these may be areas you can include in your negotiation.
4. Professional – Your tone is professional, very interested and confident, never cocky or demanding. You don’t say yes until you’ve completed the negotiation. If you have another offer you should mention that. You don’t need to disclose the amount of the offer, but indicate you are trying to determine which is going to be the best opportunity and situation for yourself. It is typically a plus to have another offer, people always want someone who is “in demand”.
Some ways to phrase your negotiation:
- I’m very excited about the offer
- Based on my research, the market midpoint is
- Value I bring to the position
- I am looking for closer to $ , I don’t need an immediate answer, I’m sure you’ll need to discuss with Human Resources, the Hiring Manager
- If you can meet $___ I’d be ready to accept
5. Approach – Once you’ve done your research and determined your strategy, call (vs. email) your contact to communicate your request. This helps you gauge their tone and receptiveness. It’s helpful to write down what you want to say and stay on point during the conversation. Follow- up with an email to show appreciation and confirm next steps and timing to get back to you. (Ask a savvy friend to read your note, remembering that a respectful and confident tone is paramount.)
If they come back to you and say your salary request is out of reach for the organization, you can ask about other benefits/options which may help you make your decision. More likely you’ll receive a stronger offer, which you can happily accept!