Employers rarely make their best offer the first time around.
This is the inside scoop according to recruiters worldwide. Word on the ground is that job candidates who negotiate their salary offers more often than not walk away with bigger packages and extra perks than those who don’t speak up.
Jim Hopkinson, former Wired associate director of marketing, and author of Salary Tutor: Learn the Salary Negotiation Secrets No One Ever Taught You, says the most crucial aspect and rule of thumb for job seekers when it comes to salary negotiations is: never be the first to name a figure.
Instead, he suggests that you get creative with your responses to the inevitable question with things like filling in “Competitive” when asked for your previous salary or “Negotiable” when asked for your desired salary. Whichever way you do it, Hopkinson says it’s important not to be the first to throw a number out there.
Here are four other strategies to consider implementing in your quest for a better salary
- Make the employer fall in love with you first
Before an interview gets to the point where numbers are discussed, career coach Ellis Chase says you need to charm the socks off a potential employer and make them fall in love with you as a candidate first and foremost.
The best way to accomplish this is to be prepared. Research all you need to know about the value of your talent in the job market space, find sources either at the organisation you wish to work at or an industry insider who can advise you on market-related remuneration for the position you are considering.
- Ask for time to consider an offer
Don’t be afraid to ask your potential employer for more time to consider an offer once one has been made.
“When you get the actual offer you’re in no emotional shape to negotiate. All you’re thinking about is that you got the offer and you just want to lock it,” Chase was quoted saying in a Forbes report.
He suggests rather that you respond by saying: “I’m thrilled you want to hire me. Could you just give me a couple of days to think about it?”
Then go home and do as much research into what the organisation typically pays for the post and create a list of priorities that include the scope of your responsibilities, your base salary, bonuses, retirement fund contributions, the frequency of reviews among others.
- Present your priorities list as a set of questions
Once you are re-contacted about a meeting or conference call to discuss your salary package, present your list of priorities as a series of questions woven within a few straightforward, standard questions.
Chase’s advice is to start with a soft question pertaining to retirement fund contributions, followed by another light-weight questions before hitting your employer with a question that should be about the top priority on your list.
This is a good stage to open up negotiations into other aspects beyond the base pay, like performance expectations, additional benefits, salary increase review schedules.
- Continue to sell yourself even once you’ve clinched the job
“When you’re trying to get the base salary up, resell yourself,” advises Chase.
Think of the negotiating process as an extension of the job interview, so take the opportunity to remind your new employer of the number of years of experience you have and what your highest qualification is.
Bear in mind that most employers (and recruiters) are almost always willing to go higher than what they initially offer, so don’t forget to ask . . . you could be pleasantly surprised!