1) Know your worth
This is salary negotiation 101. You have to know what the going rate or range for your profession is. There are many web sites out there, including Glassdoor, Monster’s Salary Calculator and JobStar that provide the information you need. You can also research other job descriptions where the salary is listed. Remember, these numbers are just a starting point, and can vary based on type of company. Typically, a large corporation in a big city is going to be able to offer more than a family business in a small town or a not for profit organization. A recent college graduate has less leverage than an experienced professional. That being said, there are exceptions. Bottom line – you have to have a baseline range in mind when you start the negotiation process.
2) Let the employer reveal the figure first
If the employer won’t share that figure, state that you are negotiable, and are looking for the fair market value for the position. If pressed for an actual number, always give a range. The lowest number in the range should be the bare minimum you’re willing to accept. This can be the trickiest part of any salary negotiation.
3) Calculate the value of each benefit
If you’re offered a figure that is below what you were expecting, don’t dismiss it right away. How much is the health/life/disability insurance package worth? What about vacation time? Is there a 401k/403b match? Do they offer bonuses? Run the numbers. For instance, if you have 20 vacation days at your current job, but the new job offers 15 days but 6 more paid holidays, then you are really coming out ahead. Don’t get hung up on the overall salary if the added benefits are worth it.
In addition, sometimes it’s not just about the money. If flex time or the option to telecommute or alter your work schedule are important to you, ask about them! This is the time to put all your chips on the table. You can always counteroffer.
4) Demonstrate how you add value
In your last/current position, have you taken on additional responsibilities? Contributed to a major project? Increased sales? Keep track of these wins throughout your working career. Having a list you can refer to will really come in handy when it comes time to negotiate for that new salary or increase in pay. Show them how you are worth that salary or bump up.
5) Lose the entitlement/”I deserve” mindset
It’s one thing to know what you’re worth and going for that figure. We all deserve to be paid a fair raise for being a productive employee. However, many people mistakenly believe that they deserve a bump in salary or higher compensation because they “can’t afford their bills” or have a “growing family.” The reality is – the employer is not concerned about your family size or personal financial situation. They have allocated a budget for salaries and raises. You need to prove to them that you’re worth XX amount. Keep the emotional and personal pleas out of it.
6) Be aware/careful of your tone
You don’t mean to or want to, but it’s easy to sound nervous, defensive or disappointed during the salary negotiation process. Practice beforehand with a friend. They will be honest with you about how you look and sound. Negotiation is not easy. You’re talking with experienced hiring managers who do this every day.
Make sure to actively listen and don’t be afraid to pause when the offer is first presented to you. Silence can be a negotiating tool. Don’t appear overeager. Employers typically have some “wiggle room” with pay (within reason). Your goal is to get to a mutually agreeable figure without squeezing the last penny out of the employer. Negotiate too hard and you will start off on a dissonant note.
7) Know your “walk away” figure
Deonna Campbell, a Corporate Recruiter for Oldcastle Precast, believes in being realistic and upfront when it comes to going after what you want.
Be honest about expectations/requirements. When people aren’t honest, they may feel cheated when they sign the offer. We want happy employees and happy managers.
Deonna brings up a good point. If you know that you’re going to be bitter or resentful down the line, this may not be the job or company for you. Again, this means divulging your range to the recruiter or employer when pressed.
Along the same lines, if you’re negotiating for a raise, and have consistently been denied, it may be time to look for a new job. Stellar performance should be rewarded. There are companies out there that will recognize and reward this.
Without a doubt, negotiating your salary or raise is a stressful, out of your comfort zone part of the job search process. Introverts and non-sales professionals find it the most challenging. Nevertheless, you can do this! Go into the negotiation having practiced, with a proof of worth (accomplishments list), a target compensation range and an open-minded attitude.
Bonus tip for raise negotiations:
If you can’t meet in the middle, ask for a re-evaluation in 6 months.
While the outcome may be disappointing, always leave the door open for future discussion. You should not have to wait a full year to be re-evaluated again.
Looking for more career advice? Check out this Mother’s Day inspired post: When It Comes To Your Career, Listen To Your Mother.
This post, by our Social Media Specialist, originally appeared on LinkedIn.
Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.
Follow Oldcastle Careers on Twitter, LinkedIn,and Facebook for jobs and career advice. And, don’t forget to join our NEW Talent Community to receive a monthly e-mail newsletter with expert advice on the job search process.