How to Win at Salary Negotiation
Did you know that nearly 60% of employees in a Glassdoor survey said they didn’t negotiate their current salary, potentially leaving thousands of dollars on the table? That’s a travesty, considering a whopping 84% of hiring managers say that they respect applicants who negotiate their salary (and we bet your current manager does, too!).
Of course, salary negotiation is more of an art than a science. Here’s how and when to finesse the best possible package.
Tips for any negotiation situation…
Know the Going Rate for Your Position
Research will be your best friend in salary negotiations. Turn to sites like Glassdoor.com Payscale.com, Salary.com, SimplyHired.com, and SalaryExpert.com to find the going rate for your position. Conversations with colleagues in your field will be informative as well. And if you can find a confidential source within your company or the new company you are considering, all the better.
Make It About Them, Not You
Did your mortgage payment go up? Are you considering starting a family? While those fiscal realities might be pinching you, don’t use your personal finances as the catalyst for salary negotiation. Instead, anchor your request in the value you bring—as in, you just won two new clients, you’ve cut costs via productivity improvements, you’ve solidified better terms with a supplier—rather than why you need it.
Let Them Go First
Don’t be thrown off by pauses—often, they are a tactic to prompt you to jump in and start talking. Use them to your advantage to lead the other person to offer the first number. You might be surprised that it’s higher than what you would have suggested.
Set Up a Win-Win Scenario for Both Sides
The real goal of any negotiation is to persuade the other side to want to make you happy. That’s why it’s critical to convince them you are indeed the best person for the job–whether it’s the one you have or the one you’re going for. The ultimate way to do this is by reinforcing your success and sharing concrete examples of how you’ve helped the company excel and driven the business. You want both sides to exit the negotiation feeling satisfied–you love your new salary; they love having you on the team.
Tips to get a great raise in your current position…
Time It Wisely
Did you just prevent a lucrative client from defecting to a competitor, close an amazing deal, or help recruit another ace salesperson? The best time to ask for a raise is when you have just achieved an amazing success. Use the moment wisely by meeting with your manager to discuss your recent win(s) and why you deserve a bump up. And since your manager may not know as much about your achievements as you do, come prepared with solid data to make your case as an asset to the team.
Think Outside the Paycheck
Sometimes your manager is truly offering the best deal available, and pushing just to push can make you look, well…pushy. Ask how they calculated the number they are offering you, and if it seems fair, then dig in with a “Plan B” course of action–ask about what they can offer in lieu of additional dollars.
Can they sweeten your deal with some extra vacation days or personal time off? How about increased telecommuting options, stock options, or commuter benefits? While these aren’t cash exactly, they can be just as valuable. Believe it or not, salary is typically only 70% of your compensation, so work your magic on expanding that other 30%.
Finally, when you’ve negotiated all you can negotiate, add one last request: Ask to revisit the discussion in six months rather than the usual year to fast-track the process once more.
Tips for if you want to switch companies or fields…
Show Them Who’s Boss
Negotiating with your current manager can sometimes yield an easier win, because he or she already knows you’re indispensable. A member of the HR team or a recruiter at a company you’re considering joining can’t yet quantify that you are superior to other candidates, so be sure to bring along solid evidence of your peak performance. Start with your kudos file and supplement it with hard numbers that show the value you’ve brought to your current position and why you deserve to be compensated on the high end of their range.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (Your Current Salary, That Is)
New York City recently joined Philadelphia and the state of Massachusetts as locations considering making it illegal to ask for your salary history, a boon if you didn’t previously flex your negotiation muscles and were stuck in a position that paid less than your value.
If you are asked your salary and you’d rather not say, it’s best to respond with a question about the qualifications and duties of the particular position for which you are applying. Focus on the value you bring to this role rather than what you earned in the past.
Consider the Total Package
Remember that salary is just one part of your compensation. Start negotiating that, and once both parties are satisfied, move on to other aspects of your package, from vacation to benefits and perks. You may find that the salary isn’t as high as you had hoped, but their profit sharing or 401(k) matching plan is divine, or that you are eligible for a great bonus you can use to pay down student loans or make other investments. And, sometimes more vacation or an amazing sabbatical or parental leave program is just as valuable as a higher salary. What you value is what matters.