Spooky Scary Salary Negotiation
… sends shivers down your spine. The idea of starting and having salary negotiation talks with your boss may seem daunting to new professionals. If you’ve only just started your career or are still applying and interviewing, it’s normal to feel insecure about asking for more money. After all, you just want the job, right? And you also don’t want to be pushed aside for someone who will silently accept the offer.
Negotiating a better salary can indeed be a tricky task. What do you say? How do you assert yourself in a way that doesn’t get you blown off? Is there ever a good time to negotiate a salary? Of course! And you’re in the right place to find out.
5 Simple (Enough) Salary Negotiation Strategies
Before you start the big conversation, you should develop several strategies for successful salary negotiation. It is not a simple conversation about money. Instead, it’s an exchange of various interests, benefits, and drawbacks for you and your employer. Follow these suggestions for an effective approach:
- Get acquainted with the industry. It’s a good idea to snoop around and find out what the salary trends, based on your experience, are in your field. If you’re just starting out, you cannot expect to be paid the same money as someone who’s been in the position for years. However, you should not sell yourself short, either.
- Put in the effort. You should show consistent effort and maintain your work quality if you want to be taken seriously for a raise. Don’t be late for work, finish your tasks, and do your best to stay on your colleagues’ good side.
- Consider what you’re willing to compromise. Raising people’s salaries is more expensive for employers than giving them extra days off, more flexibility, and other work perks like various training or congress participation. Think about what you would be willing to accept or with some higher work number.
- Prepare a list of questions. Although salary negotiation is your primary goal, you should not make the conversation revolve entirely around magic numbers. Compose a list of things to discuss, including your responsibilities, desire to grow professionally, achievements, plans, and, among those things, salary.
- Practise. Yes, it’s not an exam, but rehearsing what you want to say goes a long way. If you need to, write down some bullet points on your most important arguments and discussion themes, and think of how you want to phrase it all. Play the conversation out with a friend, and try to think about possible negative responses and how you would deal with them.
Once you have a good idea of what you want to say and what you’re aiming for, you should gather your thoughts, take a deep breath, and schedule a meeting.
12 Must-Know Salary Negotiation Tips
The actual conversation about the money you’re making is not supposed to be scary. If you’re too scared to ask for what you believe you deserve, you may be working in a bad environment. If you like your company and feel comfortable there, you should also feel fine about asking for a raise.
Here are some tips to help you through it:
- Always have a number in mind. Don’t fling a big range into the talks, as the other person will likely take the lower number. Have a very specific figure ready, and make sure to put it out there first. Everything else will be based on that figure.
- Go for a higher number. Don’t be deluded about how high that number is, but make it slightly above what you would be willing to accept. Salary negotiations tend to revolve around lowering your ideal number, so it’s better to start higher and end up with something you’re happy with.
- Consider the other person. Negotiation is a conversation – both sides have something to say and some goals in mind. HR or your boss has their own interests as a priority, so make sure that your getting a higher salary is also in their interest. Maybe you want to take on more responsibility or have an excellent track record that justifies it.
- Ask questions. Find out more about the interests of the other side: What are the company’s priorities? What are they focused on at the moment? How can you contribute to that trajectory of growth? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you phrase your arguments better.
- Don’t blow competing offers. If you’re only interviewing for the first time, you can mention other offers you have, but don’t put all your eggs in that particular basket. Swerve the conversation in the direction of industry trends rather than just bragging about a promise you got from another company.
- Be truthful. If you’re asked about your current/previous salary, be honest about it. If you were underpaid in your previous position, explain why you believe your work justifies better pay.
- Don’t get too personal. I know inflation keeps hitting us all, childcare is expensive, and rents are impossible – but chances are, the situation is the same for the person you’re talking to. Instead of talking about all the hardships, focus on your achievements and experience.
- Exude confidence. Know you deserve a raise and show that. Don’t slump your way into the meeting, stuttering and stumbling over words. Even if you don’t feel that confident, now’s really the time to fake it AND make it.
- Don’t jump at the first opportunity. Saying yes outright is bound to land you with less than what you could be making. Instead of an instant yes, take some time to think about it. If you respond to an offer with “hmmm,” chances are, the other person will remedy it in some way in the next couple of seconds.
- Don’t be afraid of a no. The true negotiation starts with a no – that’s where you get the chance to prove why you’re worth more.
- Stay calm. Don’t be on the offensive – that’s not going to get you anywhere, even if you are unhappy with your current pay. Be reasonable and willing to listen and find common ground.
- Be ready to walk away. If you feel there is no way you’ll get what you want or that the workplace will improve, be ready to drop the conversation and seek your employment happiness elsewhere.
Negotiating a Higher Salary: Questions to Ask
If you’ve already spent some decent time in your workplace, you might start thinking about pay review, especially if your responsibilities have grown in the previous months. It’s generally easier to negotiate higher pay once you’re already in the company and have proven your worth.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I exceeded expectations or just met them?
- Have I taken on new tasks?
- Has my performance improved from what it was when I started?
If the answer to these is yes, you should apply for a salary increase and demonstrate how your overall work quality justifies better pay.
You should also show interest in picking up more work and responsibilities, learning new things, and being present in the company – make a good impression before you make your demands known.
Salary Negotiation: New Job Challenges
If you’re applying for a job for the first time, the general rules of salary negotiations apply, but you may be forced to expedite the process. In most cases, these questions are discussed in the interview (more likely in later rounds – never bring up salary expectations in the first round!!), and you may not be able to say you’ll get back to them in a couple of days.
When you interview for the first time, consider your starting position: If you are unemployed, your salary negotiation chances are lower than when you are switching jobs because your stakes are higher. Fixed income is better than no income, right? Also, if the company is hiring more people at once, you cannot expect to get more money than others.
Nevertheless, you can help HR understand why you think you deserve more. If you are unemployed after a gap, draw on your previous experience. Show that you’re serious about working for the new employer and illustrate how you intend to improve your skills.
More Notes on Negotiating a Salary Offer
Sometimes it’s not you who proposes a number in a discussion about salary – it’s the employer. While negotiating a higher pay depends on you, it may be harder to sway things in your favor when the employer makes an offer.
To learn how you can boost your pay in such cases, it’s important to ask some questions:
- How did you calculate this number?
- What are the benefits that come with this offer?
- I must admit, I was expecting something in the range of XX. Can we look at this possibility?
Note that the last one is firm but still polite. Don’t show massive disappointment at the offer – say that you would be willing to negotiate for more and test the waters to see how open they are for such a conversation. Knowing how your offer is calculated helps you understand how to take this calculation to a higher number as you settle into the new workplace. Naturally, job perks like paid vacation and some work flexibility are a must.
Salary Negotiation: 5 Helpful Example Questions
If you’re still unsure how to start salary negotiation, you can use some of these tried and tested questions:
- Thank you for offering me this position; I would love to join your company. However, I would like to discuss the salary around XX, as I believe my experience and knowledge warrant it.
- Hi, thank you for setting up this meeting. I wanted to discuss my salary. In recent months, I have taken on several new responsibilities and have improved my skills – I believe this should be reflected in my pay.
- I love working here and would like to make it permanent. With that said, I look forward to taking on new responsibilities and would love to discuss a salary that aligns with my new tasks.
- I appreciate you taking me on for this position, but I would like to discuss the offered pay. Based on my research, the salary range in the industry is XXX. What can you offer me along these lines?
- I am happy for the chance to work here, but I believe my contributions to the company could be higher and that I can achieve XXX. How can this be reflected in my pay?
Whatever you do, be polite and understanding – sometimes a salary increase is not possible, but you can work around other benefits. If you like where you are, it may be worth it to stick around for some more time until a better opportunity presents itself. After all, a no today does not mean a no forever 😉.
Salary Negotiation – What You Need to Know
Discussing higher pay can be uncomfortable, especially in the early stages of your career. Still, it is reasonable to expect to be paid for what you’re worth, and there is no shame in asking for that.
When negotiating a salary increase, remember these:
- Know the industry trends for your level of experience and knowledge.
- Have a specific number in mind and start with higher figures.
- Explain why a pay raise is justified.
- Focus on your achievements, willingness to learn, and readiness to take on more responsibilities.
- Be ready to compromise.
And whatever the outcome is, there will always be room for improvement in the future. Keep calm and carry on!