For job interview candidates, companies usually offer a compensation and benefits package with a proposed salary that’s appropriate for the job position. At this point in the hiring process, job interview candidates may not feel very powerful or assertive when it comes to negotiating a salary that’s enough to fulfill their economic needs. This, however, is not true.
The truth is that job interview candidates have the greatest negotiating power in the time between the job interview and the time of signing the contract. The hiring manager already tipped the scale in your favour when he showed his interest in hiring you and bringing you on board. This is the right time to negotiate your salary.
If you don’t think that the initial offer aligns with your education, career level, skills set, experience, or economic need, you can choose to reject it. Aside from higher pay, you can also suggest another form of compensation, such as stock or equity options, or additional perks such as rest days.
The challenging part of negotiating your salary is how to assert yourself and push for higher pay. The thought of negotiating for a better pay makes so many people uncomfortable that they end up accepting the first offer without much thought. This is a mistake because employers are already prepared to negotiate with potential candidates.
Tips on how to negotiate a better salary
Evaluate what you have to offer
First, determine how much value you can offer an employer before you begin the negotiating process. Many factors can influence your compensation, including geographic location, your years of industry experience, your years of leadership experience, educational level, career level, skills, and licenses and certifications. The cost of living where you are matters, especially if it’s in the city. If the position requires 3-5 years of experience and you meet the requirement, then you can ask for a higher salary.
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Find out the market average
Educate yourself with some market data on the average salaries for your position. Keep in mind that some countries pay more than others. Being aware of the market average provides you with a baseline for your salary request and can be used to justify your demand. Find out the following: the national average salary for the position, the average in your geographic location and the cities nearby, and how much similar companies in your area pay employees in this position.
Prepare your talking points
Before you negotiate with the recruiter, find out first the reasons why you deserve a higher salary than the one being offered. Create a specific outline that contains the following: the results you’ve achieved in the previous roles you’ve had; the awards you’ve earned; the revenue you’ve helped achieve; your years of industry experience; your skills and certifications, particularly if they’re in demand in the field; and the average salary in other companies for similar roles.
Practice your pitch with a friend
You can gain more confidence by practicing your pitch with a friend. Allow them to provide helpful feedback so you can identify points of improvement. You can also try recording the conversation on a camera or speaking in front of a mirror. The more you practice, the more you will feel comfortable with talking about money.
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Ask for the top of your range
When asked what salary you want, don’t hesitate to give the recruiter a slightly higher number than your goal. If the recruiter negotiates down, you will still end up with a salary offer that you will feel comfortable accepting. If you provide a salary range, be sure the lowest amount you give is something you still consider fair.
Prepare for tough questions
Recruiters will likely intimidate job interview candidates, so they will likely ask tough questions. Prepare for questions such as “Do you have any other offers?” or “Are we your top choice?”
Don’t be afraid to say no
If the employer does not meet your minimum requirement, or if they give an offer that’s higher than their initial offer but lower than your required amount, it’s time to consider whether you’ll accept the position or not. If you still can’t accept it, it’s okay to reject the offer and walk away.
Don’t concede to the first compensation package offered by recruiters, especially if you know that you deserve much better. Assert yourself by showing that you are competent and effective.