Salary negotiation skills must be an essential component of every professional’s career toolbox if they are going to achieve new levels of earning power. Negotiating salary, however, is never an easy task, especially when a professional is highly motivated, if not desperate, to take the job, or any job. Salary negotiations can be quite intimidating unless they are conducted in a prudent and productive manner. Even though you might deserve a better salary, it is extremely important to convey this fact in an appropriate way to a potential employer.
One of the most important aspects of salary negotiation is knowing what you might expect from a potential employer and understanding what you are wiling to accept. If the employer lists a number or a range on a job ad, go with that. If there is a recruiter involved in the process, ask the recruiter. You should also determine, in advance, the lowest level of compensation you will accept, beneath which you will be ready to walk away from the table. This ensures that you will be prepared for any offers that may come and that you will not accept, even verbally, any offer you may later regret.
Do not rush into negotiating salary during the interview process; rather, be patient and wait until the job has been offered to you. In case you are required to provide compensation expectations in advance, you must be vague and offer a salary range suitable to the job or industry, indicating that the compensation package is dependent on the specifications of the job. Never pinpoint your ideal compensation while there are other candidates still in the candidate pool. Wait for the potential employer to provide you with a starting number from which you can then begin negotiating your salary.
You must be well-informed about the fair market value of your skills and expertise and also of the position that you are seeking. Research what the company’s competitors are paying for the same job. Even though you will probably not tell a potential employer what their competitors are paying, you can always use the information to determine how far you can go during negotiations.
You should also cite examples from your past achievements to use as leverage in the process. Emphasize to the hiring manager what you can bring to the team, the ideas that you already have for making improvements, and the successes that define your background up until today.
It is extremely important that as a candidate you understand the financial position of the company as well as the budget for the position that you are seeking. If the company is financially stable, expanding, or is having difficulty filling the role for some reason, you can always negotiate for a hike in the offered compensation; however, if the company does not have much flexibility or you are already aware that the department is making cutbacks elsewhere, it is always best to be reasonable and not attempt to drive the compensation above where you believe the employer is willing to go.