Employers know that negotiation is an integral part of doing business, especially to find the right talent. That talent is YOU.
Many career services experts have written about this topic, but my go-to guru on this topic is none other than Richard Bolles. Dick’s What Color is Your Parachute book's (written originally in the 80’s and updated regularly) approach to negotiation is sound, practical and is proven successful.
Bolles has six “secrets” or rules to salary negotiation:
- Never discuss salary until the end of the interviewing process when they have definitely said they want you
- Salary negotiation is to uncover the most that an employer is willing to pay to get you
- Never be the first one to mention a salary figure (S/he who mentions salary first, generally loses)
- Always do careful research on typical salaries for your field and/or that organization
- Research the range that the employer has in mind, and then define an interrelated range for yourself
- Know how to bring salary negotiations to a close; don't leave it 'just hanging'
Assuming you haven’t broken rules #1-3, and have impressed the employer enough to get an initial salary offer, it is time to have a strategy to meet your salary/compensation needs. Never, ever low-ball what you’re worth. Remember, the purpose of negotiation is to discover how much an employer is willing to do in order for you to want to work there, NOT to discover how little they’ll need to pay you in order to get you to want to work there.
Prior to obtaining the offer, you should have determined the typical salary range for someone in your field, and, ideally, someone with your level of expertise and years of experience. Hopefully, you’ve used information from www.glassdoor.com, since the site offers salary information, company information, and, best of all, feedback about working for the employer from current and past employees.
So, your offer was not satisfactory to you, and you’d like to counter offer. Let’s say you’ve been offered a range of $50-$60K. You’ve defined your range to be $60,000-$70,000, where your minimum “hooks in” to theirs. You’re not so far off, right? The magic here is that both you and the employer agree on something ($60,000). Your script could sound something like the following:
“I certainly appreciate the offer, and understand you might have some constraints. However, I believe my productivity (expertise, years experience, unique skills, etc) will prove to you that it would justify a range of “$60-$70K.” Be sure to be ready to talk about in what ways you will prove to them that you are the superstar you (and I) believe you are.
We all know negotiations can and do go awry, but like so many other aspects of the job search process, the more you prepare, the more successful you’ll be. Just don’t forget to privately high-five Dick Bolles.