Posted by Paladin on August 29, 2018
Never accept the first offer. Don’t be first to name a figure. Be firm. Be flexible. The general consensus about how best to negotiate a salary can be confusing, and even contradictory.
That’s a problem. Settling on a salary that fairly reflects what you’re able to bring to a role is one of the most important aspects of the job search process. It doesn’t have to be a source of stress and anxiety, though. In fact, effective salary negotiation really only requires two things: preparation and confidence.
Make sure you’re informed about salary trends, get a handle on what you should be earning and the confidence part will come easily. Try these five simple strategies to help you hammer out the deal of your dreams.
Do Your Homework
The most important step in preparing for a salary negotiation is researching the current job market. You should understand the average pay for the job in your region, along with your level of education, your job title and your prior experience.
Resources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook and our own 2019 Salary Guide offer up-to-date information on the median pay for creative jobs of all kinds, along with location-based employment trends. Reading up on this kind of data will ensure you’re ready to make your case.
Pick Your Recruiter’s Brain
Among the many benefits of working with a recruiter is their ability to determine what your specific skills and expertise are worth. A recruiter can enlighten you on current salary trends so that you’re able to negotiate an income that rewards your unique brand of knowledge and conveys your value as an employee.
In addition to researching the market, chat with your recruiter about the state of the industry. Their insight will give you an edge when it comes time to talk numbers.
Get into a Conversation Mindset
According to Linda Babcock, a Carnegie Mellon University economics professor and author of “Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want,” the idea of negotiation shouldn’t be synonymous with conflict. Babcock recently told The New York Times “If you see it as a conflict, and you’re conflict-averse and avoid it, that’s not going to serve you well. Try seeing it as a conversation that needs to be managed.”
Salary negotiations are a two-way dialogue. You have an opportunity to share your thoughts while also listening to those of others. Express your point of view, but make sure you’re also hearing what your hiring manager has to say. Your patient persistence will be rewarded.
Choose Your Words Carefully
When you’re articulating your request, try using active language — “I’m excited about joining the team,” versus “the possibility of joining the team excites me.” Explain that you can be flexible because you value the opportunity. But express that you want to arrive at a salary that’s commensurate with your level of experience.
Rather than using an expression like “I need,” which can sound pushy, explain that you want to “explore the idea” of a higher salary and “wonder if that might be possible.” The goal is to convince the hiring manager to work on your behalf and with your best interests in mind.
Don’t Only Negotiate Pay
A fat paycheck is nice. But don’t let it blind you to other aspects of the job that could be just as valuable to you as an employee. If you’re actively negotiating your salary, this is also the time to negotiate other benefits. Try discussing alternative options, like personal and vacation time, parental leave and the ability to occasionally work from home.
These aspects of your job may not pay your rent or mortgage, but they’ll impact your long-term happiness and loyalty to your employer. Prioritizing a good work-life balance is always sure to pay off.
Ready to get the pay you deserve? Go into your salary negotiation informed and prepared with the help of our 2019 Salary Guide.