How to Negotiate Salary: 5 Tips You Need to Know

By Stephanie Rogers

Salary negotiation can be daunting – it’s normal to feel nervous. But you can learn negotiation skills that will help you land the salary you want. Sharpening these skills will absolutely pay off in your career.

Remember, negotiating your salary before you accept a role is the easiest time to talk about money. It’s much harder to negotiate your salary down the track once you’re already working in an organisation.

I want to share 5 super easy tips that I have learnt through my recruitment experience that can empower you to negotiate successfully.

1. Be In The Know

Know Your Market Value

Knowledge is power. So I suggest you research the average pay for the same position at other companies in your industry.

So where do you find this information? Seek, Indeed, competitor company’s career websites, glassdoor, recruitment company’s annual salary guidelines, fairwork.gov.au

Or, quite often, if you do a simple Google search you’ll find the information you need.

You can also reach out to an industry mentor via LinkedIn and offer to take them out for a coffee in exchange for career advice.

Know Your Pitch

Whilst knowing your financial worth is important, it’s also good to know your pitch. What skills are you bringing to the team? How do you plan on adding value outside the scope of the role?

Before you start talking numbers, talk about what you’ve done and any additional skills you can bring. What makes you stand apart from the crowd that you can use as leverage when negotiating with the hiring manager? Keep in mind, the hiring manager may have someone above them that is responsible for the final salary offer, so give them the knowledge they need to go back to their boss and negotiate on your behalf.

2. Wait For The Offer

In my experience as a recruiter, candidates are keen to start the negotiation process before they have even received an offer. Just be patient. Let the employer make their offer, then negotiate. Why? You may be happy with their offer. Or the employer might offer you a higher salary, but you’ll never know if you put the first number out there.

Once the offer comes, please take your time.  Don’t feel like you need to response immediately. If it’s a Friday, you are well within your rights to ask for the weekend to think it over. Saying things like: “I’m thrilled to have received an offer and am truly excited about the opportunity to join your team. I’d love to take the weekend to ‘chat to’ or ‘review with my’ partner/mentor/family, etc. Can I come back to you first thing Monday morning?”

If you receive the offer in the middle of the week, it’s generally a good rule of thumb to ask for 48 hours at maximum. Reason being, there are generally other candidates in the mix that the company is at risk of losing if they delay the recruitment process too long.

Don’t forget, when the offer does come, it’s usually presented verbally. The employer might say it will take a few days to draw up the official contract for your review, pending your verbal acceptance. It’s okay to ask, “in the meantime, would it be possible to send through a top line overview of the offer via email?” Get the offer in writing to avoid any miscommunication on the total salary package.

3. Show Excitement About The Position

If you’re not 100% happy with the offer, the first thing you want to do is show excitement about the opportunity. Remember, you are their ideal candidate. It’s even better when a company’s front-running candidate is just as keen on joining the team as the company is on hiring them. In my opinion, if you show enthusiasm about the role, the company will fight to get you on board and will be even more likely to negotiate the salary if it’s within their hiring budget. Give them at least 3 reasons why you want to join the organisation.

Now go back to tip #1. This is where you pull out your “pitch”. Remind the employer of your strengths you spoke about in the interview. Your skills, professional experience, competencies, cultural fit with the company and how your addition to the team will support the organisation and contribute to the achievement of the company’s goals.

Example phone call:

“Hi [insert name of hiring manager], thanks for calling me to discuss the salary. I took the weekend to speak to my partner and mentors about the opportunity on offer. I’m beyond excited about the chance to join your team and my family fully support my decision. Company X offers the challenges I’m looking for in my next career move. The team structure allows room for growth and  autonomy in my role. The culture matches my personality and ideal work environment. I’m confident I will utilise my skill set in this role, whilst also being able to add value outside the scope of work. My experience in XXX will provide the team with XXX and I’m thrilled to add this additional skill set to the organisation.”

4. Have the Courage to Ask Questions

Once you’ve shown the hiring manager your excitement for the role, it’s now appropriate to ask questions as they know you are very keen and seriously considering their offer. You can ask the hiring manager or HR:

When does the organisation conduct salary reviews?

What are the salary bands within the company for this role?

Now, go back to tip #1 to show you’ve done your homework.  Negotiate above your target salary, within your market value. The employer might offer above your ideal salary now that you’ve shown them how much you want the role and the value you plan on adding to the team. Or they might meet you in the middle. If you aim high, you increase your chances of receiving the actual figure you want.

Example question:

“My research shows the market value for this position is between X and X. With my experience in X, and my additional skills in X, I’m hoping for a total salary package of X. Is the salary on offer negotiable?”

5. Consider Other Options

If the company can’t increase their salary offer to meet your expectations, let them know you appreciate their honesty and suggest other options that would enable you to consider flexing on the salary. Don’t be afraid of a pause, you are bringing up creative solutions and they may need time to process your ideas.

Here are a few suggestions:

Delayed start date

Additional annual leave

Early salary review pending performance (in writing via email or in your contract)

External training allowance

Mobile phone allowance

Parking

Sign-on bonus

 In my experience, most organisations don’t automatically lowball salary offers, but they will sometimes start with a number that is a bit lower than what they are actually willing to pay because they assume you will try to negotiate. So remember, negotiation is a skill you can practice & master. You are the only one driving your career; it’s up to you to ask for what you want and to get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.

Like what you are reading? Will you complete your degree from UTS at the end of Spring Session (November), 2016? If so, apply for the Accomplish Intensive program held on December 5, 6 & 7 to attend a Salary Negotiation Techniques workshop.

The UTS Accomplish Intensive program is a 3-day condensed version of the Accomplish Award. It is designed for students who are at the end of their studies to help improve professionalism and employment prospects by refining key skills and developing confidence in navigating the recruitment process.  The program will run in December 2016 for students completing their studies at the end of Spring Session (November), 2016.

To register for the December 2016 program, please complete this form.

Steph Rogers is an experienced recruitment professional and the Alumni Career Coach in UTS Careers. She helps alumni meet career goals through career facilitation and recruitment guidance one-on-one providing resume development, personal branding, networking, negotiation and interviewing techniques while staying up on the most recent career trends.

Article originally posted on LinkedIn.

Featured image courtesy of Pexels.

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