salary negotiation strategies


A professional, non-aggressive approach to salary negotiation in your potential new position always works best. Here are five things to keep in mind to stay calm, cool and collected when talking about money in your job search.

Salary Negotiation at the Right Time

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT bring up salary until you are asked about salary. When you are asked make sure you have an answer ready. You should have already done your homework both by researching this particular position and title online and by talking to your recruiter about a salary range they would recommend for you and/or for this position. Remember to answer the question you are asked. If the HR person in your first phone interview asked for your current compensation, tell her your base and your bonus target and typical payout. This is not the time to go into your current company’s 401K matching or the low deductible you have on health insurance. It is also not the time to offer what you are looking for. Wait until they ask that question.

Be Consistent

Don’t give different salary ranges you are looking for to different people or at different times in the interview process. Yes, you might adjust your base salary expectation if variations in the compensation via bonus or long term incentives come out, but you must always have a quantifiable, informed rationale for that change.

Be Fair

Make sure your assessment of yourself and of the position match what the market says you are worth and this job is worth. Asking for more than your market rate can send a red flag about your professionalism and level of interest in the job. Being offered less than market rate can mean this company’s salary ranges are out of whack, or their level of interest in you isn’t sufficient for you to make the job change.

Be Creative

Maybe there are reasons to take this job outside of compensation? It might be the right next step in your career or this company has such cachet it improves anyone’s resume or it will give you the opportunity to add a very special skill to your experience. If these pluses outweigh a slightly lower than market rate base salary, see if you can negotiate other ways to boost your compensation. Is PTO negotiable? Could you get a six month salary review instead of on your one-year anniversary? Could they give you a sign-on bonus to reinforce their level of interest?

Be Enthusiastic

Confidence and expressing interest in the position should never wane. No matter how far apart you are in the salary negotiation, making it clear that you remain very interested and excited about this position will go a long way in keeping the company interested in your candidacy. If you ultimately don’t come to terms, they will still feel you liked their job and their company and, who knows, that could pay off in the future.

Well done salary negotiation makes everyone a winner. You start a new job on a positive note and the company feels they have paid fairly for their latest new employee.

Contact the recruiters at Smith Hanley Associates for your next job search, or even if you just want to talk over your value in the marketplace. Put our 30+ years of experience to work for you.

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