Have you just received a job offer and want to push for more money? Are you looking for a promotion or pay rise in your current role? Either way, it’s time to put your negotiation skills to the test to get the best deal for you.
Negotiating your salary can be a scary task. However, if you don’t bite the bullet and give it a try, you’re not going to get the pay packet you want. Don’t ask, don’t get.
So, where should you start? We’ve rounded up our top tips on how to negotiate salary to help you out.
1. Know your worth
Before approaching your (future) employer to discuss your salary, you should ensure that you are well-prepared. First things first, you need to know how much you are actually worth and the best way to find this out is to research how much others in similar careers, industries and your geographic area are being paid. PayScale.com is a good place to start your research.
Another good way to discover how much your skills and experience are worth is to talk to recruiters who are specialists in your industry. They’ll deal with your industry counter parts regularly and will be on the ball with industry salaries. Even if you’re perfectly happy in your current job, when a recruiter calls it may be worth having a conversation with them simply to get this important information.
2. Pinpoint your figures
It’s key that you enter your salary negotiations with a clear figure or salary range in mind of how much you want to be paid. If you don’t, you’re instantly handing over a lot of power to the other party.
Having done your research, you should have an acceptable range in mind. It’s better to open your negotiation with a figure nearer the top end of your range. This gives you some wiggle room as your employer will want to negotiate you down.
Interestingly, researchers at Columbia Business School have found that it’s better to ask for a specific figure e.g. £30,750 instead of £30,000 as this suggests to the employer that you have thoroughly done your research and assessed your value. The research found that those who asked for a more specific number were more often offered a salary in-line with what they asked for.
You’ll also need to settle on a ‘walk away’ figure. You may have worked really hard for the job offer but at the end of the day, you need to feel good about they are paying you. It will be better in the long run if you say ‘no’.
3. Note your successes
If you’re asking your current company for a pay rise, you’ll need to show them that you deserve one. Consider how long it has been since you last received a raise. Have you taken on additional responsibilities recently? Have you been working above a beyond your targets? If your performance hasn’t improved in any way, then it’s not really worth you asking for a pay rise.
4. Pick your moment
If you’re negotiating your salary with a new employer then you’re best starting your negotiations after receiving your job offer. However, if you are approaching your current employer about a pay rise, you should put a bit more thought into when’s the right time.
Most people wait until their performance review meeting before asking for more money, however, this may not be your best option. When your review meetings comes up, your manager is likely to have already made decisions about who deserves pay rises and they are therefore less likely to have much left in their budget to give you what you want. It’s better if you actually approach your manager a few months before your review so that you’re both in better positions to negotiate.
5. Practice your opening
While you can’t rehearse how the entire conversation is going to play out you can get your opening argument right. If you’d prefer, write down exactly what you want to say and then practice in front of a mirror. If you open with a strong, confident and well thought out request, how can they say no?
6. Focus on the future
When making your case, be sure to focus on not just what you have done but also what you can still do.
If you’re interviewing for a new job with a higher salary, again it’s important to focus on what you can bring to that new role and your actual value. If your current salary is a fair bit lower than what you are now looking for, do still be honest with recruiters and employers about what you are on now. Once you have disclosed your current figure, you can swiftly move on to what you are looking for now and the responsibilities and skills you can bring to the table.
Bringing it all together
Negotiating your salary is a challenge, however, it is one that is well worth undertaking. If you prepare well and ask confidently you could be looking at a bigger pay packet in no time. Good luck!