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So you’ve gathered the courage to go for a new job position and you’re wondering how to negotiate a salary, right? We often hear about negotiation but as a beginner, it can seem extremely intimidating. Even more so being a woman.
Everyone deserves to be paid what they’re worth, and to help you put more commas in your bank account I’m explaining exactly how to win the negotiation battle!
Why you should negotiate
Contrary to what you believe, you should negotiate the salary of every position. We often feel like employers will view us as greedy and ungrateful if we counter their offers but that myth is completely untrue!
Companies compete for the best workers and you’re merely just selling your skills in exchange for payment. Not everyone’s skills and experience are equal, therefore the starting pay shouldn’t be either.
Negotiation ensures you’re paid for the amount of value you bring to an employer. According to Payscale, women only made $0.79 for every dollar men made in 2019. That $0.21 difference makes a pretty big impact when it’s time for that paycheck to be deposited!
If anything, when you negotiate a salary you come off as confident in your abilities and have options.
Other reasons you may want to negotiate include:
- Your salary is lower than your area’s average
- Your job duties have increased
- You know you’re an asset to the company
- A new job position has emerged
Do your research!
Before you begin the interview process, it’s extremely important to do your research. Hiring managers are skilled at persuading prospective employees to accept their offer, but coming into the process educated keeps you from falling victim to their tactics.
Use sites such as Glassdoor and Payscale to find out how much those in the position or field in your area are making. Remember that the salary shown is just the average and may not reflect one’s level of experience.
Write down every detail
After the recruiter calls to say the interview went well and gives further details about the position, the negotiation process begins. Write down every pertinent detail they give to help you negotiate.
Be mindful of your responses to keep the door open for negotiation. Yes, you may be jumping over the moon, but if you just accept out of excitement then you’ve essentially agreed to their terms and slammed the door shut.
Know your worth
Knowing your worth allows you to sniff out a good and bad offer when you negotiate a salary. Employers are looking for the best candidate to help move their company forward so your skills and experience are key parts to determining a salary.
If the position you’re interviewing for is a lateral move, you have more leverage and therefore more room to negotiate.
If the position is considered a promotion, there’s less room to aim high since you’re trying to get your foot in the door.
The value that you bring to the role aids you in convincing employers that you are the candidate they need. This shifts their focus to the number they need to offer to bring you on board, not whether or not they can get you to accept the minimum.
Determine the minimum you’re willing to accept
With any type of negotiation, you have to know when to walk away. Based on the research you’ve done on market rates and your experience/skills, determine the minimum salary you’re willing to accept.
This minimum is what you will use to navigate the negotiation process and should closely align with your risk tolerance. It is your bottom line, which means if you cannot get up to this amount you must make the decision to settle or walk away.
When deciding on this amount, focus on what you need to not just survive but thrive. What is the cost of living in your area? Can you survive on the starting salary if negotiation is a flop? What’s the work environment like? What benefits come with the position?
Other things to take into consideration:
- Market range
- Their need to fill the position
- Any upcoming raises/bonuses in your current position
- Salary of those in your targeted position
- How long the position has been open
The art of negotiation is centered on confidence. Even if you don’t feel confident, it’s important to appear confident.
Unfortunately, when it comes to interviewing, many of us let our nerves get the best of us.
Take what you’ve gathered from your research and write down your talking points to organize your thoughts. If you’re someone who freezes easily, this will help keep those jitters from making you agree to a salary you’re not comfortable with.
Practice rehearsing your lines out loud to get comfortable speaking. I recommend recording yourself and then critiquing your voice inflection, eye contact, and body language.
- Do you sound monotonous?
- Are you tense?
- Are you looking into the camera or off to the side?
Continue to critique yourself until you feel confident in your lines and presentation. For more tips on how to knock your interview out of the park be sure to check out this post here.
Refrain from giving employers your “numbers”
When trying to negotiate a salary, there are two questions you may dread being asked:
- “What is your current salary?”
- “What is your expected pay?”
Hold these numbers close to your chest like a deck of cards. Why? Companies have done their homework when it comes to strategies to entice interviewees to accept their offers. If you give them your current salary, they now have a better idea on the amount they need to sprinkle on top in order to get your acceptance.
You tell them $45,000, they offer you $48,000 and you’re sold. Although it technically is more money, it’s probably not the highest they could’ve gone. They reeled you in with minimal effort.
Employers have a hiring budget and the starting pay is rarely ever at the top in order to give them wiggle room. Like any budget, coming under budget is the ultimate goal.
Besides, there are a lot of factors that go into a salary such as:
- Number of positions needing to be filled
- The growth rate of the company
Since you obviously do not have access to this crucial information, there would be some guesswork involved in answering the expected pay question. This guesswork could wind up costing you thousands if you undershoot.
If you’re asked about your current pay
Responses you can use:
“I’m under an agreement with my current employer to not discuss my salary.”
“I apologize, I’m not comfortable sharing that information but I can talk about the value that I can bring to the team.”
When asked about your expected pay
Respond by saying:
“I’m still in the process of researching current market rates with the benefits that are offered. However, I would like to know what offer you’re comfortable making.”
When you respond by asking employers what they’re willing to offer, you turn the question around on them. Knowing what they intend to pay allows you to negotiate a higher offer.
When they make an offer, make a counteroffer that is about 10%-20% more than theirs. If you believe you have some stiff competition stick to the low end of that range, but if you believe that you’re the candidate they need then go with the higher percentage.
Unfortunately, you may have to decline to answer the salary questions a few times. It is uncomfortable but don’t let their pushing disorient you from the main goal…more moolah!
What if they still keep pushing for an answer?
Overshoot. If, after your research, of course, you determine your bottom line is $60k then ask for $80k. This doesn’t mean you’re demanding $80k but this acts as a buffer by leaving room for negotiation.
Most likely the employer will try to talk you down and by agreeing they feel as though you are willing to compromise.
As a woman, there is a noticeable gap between our pay and that of a man’s. Being able to successfully negotiate a salary is our way to fight back!
If you’re ready to step into the interview process with badassery confidence and rock it then I recommend grabbing my I Got the Job! eBook! Click here to learn more.