As an employee, you tend to face many struggles in your everyday work life. One thing that takes its toll on employees is a lack of motivation and energy in general. Once you’ve been working at your workplace for a while, and you find yourself doing better and better with no compensation, maybe it’s time to consider trying for a raise or a new job.
Whenever talking about salary, it can easily become an uncomfortable topic, especially since people prefer to keep their finances private. Never be scared to touch up your salary negotiation skills though, since they can always come in handy and will be mentioned here too.
When some first apply for a job, they might immediately ask about pay, which might make it seem unappealing for employers to hire them. It might symbolize that money is their main motivation, but in reality, it is more a sign of confidence since they know their value and it is probably tiring always talking to “great” recruiters about opportunities only to find out the wage is too low.
The main reason behind not asking for a raise is mostly fear of ruining your relationship with your boss, but what’s scary is not asking at all and struggling with your current salary.
An article by the Harvard Business Review talks about how it is a misconception that women initiate salary negotiations less when in reality they do it just as much as men, yet with less success in achieving the goal. Factors like culture also affect your attitude towards negotiating a salary.
So, how do you start negotiating your salary? You may wonder what to ask for in salary negotiations, here is this guide to help.
1. Preparing to negotiate
You must first know your value, meaning you should know the going rate for your position in your industry, and also the rates for it depending on your geographical location. In other words, have a number with you when going into the negotiation, or else a more experienced hiring manager will almost certainly control the conversation leaving you stuck again.
With the above-mentioned tip also comes your organization. Have your thoughts organized, you can even write them out and rehearse them if need be. Arm yourself with concrete numbers and market data, as well as a sheet of all your accomplishments, small favors you did, awards, and so on. Don’t be afraid to use past emails for proof either!
Ask yourself, have you been at your job for a year, taking on more and more responsibilities and exceeding expectations? If yes, you have the green light for a base to negotiate and don’t forget to rehearse everything on your mind as much as you can to seem put together and confident.
Another option you have is using recruiters to your advantage. Recruiters most likely know what people with your expertise and experience are valued at, so they would be able to give you a realistic range of your industry’s pay.
When looking at ranges in your field of work, which will be a given, since you need to know your market-wide value, choose a number that is higher than mid-range. Going for a number that maxes the salary out, a “non-off offer”, that allows for wriggle room for you to get the higher salary you truly want, since your employer will almost 100% negotiate down.
Know when to say no. This is relevant for when you are offered a salary that is too far below your preferred number, so much so that it isn’t something worth taking. You must be the judge of what you’re willing to take, but also know when to back out for your benefit.
The most important thing to prepare and to maintain during the negotiation is confidence. The drawback most people have when wanting a higher salary is themselves. This can arise through failing to recognize opportunities to negotiate, through negative attitudes and low expectations immediately tarnishing the process and the result, the list goes on.
You must also plan your timing carefully. Do not wait until performance review season to ask for a raise, since your superior has most likely already decided on raises by then. Instead, start teasing it a couple of months in advance, so they can already be aware and decide the budget rather than vetoing your raise.
You should also view the situation from your “opponents” perspective. When considering what the other person will say, you are more likely to already have found answers for them.
Lastly, you’re statistically more likely to get a raise on a Thursday… do with that info what you will.
2. The process itself
As mentioned earlier, you have to prepare with confidence. Rehearsing helps you feel more secure in your communication, but your appearance will also be a key factor for your success in your negotiations. Use a mirror to practice your posture, stand tall with a straight back and chin up to look assertive. You could also raise your chest and stand firmly on the ground.
On the topic of confidence, you should also move with it. When you enter the room to negotiate, make sure not only to keep your head high but to also smile. Always start things off positively, it’ll give you a higher success rate.
When talking to your boss, recruiter, or human resources official, try to use anchoring skills. This means instead of only stating a clear number, you can also try saying a range of salary that is one category higher than yours or the one you want, since they’ll then negotiate for the low end of the numbers you said, resulting in a personal success nonetheless.
Do not use the word “willing” or anything of the sort when stating a high range though, since it hints you are willing to concede, which you should not. Say something along the lines of “I was thinking between x and y.”
Various research has suggested that there are five main styles for negotiation, so it is up to you to choose one to achieve your goal. Those five styles are: collaborative (both parties find mutual benefit), competitive (one party gets a better outcome), accommodative (other party’s concerns come first), compromising (middle ground), and avoiding (avoiding negotiation overall).
You must also lay all your requests on the table in order of importance during the process of negotiation. Say you find salary important, then location, followed by time off and bonuses.
Focus on personal achievements, not needs. Coming from the attitude of confidence, you’re not there to ask for pity, you are there to show your value and how you deserve to earn more.
Flattery is also another good option when negotiating. Ask the other party for their opinion and advice, tell them you trust what they say to you. This encourages the other party to view your perspective, maybe even persuading them to advocate for your side.
During the negotiation, you must also listen to what the other person is saying. This may sound obvious, but by listening you can incorporate the other’s wishes, as well as not forget about other people, since you are not the only one looking for a raise and struggling.
3. The Answer
If the other party seems hesitant about your offer, start asking open-ended questions to keep the conversation going. Remember, you are trying to collaborate with the other person to your advantage.
Avoid using threats, as mentioned earlier, you are there to collaborate, especially since you will keep working with this person and want a good relationship with them.
Do not be afraid of hearing no, nor of countering. Remind your recruiter of your enthusiasm and skill regarding the position, and how you feel you are worth the number you stated earlier
You should also not fold after their first offer, this is where various candidates fall short. Try to keep pushing the number, especially if it’s still lower than the one you had pinned as a goal.
If your boss won’t budge, consider looking for new workplaces if you can, or try negotiating for something else, like more vacation time, more assignments, or plum projects.
The more you negotiate, the easier it will become and the more likely you are to succeed, so don’t be afraid to repeat your offers and to try again whenever you can. Remember, even a couple of thousand dollars a year can already ease your life from any struggle you may have, or help you reach a goal you’ve put out, so do it for yourself, your spouse, or even your family.
- Research: Women ask for raises as often as men, but are less likely to get them. Harvard Business Review. (2019, November 22). Retrieved October 30, 2021, from https://hbr.org/2018/06/research-women-ask-for-raises-as-often-as-men-but-are-less-likely-to-get-them.
- 30, C. C. J., & 18, bob b. S. (2021, October 8). How to negotiate salary: 3 winning strategies. PON. Retrieved October 31, 2021, from https://www.pon.harvard.edu/daily/salary-negotiations/negotiate-salary-3-winning-strategies/.
- The exact words to use when negotiating salary in a job offer. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2021, from https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/the-exact-words-to-use-when-negotiating-salary-in-a-job-offer.
- Unsplash. (n.d.). Beautiful free images & pictures. Unsplash. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://unsplash.com/.