So I couldn’t write an article about negotiation
one week and not follow it up with something specific on salary negotiation.
So here are a few thoughts to help you negotiate what you’re worth …
1. Make them love you first.
As far as possible, hold-off any discussion of salary and bonus until way down the interviewing line. It’s a different type of conversation and one that can get in the way of your expressions of passion for the job and value for the company. Make them love you and your value first and you’ll be in a much stronger negotiating position.
2. Do your homework.
As with any negotiation, you need to be prepared. With your current salary + a reasonable uplift as a starting thought, research similar roles in the industry requiring similar experience and with similar responsibilities. Develop a settlement range so you’re clear ahead of time what you will and won’t accept.
3. It’s not just about the money.
Sometimes we think of negotiating an offer as synonymous with negotiating a salary. And whilst salary might be a key factor, it is only one element of your offer – and unlikely to be the only element you’ll derive ongoing job satisfaction from. Take a holistic view and get clear on your priorities. Be sure to think about things like benefits, holiday, flexibility in working hours, ongoing personal development and opportunities for contribution and growth. And give some thought to job title and its significance in your particular industry.
4. Buy some time.
Getting an offer is fantastic – and for that reason, you’re unlikely to be in the best emotional state to negotiate. It’ll feel counter-intuitive to do so (we just want to sew-up the deal!), but where possible, buy yourself a little time. A simple statement like – “I’m thrilled you want to hire me; could I take a little time to consider and we talk more later today?” – will give you a chance to absorb the emotions and then approach the negotiation conversation with fresh perspective.
5. Easy topic. Easy topic. Tough topic. Repeat.
When it comes to the particulars, develop rapport with your counterpart by starting with some easy, non-threatening topics. For example: confirming length of probation period or number of days’ holiday. Whatever for you is a non-contentious lower priority. Reserve your top priority and/or potentially contentious issue for Question #3, once you’re both comfortable and talking. Then repeat.
6. Go easy on the changes.
There may be a couple of big or contentious changes you want to re-negotiate. And if they’re priorities, of course: have the conversation. But remember that an attempt to negotiate every aspect of the entire offer is not going to go down well. Choose your select priorities and focus your attentions there. If you find yourself wanting to negotiate a lot more, time to ask yourself whether this is the right role and company for you.
7. Let them give the number first.
Over the years coaching people into their perfect career, I’ve moved around on the “you say the number first / let them say the number first” debate. On the one hand: going first allows you to set the “anchor” the rest of the salary conversation will be based on. On the other hand, a low first-number can leave you with a low deal and a high first-number can screen you out of the process. Today, my advice is: let them say what the job pays; and you re-anchor the conversation in rebuttal.
8. Continue to showcase yourself.
An offer negotiation is a different conversation from an interview. But you’re still looking to marry past achievements and experience with future performance and value offered. Throughout a negotiation, take conversational opportunities, not so-much to resell yourself, but to offer legitimate and we’ll-reasoned explanations for your demands. And be prepared to answer tough questions as to why you’re asking for more.
9. Set the next milestone.
Over time, interests, motivations and constraints change. What isn’t important to you today might be in the future. What wasn’t negotiable for the company today might be in the future. As part of today’s negotiations, commit to a date for your next milestone review.
10. Make it clear they can get you.
With all this talk of negotiating what you’re worth, it can be easy for the “I want the job” message to get lost! So temper your negotiating tactics with a light and conversational style. And keep coming back to your delight at having been offered the role; and your enthusiasm for working together in the near-future.
Getting what you’re worth.
In the end, no amount of negotiation is going to compensate for a poor fit. So put thought and energy into a well-considered job hunt that ensures the path you choose takes you where you want to go.
But once the fitting job has been found and offered, don’t settle if the proposal isn’t right. Have the conversation and get what you’re worth.