How To Negotiate A Better Starting Salary

Everything in business is negotiable, but few prospective hires work on negotiating their starting salaries at a new position.  Your new employer will be willing to pay a premium for your professional knowledgeable, experience, and intangible skills.

Know your value in the marketplace and be sure to negotiate a starting salary that is commensurate with it.  This will not only give you a better financial footing, but shows your employer that you know your worth and are ambitious.

Follow the tips below to confidently sit at the negotiating table:

1.    Keep your poker face on

Never be the first to say a number.  If you ask for the moon, the employer might think you’re greedy or hard to please.  Offer too low and you may lock yourself in at a lower starting salary because you’ve given away too much information about your requirements.  If you must say a number, offer a wide range that encompasses an outrageously high salary as well as sits above the bare minimum you would do the job for.  This will force them to counter with a more defined range or an actual amount.  Use this additional information to more narrowly define your range and go from there.

2.    Don’t act desperate

Companies want to know you can do the job adequately.  They don’t care that you’ve always dreamed of this job or working for their company.  Even if this is the case, keep it to yourself and certainly don’t make up stories.

∙    Excitement is good but can be perceived as immature.  Make it known that you’re right for the job because you have a proven track record of performance.  You want to come across as an equal counterpart, not a giddy newbie.

3.    Never take their first offer

Unless you’re among the very best in your entire industry, it’s unlikely the first offer you’re presented with is their absolute best.

∙    There’s no need to play hardball, just be firm and keep collected.  If your judgement of your personal value is accurate, then just push for your number.  The worst that can happen is that you’ll be told it’s the highest offer they can give you and no more.  If you’re assertive yet professional, they won’t rescind their offer and you can still take what’s on the table.  Just don’t be a jerk.

4.    Consider the entire compensation package

Your salary is only part of the offer.  Know what your health and retirement benefits will be, as well as vacation time, sick leave, travel, and even dress code.  One company might offer you a much higher salary, but pay far less for health insurance.  After paying out of pocket, you might actually take home less money.

∙    Don’t be afraid to take time to consider their offer.  Take the information home and review it closely with a cool head.  Talk to family, friends, mentors, and industry peers.  The worst thing you can do is make a rash decision and then regret it later.

Negotiation is all about the legwork.  Do your research on the company, their current salary offerings, and the average salary in your locality.  This can be daunting if this is your first time negotiating a salary.  If you know that you are truly valued in the marketplace, then you have nothing to lose.  In the event they can’t meet your requirements, another employer surely will.  Don’t be greedy, but make sure your new position is as profitable as possible.

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