Most job seekers feel uncomfortable when the time comes to discuss salaries. Advice such as "never bring up the issue of salary, let the interviewer say it first," is rarely helpful if you don't have any idea of how to respond when the topic does come up. The best advice in terms of negotiating salary is RESEARCH, RESEARCH, and RESEARCH. Knowing the market value of the position is essential before you interview with a company.
To learn more about how to negotiate your salary and benefits, click on the links below:
- Determine the market rate salary range for this type of position in this particular industry.
- Consider the value of the benefits package. Perhaps, they can adjust the benefits more easily than the salary.
- Prepare a budget to determine your financial needs.
- Decide, before you go into an interview, what salary you want to earn, what you need to live on, and what you will be willing to settle for.
- Be realistic: entry level salaries are less negotiable than salaries for mid-level or executive positions.
- Document your skills and accomplishments, and be prepared to talk about them.
- Don't be the first to mention salary during the interview, and use the negotiating tips listed here when the topic does come up.
- Never say "I need at least ___ dollars." Do say “The research that I conducted shows that similar positions in this area pay _____, therefore, the range of what I was expecting is ______."
- Never lie about your salary history.
- Once you have accepted a job offer and salary level, be sure to get it in writing.
- Utilize websites such as www.salary.com to do a specific market analysis for similar positions.
- Ask your friends and networking contacts.
- Call employment agencies or executive search firms.
- Contact professional associations.
- Talk to other job seekers.
- Review business and trade periodicals (i.e., Working Woman magazine publishes an annual salary survey; the Wall Street Journal National Business Employment Weekly publishes salary updates).
The degree to which a salary is negotiable depends on the position, the manager, the organization, and your perceived value.
Most entry-level positions have set salaries that are subject to very little if any negotiation--perhaps a few hundred dollars of negotiating room.
Mid-level positions typically have salary ranges of between 10 and 20 percent (i.e., a job paying $30,000 a year may have a salary range between $27,000 and $33,000).
Employers will negotiate within the range, but will rarely exceed it unless you are an exceptional candidate. Most state and federal government jobs have rigid, non-negotiable salary scales based on education.
Sometimes, candidates will find that benefits are negotiable. For example, an employer may be able to give extra vacation time, subsidized equipment, or a flexible work schedule. Don’t overlook the value of benefits when considering all your options with salary negotiations. Again, it will depend on the level of the position and its perceived value.
- If asked: "What are your salary requirements?" Summarize the requirements of the position as you understand them, and then ask the interviewer for the normal salary range in his/her company for that type of position.
- If asked: "How much did you earn on your last job?" Tell the interviewer that you would prefer learning more about the current position before you discuss compensation, and that you are confident you will be able to reach a mutual agreement about salary at that time.
- If told: "The salary range for this position is $42,000 to $47,000, is that what you were expecting?" Tell the interviewer that it does come near what you were expecting, and then offer a range which places the top of the employer's range into the bottom of your range (i.e., I was thinking in terms of $47,000 to $52,000). Remember: be sure that the range you were thinking about is consistent with what you learned about market rate for that position.
- If told; "The salary is $4000 per month." Try not to look excited or disappointed. Simply repeat the salary, look up as though you were thinking about it, and pause. Don't worry about the silence; give the employer an opportunity to increase the offer. If the interviewer does not change the offer, try the response suggested in #3 above.
In addition to salary, take into consideration the employee benefit plan when evaluating an offer made by a company. In today's job market, many employee benefits are considered standard - they come with the job and are not subject to negotiation. However, an increasing number of employers are offering flexible benefit packages, which allow employees a variety of choices regarding their benefits.
- Health insurance
- Dental insurance
- Disability insurance
- Life insurance
- Paid vacation time
- Paid sick leave
- Paid holidays
- Child and day-care services
- Company car
- Cost-of-living adjustments
- Desirable office
- Education and training programs
- Expense accounts
- Flexible work schedule
- Maternity/Parental leave
- Professional membership dues
- Profit sharing plans
- Relocation expenses
- Retirement plans
- Savings plans
- Special equipment (i.e. computer)
- Stock Options
- Supplementary pay plans
- Termination agreement (severance pay)
- Unpaid leave time