Salary negotiation can be a daunting task. According to a survey conducted by salary.com, 41 percent of employees did not negotiate a salary for the job they currently have. When you believe your value is worth more than what you’re currently offered, you can take steps to set yourself up for success and boost your confidence when it’s time to negotiate. Here are tips, tricks and advice from two human resources and recruiting professionals with experience in negotiating at different career stages: before accepting a job and as an existing employee.
How to Negotiate Before Accepting a Job
As a potential candidate pitching a request for a higher salary, doing your research, showcasing your achievements and avoiding “low-balling” yourself are the three pieces of advice Evan Peterson Hudson, Corporate Recruitment Consultant at WilsonHCG, offered. Hudson, who has more than five years of recruiting experience in the college, staffing and corporate recruiting sectors, has seen it all when it comes to salary negotiation.
Do Your Research
In order for any level of recruit to effectively communicate what they want, research helps immensely. “Do research on the company (with which you are interviewing) to see what they are paying their current employees. Also, research the company’s competitors to see what they are paying their employees. Finally, see what the average salary range is for this position nationwide, and consider location, seniority level and experience and how you compare before pitching your request,” Hudson said. If you don’t know where to begin with your information seeking, Hudson suggested Glassdoor as a great resource.
Showcase Your Achievements
You know your accomplishments better than anyone else. To communicate those achievements effectively, Hudson suggested, the more concrete figures and facts you can bring to the table, the more credible you will be.
For example, if you are interviewing for a mid to senior level sales position, highlight your previous accomplishments, especially if you have been promoted, as this usually implies an increase in salary. Also describe what your quotas were and how you were able to exceed expectations. An employer wants to know what they will be gaining by hiring you. The interview is your time to be confident and if that includes pay raises throughout your previous experiences, it is essential to showcase those achievements when conveying to a hiring manager why you deserve a higher salary than what is being proposed. It is evident salary negotiation is not an appropriate time to be humble.
Give a Ballpark Figure
One mistake you want to avoid when you pitch your request is “low-balling” yourself. Thinking back on her own experiences negotiating, Hudson reflected, “When I have been asked what my current salary is while interviewing, I have always given a ballpark figure. I would highly suggest not sharing the exact dollar amount you make because you do not want to inadvertently low-ball yourself.”
When asked what her salary expectations are, Hudson shares that she states she is negotiable based on the opportunity and then provides a salary range for the type of positions she is considering.
“From previous experiences, I always suggest asking for $10,000 above what you would be happy settling with. If you are not comfortable asking for that amount outright, a good rule of thumb is to ask for a salary toward the high end of the salary range from the research you did on the position you interviewed for,” Hudson said.
How to Negotiate as an Existing Employee
Thankfully, the tips provided by Hudson are easily transferable to negotiating as an existing employee. Researching extensively, showcasing your achievements and avoiding a “low-ball” figure are all important factors to keep in mind when approaching your employer for a raise.
Still, existing employees should consider additional steps to convince their employers they deserve a higher salary. Hanan Nemeth, chief operating officer at Johnson & Fletcher Management Solutions, discussed multiple tactics that are effective when individuals approached her looking for a raise.
Present Personal Goals
Completing every assignment handed to you is not enough to convince your manager you are deserving of more money. According to Nemeth, employees must exemplify an entrepreneurial mindset of creating personal goals and reaching them. Nemeth describes how not every company is structured enough to have company goals, but that shouldn’t stop an employee from creating their own personal goals. She cautioned employees who are seeking raises to come with something substantial. If an employee’s justification for a higher salary is merely “because I’ve been here,” Nemeth frankly said, “That doesn’t do you anything.”
Bring Proof on Paper
Nemeth recounted an employee who sat down and actually showed her their goals on paper.
“People need to see things written,” she stated. “Capturing how you measured your goal on paper will be more convincing than presenting a hypothetical goal.”
Hudson, who also vouched for the power of paper, described how this tactic has worked for new hires in past experiences. “I have had a candidate bring in a “brag book” before which highlighted her accomplishments as well as how she was compensated for her achievements,” she said.
A “brag book” can be an essential tool when it comes to starting your salary negations. Similar to references, a “brag book” shows various reports, awards and accolades that the candidate has compiled into one portfolio. Typically, this comes in handy when interviewing for performance type positions such as a sales role. This can show the hiring manager actual proof of a candidate’s success thus giving them credibility as to why the employer should pay a higher salary for that candidate.
Use Others as Guides
You may find a goldmine of helpful tips and tricks by reaching out to people who formally held your role and have been promoted. In her career, Nemeth has sought information from people who have been in her position. She asks questions like “How did you get to where you are?”; “What works for you?”; “What didn’t work for you?” and “What do I need to make the right decisions?”
These types of people will know firsthand the trials and tribulations of your role and have the potential of becoming a mentor to you. Don’t be shy in asking directly how they were successful and exactly what it takes to do the job well. Chances are they will be more than happy to help you succeed and share with you what they know. The more you know about the job, the more informed you can be when approaching your employer about a salary increase and your future within that role.
The next time you’re gearing up to ask or negotiate for a higher salary as a potential candidate or an existing employee, remember these helpful tips, tricks and advice. Take the initiative to prepare yourself accordingly, and you will put your best foot forward to get what you want. If you don’t get the raise you desire, discuss a plan of measureable action with your employer to ensure that you do moving forward.
Writer Bio: Lisa Marinelli is an aspiring copywriter passionate about the anatomy of ideas. She will graduate in May 2018 with her Bachelor of Science in Advertising. Lover of pop music and running, she’s not afraid to grab the aux or chase her dreams.