Whether you are accepting a new job offer, or discussing a promotion or a pay-rise with your current boss, you should always negotiate your salary. Never settle for the first offer.
Many professionals are not too keen to negotiate their salary these days as economic times are tough, job security is disappearing left and right and most are all too aware it is very much an employers’ market out there, but this does not mean you should sell yourself short.
Not negotiating pay is a major mistake no matter what the current employability prospects look like within your sector. You would be surprised by how many businesses are actually open to the idea of salary negotiations, so go for it. You have nothing to lose and often it can prove a boon further down the track.
Bringing up the topic of salary with your employer shows you are serious about the position, you are thinking long-term and you are confident in your abilities. Leaders often quietly respect those who speak up and assert themselves. In the future, if a promotion or other opportunity becomes available your employer may very well remember you and keep you in mind for the position.
Go for it. Focus on what you can bring to the business, sell yourself and make clear what value you can add. If you don’t believe you are worth the salary you are asking for, your boss won’t either. So convince them.
Accepting your first offer completely defeats the purpose of negotiating. It shuts down the negotiation before it has even begun.
You may be nervous to communicate a counter-offer, but this is how salary negotiations work. Don’t give your employer an easy-out, understand what it is that makes you valuable to them and remind them of why you are worth more.
This leads us to leverage. This one is important. If you have leverage then use it.
If, for example you are renegotiating your salary after a glowing performance appraisal, or you are vying for a promotion and you:
a) Know you are very valuable to the business because your skill set is specialised and rare.
b) Are aware that your knowledge of the ins-and-outs of the company is unmatched.
c) Know it would take too much time and too much investment to hire a replacement.
Then you have leverage.
Always remain professional and retain your self-respect.
Don’t put any ultimatums on the table like a petulant toddler, it’s simply undignified and rude. No matter how much leverage you think you have, if you go into negotiations with an “I want or else” attitude you won’t be doing yourself any favours and are unlikely to succeed in ramping up your pay. You may even be let-go for such a belligerent display of unprofessionalism.
Think about other perks you may like instead of a pay-rise.
If you work for a smaller business which just can’t match bigger players then you might have to settle for other perks to make up for the lack of pay. This scenario won’t suit everyone, but for those willing to give it a go, trying to negotiate for a better office, more holiday time and other perks can have its upsides.
Do not wear your ‘poker face’ into salary negotiations when you are accepting a new job. You are a fresh-face at the business, these first relations with your new employer will set the tone for what is to come so make sure you exude positivity. Even if you think the money is too low, they are still offering you cash to join their ranks.
Be polite and courteous.