An initial job offer probably won’t include your ideal salary (very few offers do), so it’s up to you to ask for what you want and state your case. Negotiating money is rarely easy and often uncomfortable, but this shouldn’t hold you back from trying to improve your earnings. The best time to get a big salary increase is when you get a new offer. After you accept a job, you lose your leverage to improve your pay and work conditions.
Here are some tips to help you negotiate the next offer:
1. Don’t discuss money until an offer has been extended. This tells the hiring manager that you’re interested in the role, not just the pay. You also have more time to impress HR and convince them that you deserve the higher end of their planned budget.
2. Don’t disclose your previous salary. If you give HR a number that falls below their budget, you won’t receive the best offer. You’re not obligated to reveal past salaries or wages, and some states even ban companies from asking.
3. Don’t give out a fixed figure if HR wants to know your desired salary. Provide a range in case the amount you want is too high. You’ll come off more flexible and cooperative. Do some research to find out what you can reasonably ask for and be mindful that HR will likely pursue the lower end of your request. If you think you’re worth $80,000, don’t ask for $70,000 to $80,000. Ask for $80,000 to $90,000. Just make sure that what you ask for falls in line with your research.
4. Move beyond the salary when negotiating an offer. HR can’t increase your salary beyond what’s been budgeted for the role. If your base pay can’t go up any further, you can negotiate other parts of your compensation and your work conditions too. Some examples are listed below.
• Job title
• Job responsibilities
• Stock options
• Relocation expenses
• Continued education
• Vacation time
• Work hours or work-from-home options
• Laptops, phones, and other tools
• Severance provisions
It’s worth noting that growth and environment may improve your job satisfaction more than a higher salary. When you negotiate your offer, focus on the value of the entire deal instead of just the money.
5. Help the other side understand why you deserve what you’re asking for. Never state your requests without justifying them, otherwise you might seem unreasonable and demanding. Competing offers with better pay can make a case for a higher salary. Having young children can help build a case for needing flex hours. Whatever you ask for, just make sure you have a valid reason for the request.
6. Tell the hiring manager that you’ll take the job if both parties can agree on an offer. HR won’t go through the trouble of padding your salary if they suspect you’ll walk away from the improved compensation. By making it clear that you want the role, you’ll also demonstrate that you know what you want and will take action to get it. This is the type of employee that most companies want to hire.
7. The most important tip: Make sure it’s the right job before you begin the negotiation process, or else you risk jeopardizing your career growth.