March 23, 2018
Negotiating your salary can be an uncomfortable discussion, but it is an essential part of finding a job. Before accepting any position, you want to make sure the salary that is being offered is fair for the work you will be doing.
Do Your Research
Before you even start applying to jobs, you should do some research on the market where the position is located. This will help you develop a salary range you feel comfortable with that you can give to potential employers. Rachael, a hiring expert from Merck, gives her advice on research: “When it comes to salary negotiations, I would recommend using a salary generating website, like salary.com, which allows you to see what others are earning, on average, in the same field. You can list specific criteria, such as years of experience, education level, industry, geographical location, and other details relevant to the position.”1 Not only will this prevent you from over- or undervaluing yourself, it will also show employers that you have done your research and are serious about the position.
While traditionally, you may think of salary negotiation as the last step of the interview process, it really should be an ongoing process that you start as soon as you start interviewing. Sara, a hiring expert from WR Grace, says, “I would recommend that you tell your recruiter up front what your expectations are. During the interview process, ask what the position is paying and if your expectations are in line with the salary range. These conversations should not wait until the offer stage, when it is much too late.”2 After the company presents their offer, you can share your thoughts with the recruiter and see if there is any room for negotiation, though it will be more difficult if you never shared your salary expectations with them beforehand.
Know Your Worth
When negotiating your salary, it all boils down to knowing what you are worth and having the confidence to ask for it. Research can show you what you should expect to be paid by comparing your offer to the market value. Cory, a hiring expert from Cigna, says, “If the salary is less than you hoped, you are allowed to say that! But before saying so, I'd recommend finding out what the market value (or median salary) is for the role. Once you know, you want to be within 60-70% of the MV. Using that calculation as a comparison, you'll know how high you can negotiate. Thank the interviewer for the offer and ask if there is any possibility of getting closer to "x" number, which is what you'd hoped for and see how they respond.”3 Hopefully, the company is willing to pay you what you are worth, but if there is no room to negotiate, you may need to be prepared to walk away.
By following these steps, you can not only ensure that you come away from the interview process with a fair offer but also make the negotiation as painless as possible!