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Asked by Sam on December 26, 2016

I'm fairly confident I'm going to be offered a job any day now from a company I've had a few interviews with. If the salary is less than desirable how do I go about negotiating it? I have limited experience, but I know your salary early on dictates how you scale up in the future.

Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on January 9, 2017

First off, you are thinking smart and that is a good place to kick off salary negotiations.  Do your research and find out what the market rate for the job is.  Be prepared with that information and also what you feel compensates you appropriately for your unique skill set.  It is a conversation you will need to have, and remember, only you can decide if you want to take a lower wage if the negotiations don't go in your favor.

What does the salary package look like?  You do need to take into consideration your base pay, benefits, bonus opportunities etc.  The company is likely monetizing all of those things when they approach you with an offer, so to ensure you are comparing apples to apples, be sure to take that into consideration when you are reseaching competitors. 

What are the non-monetary benefits?  Growth opportunity, company prestige, location, education options etc.  What is your long game? 

And finally, take your time when you are deciding how you want to handle a job offer.  Be smart, be savvy, be prepared.  Best of luck!

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Answered by Heather, Hiring Expert at The Hershey Company, on January 12, 2017

That is great news!  
When it comes to negotiating a salary with a company that could potentially be your employer, it becomes sticky. If you want to negotiate you need knowledge behind why you should. Research what kind of salary is standard for this job, the industry & at the same level of experience you have. Factor in your goals for your career. (Can this job jump start you to get to you where you want to be?, Is it high visibility to upper management to notice you?, Is it challenging?) Take into account relocation, insurance, 401k, bonus, perks, etc.  It all weighs into the total package.
A company is investing in you & they made that offer for a reason. Take your time & good luck!

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Answered by Cory, Hiring Expert at Cigna, on January 12, 2017

Congrats! If the salary is less than you hoped, you are allowed to say that! But before saying so, I'd recommend asking them what the market value is for the role- the median salary for this 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 them 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. Good luck!

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Answered by Sara, Hiring Expert at Grace, on January 13, 2017

Congratulations on your potential job offer. As a recruiter I can tell you many times people say they are looking for a certain salary and it is way off what is achievable. My recommendation for you is to do your homework and ensure you know what the market will bear for the opportunity you seek. Keep in mind, companies look at internal and external equity when determining salary bands. I would recommend that you tell your recruiter up front of your expectations and during the interview process ask what the position is paying or ask if your expectations in line with the salary range. These conversations should not wait until the offer stage when it is much too late. Once presented with the offer tell the recruiter your thoughts and ask if there is any wiggle room if you were hoping for more. If the salary does not match your expectations then you need to be prepared to walk away. I have heard the myth that salary early on in one’s career dictates how you scale up in the future, but I am not a believer in that adage. I have seen so many times that hard work and dedication is what drives your salary. I have seen people young in their career move up quickly to achieve a wonderful salary. My best advice is focus on the work and how you contribute to your company and the money will follow.

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Answered by Rachael, Hiring Expert at Merck & Co., Inc., on January 25, 2017

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 that field. You can list specific criteria, such as years of experience, education level, industry, geopraphical location, and some other details relevant to the position. This will help you have some information to bring to the negotiation table, showing that you have done your research and you are aware of what the market rate is for that position. Sometimes the hiring company will also ask you what you are currently earning, and often use that number as a starting point. However, if that current rate is lower than what you want, then you can mention that you are seeking a higher salary. It also helps to interview with other companies simultaneously, with the goal of receiving multiple offers, which could help your bargaining power.

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Answered by Lina, Hiring Expert at ADP, on January 27, 2017

Hello!
A lot of times, recruiters will ask what your desired salary is earlier on in the interviewing stages, that helps give the recruiter an idea of where you stand on salary. If you want something higher than what the position offers then we can let you know and you can determine if the opportunity is worth the pay cut or not. If you haven't had this conversation at all before the offer then you'll want to prepare and research the average salary for the same role in your city. This will help give you an idea of what you may get. If the offer is lower than what you expected, you can bring up your research - but keep in mind that employers will want to know what you bring to the table in order to justify an increase. As others have mentioned, you'll also want to keep in mind the other benefits that are being offered and if they offer bonus potential as that is often taken into account when calculating a salary.

Hope this helps and good luck! 

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