The DOs and DON’Ts of negotiating salary

Rio Goh - 17/11/2017
Salary negotiation

Check out this article from our Career Ally Hub on the tips for negotiating salary

Negotiating is a more common part of our day-to-day lives than we might be aware – how often have you offered to do the washing up to avoid having to cook dinner? Even so, many of us might still feel uncomfortable or self-conscious when it comes to negotiating salary - undoubtedly, this is because the stakes are significantly higher.

The truth is that it's not nearly as scary as it sounds, as long as you take control of the situation.

Here are top DOs and DON'Ts for negotiating salary.

Do come prepared

To enter negotiations with confidence you have to know where you stand: What is the usual salary for the role you're applying to? What can you expect to be offered by the potential employer? Research industry standards and see if you can find out more about pay bands in the prospective company to form a clear idea of what you should be asking for and what the limits are likely to be.

Do set a range

Don't go in with an 'all or nothing' attitude: ideally, negotiations are about finding a proposition that works for both parties. Work out a range of figures that you are comfortable with, with a 'best case scenario' top rate and a bottom rate that you won't go under. Allowing for some wiggle room will ensure negotiations don't reach a dead end early on.

Do express your value

If you're negotiating it already means that the employer has identified you as a potentially valuable asset to the company. Be sure to emphasise this value throughout the negotiation process, bringing up specific skills and experience in support of what you're asking for.

Don't be too quick to accept

The first offer is rarely the best offer and backtracking after an initial acceptance will only reflect badly on you. Don't start negotiating immediately either; give yourself some time to fully consider the offer and structure your response.

Don't just focus on salary

Benefits like health insurance, vacation days and pension plans are just another form of compensation which should be carefully considered when negotiating a pay package. Think of the value each element could bring to your life and take this with you in your negotiations.

Don't push your luck

Lying about what you earned in your previous role or asking for an outlandish salary based solely on what you believe you deserve will not get you very far. The employer will quickly move on if they feel like they can't take you seriously so make sure you are honest in your negotiations and know when to compromise: if you're made an offer that's only minimally different from your end goal you would do well to think twice about dragging it out into an uncomfortable back and forth.

Don't set yourself up for a fall

A high salary comes with commensurate expectations. So remember that what you expect them to pay for, they will expect you to deliver. Starting a new job can be stressful enough, but performing to the standard expected from the most expensive new kid on the block can put you under enormous pressure. By all means push for what you're worth, but make sure you provide value for money.

The key to negotiating salary is being confident and well-prepared. This crucially means that you understand what is fair both from your perspective and that of the employer. Keep your emotions in check, listen and express your value. In the end it's up to them to recognise your worth; when they do, they're not very likely to let you go.

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Source: career development articles

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