You have applied or been approached for a new role. The interview process is going well. Perhaps you have been short listed. Don’t wait until you receive an offer to think about salary negotiation. The best time to consider salary negotiation is before the offer has been made so that you can complete the necessary preparation and research. This creates a strategic approach and avoids the ” Oh gosh, thank you” response that women very often give, as though they are surprised and even grateful to be successful. Be mindful that generally women’s salaries are about 20% lower than their male counterparts. So think of a number and add 20%!
5 things to do before negotiating your salary
Understand your personal value
Have a good understanding of your personal value to the company and the role on offer. Knowing your value to market proposition and being able to articulate it clearly and succinctly in multiple formats is key. You will be tapping into this at every stage of the selection process including salary negotiation.
Know the market value of your role
Appreciating the market value of the role, specifically in the region or sector to which you have applied is paramount. There can be quite significant variations. It could be simply moving to a high cost geography whether within your own country or internationally. A high salary in Southern Italy will not go far in Paris or London. Some sectors are willing to pay top rates for certain key skills, others less so. Market knowledge will be imperative to making informed decisions. You wouldn’t dream of putting your house on the market without knowing the value – why do that to yourself?
Research salaries within the company
This is always delicate and be achieved by internet research (www.payscale.com or www.glassdoor.com) but also helped by your connections inside the company. If possible set up some informational interviews beforehand to get a feel for the internal salary structure and culture. Some companies are very strict about salary scales with clearly defined bands and progression rules. Others are more flexible and open. Contacts may be reluctant to disclose exact figures, but having an insight into the remuneration policy of the organisation will be beneficial. Some companies pay extremely, well but expect high levels of commitment (= time.) Have an understanding of what will be involved and what you are prepared to do. This is when your planned career strategy will be important.
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Know your own salary expectations
You might be asked about your current salary. Give your salary expectations using a range which is an effective negotiation tactic. Don’t lie. I have known many candidates get into hot water when exaggerating their current earnings. Sometimes companies even ask to see a salary slip. It is very acceptable to say that you expect remuneration in the region of x to y, and an increase on your current earnings. Most organisations would expect that.
Every company will have an upper limit and it if there is a second candidate in the frame you have to negotiate skilfully to establish where that limit lies. I have known offers be withdrawn on the basis of compensation. The impact on rest of the team of an incoming high earner will also have to be factored in. If you have a good handle on the process, pursue it. It may be more cost-effective to increase your salary than re-start the search. Every second the position is open is a cost to the hiring company.
Understand your fall back position
While negotiating any process, services or even products, it is very important to have choices. You are the only person who knows at what point you will compromise and what your walk away, deal breaking point is. Factor in all the other supplementary benefits of the job, the content of the role and career development prospects. All of these elements should be tied into your well thought out long-term goals.
Don’t forget to read an entire series HERE Salary negotiation the RIGHT way!