An exciting new job offer has landed in your lap, but the pay is less than you had hoped. How do you ask for higher pay without turning off a potential employer? Go into salary negotiation with a balance of professionalism and confidence. Emphasize the qualities that would make you a valuable asset to the company. Research what a reasonable salary is, aim high and prepare to negotiate.
Research what an average salary is for the job you are considering. Take into consideration your current job responsibilities and title, level of education completed, years of experience in the field, amount of expertise in the field and geographic region. Make sure you are looking at comparable jobs in your field, especially if you are changing fields. For example, a director position at a large private corporation will most likely pay a lot more than a director position at a small nonprofit organization.
Talk to others who have similar positions in your field. Contact a local trade or professional association in your field for salary comparisons. Use an online salary survey tool if you don't have people in your network to ask for comparison.
Map out three salary levels, taking your research into consideration, as well as your interest in the position. The first salary level is the highest you could possibly earn. This number should be based on your research, not on how much you would like to earn. The second salary level is the lowest amount you will accept. If you can not negotiate to at least your lowest salary level, you will not accept the job. The third number is the compromise number. In most cases, you will not get the first and highest amount. You will compromise somewhere in the middle of your highest amount and the job offer amount. Determine ahead of time what amount you desire to come to as your compromise offer, the amount you will be happy to accept during negotiation.
Respond to the potential employer, making it absolutely clear that are interested in the job. You want the employer to feel you are very passionate about the job, but the only thing holding you back is the salary.
Reiterate your best qualifications for the job. Give precise examples of key accomplishments and merits that make you a great fit for the position. Show the employer how you have added value to past and current employers. Remind them of your credentials and best successes.
Ask confidently for your highest amount. If you are not confident, the employer will not believe that you truly feel you deserve higher pay. Be clear, but respectful. Do not insult the employer or insinuate that you are "too good" for the job.
Submit a second counteroffer if the employer comes back with another amount that is too low. This second offer should be closer to what you reasonably believe you will get. Submitting a lower offer makes you look reasonable and show you are truly eager to join the company. Holding steady to your highest offer makes you look like you are in it for the money and are not a team player.
Accept the job offer when the salary offered is within your range of acceptable pay. If the employer is unwilling or unable to offer more than the initial offer, decide if you want to take the lower pay or walk away from the job.
- Take employer-paid benefits into consideration while negotiating salary. Some companies pay for some or all of your health benefits, insurance and retirement plan. Employer-paid benefits add value to a job offer.
- Do not threaten to walk away from the job during salary negotiation unless you truly mean it. Threats are typically not taken well by potential employers. Playing fairly will be looked on more favorably than playing hardball.
- Never bring personal issues into the negotiation. Your potential employer does not care if you want to buy a new house or if your nephew needs an operation. Bringing personal issues up is unprofessional and make you appear to have undesirable workplace boundary issues.
Kayla Richard has been writing from Rochester, N.Y., since 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English writing arts from SUNY Oswego and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from SUNY Brockport.