Don’t leave any cash on the table with these easy steps
Whether you are facing your first position as a professional in your career, re-entering the job force after some time off or about to make a pivot, the word negotiation can bring on the scaries. Results from a 2018 study done by staffing firm Robert Half revealed that compared to 46 percent of men, only 34 percent of women negotiate their salary before accepting an offer. Here is where you come in, we want to empower women with some practical tools on negotiating your next salary or hourly offer.
Let’s work to eliminate that feeling in the pit of your stomach if you accept a salary that’s lower than the minimum you had in mind or find out a coworker is bringing in way more bank than you.
Never Accept The First Offer
This is the cardinal rule of salary negotiation. If you haven’t followed it thus far it’s fine, but politely decline the first offer in order to take time to do some research. You may not realize it but, almost everything is negotiable! When you receive an offer take a look at it and note what you do and don’t like about it and this will prepare you to do a little research.
Your research will include:
*Salary comparisons of similar roles within the same geographical area and industry.
*Calculations of your current cost of living and any future projections of how it may rise over the course of you being at this job.
*Notice the benefits package and compare that to similar companies but most importantly to your current needs and the anticipatory changes you see yourself making if you take the position. For example, if you plan to expand your family, take the health benefits or even adoption assistance into consideration.
Set A Range And Stick To It
After you have done some research and came up with a solid number, the next step you can take is to create a range within a couple thousand of that number. If it’s an hourly rate, create a range within a $10 to $15 dollar range over the amount you were offered. This will add some padding but also prepare you to counteroffer more than once if needed. According to senior human resources manager, Janna Williams you should aim to have an “ideal, okay and no way number” while also remaining realistic. By starting at the top of the range you create a boundary that is the highest you will ask for given your research, go to the middle then the absolute minimum if necessary.
Putting this in action looks like this. Let’s say your original offer is $73,000 base salary with two weeks paid vacation and the option to elect health benefits. After your research let’s say you create the range to be between $76,000 to $79,000. Your first counter offer you can offer up the highest bid and this may feel uneasy! Just remember that given your research and expertise you are worth any number you choose. Now, let’s say the highest number isn’t accepted you still have two more options to throw out there as a negotiation. This is the point of a range to use is as a ladder.
“While you know you’re amazing sometimes that doesn’t translate to the same value from a company’s perspective,” said Williams. “That’s okay, know that doesn’t have anything to do with you as a person and also be okay to walk away.”
Remember also to show confidence when in the negotiation phase based on how you will create value for the organization.
Think Beyond The Cash
Consider other ways to negotiate besides the base salary. A salary package can include vacation time, health and life benefits, stock purchase options, remote work schedules or a retirement plan. When in the negotiation phase, think of what you can counteroffer back instead of just the option to be paid more cash. For example, if you are denied the cash you present on your first counteroffer you could ask for maybe a couple of remote work days per week or an extra week of paid vacation instead. A 2017 New York Times article cited a Gallup survey that revealed 43 percent of Americans spent time working remotely. Stats like these will support your offer to work remotely at least once a week and with the growing importance of a mindful work and life balance, it’s not hard as you may think to negotiate an extra week of vacation time.
Didn’t negotiate effectively or accepted an offer below your minimum? No worries, you can work smart to produce the best work over the course of the year and document the contributions to show why you either deserve a raise or a promotion. The best time to have this conversation is during annual performance reviews.
If you don’t take anything away from this article, remember this: never take the first offer. You will walk away feeling confident, powerful and in full ownership of your career path even if you negotiate just a little. Negotiating shouldn’t feel uneasy or uncomfortable when you are speaking with your potential employer. Remember also: YOU are the prize!
Courtney is a multi-passionate creator and founder of Being Bourt, a content marketing agency. You can find her browsing YouTube videos in her spare time or checking her horoscope.
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