The keys to negotiating salary

How much are you worth on the job market? Adecco USA helps you negotiate your salary to maximize on your compensation to a competitive level.

Articles

Interviewing is stressful, but getting in the room and impressing the interviewer is only half the battle. Getting the job will do you little good if you don’t also manage to get paid a fair salary for your the position. So how can you make sure your great new dream job comes with an equally great compensation package? Follow our guide for negotiating salary. 

Facts are your friend.

The first step, according to HR pro Sharlyn Lauby is to stop dreaming. Getting what you’re worth starts with knowing what you’re worth, and that means research.

“Job seekers can use sites like Glassdoor, Salary.com and Great Rated to learn about companies, jobs and salaries,” she advises. “If someone decides to gather intelligence using these sites, I would suggest not relying solely on one site for information. Not because the site isn't reliable, but the more information you have, the better you can make an assessment.” You can also utilize the Adecco Salary Calculator, which is based on our own hiring and salary metrics. 

Once you know what similar jobs pay in your area, you’re in a far better position to negotiate, but you don’t just need to gather data about the local job market. In fact, that’s probably the easy part. The more difficult second step is to think critically about your own skills and how you measure up in the market. After all, it will do you little good to know what the average professional of your type gets paid if you don’t know whether you’re average, above average or still working on developing your skills.

“I’d also recommend that job seekers be prepared to honestly (and I mean brutally honestly) evaluate their skills,” cautions Lauby. Once you have a good handle on your skills and prevailing wages, you should finish the fact-finding section of your salary negotiation preparation by firmly settling on your personal target salary number, as well as a minimum number you’re prepared to accept.

Going into battle.

Now that you’re armed with an honest self-assessment and several sources of data about salaries in your niche and geographical location, the next step is employing these weapons to ensure you get what you’re worth. You’ll need a battle plan.

When do you want to broach the issue? As Jack Chapman, author of Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1,000 in a Minute points out, when negotiating your compensation package you need to strike a balance between momentum and safety. Most employers won’t pull a job offer because you push for a higher salary (one study found 87% wouldn’t) but some will. If you absolutely, definitely can’t afford to lose a job offer, let them bring up salary first and be very gentle about suggesting a higher number.

If you feel confident in your skills and want to push for your ideal number, experts offer several tips on how to negotiate effectively. Leave emotions and ego at the door and always express your enthusiasm for the job as an opener, but be confident in what you’re asking for.

“Other people, including hiring managers, will get you when you get yourself. When you believe you have something valuable to offer, so will the rest of us,” Liz Ryan, the CEO of Human Workplace, reminds job seekers. She also suggests showing flexibility. If they can’t get to your desired salary, could they throw in a signing bonus? How about an extra week of vacation or one day a week of telecommuting? Maybe they could bump up your first review so you could look forward to a quicker raise?

If you’re still nervous about sticking to your guns, Rebecca Thorman offers exact words you can use. Her suggested opener: "I'm really excited to work here, and I know that I will bring a lot of value. I appreciate the offer at $58,000, but was really expecting to be in the $65,000 range based on my experience, drive and performance. Can we look at a salary of $65,000 for this position?"

You might be met with silence or pushback. Don’t get rattled and either reiterate your enthusiasm – and your expected salary – or wait out the gap in conversation. After all, studies show that enduring the discomfort can be worth over a half a millions dollars over the course of your career. That’s some serious motivation, so go out there and get what you’re worth! 

Have an eye on one of our jobs? An Adecco recruiter will negotiate a competitive salary on your behalf. Contact your local Adecco office to learn more.

Related Articles

Beyond the CPA

The top five finance and accounting degrees & certifications.

read more