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How to Negotiate Your Starting Salary
You’ve made it through the hiring process. You’ve submitted your application, made an impression in your interviews, and have been offered the position. All that’s left to do before your sign your new hire paperwork is to make sure the salary is right.
Although some candidates receive the offer they’re looking for, many do not. If you find yourself in a position where you need to negotiate your salary, you’ll want to do so with confidence, highlighting your worth without coming across as demanding or unrealistic.
Here are some strategies you can use while negotiating your starting salary.
Know How Much You’re Worth in the Current Market
Naturally, we all want to earn the highest salary possible. However, it's important to understand how you measure up against people with similar skills and experience levels before entering a negotiation.
Use valid data to strengthen your case. You can do this by using our salary calculator tips, or by looking at similar jobs online. You can also talk to your Michael Page recruitment consultant. If you have friends or close acquaintances in similar roles, discuss it with them, too. The more real-world information at your disposal, the stronger your negotiating platform will be.
Consider External Factors
Your value to the business isn't the only factor at play. Few, if any companies, have near limitless financial resources on which to draw. It's important to understand potential limitations before entering negotiations.
Look into the company's financial performance and recent staff movements. As a specialist in your field, you should already have a solid understanding of industry conditions, but take the time to research what other experts think about the immediate and longer-term future of the market. This will help you to anticipate potential objections when discussing your salary.
Weigh Your Own Financial Needs
Market conditions and pay levels of people in similar positions are a useful guide to the salary you should be seeking, but it's important not to overlook your personal financial needs. For instance, would you need to move to a new city to take up the job? If so, how does the cost of living compare? Would you be able to get by on your current salary, or would you need to earn considerably more?
After considering your financial needs, come up with a salary range to bring to the negotiating table. Decide on three figures:
- How much you need to live on
- How much you would need to feel satisfied
- How much you would need to feel delighted
The last two figures comprise the salary range for which you should aim. You should always start at the higher end to allow room for negotiation.
What Does the Benefits Package Look Like?
You may be willing to take slightly less pay for desirable benefits. If the cost of insurance with your new job is less than your old one, that may change your salary needs, and thus what you are negotiating towards. Here are some things to look at in order to truly understand the entire value of the offer (salary + benefits):
- Training programs, including allotment for outside classes
- Career trajectory
- Bonus structure
- Insurance (health, dental, vision, life, pet, etc.)
- Flexible working hours
- More vacation and sick time
- Wellness programs
- A company car or mobile phone
- Childcare benefits
Conducting Yourself in Negotiations
Money can be a personal, uncomfortable topic, especially when discussed in direct relation to your overall value as an employee. But it's vital that you keep a cool head. Aim to be hard but fair; having the confidence to negotiate well for yourself shows the employer that you could bring these skills to the role, strengthening their belief that you would be a valuable addition to the team.
At the same time, always be respectful of your potential new employer. Although you should go into the negotiation firm and confident, don’t be over confident. This could give the wrong impression and end up working against you.