Interviewing for a job is hard enough on its own. The pressure to actually land a gig is rough with all the competition those entering the workforce face. So how can you make the kind of salary you want without pushing away an employer by asking for too much?
Pulling from my own experience, I would absolutely despise when the question of salary would pop up during an interview. Does anyone really enjoy talking about money with their employers? What’s the best way to navigate negotiations for a higher salary? TIME published an article going over this with some much needed tips for those of us lacking in the negotiating department. The biggest mistake they pointed to was not negotiating for a higher starting salary, but instead just settling for what we think is “fair.”
“Salary negotiation is about the value you bring to an organization — your talent, skills and contributions — not what’s ‘fair,’” said Lisa Skeete Tatum, CEO and co-founder of Landit, a career resource for women. “Aim high, and be rewarded for what you’re worth.”
We know job hunting can be super stressful and adding onto that pressure with salary talks doesn’t really help ease the anxiety. I pulled a few of my favorites off of their list and added in my two cents below. Check out their steps to take control of the situation and be paid what you’re worth!
Step 1: Know the Average Pay for the Position You Want
This is extremely important. Do your research! Use websites such as Glassdoor.com, Payscale.com, and Salary.com to find out what someone in your position should be making. Ask your friends or use your contacts on LinkedIn to send feelers out to others working in the same field. Having information to back you up will take a load off your mind.
Step 2: Deflect the Salary Requirement Question
This seems like a crazy bit of advice to me (especially because it’s my most dreaded interview question.) My palms are already starting to sweat! Usually, I always answer that my salary is “negotiable” on applications. But what happens during a face-to-face meeting?
“Or, if you are asked the question in person, respond with something like, ‘I’m sure we can find a number that will be fair, but first I want to see whether this job is a fit on both sides.’”
This is a pretty smart way to avoid putting yourself in a box right away when it comes to the amount of your salary, especially if you plan on negotiating that later on.
Step 5: Be Ready to Make a Counter Offer
So you’ve received an offer of employment. That’s fantastic! Until you see the salary and the number is less than pleasing. This means it’s time to counteroffer. Now is the time to point to your research into average salary ranges and ask if there is room for an adjustment.
“Keep in mind, though, that employers might be offering a salary that’s lower than the average range because they see your potential but will have to invest in training you for the position.”
Step 6: Consider the Whole Compensation Packet
Before you shoot down an offer, consider the whole package of what they’re offering you. What does the insurance plan look like? Do they match 401K? These things could outweigh a higher starting salary if you break the numbers down.
“Some new hires negotiate for other valuable benefits — such as additional vacation time, flexible hours, a fully loaded new work laptop — or even unusual perks, [like] monthly dinners with the company CEO.”
Okay, to each their own, but that last one struck me as a bit odd. Either way, don’t be afraid to ask!