You applied for a job. Received a call back. Participated in three rounds of interviews. And now, the company wants to offer you a job. Congratulations! Now comes the salary negotiation phase.
Only 19% of Americans are happy with their current pay, according to Indeed. The best way to ensure you’re getting paid what you deserve is to ask for it at the start. Follow these seven steps to secure the salary you want.
1. Do Your Research Upfront
It’s critical to go into your interview with a hopeful, but realistic, salary in mind. Websites like Glassdoor, Buffer and PayScale offer salary calculators that factor in your title, years’ experience, location and more — then provide you with a target salary range. With that range in mind, reach out to your network to get a feel for the market, both at the prospective company and elsewhere.
2. Determine Your Final Offer
When you buy a car or a house, you probably have a final offer in mind, a number you won’t go over. Use the same principle when negotiating your salary. After doing your research and talking to your network, determine the absolute lowest offer you’re willing to accept.
3. Be Confident and Positive
You’ve established your ideal salary and your lowest offer. Now’s the time to be confident and enthusiastic in your experience and decision — and the company’s interest in you. Remember: The company chose to interview you from a pool of many applicants, and they want to offer you a job. Lean on that knowledge whenever you need a boost of confidence during the salary negotiation process.
4. Choose Your Words Carefully
Avoid vague language and instead be direct during salary negotiations. Think of the difference between asking for “more” compared to asking for “$5,000 more.” Also: Never say “sorry.” You know what you’re worth; don’t apologize for it.
5. Don’t Share Your Current Salary
It’s a common practice for potential employers to ask what you currently make. Don’t fall for it, even if they catch you off guard. Providing a number effectively limits you. If you say you make $50,000, your future HR manager likely won’t offer you $70,000 — even if that’s a reasonable amount for your experience and the position. (In some states, employers are prohibited from asking salary history.)
6. Ask for More Than Your Goal — Before They Share a Number
Generally, salary negotiation requires compromise on both sides. Provide a salary number slightly higher than what you expect; if the employer comes back under, you’re still on target. Giving your desired salary first helps you control the negotiating.
7. Consider Other Benefits
If you’ve hit the salary ceiling, start negotiating benefits. A higher commission rate, more vacation days, a bigger bonus, education reimbursement, remote work days, flexible scheduling and childcare costs can help offset a smaller offer than you hoped.