We could all do with more money and many of us objectively deserve it, but negotiating salaries for new jobs and existing positions is often a daunting task.
Fortunately, there are some tried and true tips that can help you get more out of your bosses.
Let’s take a closer look at 10 of them …
1) Be Prepared
As with any negotiation, you have to be prepared to negotiate your salary. Don’t just wake up one morning and decide you deserve to be paid more. Even if you do, chances are you won’t come out of an impromptu meeting with the best result if you aren‘t prepared.
At the least, you’ll need your salary survey info and any official appraisals of your performance (the more recent the better).
Note: Companies will have their own policies regarding salaries, so make sure you know them first.
2) Don’t Jump the Gun with a New Job
If you’re negotiating a salary as part of a new job, it’s wise to leave specifics as late as possible. The first side to name a figure can usually be negotiated down and it’s you who wants this psychological advantage. You also might not know their budget, which means you could undercut yourself if you throw out a number right away.
Bringing up money too soon could also give the impression that you care more about it than anything else. In fact if the recruiter brings it up early, try to avoid naming a figure and change the subject so you can continue to sell yourself based on your skills and qualifications.
At the same time don’t leave it too late else you could simply end up with a standard figure because you never actually negotiated it.
3) Pick the Right Time
While waiting to catch your boss in a happy mood might be an oversimplification of this point, there are better times to negotiate your salary than others.
For example, good times include when you’ve recently succeeded in an important project or your whole department has performed well, if the company has recorded a great year, or you catch wind of other pay rises (never mention these explicitly).
Conversely, don’t ask if you’ve recently made a mistake, your department is in the ’doghouse’ or the company’s future is uncertain.
4) Dress to Impress
As with a job interview itself, you should go into a salary negotiation with a mind to dress to impress. In fact investing in your appearance can make you feel confident and give that impression to others.
So if you need to fork out for a new suit or take out a dental loan from somewhere like DentalWorkCash to get your teeth fixed, it could pay off, even if you don’t get a raise right away.
5) Believe in Yourself
Your outward appearance is one element that conveys confidence, but you also need to believe in yourself to be able to command a better salary. If you don’t think you’re truly worth it, why should your boss?
A job interview or performance review is your opportunity to sell yourself. In fact, research shows that those with high aspirations usually get good results, so aim high (though be realistic) – you don’t get if you don’t ask.
6) Explain Why You Benefit the Company
A salary negotiation is not about you, it’s about what you can do for the company and why that justifies the salary or raise you desire.
Framing the conversation around your successes (especially if you can point to an increase in the bottom line), rather than what you want or how more money helps you, will put you in a good position to negotiate.
Even better is convincing your superior that paying you more will in-turn make the company more.
7) Don’t Be Scared of Saying No
Knowing your worth is also recognizing when to say no. If you’ve been offered a position and the salary is legitimately too low for you, saying no commands respect and often sparks a better offer anyway, even if it comes a few days later.
Of course, don’t walk away from a job you want or need, but also don’t settle for lower than you deserve or could get elsewhere.
Saying no when negotiating a raise is more of a gamble and will depend on your own reading of the situation. You could walk away now and renegotiate later for what you desire, or accept an offer lower than you desired but at least walk away with something.
8) Be Open to Benefits and Other Perks
Just because a current or future employer isn’t willing to offer you the salary you want, doesn’t mean this can’t be made up through other benefits and perks.
What does more holiday time or holiday pay, bonuses and performance pay, or healthcare mean to you?
9) Don’t Make Demands
Although it’s a good idea to have it clear in your own mind what you want, it’s not an effective negotiating tactic to make outright demands.
Even if you do end up with more money using this approach you could damage the relationship and make things more difficult for yourself in the future.
Only after you’ve highlighted your success, what you bring to the company and why a salary increase is deserved, should you mention specific numbers and perks.
10) Don’t Give Up
Sometimes negotiating a new salary is a long game and you won’t get what you want right away. Perhaps the company just can’t accommodate you right now or you need a few more meetings to iron things out.
Don’t give up at the first hurdle.