Don’t Leave Money on the Table: 7 Negotiation Tips to Help You Increase Your Salary

Pocket change scattered around a table

For most of us, salary negotiations are uncomfortable and intimidating. We fear losing an opportunity, appearing greedy, or over-assessing our professional value. Thankfully, negotiations don’t need to be so difficult. Integrate these seven simple tips during your next salary negotiation and reap the benefits!

Tip 1: Perfect Your Pitch

Don’t try to improvise your salary negotiation. Have a plan in place and practise it! Before you get to the interview, do your research, know your bottom line, and make a case for your request based on your strengths and achievements. Consider multiple negotiation scenarios and develop an action plan for each.

Tip 2: Determine Your Value

Research the average salary for professionals with similar skills and experience to yourself. If your salary expectation is too high (or too low) you may risk elimination. Use sites like Indeed, Payscale and Glassdoor to research industry salary standards and to pinpoint the target company’s (or its competitor’s) salary ranges. Also, be sure to consider your qualifications and employment history when evaluating your worth. When you reach the negotiation stage, you should have a clearly defined salary range and a bottom line in mind.

Tip 3: Focus on What You Can Offer, Not on What You Need

Potential employers don’t care about your mortgage payments or the costs associated with maintaining your current lifestyle – they care about how much value you can bring to the organization. Justify your salary request by providing evidence of your professional achievements and by emphasizing the specific benefits that you can offer to the employer. One of the greatest mistakes that people make while negotiating their salary is failing to support their request with evidence of their value. “Show them the money” and watch your bank balance blossom.

Tip 4: Ask for Extras

More money is great, but so is more free time or more education. If an employer is offering a salary that is workable, but not ideal (and won’t budge) consider asking for additional vacation days, flex-time, tuition reimbursement, or other benefits that may sweeten the deal.

Tip 5:  Avoid Discussing Money Too Early

If possible, leave compensation out of the conversation until you are the last candidate standing. Many employers will inquire about your salary expectations early in the hiring process. If your expectation falls outside of their target range, you may get screened out before having a real opportunity to wow them. Do your best to delay money discussions until the last phase of the interview. If asked about compensation early in the interview process, politely advise the employer that you prefer to have a solid understanding of exactly what the position entails before discussing compensation.

Tip 6: Allow the Employer to Present the First Offer

Allowing the interviewer to advance their offer first helps you to avoid presenting a high figure that may lose you the job or a low figure that could leave money on the table. Additionally, many employers do not lead with their best offer so the employer’s proposal can provide you with a starting point for negotiations. Just how much bargaining room you have is tough to say, so be sure to consider your estimated value and remember that the sky is not the limit – avoid countering with an unrealistic figure that can’t be backed by market research and your professional experience.

 Tip 7: Know When Not to Negotiate

If an employer delivers a generous offer right off the bat, consider accepting (with a smile). You don’t have to negotiate simply for the sake of negotiating. Alternatively, if a salary figure or range was defined in a job advertisement, or if the employer assures you that they are presenting their best offer, there really may not be any room for movement – if you do decide to attempt negotiation, proceed wisely.

The Bottom Line: While salary negotiations may push us outside of our comfort zone, research shows that salary negotiators tend to make significantly more money over the span of their careers and are also perceived as stronger candidates than those who do not negotiate. Perfect your pitch and give it a try!

The author, Terra Blunt, is an Employment Specialist with The Career Foundation.

Thirty Seconds to Sell Yourself

Studies have shown that humans typically take thirty seconds to make decisions about someone during a first meeting. In those thirty seconds, you could make or break a deal; what you say is secondary to the nonverbal cues that you present immediately. These cues are used for other people (employers, in this case) to decide whether you’re friendly or hostile, whether you’re approachable, whether you’re a good fit for the company, etc. Therefore, it is of vital importance to project your best image in those thirty seconds!

This starts with being punctual; arriving on time for your interview or five minutes before an interview. Needless to say, arriving late to an interview leaves a negative impression on the employer no matter what kind of excuse you may or may not have. Arriving extra early does not show your interest for the position; it puts the employer in an awkward situation, leaving them feeling pressured to not have you wait for a long time.

The expression “a picture is worth a thousand words” adequately fits a first meeting. Dressing professionally tells employers that you are serious about this position and you are well prepared for the interview. Not only does a well-groomed image convey confidence to the employer, it also helps you to feel confident about yourself! Don’t give the employer a chance to mark you down because your shirt needed ironing or your shoes were dirty! Furthermore, presenting yourself professionally is not just what you wear. It’s also about combing your hair, trimming your fingernails, washing your face, etc. These little details are what employers pick up on in those thirty seconds.

Adjust your attitude before you first meet an employer! No matter how long you had to sit in traffic or how crowded the bus was, your frustration should not be picked up by the employer! With that said, remember to smile and straighten up your posture! These little adjustments show employers your competency and confidence. Make eye contact with the employer! It not only shows that you’re listening actively and acknowledging what they’re saying, but eye contact conveys openness and shows interest on your part.

Practice your handshake! No one likes a handshake that feels like their bones are being crushed! At the same time, no employer will be impressed by a limp finger shake either. Meet the employer half way and offer a firm handshake. It’s often a great way to open an interview or to seal the deal!

With all of the above taken into consideration, remember to choose your language carefully! Be courteous and respectful, not just to the interviewer, but to anyone you meet in the office! Introduce yourself properly. This means telling them your name, the time of your appointment, and the name of the person with whom you’ll be meeting. During the interview, wait ‘till the interviewer is finished with their question before answering. Rushing into an answer does nothing for you; if anything, it puts you in a worse position as the interviewer may have more information to provide.

Thirty seconds may not seem like a long time to make an impression, but the employer would have picked up many things about you already. So really commit yourself into being the best you can be before even setting foot in the establishment!