Research on negotiating salary shows that up to 80 percent of job offers are negotiable but that only a small number of job candidates actually enter into negotiations of the job offer and salary with prospective employers. The main reason given is that candidates feel ill-equipped to negotiate and as a result are intimidated by the negotiation process. You don't have to be an expert negotiator to successfully negotiate a job offer. Knowing these basic negotiation strategies helps you to properly plan your salary negotiation and feel confident in the negotiation process.
Delay the salary discussion for as long as possible in the hiring process
The best time for negotiating salary is after a firm job offer has been made. Your negotiating power is at its peak when the company has been convinced of your potential value to them and has decided that you are the best candidate for the job. If the salary question comes up early in the interview process it is best to remain as non committal as possible and suggest that your salary requirements are "open" or "negotiable" until you have learned more about the job. If pressed to give an amount state a wide range within which your salary requirements fall. Avoid giving a specific salary figure on the application form and rather put "competitive" or "open to discussion".
Find out the value of your skills in the marketplace
Information is your greatest tool in negotiating salary. Research your competitive market value. What are other organizations in your field and geographical area paying for your skills and experience? It is much easier to persuade the company to agree with your salary request if your negotiation proposal is firmly based in hard fact such as what people with similar skills and in similar jobs are currently earning. You can research salary data in a number of ways including visiting various free salary websites, asking people in similar positions, calling professional and trade associations, asking recruiters and employment agents and looking at similar job postings.
Know what you are worth to this specific company
Understanding your company-value helps you determine your real bargaining power. What is your value to this company? Consider factors such as the supply and demand ratio of your skills and experience in this industry and area, the number of candidates the company interviewed, the urgency of filling the job and the direct and indirect contribution to company profitability of this job.
Evaluate the entire compensation package
Benefits can contribute up to 30 percent of the whole compensation package. Include the benefits in your salary calculations to get a more accurate picture of the dollar value of the whole compensation package. Put a direct dollar value on benefits such as medical and other insurance, bonuses, profit sharing, direct expense coverage, company services and overtime. Decide which aspects are important to you and what you can negotiate to balance the base salary.
Calculate a realistic salary range to negotiate within
Work out how much you need to earn to cover your expenses. For each expense work out the amount of money you need and the amount of money you would like. The total of each amount provides you with an acceptable salary range within which you can negotiate. You will use this data for your salary decisions. However during the negotiations it is important to base your salary request on your value to the company and your skills and experience and not on what money you need to earn every month. The employer is unlikely to be interested in your expenses. Begin negotiating at the top of your salary range to give yourself sufficient room for negotiation.
Always start your salary negotiations by thanking the employer for the job offer and highlighting your enthusiasm for the position and the company. Keep a positive attitude throughout the process of negotiating salary and make requests rather than demands. Know your true value and be confident of your ability to get the best job offer you can.
Go to Negotiating Your Salary for a complete guide to negotiating the job offer including free practical salary negotiation resources and tools.
Julia Penny is a Human Resources Consultant with many years experience interviewing and placing job candidates. Her free website The Job Interview Guide http://www.best-job-interview.com/ helps job seekers prepare for and succeed in job interviews and to get the job offer they want.