I have seen the salary negotiation process from every possible angle, and if you are going through it now, congratulations on being offered a job! A lot of my ideas on salary negotiation are derived from “Getting To Yes” a great book on negotiation by two Harvard academics, Roger Fisher and William Ury. Kind of a slog to get through at times, but a great book on negotiation generally.
1. Know your walk-away point
Your walk-away point is the salary level at which you would no longer accept the job. It is determined by the alternative available to you – what you would do if you didn’t take this job. Employers will tend to assume that your current salary, or another standing job offer, will determine your walk away point, as this is your alternative to taking their job. If you are unemployed and have no other offers then they will assume that your walk-away salary point is pretty low! (so don’t quit your job before getting your next one if money is important to you!!).
2. Have other offers
Point one leads to this point, which is that you will get a higher salary if you have multiple offers going at the same time. You absolutely can’t be seen to be playing one off against the other, but having other offers will raise your walk-away point. On no account should you lie about having other offers, unless you are a very good poker player – you don’t want anyone calling your bluff.
3. Be creative
You want to work for them, they want you to work for them, but you want more than they can put on the table – some employers have narrow salary bands for certain level roles and cannot go outside them. Try and find other forms of compensation – can they pay for further study, a car or telephone or home office? Could they offer a bonus or equity? Alternatively, would you accept a lower salary in return for greater flexibility ior alternative working conditions? There may be other forms of compensation other than guaranteed cash.
4.Use your recruiter
Recruiters really come in handy for salary negotiations, as you can get them to push for your interests without you yourself being perceived as greedy. However, you have to be aware of their situation and interests. They want you to accept an offer. If you are the only candidate they have to put forward for a role, they really want the deal to go through so they can get their fee, and they will try very hard to get a win-win outcome for both parties. However if they have multiple candidates put forward for the same role, they will not care whether it is you or the other candidate/s who gets the job – they still get the fee. So take the trouble to find out how strong your position is with the recruiter.
5. Don’t pay too much attention to salary tables
There are a lot of salary tables out there showing average salaries for certain roles in certain industries – don’t pay too much attention to them. Each case is decided on how much you want them and they want you.
6. But the market rules
In the end, if they are underpaying you, you will be able to get another job – your walk-away point will change, and you can ask for more money (or go somewhere else). If they are overpaying you, you’d better work out a way to increase your value, or you will be replaced by someone cheaper!