How to Negotiate Higher Starting Salaries
As adults, we learn that everything in life is negotiable and starting salaries for new employees are no exception.
You are a knowledgeable professional with valuable skills and experience that employers should pay a premium to utilize.
Therefore, you should negotiate a starting salary that gives you a sense of your worth as a contributor to your new company.
This puts you in a better financial position and communicates the impression that you’re an ambitious businessperson with a bright future. Follow these tips to successfully negotiate a higher starting salary with confidence:
1. Keep a low profile
Don’t be too forthcoming about your salary requirements, that way you don’t come off as desperate for the job. Desperation turns an employer off quickly and consistently every time.
- You may unwittingly lock yourself into a lower starting salary simply by providing too much information about your requirements before an employer even has a chance to assess your value to the company.
- If your interview is really impressive, your potential employer may offer you the highest salary possible right away to entice you to take the position.
2. It’s not about you
It’s not a question of what the company has to offer you; it’s what you, as a candidate, have to offer the company. Too many candidates elaborate on what the position will mean to them, or the fact they’ve always dreamt of landing a job with this company and so on.
- It’s okay to be excited about a job, but acting too exuberant might make the interviewer feel you’re too immature for the position. Emphasize your proven track record for increasing profits, improving employee performance, saving money, or some other benefit for the company. This makes a much better impression than focusing on what a life-changing experience this will be for you.
- If the interviewer sees you as an equal, rather than a giddy newbie, the discussion of salary requirements will be more lucrative and more pertinent to your experience. If you’re able to be assertive in this potentially high-pressure situation, the interviewer also gets a glimpse of how you will handle similar situations in the workplace.
3. Don’t jump at the first offer
Unless you’ve been particularly impressive, your first offer from an employer won’t be their absolute best. Be negotiable but firm about your value as an employee.
- If an employer offers you $45,000, for example, stay calm and collected and let it sink in, even if it’s more or less than you were expecting. After a few moments, you’ll both know whether to adjust the offer or counter with a higher figure.
- You don’t have to play Donald Trump here, but stay firm in your approach. If you’re worth $10,000 more than they’re offering, ask for it. The worst that can happen is that they’ll hold to their original offer as their absolute maximum budget for that position. This leaves room to accept an offer that’s still on the table.
4. Take the offer
If the job is a priority for your immediate financial need and you’ve negotiated as much as possible without success, take the offer. You can still ask the employer to review your performance within six months for a possible raise then.
- Employers have nothing to lose in this situation. If you perform as well as you say you can, you’ll decrease costs, increase sales, or improve staff productivity substantially, and the company will be better able to afford a raise that meets your level of performance.
Keep in mind that negotiation is also about being prepared. Do some basic research on the company you’re interested in, what they’re currently paying employees, and average salaries in that area, in general.
If you’ve never negotiated a salary before, the process can be daunting. Even so, you really have nothing to lose. If the job is going to be offered anyway, you should at least try to make it as profitable as possible for you and your family.