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How to Negotiate Salary or Ask for a Raise

If you’ve been offered a job, you may think that the salary they suggest is the absolute final word on the matter. However, salary negotiation may be possible. Learn why this tactic is important and how to do it effectively.

What are Salary Negotiations?

Salary negotiations are the conversations you have with a current or potential employer with the goal of getting a higher salary or benefits package than the one you have now or have been offered with a new job. These conversations could be with a recruiter, hiring manager, or an HR leader and can take place during the interview process or after interviews have all been conducted. They are a useful tool in increasing your earnings and a normal part of having a career. Learning how to do them can set you apart from your peers and help you earn more.

Why It’s Important to Negotiate Your Salary

Being employed is a trade-off. You give your talent and skills; they give you money and benefits. While we like to think that a company will reward us for our growth in a company with more and more pay over time, it’s not always automatic.

Negotiating your salary can help move the needle on pay and benefits so that they are more in line with your true value. A higher salary can also make you feel more secure and it actual helps solidify your commitment to a company. You’ll be more likely to work hard at a job if you feel properly compensated. In many cases, it’s a win-win for both sides.

Beyond your salary, you can negotiate for other things as well. The other benefits that may be on the table include:

  • Flexible paid time off
  • Remote or telecommute arrangements
  • Training and development
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Upgrade in tools or equipment
  • Car or transportation reimbursement
  • Childcare
  • Health benefits, including insurance and access to programs
  • Mentoring and personal development

If you’ve been told “no” for a pay raise, these other benefits may be up for discussion.

How to Find Out What You Are Worth

You should always go into a negotiation with confidence that your asking price is valued and consistent with what other people in your position receive from the market. Your geography, skills, and experience will all factor into your worth, so do some research to ensure you are asking for a fair amount.

Start by seeing what similar positions in the same region of the country pay with a search tool like Glassdoor Salary. You may find that the job title is somewhat varied for what you do. Experiment with each title type to see how they vary and use this information to create a salary range for your skills, location, and experience.

You can also use your knowledge of the job market for your area to assess your value. Try to determine a payscale with a higher and lower end of a range you’d be willing to accept. If you work in a job market that’s short on workers, you may be able to expect the very high end for your range. If the market is saturated, however, it may be smart to expect the lower end. 

Salary Negotiation Dos and Don’ts

Negotiation is an art that you can perfect over time. If you’re just starting out, here are some key tips for doing your best:

  1. Do use your research. You should know what your value is. Keep this at top of mind when having your discussion and making a counter offer. If you’re in the running for a very in-demand job, don’t hesitate to communicate your knowledge of this fact.
  2. Do be specific. If you know the salary you want or need, say it. Don’t be vague, because giving a salary range may only cause them to offer the lowest end of that range.
  3. Do remind the potential employer of the benefits to them. Try to avoid “I” statements. Let them know how a higher salary is beneficial to them through your contributions to the organization.
  4. Do count benefits and perks. A salary offer isn’t the only thing you can negotiate. It shouldn’t be the only thing you want to improve, either. If they are giving you generous benefits, for example, it may be worth a lower starting salary.
  5. Don’t negotiate too early. It’s not appropriate to try it in an initial job interview or during a phone conversation. Negotiation is best received when the first offer has been made, and the hiring manager has revealed the pay for the position.
  6. Do get it in writing. It doesn’t count if it’s not documented.

How to Negotiate a Raise

If you’re already working for a company, you may assume that your managers already know what you bring to the table. This isn’t always the case, and you will likely need to establish your value with a well-articulated and formal request for a raise. Increase your chances of getting a “yes,” by following these tips:

  1. Bring documentation. Show measurable examples of work performance, customer testimonials, or other examples of how you excel at your job. Try to tie it to a value to the organization.
  2. Show your research. If you have salary information for other people doing your job, use it for backup. You may also explain if you think you are doing the work of a higher paid job, even if you aren’t formally titled as such.
  3. Be professional. You may know your manager very well, but this is your chance to shine. Stay on track and remind them of why you’re worth it.
  4. Don’t make it a presentation. Leave the slides at home. This should be a personal conversation that happens without too much showing off. Be respectful of your manager’s time.

What to Do If the Potential Employer Won’t Budge

If your potential employer won’t budge, it’s important to get answers to two primary questions:

  1. What needs to be accomplished to change this “no” to a “yes”?
  2. When can we revisit this discussion?

What to Do After a Salary Negotiation

If you successfully received the raise or salary you want (or at least more than what was originally offered), your work isn’t over yet. In fact, you can expect a few things to change as a result of your negotiation, including:

  • You could have more responsibilities if the raise was tied to a promotion.
  • Management could see you as a skilled negotiator, which could lead to more opportunities.
  • Your workplace may expect a long-term commitment.

Keep in mind that you’re also not done negotiating. As your career and talents grow, you’ll need to keep asking for what you want.

As an employer hiring new talent, it’s crucial to understand the specifics of what candidates expect from your company. With Comeet’s ATS system, you can add specific filters to your screening process to help make sure you’re interviewing the right people for your role.

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Adrienne Smith

Adrienne Smith

Adrienne Smith is a content strategy consultant working with high-growth businesses on their brand messaging, content strategy, and content creation. A digital nomad, she's exploring the world's cultures and cuisines as she works.

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