Few things are more stressful than interviewing for a job, but sometimes, the real pressure doesn’t kick in until afterward, when you’re on the verge of being hired but must negotiate salary. It’s a chess match, as potential employers typically ask you to make the first move and state your salary requirements. On the one hand, you’ve got bills to pay, and you see yourself as a talented individual they’d be lucky to land. Then again, you don’t want to blow your chances by coming in too high and demanding the kind of money they’re unwilling to offer.
It’s tricky business, but if you follow the 8 tips compiled by the experts at AskMen.com, you’ll have a much better shot of getting the salary you want. It’s all about “preparation, attitude and presentation,” according to the website, and the recommendations touch on all three of those points.
1. Do Your Homework – Before you go in, find out the average salary in the industry and learn everything you can about the company’s pay scale. Keep in mind that unions may affect wages, and always calculate your “deal-breaker point,” the lowest salary you’d be willing to take. As the AskMen.com writes, “There’s no point wasting your time — and the company’s — interviewing for a low-paying job in a company or industry that may not be able to offer the wages you need.”
2. Play Your Cards Close to the Vest – You know that portion of the application form where it asks for “expected salary?” Leave it blank. The idea is to get past the initial screening round without tipping your hand. What if they’ve budgeted $80K for the position, and you only ask for $70K?
3. Know Your Value – If you’ve had interest from other companies or work in a field where workers are in high demand, you may be tempted to assert your position of power. It’s OK to be confident, but you never want to seem cocky or “try to force a favorable decision.”
4. Let Them Make the First Move – If possible, let them throw out the first number. If that doesn’t work, throw out a salary range and tell your potential employers it’s “up for discussion.” But don’t say much more than that. “Don’t ramble on,” AskMen.com advises. “Say what you have to and then be quiet and listen.”
5. Talk Up Your Previous Successes – Did you boost productivity at your last job or earn bonuses and awards for your efforts? Tell them about it—and use numbers. “Quantify your successes in terms of cost savings, increased productivity and overall contribution to the company,” AskMen.com says.
6. Play It Cool – When they throw out their initial number, nod your head and keep your thoughts to yourself. “If they’re low-balling you, the figure could make a quick just in those few moments of consideration,” AskMen.com says, so be sure to practice that poker face.
7. Counter With Caution – Let’s say they come in with an offer you know is low. Countering with a figure 10 percent higher might only get you 5 percent more. “Be reasonable,” AskMen.com cautions, and avoid being confrontational. While they may meet your demands, it’s possible they’ll peg you as a moneygrubber and hire someone else.
8. Show Some Flexibility – Money is important, but if you really want the job, it isn’t everything. Even if you’re not thrilled with the starting salary, you might negotiate for bonuses and incentives and other perks. Find out how often there are potential salary increases. The goal, according to AskMen.com, is to “create a win-win situation.”