It’s difficult to negotiate a salary. It’s intimidating to negotiate a salary. But it rocks.
Here’s the situation in a nutshell: Your employer would like to pay you the minimum amount they can in order to retain you, so you they can keep the money. You’d like to make as much money as possible, so you can use the money for the things you’d like to put it towards.
That means that you, the jobseeker, need to make sure you’re doing well in the salary negotiation process.
Startup founder Penelope Truck has this great list of tips for negotiating your salary with current or potential employers:
DON’T GIVE AWAY YOUR SALARY REQUIREMENTS EARLY IN THE GAME
By giving away your salary requirements early on, you set the range for a possible salary. Instead, tell your potential employer that you’d like to discuss compensation once you have an offer–or even ask your interviewer what they think fair compensation would be for someone in your position, and work with that number.
DON’T NEGOTIATE UNTIL YOU HAVE A JOB OFFER IN WRITING
Once you have a written job offer, you have a stronger hand in negotiating. Written job offers give detail on both base salary and bonuses, and strengthen your ability to hash out mutually agreeable compensation from your employer.
RESEARCH YOUR POTENTIAL EMPLOYER AND PEOPLE WHO DO SIMILAR JOBS TO YOU
Sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor are your friends. Find out the pay rate for your position, find out what employees at your potential company are paid in roles with equivalent responsibilities to yours, and find out what people doing the same job as you are paid at competing companies.
If you luck out and your pay rate is near the upper range of what you see at your company and others, ask your interviewer what responsibilities you could potentially add to your job description in exchange for a higher salary.
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
Getting paid more is great, but there are other ways employers can make jobs attractive to new or current employees.
Maybe you’d prefer a job that lets you work from home several days a week–more and more companies are comfortable letting employees telecommute.
Maybe you’d like a company that lets employees work flexible hours and doesn’t necessarily require a standard 9-5 workday.
Or maybe you’re looking for a company with in-house perks like a gym, yoga classes, generous vacation packages, or education assistance that improve quality of life.
But whatever you’re looking for, think about it in advance and be smart when negotiating for your next job!