If you’re applying to a minimum wage job then how much you’re paid isn’t really an issue, but if it’s a salaried job then there’s an opportunity for negotiation.
When to negotiate
You need to have salary expectations in mind going into the interview, but the time to negotiate isn’t around: Hi my name is Jim and I’m expecting to make $50K does that work for you?
The first interview probably isn’t the time for salary negotiations to start. They should wait until it’s clear that you are a choice candidate. If the company likes you and has chosen to make you an offer then they are likely prepared to negotiate. That negotiation is actually part of the hiring process.
Know your number
Salary negotiation isn’t something you start thinking about when you’re in the interview or discussing the job offer. It’s something you’ve prepared for well in advance. You’ve already done your homework and have a salary range in mind before you came into the interview.
That doesn’t necessarily mean a specific number, I expect to be making $52,342 a year. Better to have a range, I’m expecting to make in the $50 – $55K range.
If you don’t have an answer for the salary question, then that can actually drop you in the ranks if not discount you from the race altogether. It indicates to potential employers that you either don’t value yourself, know your worth, or have done your research. If you couldn’t even prepare yourself for an inevitable job-related question what kind of drive and motivation do you have?
Don’t forget about the benefits – they’re part of the negotiation. Holidays, insurance, pension are all topics that need to be addressed. Job perks can make a significant contribution to your salary. So, like you did your homework on salary expectations, you should know what you’re looking for in terms of medical, dental etc. The other thing you should remember to ask about is the company’s policy on future raises.
Don’t act like a thirsty wanderer in the desert
If you go in with the attitude of a thirsty wanderer in the desert of the job market willing to take whatever drops are offered you, you will probably end up with only a few drops. A confident attitude, surety in yourself and an ability to stand up for yourself speaks volumes about what you will bring to the job.
Don’t be greedy
If however you’ve been offered what you were expecting or more, then that’s not the time to start asking for more. Asking for more than you’re worth simply demonstrates a lack of judgment.
Do back up your expectations
Have reasons for your expectations. Why are you worth what you say you’re worth? Be prepared with examples from your resume and your personal experiences. Just because experiences didn’t come out of a job environment, doesn’t mean they aren’t part of the package you are presenting.
Thanks but no thanks
Be willing to walk away. If the job isn’t right for you don’t just take it out of desperation. You’ll end up looking again sooner rather than later. Better to get the right job with the right salary in the first place.
Take time to be sure
Don’t feel like you have to make your decision on the spot. It’s perfectly okay to take a day to consider your options.
Negotiations can be hard. The employer is going to try and get the best deal for the company while you’re trying to get the best deal for yourself. That doesn’t mean negotiations are negative. They’re an opportunity for you to showcase your value. How you handle yourself during negotiations is indicative of how you handle yourself in general.